Rome (vocals, guitar): Eric Wilson (bass); Josh Freese (drums)
The wait is over! Sublime With Rome returns long at last with 'Sirens' (July 17, 2015, BMG Chrysalis), the effervescent follow up to the band's 2011 debut, 'Yours Truly.'
"We had more time, we know each other better now, and we're even better musicians," said Rome Ramirez, who was just 20-years-old when he embarked on this journey. Now 27, the singer, guitarist, and songwriter is truly flourishing.
With drummer Josh Freese (A Perfect Circle, Nine Inch Nails) now permanently installed behind the kit and Sublime bassist and co-founder Eric Wilson anchoring the group, Sublime With Rome are armed with an album that makes a real statement... their statement.
Co-produced by Rome and Paul Leary, who manned the boards for 'Yours Truly,' 'Sirens' is an expression of three musicians who truly get each other and who can communicate seamlessly through their instruments and while in their favorite habitat -- the stage!
The luxury of time had a huge impact on their approach to this all-important sophomore set, especially since the band went into the studio without any demos or songs ready to go! That might sound terrifying to some musicians, but Sublime With Rome were invigorated by the situation.
"We didn't have any songs in our pockets," the frontman said, confessing that while he liked the spontaneity, it also lit a fire under their collective ass. "We showed up to this big studio and we had nothing, so we had to make it grassroots. It felt refreshing to make things on the fly. It really came together with all of us in the room and we loved the result."
He furthered, "Everything was recorded live and together. It's a little tighter and edgier than 'Yours Truly.' We have a lot of influence from Eric and it definitely shows."
Wilson concurred, saying, "It was great to work with Paul again, and with Josh Freese on drums, our chemistry was excellent. We had a great time recording the album in a totally organic way. There was no stress, even though we came up with stuff the fly."
"It is a whole different feeling now," Ramirez admitted. "Josh is such a great guy and he is just as lighthearted, which is great on the road, since touring can be so serious and so tough. It has been more fun, really. It is a lot more relaxed, and that helps with everything. It's like that everywhere. Studio. Stage. Bus. Wherever we are. We've moved forward, musically and on stage. He brings a great element.
And while Ramirez pays the utmost respect to the original Sublime entity, since, as he admitted in the past, they were the first band that made him want to make, as opposed to just listen to, music, he knows Sublime With Rome are worthy of fan's undivided attention. "This summer, I want fans to say, 'I went to see Sublime With Rome and the new album is sick as fuck.' We can do that by continuing to make better and better records," he said.
'Sirens' is overflowing with standout songs, such as the mellow yet buzzed out title track, featuring Dirty Heads. "This was a song where the drums and synths and beat that I did were for Mickey Avalon and I liked it so much that I decided to keep it and save it for Sublime With Rome," Ramirez said. "I had a random idea and asked Jared [Watson] to hop on the track, even though it's not what they do! They are gangster and they can handle anything."
Then there's "Skankin'," which is a Fishbone song that Sublime used to cover in their own unique way back when. It was an unrecorded fan favorite that sounds like an old demo! "We're covering Sublime covering Fishbone!," Ramirez exclaimed.
An instant summer classic, the slow-burning and chill jam "House Party," with a groove that transports listeners within the first few notes, or "Been Losing Sleep," with it's instantly memorable reggae groove.
Ramirez even stated that he isn't so much interested in the endgame or results as much as he is interested in writing music that is honest. And it's Wilson who summed up how Sirens is such an important record for the band. "I'm able play music for the love of music, just like I did back then. I am so fortunate to still be able to do it," he said.
With Sirens, those missions are dually accomplished. The album is seamless and has flow. It plays out like the work of musicians who complete one another's sonic sentences.
Indeed, Sublime With Rome are making their definitive statement with 'Sirens.'