The Past, Present, and the Future
By: Mr. Music • Cover Photo by Josh Lumsden • Gallery by Brady Cooling
Slightly Stoopid calls Ocean Beach, San Diego home. This is where some of the guys raise their kids and It’s where they attend Chargers games on weekends. It’s where they surf, hang out with friends, and make music when they’re not on the road.
San Diego is where the new album was recorded in their two story home studio, which now houses Stoopid Records offices. Not only is Ocean Beach the place where it all began, but the setting lends itself to the sounds of the beaches which are so delightfully captured in Slightly Stoopid’s music.
If you listen to their album, Top of the World, released in 2012, it is nearly impossible to not think of California the entire time and more specifically the beach. Take Serious Man for example, the intro to that song makes me think of laying out on the beach with a Corona. In fact, beaches are a natural fit for Slightly Stoopid, the guys just finished up Closer to the Sun in Puerto Morelos, Mexico from Dec. 15-19. Stoopid’s sound is ska punk rock in foundation with lendings of the Cali sound, which includes reggae. The transition to a more reggae based style of playing is apparent in the transition from the album Slightly $toopid to the surfer reggae samplings captured in The Longest Barrel Ride. But even then the rock elements remain. Every Slightly Stoopid record is thematically different and wholly unique, but there are a few key signature sounds that have carried over since their first release in 1996.
From a singer-songwriter perspective, the 2004 release of Live and Direct: Acoustic Roots was an album that stood to the raw stripped down talent of Kyle and Miles. The group would go on to round out a lineup that would solidify their sound.
Slightly Stoopid has both songwriting and instrumental skills. A lot of acts only really have one. Even some of the best musicians play in bands that simply lack adequate vocal talent.
“You need the lyrical element and you need the instrumental element. You need to have lyrics with some thought — that is deep and profound. If you’re talking to me about an experience I’ve had, I’m gonna listen,” drummer Ryan Moran (Rymo) told us recently.
Slightly Stoopid is a reggae band that also has a jammy feel to them, but they aren’t necessarily what you’d consider a jam band. Anyone who wants to place labels on this band at the end of the day is missing the point entirely.
I have been lucky enough to work with Slightly Stoopid for 10+ years and can say that they are some of the nicest, most down to earth, humble guys you could hope to encounter. In addition to writing great music, they are heavily invested in their hometown community and multiple charities. They maintain personal relationships with all of those around them and keep it very “family-style.” There’s never a dull moment on or off the stage! – Chris Scott, Manager, Slightly Stoopid
Luckily I got to catch Stoopid recently at their tour closer at the Norva. When the opening bass lines to the first instrumental track off the new album, “Dabbington,” hit the Norva the place was ready to get down. The horns from DeLa (sax) and Andy Geib (trombone) resonate with Kyle’s fat bass lines. The song was an easy transition to “False Rhythms.” Shortly thereafter the band launched into “Officer,” a live & studio staple of Stoopid for years since its release on Everything You Need. The band thrives on stage presence and crowd interaction. Some bands simply lack showmanship which can be a key element to live performances. Sure, it isn’t what all bands need, but in many instances it elevates the connectivity fans have. For longtime fans, it gets them even more excited and for those who walked into the venue not knowing what to expect, they feel welcomed to be a part of the party. The band worked in the old and the new sound on this night. On a tour like this the emphasis is often on the new album, but this was night two in Norfolk and the tour closer so everything was fair game. The band knew lots of fans had caught several nights of the run leading up to the Norva tour closer so they gave us not a one, or two, or even three song encore. They hit us with several strong ones, “Collie Man,” ”Couldn’t Get High,” “Closer to the Sun” and “Drink Pro”. I believe there was also a nice acoustic rendition of “Open Road” included at the end with just keys and guitar.
On stage, the relaxed vibes of their hometown resonates loud and clear through the monitors. Off the stage, they are no different. They are down to earth, kind, and funny guys. But they also have another side to them: a contemplative, pensive side.
Working with and photographing Slightly Stoopid is a pleasure, both professionally and personally. Each band member, their entire crew and management team are some of the best in the business. The relationship we have formed allows each of us to explore our true creative abilities. When you can work with fellow artists whose shared main goal is to always progress professionally and creatively, the results that are produced when working together can be exceptional. Slightly Stoopid is the real deal, and I am stoked to call them friends, on and off the stage – Josh Timmermans, Photographer, Noble Visions
1996 was a big year for Sublime. The band was on the cusp of more success than they would ever have predicted, but two months before the release of their third album Bradley Nowell died of an overdose. The album went on to literally shatter charts, but what was lost was one of the most influential musicians in the world, and at that time (and still today) folks are wishing he was around to grace us with more music. The members of Slightly Stoopid lost more than just a great musical influence, they lost a friend. Coping with the loss of a loved one is something we all have struggled with. In a nod to their roots, Slightly Stoopid recorded “The Prophet” on their newest album, Meanwhile… Back at the Lab. The song was originally written by Miles and Kyle when they were in the middle of high school. The track was also later released as part of a Sublime box set. Simply put, the track is one that connects both of these bands. Placing it on Meanwhile… Back at the Lab was a humble and noble nod to their roots almost two decades since the band’s inception. The band knows where they came from and always will. That is what keeps them grounded in their approach to music and people.
I enjoy this band the more I delve into their history and realize that they’re pushing themselves as musicians with every album and more importantly they are doing it on their own terms. Their advantage is their independence and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Other bands could take a lot of notes about how these guys conduct themselves both on and off the stage. Humble, normal guys, with a vision to create meaningful lyrics about their life experiences and write music that moves the listener. It isn’t for masses necessarily and they’re totally fine with that. Cheers to making music for the sake of music.
Nowadays with our own space and James Wisner, who is also our front of house engineer, it has enabled us a lot of creative freedom. So yeah, we kind of worked on it between tours and when we were feeling motivated, someone had good song ideas or there was just a good vibe we would get in there, have a couple of beers, eat dinner, and then play. Having the space just for us has been great because it’s less pressure. – Rymo, Drums, Slightly Stoopid
If you’re not familiar with Slightly Stoopid, you should check out this “Live at Bob Weir’s TRI Studios” DVD featuring many guests of the Stoopid family such as Don Carlos, Ivan & Ian Neville, and Karl Denson. Weir even sits in for “I Know You Rider” and “Ocean”.
What does 2016 hold for the band you might ask?
2016 will be an exciting year for the band, starting with some studio sessions in early 2016, followed by some festival shows in the spring and a summer tour to follow. We’re also hoping to get the band back to South America and Europe next year. Details will all be announced soon, stay tuned! – Chris Scott (Slightly Stoopid, Manager)