What’s it going to be? Rome? Rome Ramirez? Rome Without Sublime? The latter-day singer for the So-Cal ska-punk veterans just released his solo debut, the “Dedication” EP, but what to call his new band?
“How about just The Incredibly Handsome Rome,” Ramirez jokes. “[People will think] ‘We need to check out this incredibly handsome boy!’”
He laughs before continuing more seriously.
“I have my best friends that I’ve grown up with playing music on stage with me in the band,” he says of his solo project, which will likely be named Rome. “It’s awesome: Now I get the chance to pass the torch down to my friends. It’s the most beautiful gift to be able to offer someone an opportunity.”
He should know, because that’s what Sublime did for him.
“They took me around the world, introduced me to amazing people and showed me great things,” he says. “I had all this built-up inspiration.”
Ramirez will follow with a full-length record, but for now, he and Sublime co-founder, bassist Eric Wilson, are concentrating on promoting last year’s Sublime with Rome debut album, “Yours Truly.”
Sublime’s original drummer, Bud Gaugh, opted out after recording the album; Josh Freese (who has played with everyone from Guns N’ Roses to Devo) is behind the kit for now.
“Sublime will always be my main priority,” adds Ramirez. “I’ll do my album around that. I don’t want to rush this; it will be how I want it, when I want it. Time is on my side.”
Rome won’t roam too far this summer
Rome’s solo songs speak to the same sunny So-Cal grooves as Sublime’s, so it’s no wonder he fit easily into much-loved frontman Bradley Nowell’s shoes. (Nowell died from a heroin overdose in 1996.) But the summer tour is all about Sublime: “I’d love for fans to love my music as much as they love Sublime’s, but I do really want to keep the difference between [them] when the fans come out to see Sublime. I really do want to keep it separate and draw a line.”