Rome was scared out of his mind the first time he played with Sublime, the legendary SoCal outfit that helped define an entire region’s musical vibe. He started touring with Sublime in 2009, and the band, renamed Sublime with Rome, released their first album in 2011. Now Rome is taking the charts all by himself, debuting with his solo EP “Dedication” last week.
He stopped by the What’s Trending Studios on Tuesday for a very special live performance and speaking about his musical roots and his feelings about playing with a band he idolized as a kid.
“I kind of had to go from playing acoustic shows, for these fine people,” he said to Shira Lazar, referring to the audience, “to being launched to 20,000 people over the course of two months. And then go on tour. It took a while to get use to.”
The son of a Mexican father and California mother, and he said that he never dreamed in a million years that he would be playing music with Sublime. Under their new moniker, the band mixes new material with classic Sublime tunes. “We are playing everything. We went into the studio and even wrote an album together. It’s like, we went so far into the dream of any kid who would ever want to be in his favorite band.”
He decided to make an album after being on the road for three years touring. He wanted to slow down, and playing with Sublime helped strengthen his confidence for a possible solo project. “I love writing music, it’s like all I do,” Rome told Shira. “I basically got off tour last summer with 311, and just went straight to the studio, and started working on songs for maybe my album. Eventually, it actually came to fruition.”
“It’s been a really great journey,” he said.
Watch Rome perform “Dedication,” at the 6:52 mark. The tune was the song he said shaped the entire project. “Once we wrote that song, it was kind of like, this is the tone. This is the direction of the project.” He follows this performance at the 10:09 mark with the song, “Ounce of Love.” The song sounds like it might be about someone, but it’s actually about a little green plant.
Audience members asked questions starting at the 14:17 mark. He answered some Qs about when his full album is dropping, how he felt about working with the Dirty Heads and how the collaborations with other artists happen.
And social media? "I'm so bad at it," he said laughing. He looks up to Rick Ross when it comes to social meda, and he loves following his Instagram, where Ross is known for constantly sharing incredibly expensive purchases.
NWA, Bob Marley and Biggie Smalls are some of his influences, and he also said that Motown was something he listened to as a kid. He shared that he starts a two month tour with Sublime soon, and rehearsal for the band starts in two days. It's an easy task. "I love music," he said. "If I could be in five bands, I would be in five bands. I ask the Dirty Heads everyday if I can join the band and they say no."
His final performance is "Hung Up," an emotional ballad but laid-back ballad that starts at the 19:51 mark. The song is about a girl he'd rather forget about. "Millions of girls all over the world, and I'm hung up on this one," he sings.