Sublime is undergoing major member changes as Rome Ramirez announces plans to leave Sublime With Rome — just as original frontman Bradley Nowell’s son appears ready to step in.
It seems increasingly likely that Jakob Nowell will take up the mantle of his late father Bradley to become the new Sublime frontman. Shortly after Jakob performed for the first time with original Sublime members at a benefit show in Los Angeles, Rome Ramirez, the singer/guitarist who has essentially served as Sublime’s frontman for the touring outfit Sublime With Rome over the past 15 years, announced his departure.
On December 11, Jakob Nowell played with an iteration of the band at a benefit for Bad Brains leader H.R., alongside surviving Sublime members Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh (Gaugh left the band in 2011). Though they promised nothing exclusively Sublime-related beyond that benefit performance, things sounded promising: Billboard reported that “Jakob and his mother agreed with Wilson and Gaugh to relaunch Sublime, with Jakob at the helm, under the management of Kevin Zinger and Joe Escalante.”
But between Jakob Nowell’s plans with his own band, Jakob’s Castle, and Sublime With Rome’s upcoming New Zealand tour, it wasn’t likely for any new “Sublime With Jakob” content to surface, at least until 2025 once Sublime With Rome wraps up their tour.
Now that Rome has announced his departure at the end of 2024, it seems all but confirmed that Jakob Nowell will follow in his late father’s footsteps to become the new Sublime frontman. Will that be the last change to the Sublime members lineup for a while?
“The upcoming performances over the next year will allow us to reflect on countless incredible memories together!” writes Rome Ramirez on Instagram, promising that new solo music is on the way. “Singing and playing guitar for this iconic band has been a lifetime opportunity and just flat-out absolutely epic. Carrying on the Sublime legacy has been a trust I’ll forever cherish.”
Jakob Nowell was only a baby when his father died in 1996, but music has been forever prevalent in his life — he’s been performing and touring with his group, Jakob’s Castle, for over a decade.
Rome Ramirez has toured with Eric Wilson as Sublime With Rome since 2010, as the name is a legal compromise with Troy Dendekker Nowell (Bradley’s widow and Jakob’s mother) who sued the men to prevent them from touring under the name Sublime. Since the recent benefit performance with Jakob, Bud Gaugh had not performed with Wilson since his departure from the group in 2011.
Festival talent scouters are sufficiently interested in a potential Sublime relaunch, and buyers are already submitting offers to book them at festivals. As Rome departs from Sublime With Rome at the end of 2024 and focuses on his solo career, all eyes will be on Jakob Newell to lead Sublime through their next era.
“If the vibe’s there, the vibe’s there,” said Kevin Zinger of Regime Music Group in the lead-up to the group’s benefit performance on December 11. And it sounds like the vibe was there.
Jakob’s Castle will open for G Love & Special Sauce on their tour, which runs through the end of March 2024. Sublime With Rome heads off to tour New Zealand in February 2024.