While it’s a rare commodity for a band to tour as consistently as Slightly Stoopid, the group’s diligent commitment to live music provides some insight into their loyal fan base and unique creative metamorphosis throughout their 17-year existence. Though it’s been a couple of years since the release of their last studio album, Top Of The World (August 14, 2012), the Ocean Beach, California-based group—led by co-founders and multi-instrumentalists Kyle McDonald and Miles
Doughty—have also found the same passionate dedication to their studio craft, holing up between tours in their own San Diego recording studio and record label complex. The balance of a prolific touring regimen between albums have helped to refine the tasty fusion and massive groove that permeates Stoopid’s trademark sound and seven album catalogue, as well as their live shows.
“We’re a touring act, and we’ve been on the road pretty much non-stop over the last decade,” explains Doughty, offering that the more recent creation of the band’s own local recording studio and rehearsal clubhouse (within the warehouse district of Mission Valley just inland of Ocean Beach) certainly aided and influenced their last release Top of the World, and has inspired their latest sessions, which the band anticipates could stretch into a few different recording projects.
“Over the last 3 years we started our own studio and within the last 9 months, anticipating the window for new album sessions, the band has invested into innovations and equipment upgrades for the studio in a quest to capture and progress our signature sound forward. Having our own studio really enables us to make records at our own pace and to make the right records, hopefully (with a grin) at various stages of our career,” Doughty continues. “What’s nice about having our own environment to record in and analyze the music is it really lets you keep an organic feel. For us, I feel like it’s a step into the next level, as far as understanding the process of recording, understanding the process of songwriting. We took everything that we’ve learned over the years and really put it into this place and into our music.” The property also houses the creative loft space that has become the official offices of the band’s own label Stoopid Records, which issued the band’s second album in 1999 Acoustic Roots, and has continued to be their preferred method of distributing the band’s recorded material.
Another key ingredient to what makes Slightly Stoopid extraordinarily special is the inclusion of several musical guests, both live and in the studio. “It really keeps that ‘family atmosphere’ for us,” says Doughty. “I think it really shows in the music — we live for the spirit of collaboration and on Top of The World we had G. Love, Angelo Moore from Fishbone, Don Carlos, Barrington Levy, Ian Neville from Dumpstaphunk, Tory Ruffin from Morris Day and the Time and Fishbone, and singer/songwriter Angela Hunte. Angelo Moore to me is one of the greatest front-men to ever step foot on a stage. As a fan and out of respect, I try to do something with Angelo every time we have a record, really. If you listen to his lyrics, his vocal performance—I don’t know who could keep up with Angelo on stage. Don Carlos from Black Uhuru is one of the legendary reggae singers of all time and we’ve had the pleasure of working with him the last few years. We’ve been friends with G. Love for over 15 years, and we’ve been able to work together quite a few different times in the studio. It seems like second nature. Whenever you’re recording with G., it’s almost like you’re really just hanging out with your bro and you happen to hit record. We’ve done so many shows together and so many studio sessions, it becomes second nature.“
Slightly Stoopid has just announced their eighth annual outdoor amphitheater package this year entitled “Summer Sessions 2014” featuring So-Cal punk D.I.Y. cohorts NOFX, long time hip-hoppa bluesman and musical co-conspirator G. Love & Special Sauce, hip hop icons Cypress Hill and modern legend and Grammy winning reggae artist Stephen Marley!
Besides recording at their own studio, Slightly Stoopid have always been extremely hands-on when it comes to their career, going back more than a decade to when they founded their own record label, Stoopid Records.
“We started Stoopid Records around 1999,” Doughty clarifies. “At that time, we were in transition as far as what we were doing with our records, and we thought it would be good to have our own independent label—like Sublime showed us back in the day with Skunk Records. What’s nice is we’ve had a following with the fans, where people understand that Stoopid Records is Slightly Stoopid and other bands we want to help break out.”
“For us, it was a big turning point as far as having complete creative control over everything we do. That’s something big for this band—we want to make the music for ourselves and for our fans. We don’t really make music for someone in an office that tells us something needs to be there. We’ve always had a very organic, do-it-yourself attitude. I think it’s paid off in dividends.”
In addition to 2012’s Top of the World, Slightly Stoopid also released the live in-studio CD/DVD Slightly Stoopid & Friends – Live At Roberto’s, recorded with Grateful Dead founding member Bob Weir at his state-of–the-art TRI Studios in San Rafael, CA. The 32-song session included 2 sets (acoustic & electric), guest spots from Ivan Neville and Ian Neville of Dumpstaphunk, Karl Denson, Don Carlos of Black Uhuru, and Bob Weir himself! The release also boasts a candid interview of the band conducted by Weir and comedian Tommy Chong who MC’d the sessions and provided spiritual “Wisdom”! The rock n’ roll gods smiled here and PALLADIA picked it up as an hour special which 2 years later is still in the channel’s rotation.
Slightly Stoopid’s current line-up for the upcoming “Summer Sessions 2014” tour consists of Miles Doughty (guitar, bass, vocals) and Kyle McDonald (guitar, bass, vocals) along with Ryan “Rymo” Moran (drums), Oguer “OG” Ocon (congas, percussion, harp, vocals), newcomer Andy Geib (trumpet), Daniel “Dela” Delacruz (saxophone) and Paul Wolstencroft (keyboards). Additionally, “unofficial 8th member” Karl Denson of Greyboy Allstars, who’s been touring with the band over the last few years and lent his saxophone talents throughout Top of the World, is joining the band on tour again this summer.
Nearly two decades into their artistry, Slightly Stoopid continues to progress into new musical territory, defining their signature sound while creating a contagious feel-good vibe that has its own lifestyle and subculture…and it’s been done entirely on their own terms.