The members of Slightly Stoopid have been making music together for more than a decade.
Slightly Stoopid's sound is varied. Its six members wield an array of instruments including congas, harp, trumpet, keyboard and saxophone. They've toured with such legends as the Dave Matthews Band, Sublime (Bradley Nowell helped bring them to the public eye), Snoop Dogg, G. Love & the Special, Sauce and Pepper.
And although they aren't touring to promote a new album (their last was 2008's Slightly Not Stoned Enough to Eat Breakfast Yet Stoopid) fans can expect to hear a handful of new songs when the band comes through Mesa Amphitheatre this Friday.
Drummer Ryan 'RyMo' Moran sat down the Up On The Sun to dig into their record label and upcoming album, his top surfing locations, and the band's favorite post-show activity.
Up On The Sun: So you're last album was in 2008, are you guys working on any new material, covers, collaborations, etc?
Rymo: Yeah, we actually built a studio in San Diego recently. We decided to take our time. A couple of the guys had babies...we really just wanted to do this next album at our own pace. We've got a ton of new material recorded and we're looking to release something early next year. We know we're well overdue now. We're actually playing a handful of brand new songs on our tour right now.
Awesome, so when you guys are out here for the Seedless Summer tour you'll be playing new material?
Absolutely! Brand new.
The band's last album was released on the band's growing label, Stoopid Records, which was established in the early 2000s. One of the driving forces behind the label is to help bands get going, like Sublime helped Slightly Stoopid. What other acts are signed to the label and what do you guys look for in order to sign someone?
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Well we've got two acts that have done records with us already. Basically we have a couple other acts we've been talking to at this point. We just want to help bands that we like. For example we have a band on our roster called The Expendables, a great band out of Santa Cruz, and we've done two records with them at this point on Stoopid Records. They are hard-working and tour a whole lot. Another act we signed a couple years back named Outlaw Nation based out of Louisiana. We felt both bands could offer something new to the genre. When we consider acts we want to support the touring acts; the acts that can hit the road and implicate their music live. We're not looking for a one hit wonder, we're looking for acts that can fit our business model. Our eyes are always open.
Does the new record have influences we haven't heard from the band?
I think one thing that's different about this record from ones in the past is that we're doing a lot of our own production; our own shot-calling in the studio. In years past we brought in someone who helped shape the music and offered suggestions, but with this current album we've pretty much been the ones making those judgement calls in terms of what parts sound good and what parts need to be redone. I think people will really enjoy it. It's an extension of what we have out there, but we're maybe a little older and wiser now.
Out of all Slightly Stoopid's albums, is there one that sticks out in particular as your favorite?
That's a good question. They are really different. You know, I've been with the band for about 8 ½ years and each album I've worked on has been totally different. My first was probably one of my favorites because it was my first with the guys...the live album we did was a lot of fun too. Of course, Chronchitis had some great songs, and Slightly Not Stoned Enough was really fun....I guess if I had to choose a favorite it would be Closer To the Sun. Over the years, you guys toured through Phoenix often. Any crazy memories from past times here?
Yeah, we go through Phoenix all the time. I've played there all the time. Tons of good memories. We're gonna be playing at Mesa Amphitheatre which has always been one of our favorite places. We've been there with various acts like Pepper, we're looking forward to getting back down there. In terms of partying and hanging out usually we're in and out pretty quickly, but Arizona has always been good to us.
I hear you guys like to BBQ a lot on the road. What's your favorite thing to cook up?
Ah, you know what, the barbecue is key! Yeah, we've been cooking a whole bunch of stuff. The guys on this tour have been making like, pollo asado, hamburgers, hot dogs, the generic stuff. But also you know carne asada, some fish, a couple guys cooked up salmon with garlic butter that was amazing. We usually have all kinds of stuff, but we love the Mexican flavors.
So, you guys just keep a grill on the tour bus with you?
Yeah, we have several tour buses and basically one of our trailers is like a "fun" trailer, so we have a barbecue, dirt bike, skate boards, motorcycles...all kinds of toys in there. At the end of the night, on this run, we've had pretty great weather everywhere. Once we're done playing it's only 10-10:30 so everyone wants to have some beers and hang out and talk. So the BBQ is a perfect platform for that.
As an avid surfer, what's one of your favorite places in the world to surf?
I love San Diego; I've been here almost 20 years so I'm pretty biased. I grew up in northern Cali which is colder and the air is heavier; bigger waves and stuff. At this point I love it down here; I live in northern San Diego and there's a ton of great places to surf, like Ocean Beach, Oceanside, Carlsbad, I pretty much surf the whole county all the time.
Australia for sure. We had the chance to surf in Portugal but the waves were flat. We've also surfed in Hawaii. Those are the ones that stick out as the better surf experiences we've had on the road.
When not touring, you give private lessons and seminars. Have you mentored any drummers from other well-known bands?
Not really at this point. I'm friends with a lot of bands that we've toured with, I don't know if I've mentored them, but I'm always trying to help bands that are up and coming, trying to hook them up with endorsement deals and sponsorships to help them get quality. In terms of teaching, I actually have a YouTube channel now I'm starting to promote. If you search rymostoopid, all one word, it pops up. It's a drum lesson channel. I think I have 11 or 12 videos up there now. It's a work in progress and I'm going to use it as a platform as well to promote a book I've been working on. Its an instructional book.
Is there a musician you feel as influenced your drumming?
Oh yeah, tons. Probably the biggest one that got me started is John Bonham from Led Zeppelin. And Neil Peart from Rush. Two of my all-time favorite drummers; I could listen to that stuff forever and never get sick of it. I also listen to a lot of jazz music, world and reggae. A lot of the heavy weight reggae drummers have been a huge influence, as well as some punk rock guys.
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I find it very interesting that across the spectrum of musicians I've spoken with, whether heavy metal or reggae, John Bonham and Neil Peart are both the two major influences in every drummers life. I mean, clearly they are awesome, but it's great how much they've influenced the future of music.
Definitely. They were way ahead of their time and affected anyone interested in drumming or learning about drums in the last 40 years.
Slightly Stoopid is scheduled to perform Friday, September 16 at Mesa Amphitheatre with Rebelution and Cisco Adler as a part of the Seedless Summer Tour.