Their sound can be heard everywhere from stoner college kids with acoustic guitars to packed venues featuring cover/tribute bands such as Badfish. So, how did this all happen? Especially considering that their biggest album to date was released just after the abrupt and untimely death of singer/guitar player Bradley Nowell. There's no doubt that their own legacy is a tough act to follow. Nowell was the heart of the band - though the music was versatile and raw, it was his words that inspired a whole new generation of dub-rocking youth. Bands such as Pepper, Slightly Stoopid, The Expendables and The Holdup can all credit Nowell and Sublime for their success; and probably a lot of their sound too. Without hits like "Date Rape", "What I've Got" and "Wrong Way" having ever being written, there would be no dub-rock scene in California. In 1993, my friends and I drove 5 hours to go see Sublime at the House of Blues in Los Angeles and it was an experience I'll never forget... the smoke-filled room was packed and you could tell something special was happening to music in the state. The grunge scene was dying and people wanted to get out of the rain and get into the sunshine. Since Nowell's death in 1996, the dub-rock throne has been left open in the CA music scene, even with Bud and Eric's Sublime offshoot bands Long Beach Dub Allstars and Shortbus trying to keep it going. This year the band announced they would begin touring as Sublime with Rome - a name forced upon them by the family of Nowell, who still retain the rights to the Sublime name. So who is this Rome guy? Where did he come from? A 22 year old, native of Fremont, California, it seems Rome just happened to be in the right place at the right time. But does he have what it takes to resurrect a legacy left behind 15 years ago? Only time can tell... I had a chance to catch up with Rome on a day off from tour to find out more about the band, tour and their future plans for an album.
Interview by Itay K.
Hey! What’s happening? Where are you guys at right now?
I'm in Florida, lovin' life. Chillin', man. Got a big bag of weed, just played a rockin' show last night. Good times, good times... We have back to back shows, so…
How's it feel for you to be put in front of this group, a group with such legendary status?
It's a lot of fun, man… a lot of fun. It feels good and I feel very lucky.
Do you feel pressure at all from fans that grew up listening to Bradley?
Not so much pressure; more of just anticipation. I just make sure that the guys are diggin' it, and I'm having fun. If the dudes are having fun, that's all that matters to me, man. We do this shit, you know, because we feel like we have to. Gotta play music, because we're musicians.
How did you get hooked up with Eric and Bud?
I met an engineer who introduced me to Eric, the bass player. After about a year, their general manager proposed the idea of putting the band together, and we went to go see Bud and we jammed and played our first show on October 24th last year at the Smoke Out Festival. Then we started to tour in April and we're hitting the studio in about two months to have an album out hopefully by summer and just tour...
Sweet. You say you’ll have a new album out soon?
Yeah, it should be out by summer. We don’t really have a title yet.
Have you guys started working on that already?
Oh yeah, totally. We're about four or five tracks into it right now.
Is this writing being done on the road, basically over the past year?
We’ve been in the recording studio too. We’ve done a couple of demos there.
What’s the writing process like for you guys?
It goes both ways. I’ll have an idea, and I’ll bring it to the guys and they’ll run it through the meat grinder - (passes a joint to a friend: Try this man, it’s some good ass shit considering we’re in Florida...) - or we’ll just jam something up on the spot. It’s either my freestyle, or improv type stuff or your typical writing, like, “Here’s what I came up with. Check it out”
I had a chance to check you guys out at Shoreline Amphitheater here in the Bay Area at BFD. That was a great show.
Yeah, that was lots of fun. There were a lot of good bands there. It was cool to actually be on that stage and play.