Call it the ultimate fan’s dream. Rome Ramirez, just about to turn 22, grew up worshipping the band Sublime from his Fremont, Calif., home. He decorated his room with their posters, and when he picked up a guitar at age 11, the first song he learned to play was “Wrong Way.” Fate, luck and talent had their way with Ramirez, despite his leaving home at 14. He’s now the new lead singer of Sublime and about to headline KJEE’s Summer Round Up, stepping onstage with bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh, who are both twice his age.
The shoes he fills are those of lead singer Bradley Nowell, who died of a heroin overdose just as the band released its third album in 1996. A life was cut short, and the band’s success was, too. Their singles “Santeria,” “Wrong Way” and “What I Got” became hits, and the videos showed Gaugh and Wilson gamely doing their best, trying to incorporate Nowell’s ghost into the proceedings (sometimes, through computer graphics, literally).