Sublime has been lamented ever since frontman Bradley Nowell died in May 1996, effectively ending the band. But drummer Bud Gaugh is not surprised at the warm response to Sublime With Rome, a new incarnation of the band featuring Gaugh, bassist Eric Wilson and new singer-guitarist Rome Ramirez.
“Rome has got a great personality and a good vibe and he’s really humble and a real fun person to be around — and a great musician,” says Gaugh, 42, who played Sublime music with the Long Beach Dub All Stars after Nowell’s passing. “There are a lot of similarities with (Nowell) — the way he holds himself on stage, the way he sings into the microphone, a lot of physical similarities. And the way his voice sounds.
“But (Ramirez) has got his own sound, too. He does some things with his voice that Brad didn’t do, but a lot of his voice sounds very similar to Brad’s early voice. When Sublime first started Brad wasn’t smoking cigarettes or doing heavy drinking or anything like that, so he had a sweet voice, and the gravel kind of came later. I expect after we do a couple of 30-day runs there’ll be a little more gravel in Rome’s voice, too.”
Sublime With Rome did face a legal stumbling block, however. After playing some early shows simply as Sublime, Nowell’s family and estate sued and was granted an injunction. But all parties agreed to the Sublime with Rome moniker, with no hard feelings according to Gaugh.
“It was never really an issue of ‘You can’t’ or ‘We won’t let you’ or ‘We’re gonna, no matter what you say,’ ” he explains. “It was more, ‘How is this gonna be done? How are we gonna put it together respectfully and ... represent the old and the new.”
Sublime With Rome is playing new material on the road, and Gaugh says the group will keep writing and plans to record later this year.
Sublime with Rome, the Dirty Heads, Paper Tongues, Neon Trees and Civil Twilight perform at the 89X Birthday Bash on Saturday, July 17, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $45, $35 and $30. Call 313-961-5451 or visit www.livenation.com.
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