When Sublime founder and songwriter Brad Nowell died in 1996, he left a lot of heartbreak in his wake. The uber-talented Nowell was a father, husband, son and beloved bandmate to bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh. Sublime was adored by fans who had fallen hard for the band's eminently tuneful blend of reggae, ska, jam and rock. It was inevitable that Lewis and Gaugh would desire to continue the work they'd started with Nowell, following his death at age 28 after a heroin overdose.
The two joined forces with guitarist/vocalist Rome Ramirez in 2009 and began touring, presenting new songs in setlists that leaned heavily toward Nowell-era material. The demand for Sublime music remains high, and the band has been successful, even if a large, Nowell-loyal group of naysayers has created an atmosphere of controversy around the group. That controversy was further stoked last year when Gaugh split from the band, citing a need to spend more time with his family, leaving Lewis as the sole remaining member. Since that time, revered drummer Josh Freese (A Perfect Circle) has been filling Gaugh's drum throne.
Sublime With Rome performs at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday as part of Artpark's Tuesdays in the Park concert series. To further sweeten the pot, Rochester's lovable Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad has been added to the bill. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 day of show (box office, Tickets.com).
-- Jeff Miers