A spousal dinner argument not only resulted in a new single for Sublime with Rome — “Wicked Heart,” whose video is premiering exclusively below — but also a launchpad for the group’s 2019 album, Blessings.
Rome Ramirez tells Billboard that the trio had made a few trips to Sonic Ranch Studios in El Paso, Texas before “Wicked Heart” came along earlier this year, without much success. “It was my birthday in June, and me and my wife were out to dinner and got into this huge argument,” recalls Ramirez, who co-wrote the song with Blessings co-producer Andrew Goldstein. “We went into the studio after that and I came up with ‘Wicked Heart’ and that was the song that got everybody really excited. The guys in the band were really stoked. And when you get something special, everybody gets excited — management, label, PDs, everybody gets excited when you have a special song.
“And that’s what ‘Wicked Heart’ was — the jumpstart for us. After that we were album to put together the album really quickly. The music just started to flow from there. It was just the right spark to bring us back to the music.”
Ramirez and his wife are “all good,” by the way, and the proud parents of a son, who’s almost two years old.
The “Wicked Heart” video, meanwhile, depicts Ramirez in the midst of a police stop, handcuffed and singing as officers inspect his car trunk and discover illegal narcotics. “We wanted to keep the Sublime style but how a relationship can turn volatile real quick,” Ramirez explains. “Nothing says that like the cops searching for narcotics.”
Blessings, which was also co-produced by Rob Cavallo and features contributions from multi-instrumentalist Gabrial McNair (No Doubt, Gwen Stefani, Green Day), is finished and due out in June, according to Ramirez. “There’s, like, no filler on this,” Ramirez boasts of the album’s 10 tracks. “There’s still very much the integrity of the band but with a whole new purpose behind it.” Cavallo, meanwhile, helped the group hone its songs into tighter shape than ever, Ramirez reports.
“Rob is not so much technical in terms of compression and EQ; He’s there for the nurturing of the songs, and that’s why I think the songs are so strong,” Ramirez says. “He allowed me the headspace to get with my guys and pulled out the best of us. The way he and (Goldstein) know how to handle artists is insane.”
Sublime with Rome is planning to tour extensively in support of Blessings, which will also coincide with the 10th anniversary of Ramirez joining and jump-starting Sublime 13 years after the death of frontman Bradley Nowell (original bassist Eric Wilson remains in the current lineup). “It’s crazy,” Ramirez says. “It’s hard for any band to last 10 years, let alone a band with such a kind of fragile legacy attached to it.” But with a decade and a third Sublime with Rome album coming, Ramirez feels like the group has established itself as a continuation of the story.
“We’ve kind of whittled out all of the doubting naysayers so to speak, so now it’s like ‘OK, you know we exist as a band. You’ve either seen us and like us, or you don’t,'” Ramirez says. “The band is better than ever, as tight as we’ve ever been. We’ve come into our own entity, but obviously existing with such a rich legacy. It’s such an interesting place to be 10 years later, but it feels really good.”