Sublime is a ska punk band known far and wide throughout several generations. Founded in 1988, Sublime consisted of three members: Bradley Nowell on vocals and guitar, Eric Wilson on bass, and Bud Gaugh on drums.
With the unfortunate passing of Bradley in 1996, the band broke up, and two months after his death they released their self-titled album featuring their #1 song “What I Got.” In 2009, the surviving members attempted to bring on Rome Ramirez, a devout Sublime fan, as the new vocalist and guitarist.
After they performed under the Sublime name at the Cypress Hill Smoke Out Festival, an L.A. judge banned the group from performing under the same name owned by the Nelson estate. The group changed its name to Sublime with Rome and has continued to release albums.
Roots of Sublime
Wilson and Gaugh were childhood friends who shared an interest in punk rock, forming a band in high school known as The Juice Bros. Around the same time, they met Nowell and were introduced to reggae and ska. This would be one of the first defining moments for the sound we attribute to Sublime.
In their early years, they had to be resourceful and creative. From creating Skunk Records to trespassing for a late-night studio recording in late 1990, their persistence cemented their presence in California. Two years later they released their first official album 40oz to Freedom featuring the song “Date Rape.”
The sound of Sublime with Rome demands a lineup that both mirrors and amplifies the mood. The Irie was the first act of the night. Checking the box for dreamy reggae peppered with alternative tones, the night started off on the right note. Preceding the main act for the night was Bone Thugs-n-Harmony (who played elsewhere in Colorado not long ago). The group that’s been around since the mid-’90s was a palate cleanser from what came next. The transition from reggae to rap was jarring, and they brought the heat to the stage.
It was finally time for Sublime with Rome, and they fried Red Rocks. Artists typically play bits and pieces from all their albums to give you a taste of who they’ve become. On April 28th, the boys performed the entire 40oz. to Freedom album front to back. While the band may not be comprised of all original members, Eric carried the torch for them. They gave an incredible performance for one of the most well-known albums in the band’s discography.
Finally the Finale
Sublime with Rome is not the same Sublime we used to know, but the energy and passion for their music never left. Their continued work has garnered a large following leading into the sold-out show at Red Rocks. The unbelievable performance matched the venue and even the night’s weather.
There’s still more than enough time this year to catch Sublime with Rome on tour. They’re scheduled to keep vibing until early October.
Photos by Mike Rampi