Monday Motivation: Sublime With Rome


If you’re anything like me, you probably started the day by recognizing that the start of a new work week had indeed arrived and then immediately began shaking your fists at the sky in anger. Monday is rarely anyone’s favorite day, and from what I have seen firsthand it feels safe to say it’s the one day of the week some people outright hate. I guess to them the arrival of the work week symbolizes the end of their quote/unquote freedom, and as a result they head into the office/factory/restaurant/store with a negative outlook already on their mind. This leads to bad attitudes, which only makes the experience of being at work worse, and for some reason it also seems to make time slow to a crawl. We’re not about that life, and we hope this post can do the same you that the song contained within it did for us.

Not long ago I found myself foolishly asking an industry friend if young people today (I’m 27, so by ‘young people’ I mean teens just discovering music) are discovering and/or caring about Sublime the way I did growing up. I was a few years late to the Sublime party, but throughout my high school and college years there was a rarely a week that went by without seeing someone or something branded with the band’s now iconic 40 Oz To Freedom sun logo.  When I first heard “What I Got” I had chills, and though it took me a lot longer to fully appreciate the rest of their catalog I grew to love it deeply by the time I was old enough to legally consume alcohol, which – in a way – was oddly fitting.

Sublime were never really a stoner a band, per say, but every stoner I knew loved their music. They were never a bro band either, but every frat guy I knew had “What I Got” and “Smoke Two Joints” on their iPod. They may have only known those songs because they appeared in movies or videos games, but still – they liked it enough to support the band. Their girlfriends liked it too, though usually because it was the one song other than “No Diggity” from their boyfriend’s music collection they could actually dance to without resorting to moshing like the brutes they often believed their men to be. I also knew girls who liked them simply because they thought the music was good, which was true.  

All this happened long after frontman Bradley Nowell passed away, and at the time I believed the music to be so good it would stand the test of time regardless whether or not the band continued to make music. That had been the case all the years between Nowell’s death and the moment I discovered his music, so I assumed that would always be the case. Unfortunately, I did not foresee the age of streaming, or the overwhelming boom in music being released that would come with the rise of digital distribution. The music on those early Sublime records may have indeed stood the test of time, but the attention paid to those albums grows smaller with each passing year, and even though the band made a comeback with their new vocalist, Rome, the respect and authority given to the group has never again reached the heights experienced in the year’s immediately following Nowell’s passing.

I don’t know if young people today will ever be able to appreciate the way Bradley Nowell saw the world like me and my friends did over a decade ago, but they do have the opportunity to see and experience the band in a whole new way by enjoying their incredible new album, Sirens. Set for release July 17, Sirens finds Sublime pushing the boundaries of their signature reggae-influence rock in ways never before heard on record. It’s an intoxicating mix of everything they have done up to this point sprinkled with just enough modern influence and experimentation to keep even the most devoted fans on their toes throughout. The single, “Wherever You Go,” perfectly encapsulates all of this, with a familiar reggae structure that blossoms into something much bigger by the time the second verse begins. You know the song is well within the band’s wheelhouse, but there is something undeniably fresh under each and every note. Maybe it’s energy, or perhaps it’s just passion, but either way it’s utterly intoxicating in every way.

We were fortunate enough to experience Sirens in full just last week, and I immediately regretted ever questioning the band’s ability to mean as much to music fans today as they once did to me. I walked away feeling like a new fan all over again, which makes sense because this isn’t the same band that changed the California punk landscape in the early 1990s. This is a band for today, and they create music that allows the listener an escape from the hectic, cell phone controlled lives we all live, even if only for a little under an hour at a time. That’s why I chose Sublime with Rome for today’s Motivation Monday post, because the band has proven me and everyone else who ever wrote them off wrong in a way that neither pulls nor throws a single punch. Sirens is Sublime being themselves, and as they have proven countless times before that is the place where they create the kind of material that changes lives forever. This week, be your true self, and watch how it changes your everyday life.

James Shotwell is the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. He is also a professional entertainment critic, covering both film and music, as well as the co-founder of Antique Records. Feel free to tell him you love or hate the article above by connecting with him onTwitter. Bonus points if you introduce yourself by sharing your favorite Simpsons character.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.