Rock band Sublime has a complicated past — something its fans are all too aware of.
A lot of old-school Sublime fans aren’t particularly psyched that the group has been reincarnated with Rome Ramirez as the frontman singing the late Bradley Nowell’s original lyrics.
I am not one of those people, especially since (get this) the first time I saw someone covering the Sublime cover of Toots & the Maytals’ “5446 That’s My Number” was at a Tucson bar during college — and it was Ramirez playing a solo acoustic set.
(Full disclosure: I have a tattoo of a Badfish smoking a joint on my calf.)
So yeah, I’m a fan. And so I obviously jumped at the opportunity to interview Ramirez and original Sublime bassist Eric Wilson when the band played Red Rocks recently.
Ramirez and Wilson came into the venue’s green room, down the ramp from Red Rocks’ massive stage, with a blunt in hand and ready to talk cannabis. Well, one of them was ready — Wilson could barely stand up, and apart from a few garbled words, he was relatively quiet through most of the interview. (He was nursing a hangover after eating a large dose of edibles the night before, he told us.)
So Producer Vince and I started out asking Ramirez about his own consumption preferences. He confidently told us that he prefers to smoke indica flower and eat sativa edibles — and that his ideal edibles dose is 50 milligrams of activated THC.
We asked Ramirez how he might introduce a rookie friend to cannabis — and Wilson chimed in with a mysterious comment about “using turkey basters,” which even left Ramirez laughing in confusion.
“I really do think that edibles are the future, because it really takes away the harmfulness of smoking, period, of having smoke in your lungs,” Ramirez said as he lifted the lit blunt to his mouth. “And it definitely eradicates the whole fucking ‘Reefer Madness’ bullshit that … is really dying out.”
Apart from being a staple of stoner culture for nearly 30 years, the band is so enthusiastic about America’s ever-spreading legalization that they launched a co-branded edible product with Denver-based cannabis company Dixie Elixirs and Edibles — the recreational Sublime with Rome Orange Dynamite bar.
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When asked how the Orange Dynamite bar came to be, Ramirez first explained that he wasn’t usually a fan of the citrus-chocolate combination — but when he tried a sample, he was sold on it.
(It’s worth noting since I am one of The Cannabist’s marijuana critics: I’m not typically a fan of fruit and chocolate mixed together either, but when I tried some of the bar with Ramirez I was pleasantly surprised. It’s good, dynamic flavor.)
After we wrapped the interview and ate some more of the band’s branded weed bar, we headed up to the stage to watch Sublime with Rome’s soundcheck. They opened with their classic cover of the Toyes’ “Smoke Two Joints” and then skipped between some newer material.
But the songs truly came to life, though, when Sublime with Rome took to the stage a few hours later that evening. As you might guess, it wasn’t my first Sublime concert.
Despite the naysayers’ criticism, Ramirez’s ever-familiar voice and energetic stage presence is a potent match to the band’s back catalogue, which includes one of my all-time favorite albums, “40oz to Freedom.” Lucky me, they played most of that record at Red Rocks that night — including “Badfish.”
Whether it was Wilson playing with the original lineup or Ramirez fronting this new incarnation, cannabis has always been a significant part of Sublime’s music and history — and that of the dub music culture that first inspired Nowell to put pen to paper, too.
I was taken by Ramirez’s ability to speak openly and articulately about cannabis, legalization, the medical marijuana movement and more without sounding rehearsed or coached — and while smoking a blunt, no less. He was also humble, acknowledging, “When it comes to phenos and percentages, you know, I can get a little lost. I won’t lie and tell you I’m that guy. But, you know, I’ve been consuming for, like I said, more than half my life.”
That’s expert enough for me.