Written by Corey Irwin
The lights come up as you take the stage. Thousands of fans begin to roar. You look behind you and see your favorite band – The Beatles, Nirvana, The Stones, doesn’t matter who. You take a deep breath, grab the mic, and prepare to rock…
This is a fantasy many of us had growing up as we sang into our mirrors, using a hair comb for a microphone. For most people, these rock star aspirations were abandoned many years ago. Reality set in as we decided to “grow up” and “get real jobs”. Still, a select few get to live the life we can only dream about. One such man is Rome Ramirez.
“It got me into music, changed the way I dressed, changed the way I talked, everything”, says Rome, reflecting on the first time he heard the seminal So-Cal band Sublime. It was during his summer vacation in 4th grade, and, at the recommendation of his uncle, Rome listened to the band’s self-titled album. “I wanted to be a musician”, he says with conviction. “At that point, my grades just bombed for the rest of my school career. I just focused on playing and getting better and better.” His self-training on guitar focused on covers – Hendrix, Minor Threat, Green Day, and, of course, Sublime. Still, no amount of bedroom rehearsing or house party sing-alongs could prepare him for what fate had in store.
Bradley Nowell, lead singer for Sublime, tragically died of a heroin overdose on May 25, 1996. It was 2 months before their self-titled album came out – the same album that would later inspire Rome Ramirez to pursue a life in music. Sublime broke up and, given the circumstances, it appeared to be for good. Then, in 2009, original band members Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh decided it may be time for Sublime to make a return. They’d need a singer, someone who could handle both the on-stage demands and the inevitable criticism that would come from hardcore Sublime traditionalists, loyal to the original lineup. One name came to mind, a 20 year old singer-songwriter who’d befriended the musicians several months earlier – Rome Ramirez.
“When it was offered to me, I had to go outside and smoke a cigarette”, Rome confesses. “I was scared, but then I was just like, this is it. This is maybe not what you expected, but this is that rainbow with the pot of gold at the end of it.” Things moved swiftly from there as the newly dubbed Sublime With Rome spent 2010 touring all over the world and released a brand new album called Yours Truly in 2011.
That alone would make for a pretty impressive story, but, of course, Rome has even more in store. “There’s stuff, lyrics I sang when I was like 15 years-old, that just happen to make so much sense today”, Rome says of his solo work. His 4 song, debut EP came out this summer and the title track Dedication got national radio attention, including spins on influential Los Angeles alt-rock station KROQ. This fall he heads out on a nationwide solo tour, with three dates in Southern California starting the trek.
Even as his popularity continues to grow, Rome has been able to keep everything in perspective. “I wish that all people could have an opportunity like (this)”, he says of his growing success. “Maybe not the same exact thing, but something as great and as meaningful because I think it would make everybody just a little bit better.” From childhood dreams to center stage; a rock star ready for his moment in the spotlight.
Rome performing 11/2 in Solana Beach, 11/3 in Hermosa Beach and 11/4 in Santa Ana. Tickets on sale now. For more details go to www.Romemusica.com