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Slightly Stoopid
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The Slightly Stoopid story can be traced to Ocean Beach, California, when childhood chums Miles and Kyle formed the group in 1995, mixing reggae and punk sounds into one smooth stylistic cocktail. Soon after, Sublime frontman Bradley Nowell discovered the duo and asked them to perform a set at the Foot Hill Tavern in Long Beach, California. It was afterwards that Nowell immediately signed them to his label, Skunk Records, while the band was still in high school.[1]. A pair of releases soon followed—1996’s punk-tinged Slightly $toopid (featuring a guest appearance by Nowell on the song “Prophet” – later covered by Sublime and released on their box set, Everything Under the Sun) and 1998’s surf-inspired cult classic The Longest Barrel Ride.
The group self-released 2001’s Acoustic Roots: Live and Direct (a 40-minute acoustic set, captured live at San Diego ‘s Rock 105.3 radio station) – the first for their own label, Stoopid Records, before issuing 2003’s Everything You Need on Surfdog (a musical departure for the band, that sold more than 130,000 copies). After solidifying a new line-up with the additions of Ryan ‘RyMo’ Moran (drums), Oguer ‘OG’ Ocon (congas, percussion, harp, vocals) from the B Side Players, and C-Money (trumpet, keyboard) and Dela (saxophone) from John Brown’s Body, the band’s talent for mixing styles was never more apparent on 2005’s Closer to the Sun. The album featured collaborations with such renowned reggae names as Barrington Levy and Scientist. A year later, Slightly Stoopid issued their first-ever electric live album, Winter Tour ‘05-‘06 Live CD/DVD, as well as their first-ever DVD, ‘Live in San Diego,’ while 2007 saw the release of the group’s fifth studio effort, Chronchitis, which debuted at #55 on the Billboard 200, and #2 on the indie charts.
And through it all, Slightly Stoopid has logged some serious road miles – in addition to their incessant criss-crossing of the U.S., which includes appearances at prestigious festivals such as Coachella, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, and New Orleans Jazz Fest, among others, the group has played sold-out shows in Australia, Japan, Guam, Amsterdam, Portugal and Denmark, the U.K., Germany, Holland, and the Dominican Republic. “Without [the fans], we’d just be playing at the bar,” admits Kyle. “They make it worth our while – when we go out and people are having that good of a time, the energy goes back and forth. Just a good time – we rely on each other’s energy.” And all you have to do is look at the list of artists that Slightly Stoopid has played with, to get a feel for how much of a large and diverse audience they appeal to - the Dave Matthews Band, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley and the Marley Brothers, Sublime, the Roots, G. Love & Special Sauce, Ozomatli, Toots and the Maytals, and Pennywise, among others, as well as their first-ever sole headlining tour of amphitheatres in 2008, joined by their friends Pepper and Sly & Robbie featuring Cherine Anderson.
“I think consistently touring is important,” explains Miles. “Most people take the route of trying to be successful without even getting out there for people to hear what your band is about. The most important thing is you can be playing in front of zero people or 20,000 people, and you’ve still got to rock the show. When we were first starting out, literally, we played in front of nobody. We’d show up at the club, and it would be bartenders and security guards, and ‘Yo, play your hour set – here you go!’ But after you play that show, they tell some of their friends and their friends tell some friends. I think the Internet has helped us a lot too, because people were able to spread the word about the music easier. The most important part is being out there 200 days a year. You’re going back to towns twice a year, so people get to come out, and that gave us a real loyal following. Wherever we go, you have these Stoopidheads going crazy. For us, it’s pretty much the greatest job in the world.”
2008 saw the band issuing their first-ever ‘odds and ends’ collection, SLIGHTLY NOT STONED ENOUGH TO EAT BREAKFAST YET STOOPID – the group’s newest release for their growing label, Stoopid Records (which will also feature releases by other groups, including the label’s first signees, The Expendables from Santa Cruz, California). Included on SLIGHTLY NOT STONED ENOUGH are outtakes from both the CLOSER TO THE SUN (including tracks that were previously issued as a limited edition bonus CD) and CHRONCHITIS sessions, as well as a bevy of new material recorded at the famed Circle House Studios in Miami, Florida, and such cover tunes as UB40’s “I Would Do For You” and the traditional “I Know You Rider” (most notably covered by The Grateful Dead). Also making their first appearance on a Slightly Stoopid studio album are newly recorded renditions of the long-time live standards “False Rhythms” and “Sensimilla.”
Seemingly always on the move, there appears to be no slowing down in sight for Slightly Stoopid, and according to Miles, that’s precisely what fuels the group’s creativity. “For us, the most important thing in the future, we just want to stay busy and always playing music – whether creating, touring, or just sitting on your couch and jamming. I think we’ll always be recording. And just have fun – without the fun part, it ain’t worth it.”
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