Tim Castaneda Interviews Rome Ramirez of Sublime With Rome
For being so young you have such a large amount of musical talent in which you can do almost anything from composing to singing to playing, where did it all start out musically for you and what kind of formal training do you have (if any)?
"It all started off with guitar, I started playing guitar when I was about 11 then I got really into playing other instruments too like bass, keys, drums and everything."As far as training goes I took one guitar lesson the first year that I played guitar and I fucking hated it man. It was like music was the one thing that I could do when I wanted, how I wanted, where I wanted, if I wanted and I felt very at peace every time I played music so I really just tried to do it my own way and learn off other people by example. It all started off with guitar, I started playing guitar when I was about 11 then I got really into playing other instruments too like bass, keys, drums and everything. After that I wanted to start to recording music but I never realized how expensive it was to go to a studio so I bought a little make-shift rig and I just started to teach myself how to record music and before I knew it I started getting really good at it. The next thing I wanted to do was to go to school to learn how to record music professionally so I enrolled at this college, Musicians Institute (MI), that was supposed to teach you how to audio engineer or whatever. When I got there I realized I was light years more advanced than the instructors and I immediately asked for my money back. From then on I’ve just really done everything on my own and took things into my own hands.
How did this new venture with Eric and Bud come about, did you approach them or did they approach you?
I had been introduced to Eric and we kind of became homies and would smoke together at the studio and shit and then we would jam. Next, we started to exchange some music, I would give him a track of mine and I would record a guitar solo on a track of his and stuff like that. Eventually we started to hang out more, you know we started going to house parties and get drunk or whatever and we would be like, “Yo dude you want to play a Sublime song?” “Sure man, fuck yea!” So we just kind of stuck with that and just kept at it and after awhile Eric and our manager now pretty much thought of this whole thing and asked me if I wanted to play in Sublime and of course I said, “hell yeah!” Next we went to go see Bud and jam out with him and everything was rad, it sounded like we had been jamming for years together and really everything just started coming together from there.
Growing up what kind of influence did Sublime have on you and did you ever in your life imagine that you would be playing as the front man for such a big band?
Well yes and no, Sublime was the first band that I ever loved, you know the first artist that I was just obsessed with and wanted to make “my band”. They got me into picking up playing instruments and playing music because once I heard them I felt like I needed to learn how to play their music. They were the band that really got me into doing music but I never ever thought I would be in that band, I mean hell no not ever. I always thought that I would be in a big band of my own one day but never thought I would be in Sublime, I mean it’s still kind of weird haha.
You have been known to hang around at 17th street recording studio where you met and have done collaborations with Eric for your RAWsessions and The Dirty Heads, are there any other bands you got the honor of jamming out with?
I did a bunch of songs personally over there that never got released but the only bands that were there while I was working at that studio was primarily The Dirty Heads, this other band that was signed to the studio and me. When I worked there the studio was owned by our current management so it was a private recording studio allowed to its artist and then when they let go of him and the studio was turned in to an open studio so that’s why there was such a limited amount of bands but it didn’t matter to me because I was just down to work with the DH.
How did you feel being the headliner of last year’s tour with your friends The Dirty Heads, a band that you’ve looked up to?
It was fucking amazing, having those guys on the road was some of the best times of my damn life and it was so amazing. I love those guys to death and touring with The Dirty Heads is a tour that I would like to go on for every tour but I understand they got to do their thing. I mean they’re blowing up right now; they’re definitely doing their thing for sure right now.
What was it like to make that huge leap of playing small shows to all of sudden playing for jam packed amphitheatres and stadiums? (was there anything special you did to help calm your nerves?)
I was totally nervous at first and it’s something you got to work into. At first I was playing to these big crowds and I was frightened and scared, you know all the fans out there and the lights shining on you, but after awhile once you start taking everything in you really just start getting used to it. To be honest with you, I’m up on stage more than I am at home in my own bed and that’s the truth. In a weird way that stage is my home so I’ve kind of adapted that personality to where I tell myself that this is my stage and my fans so I should take control of it.
How is this year’s Unity Tour going with 311?
It has been going amazing so far and we’ve been having a great time being on the road with those guys. The other day I got so fucking high and I was checking out 311 and those guys were just killing on their jam, those guys could just jam for hours and it was so rad I mean it’s just totally cool jam music. I suggest to everybody who hasn’t experienced them to come out and check out a show this summer, you won’t regret it.
Sublime with Rome is having the honor of playing on the 311 Pow Wow Festival that just has a killer line-up, which band are you most excited to see?
Yeah I’m excited that we get to play with The Dirty Heads again, haha I’m just excited that I get to see my boys. I mean there i