The members of Sublime With Rome — bassist Eric Wilson, singer/guitarist Rome Ramirez and drummer Carlos Verdugo — joined host Brian Hiatt in our SiriusXM studio for a recent episode of the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast, covering the entire career of the original band and its current incarnation.
In the conversation, they explained how Sublime’s music came alive again after the death of frontman Bradley Nowell, thanks to Ramirez, a Sublime super-fan who ended up as their new singer. To hear the entire episode, including untold tales of Nowell’s early days, press play below or download and subscribe on iTunes or Spotify.
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Ramirez grew up in the Bay Area, where he’d get in trouble, “stealing and fighting and just dumb shit that our other older peers are doing.” His parents would take every opportunity to have him spend time with his uncle in San Diego, he says, “and that’s when I heard Sublime for the first time. And I was like, ‘Dude, this is crazy-ass music.” I never heard any shit like this, because I really liked reggae music, and I really liked hip-hop, but I never heard it together before. So then I came back home and after that summer, I told my parents, ‘Yo, I want a guitar. I’m going to play these songs.” He immersed himself in Sublime’s music and the surrounding culture, going as far as to root for Long Beach’s basketball and football teams from afar.
Years later, after a few failed attempts to start a band, Ramirez decided to become an audio engineer, and ended up at a studio in Orange County. The owner happened to be friends with Wilson, and Ramirez slowly got to know him.
“Eric just always throws a dope-ass parties,” Ramirez explains, “and he’s like, ‘yo, start coming over these parties,’ you know? And then eventually, it was like, ‘why don’t you come jam?'” Ramirez’s Sublime fandom ran deep enough that he had learned not only their own catalog but songs by their influences. “Eric never plays Sublime when he’s jamming,” says Ramirez. “And a lot of people over at his house are like, ‘can we play ‘What I Got’?'” But I like all the same punk rock bands that he likes. Bad Brains, Circle Jerks.”
Soon after their first jams, WIlson invited him into the band. Sublime with Rome periodically included original drummer Bud Gaugh, who ultimately left because he “doesn’t travel well,” Wilson says.
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