Sublime With Rome Frontman Reflects on 2011, Looks Ahead to 2012
Fueled by Ramen
It was 2009 when the then 20-year-old singer/guitarist walked into a Costa Mesa, Calif. recording studio and wound up jamming with drummer Bud Gaugh and bassist Eric Wilson, both original members of Sublime. The union was so powerful that Gaugh and Wilson would soon embrace Ramirez as a part of their continuing musical legacy under the new name of Sublime With Rome.
The storybook tale of the singer/guitarist from Northern California just continues to get more interesting, or "more magical" as he put it one recent day while reclining poolside, dreaming out loud about his charmed musical journey. 'Yours Truly,' Sublime With Rome's 2011 debut album, features one huge hook after the other, and has found success with a cross-blend of audiences throughout the world.
Kicking back after a visit to the gym and staring up at the sun through big dark shades, Ramirez's grin could not have been wider as he reflected on the last year.
Pretty good year, huh?
Intense. Incredible. Inspiring. Most incredible year of my life. I never saw the movie, but I hear it's kind of like 'Rock Star.' It's that kind of story.
It's like you got plucked and placed in another world.
It really is. Every day I think about it. What it takes to be here and survive in this league. This side of the fence is kind of weird, you know? Being with all these God-gifted individuals is kind of crazy. You start to think that the whole world is just made op of these brilliant, talented people. It starts to change your mentality a little bit. Your lifestyle changes. But the thing that makes you what you are – what got you here – that can never change. You've to protect and hold on to that. You've got to stay grounded and remember what your parents taught you.
You've been working with the famed songwriter Diane Warren most recently. How's that been?
Man! She is one of the most successful, energetic people I have ever met in my life. I mean, she has sold more records than like anybody, right? And I have met so-called successful songwriters before. Some of them have a little attitude, want to let you know how great they are and all. But Diane? She's sold more than all of them combined and she's the most humble, sweetest, most amazing woman. I mean, I like to write my own stuff. But when an artist like Diane Warren says she'll write a song for you, I say bring it on! For me this year is all about bringing it to the next level and so I am thrilled and honored that she has any interest in me at all.
And then there is Sublime.
[Laughing] There is always Sublime. I mean, I'm still their biggest fan. I will go toe to toe with any Sublime fan and outdo them. They are my band, so to be with them like this will always be kind of weird for me. I mean, I just came down to Orange County to hang with my girlfriend. We end up hanging out over at 17th Street Studios. I get to jamming with those guys – a totally organic but Hollywood-like kind of thing. Just amazing. Like a higher power got involved or something. And I meet the Dirty Heads same basic time as I meet Sublime. And they became a big part of my life, too. We do 'Lay Me Down' and it just blows up, so I got to tour with them and learn touring from them, all the ropes. So when Sublime was ready to hit the road I was in shape – I knew what to do. I skipped a lot of the usual phases bands go through. It was like, tour with Dirty Heads, tour with Sublime, BOOM. We're off. This is my life now. I'm still trying to deal with it all, a couple of years after it happened – very weird. But very cool.
What did you listen to last year – what inspired you?
Always listening to the Black Keys. They inspire me. They're the real deal. Also, Skrillex is awesome – he's a mad dog. And always – always – 'Motown's Greatest Hits.' I'm the biggest Berry Gordy fan in the world. I've read every book about him. I know everything that man has done. A genius.
And so now you start to deal with the upcoming year.
Big year coming. Big. I can't wait to drop the first solo single. Then get the album out. Lots of great players on there. People won't believe this thing. Trust me. Then Sublime with Rome heads to Australia in April. A bunch more shows with them. And more. And more. It's gonna be crazy. I will easily be the busiest man on earth in the year 2012 [laughs].
Life is funny sometimes, huh?
Dude – I signed my two record deals on top of a garbage can in a parking lot. You cannot make this stuff up. My life is a blessing right now. Are there people that are better singers then me? Sure. Better guitar players? Of course. But something happened with me and I am very lucky. But it will never change who I am. Tell you what – I still live in a townhouse with my best friend – I'm still who I am. Okay, I like nice cars and all, but that's my luxury. Cars. I'm still just Rome, man. That's me. A kid having fun. I'll be relay busy with Sublime, with my solo things and all, but I'll tell you what – I can handle it- those are good problems to have – being busy with what you love. Bring it on.
Sublime With Rome's debut album, 'Yours Truly,' is available now.