Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the music industry has come to a screeching halt. We’ve seen the closure of some of our favorite venues, small bars to large festivals like Coachella. It didn’t stop there, we saw the cancellation of tours all over the world.
The ripple effect has left many unemployed, from the valet to the bartender, the lead singer to the manager’s assistant. Many are left wondering what the future holds as it’s becoming clear that live music as we knew it may not return until 2021. Historic and legendary venues like The Troubador in Los Angeles, are also in danger of never opening its doors again.
With such uncertainty lurking for so many, the Recording Academy has teamed up with its affiliated charitable foundation MusiCares and created the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. It’s raised nearly $14 million to aid thousands of industry workers who have been impacted by the virus. Through these efforts they’ve been able to approve approximately 20,000 individuals who will receive financial assistance.
To celebrate the kick-off of Memorial Day weekend, and to continue raising money to aid those in the industry, MusiCares has joined forces with Sublime with Rome.
Collectively they will join camps to bring an virtual concert experience that is guaranteed to entertain us all.
On the heels of the release of their new album “Blessings” last year, and amidst the cancellation of shows this year, I sat down with Rome to catch up.
We chatted about quarantine life and their participation in this weekend’s MusiCares live stream party. Check out our chat!
Jenni: Congratulations on the success of “Blessings” that you released last year! I feel really grateful to have caught your set at the One Love Festival in Long Beach, in February. Little did we know that it was going to be one of the last festivals of the year. How has quarantine life has been treating you?
Rome: So far, it’s been awesome. Just focusing on home; spending time with my family. And, really, just trying to make the most of it. There’s not much going on as far as traveling or playing shows or anything like that. Even just as a family, traveling, and stuff. So, we’ve been making the most of it and trying to stay off the screens. Just hanging out, ya know.
Jenni: Have you been working on any new music?
Rome: I’ve been working on some new tunes. Me and the guys have been kind of remotely sending each other stuff back and forth. Our creativeness really comes unhinged when we’re together. That’s our sweet spot… so this is like kind of a cool way to prep for when we’re together again in the studio.
Jenni: I’m really excited to catch your little Backyard Barbecue performance with the MusiCares live stream on Saturday, how did it all come together?
Rome: Thank you! We’re really stoked about it. That’s something that came together really organically. We wanted to get together to start working on some of this new music, so we started thinking we should stream this. We should donate all the proceeds to like charity… it really started to snowball. We’re really excited about Saturday, we think it’ll be really awesome.
Jenni: Where are you guys going to be performing?
Rome: At Eric’s house (Eric Wilson, bassist).
Jenni: Oh, excellent! And is this the first time you guys have all been together?
Rome: Since the quarantine, yeah. Absolutely.
Jenni: Oh, that’s going to be amazing. So I have to ask what’s your favorite thing to barbecue?
Rome: Personally, probably pork shoulder. Yeah, it’s nice on the barbeque.
Jenni: Oh nice, can you give us a little peek into what fans can look forward to on Saturday?
Rome: Honestly, a really good time and just good vibes. Like everybody just really enjoying themselves and celebrating in the name of music. You know it’s going to be real friends that haven’t seen each other in a long time. Getting buzzed and playing music. That’s kinda the whole point of it.
Jenni: MusiCares and this live stream are to benefit a lot of venues, and all the people involved in putting together shows since so many people are out of work. Are any of your favorite venues in jeopardy of closing down?
Rome: Yeah, Slims up in the Bay Area. I grew up checking out shows there. I think is closed down now.
Jenni: Oh, wow. I know we’re looking at possibly losing the Troubadour and Hotel Cafe here.
Rome: Really? I didn’t hear about any of that… that’s crazy.
Jenni: Yeah, I know it’s really unfortunate what’s happening. We really appreciate you working with MusiCares to bring this to everyone’s attention because I know we all struggle with it. We all have our issues, but there’s a big part of society that’s being affected. I know we all struggle with it, and we all have our issues, but there’s a big part of society that’s being affected by these closures. It’s just amazing that you guys can come together and do this and help each other out.
Rome: Thank you, I appreciate that. I mean, that was the big deciding factor for me. You know… we were going to get together to start working on new material anyway. Then we were presented the idea of live streaming. It was only under the pretense that we would be able to donate the money. Because, like you said, no matter where you turn on the news or however you digest your news, you’re getting hit from all sides and different angles… different sides of the story, and whatever. But one thing is fact. People are suffering from the close down from their businesses being shut down for a long time. I think about that. There are people hurting. Period. Regardless, that’s just something I think we should focus on. If we’re in the position to be able to help people with our talents, I think it’s our obligation as musicians.
Jenni: I’ve personally been loving these live streams. It brings in that element that’s missing. It’s not quite the same, but it’s definitely been helping. I can see how you’re going to bring so much joy to people, and seeing more money being raised to help everyone is going to be phenomenal. I really appreciate that, and I’m sure everyone in the industry does as well.
Rome: We are definitely very grateful.
Jenni: Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate your time, and I hope you guys have a great time on Saturday.
Rome: Thank you Jenni.
SUBLIME with ROME
Catch Sublime with Rome Saturday, May 23rd at 3pm (Pacific) All profits to benefit MusicCares Relief Fund.
The event will stream live on nugs.tv and all profits will benefit the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.