Release Date: Jul 17, 2015
Record label: Vagrant
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Third Wave Ska Revival
Originally formed by Sublime members Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh, along with singer/songwriter Rome Ramirez, Sublime with Rome have lost Gaugh, who has been replaced by Vandals, Devo, and even Guns N' Roses drummer Josh Freese. So why not Sublime with Rome & Josh? Actually, reviving the Long Beach All-Stars name from Wilson's post-Sublime career would be a better idea, as the free-flowing membership is more like a "project" than a band. All that said, there's certainly a band "feel" on this second Sublime with Rome effort.
Sublime's charismatic frontman, Brad Nowell, died just months before their 1996 major-label debut became a smash hit. The surviving members of the SoCal crew re-formed a few years back with new guy Rome Ramirez in Nowell's place, but bassist Eric Wilson is the only original member left on the group's latest LP, which stirs up the same hey-whatever mix of reggae, hip-hop and punk that made Sublime shirtless charmers 20 years ago. Ramirez sings about peace, love and his dick with a smooth versatility that matches the buoyant music.
When is a Sublime not a Sublime? That question echoed throughout our country’s frat houses and pot dens as early as 2009, when news broke that original Sublime bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh had teamed up with singer-guitarist Rome Ramirez to resurrect their former band. Fans’ opinions on this reunion ranged from “chill” to “decidedly not chill.” Those in the latter group were adamant that Sublime died the morning Bradley Nowell fatally overdosed on heroin in 1996, and it’s hard to blame them. A Sublime without its founder and principal songwriter is like a Nirvana without Kurt Cobain: a pale imitation at best, and a disrespectful cash grab at worst.