Jakob Nowell, son of Sublime‘s late front-man Brad Nowell, has been making the media rounds lately by stopping by a few southern CA radio stations. He stopped by the World Famous KROQ for an interview discussing his band LAW, their musical influences, Sublime and his thoughts on Sublime with Rome…
At 21-years-old, Jakob Nowell has a new band of his own that he is talking up all around southern, CA with his group LAW. The group consists of Jakob Nowell on guitar/vocals, Logun Spellacy on bass, Nick Aguilar on drums and Aidan Palacios on lead guitar.
His group has some upcoming shows they’ll be performing with their summer plans filling up with live gigs. As we continue to get to know Jakob, one of the questions die-hard Sublime fans want to know is what he thinks of Rome Ramirez as the front-man of Sublime with Rome.
Discussing Sublime with Rome:
Since 2009, die-hard Sublime fans have been in an uproar over the continued use of the name Sublime in absence of it’s founder, guitarist/vocalist Brad Nowell. The name ‘Sublime’ made headlines when it was announced that surviving members, bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh would be headlining the 2009 Smoke-out Festival under the name with new singer, 20-year-old Rome Ramirez. The show took place, much to the dismay of the Nowell estate, and a little while after the event there was a settlement reached in court on the legal use of the name Sublime and the group was permitted to continue on with Rome Ramirez, but under the name Sublime with Rome. The Nowell estate would continue to receive an equal share of profits as if Brad Nowell was an active member in exchange for allowing the continued use of the name. In 2011, Bud Gaugh would leave the group shortly after the drop of their debut record, Yours Truly. Bud was replaced by renowned drummer, Josh Freese and under the new line-up, the group released their second album, Sirens, in 2015.
Here’s what Jakob Nowell had to say when asked by the World Famous KROQ his position on Sublime with Rome:
“I have no involvement with them. That was what Eric and Bud decided to do—and now Eric and Josh Freese and Rome — that’s their outfit. It’s obviously not the same Sublime and I don’t think that was the intent. They are all good musicians. They all just want to play and that’s their platform to play. I don’t think it’s wholly disrespectful but I choose to have no involvement in that project whatsoever. I remember this one time in high school; I must have been 14 or 15, and I’m at a friend’s house talking and another friend puts on this Sublime song and I think he’s being funny playing one of my dad’s songs and I look over and I see that it isn’t’ my dad singing the song, it’s Rome. It was just such a strange moment of disconnect. It was very emotional. I started to tear up and got real angry at him. That wasn’t fun to have to go through. The realization hit me that a whole generation won’t really know the difference.
Popular bands get new members all the time but my father was such an integral part of Sublime, that me and true fans and people who know that story separate Sublime With Rome from Sublime and I believe that Sublime With Rome separates themselves from Sublime enough to be respectful. I really can’t fault new fans for not knowing the difference. They’re great musicians and I believe they deserve to be doing something in some project and if it’s Sublime With Rome, then it’s Sublime With Rome, but I choose personally to have no involvement.”
It’s certainly an interesting perspective and one that we haven’t had a chance to hear until this interview. Sublime with Rome went from concept to creation 7 years ago which means Jakob was about 14-years-old when Sublime with Rome started playing. It’s absolutely fair and true to assume there will be a generation of surfaced fans who won’t know the difference between Sublime with Rome and original Sublime — I hear radio DJ’s all the time promoting the upcoming SUBLIME show, while conveniently leaving out With Rome in the promotion. On the other hand, because Sublime with Rome has toured the nation the last 7 years, it has translated into an increased demand for the brand, from music to merchandise. If you’re a casual fan of music that comes across a SwR song, then I doubt you’d care about the backstory to the name. But if you discover SwR having never heard of OG Sublime and you happen to love what you hear, then chances are you’re going to do the research and that’s a rabbit hole most fans never recover from. I jumped down the Sublime rabbit-hole 20 years ago and I forgot what life was like on the other side of that hole. But these days, you can’t fault parents for taking their kids to see Sublime with Rome as its usually a connection they’re wanting to share through music by experiencing it live.
Now that Jakob is of age, maybe we can see a more authentic representation of the Sublime sound with Jakob replacing his fathers presence. When asked about playing a full set of Sublime songs, Jakob shared: “Full disclosure, I’m very good friends with Eric Wilson’s son, Billy, so we’ll see if something will happen in regards to that.”
As for his own band, Jakob is looking to honor the sacrifices made before him in music by his father. When asked what makes his own band stand out in contrast to Sublime, Jakob acknowledged that: “Our music isn’t to promote any kind of weed smoking or partying — there’s no lyrics of surfing or skating. Although that’s all cool, we feel that that wasn’t the goal of what Sublime was doing. Although that may have been a big part of where they came from and their lifestyle, it’s not where we come from. They come from reggae, but we take from certain darker aspects of reggae if anything.”
Jakob continues, breaking down LAW’s sonic approach, explaining: “Ultimately, our style will be this analog; an old school-straight-forward attack that we’re hoping can get people excited that rock can exist… and it can exist in this new re-realized form by this new wave of youthful people who are pissed off and angry about the right things… the base formula that we stick with is what I believe my father created and what he really nailed. Genuine and no-nonsense is the note that we take most from that SoCal style.”
In addition to his stopping by the World Famous KROQ, Jakob was also interviewed by San Diego’s 91x Radio Station where he performed a couple of acoustic songs, including a cover of his Dad’s “Boss DJ” and an original of his own track titled “Labor”.
Catch LAW on tour this summer by viewing their upcoming dates below where they will share the stage with acts such as Fishbone, Hed PE, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Perro Bravo and more. Links can be found for his band, LAW, below.
Exclusive Sublime Blog
World Famous KROQ
Article By: Mike Patti
Photos By: David Norris
Watch: LAW – “Know You” [LIVE]