SUBLIME WITH ROME | A CONVERSATION WITH ROME RAMIREZ
A Conversation with Rome Ramirez
May 9, 2023 by Traci Turner
If you attended BeachLife this weekend, you probably caught the amazing performance of Sublime with Rome. The guys played a stacked 26-song set, which is something rare at a headline show, let alone a festival. After playing through “40oz. to Freedom” in its entirety (home to the iconic “Smoke Two Joints” and “Date Rape”), plus fan favorites “Doin’ Time,” “What I Got,” and “Santeria,” the band will spend the summer touring with Slightly Stoopid, Atmosphere, and The Movement.
Sublime with Rome – the merging of bassist Eric Wilson of Sublime, and guitarist/singer Rome Ramirez – spawned in 2009 and has since released three studio albums. A full touring schedule for 2023 is ahead of them, but before he jetted off to BeachLife, Ramirez chatted with us about the tour and what’s on the horizon for the band.
Traci: Hey Rome! I know you are headed to California for the weekend, but you just got home from a historic venue didn’t you?
Rome: Yeah, we had a sold-out show at Red Rocks. We played out there with Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, and we did the album “40oz. to Freedom” from front to back, which was pretty monumental for us. It was definitely a very powerful weekend. Emotions ran high!
Traci: I looked at the set list and it was 26 songs! That’s a nice set!
Rome: It’s really cool. We’ve always wanted to be that band that has a two-hour set. We just never really, I guess, developed that because we have always been on the go. For this show, it required an immense amount of rehearsals and preparation and diving into the sound. Big shout out to our band, Gabrial McNair and LD on the Cut. They both really helped us out, and same thing with our drummer Joe. It takes a village. We feel really proud about that.
Traci: Do you still get nervous when you go out on stage?
Rome: Yes, totally. Not super bad anymore, but things like this, yeah, I was so nervous. But once you get on stage, it all dissipates. But I would honestly say, too, the nervousness is only around until you start doing it. Once we even hit rehearsals and just pedals to the metal, it was like there’s no time to be nervous because it’s sink or swim. So, I don’t know, I feel like that sort of frame of thinking can carry you a long way.
Traci: And muscle memory, I’m sure.
Rome: Yeah. Even after Red Rocks, we’re doing the same performance this weekend at BeachLife and it’s so nice to already have that in the muscle memory and knowing that we’ve accomplished this already, so we know that we can do this again even better.
Traci: I’m still so fascinated by your story and how you just up and moved to Los Angeles at the age of 18 to go do music, and then you quickly connect with Eric and you get to be in a band that was one of the bands that you love, and now… you’re still doing it and you’re living your dream. That’s just so amazing to me.
Rome: It blows my mind, too. Every day I wake up and I take inventory of just my room and everything, and I just look at how far I’ve come and how happy I choose to be and how hard we work and how hard our team works and just how incredibly lucky I am. Honestly, the work is just insane, and it never gets old to me. I’m constantly reminding myself how thankful I am and how amazing life has been.
Traci: I guess it’s good it doesn’t get old because you’re on tour until, like, September!
Rome: (laughing) Yeah, I don’t have a chance to. Not if I’m not on the road or in the studio, then I’m just with my kids. So, yeah, there’s always something to apply myself to, but that’s how I’ve always been since I was a kid. I’m very grateful that Sublime could be that.
Traci: Do you prefer studio over touring or are they kind of equal? Or when you are doing one are you ready for the other?
Rome: They all have their time and place. When you spend too much time in the studio, I feel like you lose track of reality and people and the connection. And then when you spend too much time on the road, you lose track of reality. It’s the same thing, I guess. But you do need that balance. I need that balance because I feel like one stone sharpens the other. For me, it’s a nice balance, and I definitely do like it.
Traci: When you’re on the road and you have a day off, do you have something you like to do in each city?
Rome: When I’m on the road and I’m not in a town where I have my friends and family and stuff, I like to go out into the heart of the downtown and just see what the city is about. I’ll look up, or me and one of the guys in the band will look up a nice restaurant, and we’ll go grab that at night. But during the day, because we’re always so crammed up each other’s butts anyways, when we have days off, you’ll catch me just literally walking around downtown, just checking out a pawn shop or any used guitars or something. I like to explore the cultures of all the different cities and states in the US. Because this country is so big, and it’s a beautiful country, there’s a lot to dive in when you go and meet these people.
Traci: For this summer tour, you’ve got Slightly Stoopid, Atmosphere, and The Movement. Have you toured with those guys before?
Rome: None of them, which is really rad because the fans have been asking for a Slightly Stoopid and Sublime show for such a long time and it’s never worked out, and finally we were able to make it happen.
Traci: So will there be some crossover on sets?
Rome: Oh, heck yeah. We’re even talking about putting out the music together.
Traci: Oh, sweet!
Rome: Yeah, I worked on a song and sent it over to them. I think they’re into it. So we were talking about getting in the studio and then locking it in, which is cool because then we can perform it live. I love that. That’s my favorite thing in the world; when you’re on tour and your musician peer friends are also out on the road and you cross paths. Getting them to come up on stage with random guest features and stuff. It reminds me of old school, like Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, where it was just so carefree. Music was less pretentious and there was less ego on competition and it just felt just so communal.
Traci: As for new music, what about with Sublime with Rome? I know “Blessings” was 2019, so is there something on the horizon for you guys?
Rome: Oh, yeah, I just left Texas where we recorded about 15 songs out there and probably like 10 or 12 of them are really good, so I’m excited about that. We got new stuff coming! I’m expecting a new single drop probably by summer. It’d be nice to get it out so we can play it live and kind of gauge the fan reaction and stuff, but it’s awesome. It’s a little bit of a different turn from “Blessings,” and we just wanted to go a little more nostalgic. Even the way we recorded it was all really analog and all the songs were written before we went out to the studio, and it feels a little more like old school to me.
Traci: Plus you have your other projects too?
Rome: Yea, my other band, Rome & Duddy with the Dirty Heads singer, Dustin Bushnell [Duddy B]. We’re like a country, reggae fusion project and it’s been going awesome for us. We’re going to be putting together a tour coming out West Coast in the fall.
Traci: You get all your flavors of music out, don’t you?
Rome: Yeah, man, I love it! I got the opportunity of a lifetime, to be able to make music and people listen and I feel like if you just have fun and do it with integrity, it’ll translate as a music fan.
I’d say it certainly does translate since Sublime with Rome continues to sell out venues year after year. With that in mind, as they travel the US this summer, don’t sleep on getting your tickets and risk being left out of the party. For SoCal locals, you can see Sublime with Rome on July 16th in San Diego at Petco Park. You can also see them if you are making the trek north to California Roots Festival 2023 May 26th – 28th in Monterey.
Thanks to Rome for being awesome as always and we look forward to seeing Sublime with Rome again soon!