Don’t let the 20-year age difference fool you. The members of Sublime with Rome have no problems bridging their generation gap.
“Rock and roll keeps you young. Nobody is watching ‘Matlock’ while the other ones are doing crazy s---,” said Sublime with Rome frontman Rome Ramirez, who is some 20 years younger than his fellow bandmates. “Yeah, I’m mature for my age, I’ve been told. And they are immature for their age. So we meet in the middle.”
Since 2009, Sublime with Rome has been helping to keep the Sublime legacy alive by touring and putting out albums. The band comes to Ironstone Amphitheatre in Murphys with summer tour mate Dirty Heads on Wednesday, July 27. Also on the bill are Tribal Seeds and Bleeker.
Since its founding in 1988, Long Beach ska punk band Sublime amassed a cult following and had radio hits with songs such as “What I Got,” “Santeria” and “Wrong Way.” But then in 1996 lead singer Bradley Nowell died from a heroin overdose.
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Surviving founding members bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh disbanded the group and worked on other projects until 2009, when they began playing with Ramirez, who took over the vocalist spot performing largely Sublime songs. Now, as Sublime with Rome, the core trio has released two albums, 2011’s “Yours Truly” and 2015’s “Sirens.”
Now 28, Ramirez spoke with The Modesto Bee by phone from his tour bus while traveling near Lake Erie recently about keeping the Sublime name alive, playing to fans of all ages and their new music.
Q: I understand one of the first songs you learned while growing up was “Wrong Way”; tell me about that.
A: Yeah, the first song was “Wrong Way” off their self-titled album when I was 12 years old. I just really liked the combination of the music style and the edginess of the lyrical content. It was something I had never heard before.
Q: How does it feel to contribute in some way to the musical legacy of Sublime?
A: I’m just grateful that the guys take me around the world to play some tunes for a lot of people. It’s kind of a trip. If anyone looks up Sublime and they want to see the band’s music live, we’re still traveling around and playing music. We’re spreading the word of what the guys started.
Q: And you’re also putting out new music. Tell me about your latest release, last year’s “Sirens.”
A: The musical inspiration was kind of driving from what we were listening to at the moment, which was like kind of Ween meets like The Specials with kind of an Ice Cube influence. It was a melting pot of those three.
Q: This summer you are touring with fellow Southern California alternative hip-hop/ska punk band Dirty Heads. Why’d you pick them to go on the road with?
A: We’re like brothers, all of us. We’re really close friends. It’s really harmonious and everyone gets along really well. We’ve toured in the past before and worked in the studio a lot. So it seems like a perfect fit; we’re a big summer camp.
Q: As Sublime with Rome, you’ve been a band for seven years now. How long did it take you to feel comfortable in your role fronting the group?
A: I am, like, to the point now where I am comfortable. But I don’t know. I never really felt like I had much pressure from any of the guys. I was never worried about that.
My whole thing is I wanted to do it justice and wanted to do it right. I practiced a lot and the overall experience is everything. Over the years we’ve all fallen into a comfortable place of playing.
Q: Were you ever worried about how fans would react?
A: I never really worried about (how) the fans were going to react toward me. I got Bud and Eric talking again and wanting to put the band back together, and that’s kind of more important. I took that as a reassurance.
Q: And so then how have Sublime fans been to the group?
A: One thing I have noticed is that it’s like a cult lifestyle band. It’s like a road stop for everyone. People hit it on the way through their teenage years. You always stop at this one road stop called Sublime, and it stays with you the rest of your life.
They are very, very passionate about the music – very die-hard about it. When they get to meet and see us live and in person, you can see the connection of how much the music means to us and to them. It’s a circle that is happening.