Rome Ramirez is synonymous with the ska-rock band Sublime. That makes sense since the group records and tours as Sublime With Rome.
But Ramirez, who will appear Tuesday at the Note, isn’t just about Sublime, the band he grew up idolizing, while coming of age during the last decade in Southern California.
“I’ve always loved Sublime,” Ramirez said while calling from Montana. “They inspired me. I never wanted to pick up a guitar until I heard that album (Sublime’s 1996 eponymous release). Those ska and punk songs got me into older ska and punk bands and I learned a lot from that album….but I’m just not about Sublime. There’s another side to me.”
Ramirez’ solo EP, ‘Dedication,’ is an amalgam of reggae, rock and hip-hop. It’s full of laid-back tunes with rich harmonies and poignant lyrics.
“I felt good doing something that is a little different than what people might expect,” Ramirez said “It was fun. I needed to express myself and that’s what ‘Dedication’ is all about. The songs all come from my day-to-day existence. What I wrote is what I know. I didn’t stray from that. I didn’t want to get fancy. But I also didn’t want to sound like we do in Sublime With Rome. I wanted to go out in a new direction and really stretch myself. I went back to all of my influences from when I was a kid. Sublime had the biggest impact on me but I loved so many different kinds of music.”
Ramirez, 24, was weaned on Nirvana, N.W.A., Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley. “I tended to gravitate toward the best,” Ramirez said. “When you listen to those recording artists, it’s impossible to dispute how great they are.”
When Ramirez turned 11 he started writing songs on the guitar and focused on little else. “The guitar spoke to me,” Ramirez said. “That’s what mattered most. My grades started to go down when I focused so much on the guitar and music but it all worked out in the end. You look at my career and I guess you can say that I was doing the right thing.”
It’s worked out for Ramirez, whether he is on the road as a solo artist or jamming with Sublime With Rome, which also includes bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Josh Freese.
“It’s all been beyond my wildest dreams,” Ramirez said. “I couldn’t have imagined all of this as a kid. It blows me away when I think about it.”
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