Sublime was a band I listened to extensively in middle school and high school, and Bradley Nowell was one of the first musicians that I can remember being bummed out about passing away. So when I was offered to interview Rome, Nowell’s replacement in Sublime, I was first a bit hesitant. But I figured, and this is all conjecture as I obviously never met Brad Nowell, that Brad would want Sublime to go on without him as long as it didn’t suck donkey balls. And well, Rome doesn’t suck donkey balls. In fact, the dude smoked out Ray Liotta. That’s pretty fucking cool.
What’s going, man?
A whole lot.
I was wondering what it’s like to be in a band with two guys who are almost twice your age.
It’s not that different because we all kind of listen to the same shit. People tell me that I’m an old soul, I kind of hang out with everyone, you know? I’m an old soul and the guys are young at heart. We make a pretty good team. Besides, you’re really only as old as the women you sleep with.
I really hope that you’re not underage.
No-no-no. I’m above 18, man.
Has that been a perk of being in a national touring act?
That’s just a perk of being a man. But it doesn’t hurt being in a good band, touring the world.
Before you were in Sublime With, er, You, what did you do?
Well, before I was doing all this shit, I was poor, just looking to do this. I worked at a Starbucks. I worked a string of just crappy jobs, but I could never hold down a job. I hated working for anyone else. I wasn’t doing much. I was homeless in a van, I was recording songs at a recording studio, and that’s where I ran into Eric. He was at the same studio, we became homies. Started jamming and after a while he asked me if I wanted to play in Sublime. “Fucking of course.” And now my life’s had a little bit more meaning again.
Is it weird to see “Sublime With Rome,” with your name separated out?
Not so much that it’s separated out, that doesn’t bother me so much, it’s just seeing my name, PERIOD. You know? Like, it’s not so much “Look at my name next to Sublime,” it’s more like “Look at my name, it’s on someone’s shirt.” How cool is that?
That would be pretty cool. Did you get a lot of shit for being named after a city?
Well, my real first name is Roman, but my best friend growing up, when I was in 2nd grade, he didn’t like my name so he started calling me Rome. Then the girls started calling me Romeo, then the “o” just fell off after a while and now it’s just Rome.
Yea, you don’t want to go by Romeo, that dude killed himself.
Yea, he was kind of a puss.
He was a TOTAL puss. But, then again, that’s what happens when you try to date someone who’s family hates you.
Yea, what are you going to do?
What have you found to be the most ridiculous merchandise with your name on it?
I saw some panties with my name right on the crotch. That’s pretty ridiculous, but it’s cool as fuck. It’s pretty out there. I never thought that I’d have my own panties.
I don’t think you’d ever thought that you’d say that line, either: “I never thought I’d have my own panties.”
No, I definitely didn’t. Especially in an interview.
What has been the biggest perk of making a living by being in a band?
Probably getting to jam music. I know it’s cheesy, but, end of the day, man, all the interviews, the press, the photo shoots, the video shoots, all the crazy, crazy, crazy hustle and bustle of music; the one time Eric and Bud and I get to play music together is that one hour, hour and a half on that stage. All that shit, all that music business shit just stops and that’s what matters. That’s all that matters for that short hour.
Got it. Have you gone big and bought a fancy car or a house or anything?
Yes, I’ve bought some shit. I just bought an Escalade. I’m pretty excited about that, it’s my first car.
That’s not a bad first car.
No, it’s cool. It’s all matte black, on 26” rims and shit. I dig it.
Have you thought about doing any ridiculous famous-person-shit like putting a Slip N’ Slide in your hallway?
Well, I smoked a joint with Ray Liotta a couple of times. He was staying at the same hotel that we were last year. We became buddies and he came up on my tour bus and I got him high, rolled him a couple of doobies. And then he showed up to our show, just by himself and was hanging out side stage. Then he was like “I’m gonna go to front of house now.” And went and hung with the front of house guys. He’s the coolest fucking dude you’ve ever met in your life. That’s my coolest celebrity story, I guess.
Huh. What are you passionate about besides music?
That’s it, man. When I’m home, I just go into the recording studio and start writing songs and producing music. I have a studio on my bus, so I can take the music on the road. That’s all I know how to do, man. I also play golf sometimes, maybe some basketball. But all my time really goes to music.
I suck so bad at golf. Frisbee golf, NOW we’re talking.
Well, I fucking suck at golf. That’s the whole joy of golf. It’s not to get good. You don’t get good at golf. Only douches get good at golf. You only play it because it’s a calm, leisurely sport that’s challenging.
So is bowling, but there’s pitchers of beer involved.
Well, there’s always pitchers of beer involved in any equation, you just have to bring them. (Starts coughing the worst cough ever.)
Dude, what are you doing?
Dude, guess. (coughs)
-Interview by Jonathan Yost