By David Jenison
Sublime with Rome will certainly spend part of its Ink-N-Iron performance on Saturday soaking up some sun. That should come as no surprise as the band—whose roots are inextricably tied to founder Bradley Nowell and Long Beach—spent some time earlier this year entertaining the masses in more, er, frigid environments. Sublime With Rome put in some time recently as the headlining act at Spring Back to Vail, an end-of-the-snow-season bash in Colorado. The World Pond Skimming Championship is part of the three-day event, and it challenges skiers to launch themselves from a ramp and hydroplane across a frigid pond without sinking. SWR frontman Rome Ramirez pondered the challenge.
“That is pretty bad-ass, and I have never even skied before, so this would even be funnier [for people] to watch,” laughs Ramirez. “Colorado is one of the states where the most fans come out and interact with us, so it is always a blast.”
Luckily, Sublime with Rome is back to sunnier climes, back to where it all started.
Drummer Bud Gaugh left the group in late 2011, so bassist Eric Wilson is the only original member, but SWR’s current set lists feature the band’s standard mix of Sublime classics and new material from 2011’s Yours Truly.
After frontman Bradley Nowell passed away in 1996, Gaugh and Wilson continued playing Sublime songs as the Long Beach Dub Allstars for another five years. In 2009, the duo joined forces with Ramirez, then 20 years old, and started playing the songs again under the Sublime name. Using the original moniker caused a stir, prompting the name change to Sublime with Rome, but most fans welcomed the band. Nearly four years later, the nostalgia has turned into an escalating fanbase.
“We plan on taking the band as far as we can take it,” says Ramirez, adding that they will start recording a new album by the year’s end. “We will always, always, always retain the roots of the band, play their classic music and stay within the vein on new songs, but we will also challenge ourselves as artists to grow.”
“I feel like that would be 100 percent unoriginal of me, so I just try to write the best music I can with these guys,” he explains. “I try not to take in all the criticism and the comparisons when I am in the studio because I don’t think it helps me write any better.”
Given to the chance to showcase his talents with SWR, Ramirez is now penning tunes for other artists like Enrique Iglesias, and he expresses gratitude for the chance to escape what he calls a string of “shitty jobs.” Ramirez is disappointed, however, that this will be the first year in which SWR is not playing a 420 show.
“If we are not playing, I am probably going to stay at my house and medicate,” says Ramirez, then changing topics to medical marijuana. “I am a huge advocate. I have friends who used to be asthmatic who started smoking marijuana, and now they don’t have to go buy inhalers.”