Slightly Stoopid has been a staple in the San Diego music scene for close to 20 years. From their punk rock roots to their reggae grooves, they continue to push the envelope when it comes to breaking down the barriers of the term “genre” and have unquestionably created another masterpiece with Meanwhile… Back at the Lab set to drop June 30 via their own Stoopid Records.
The group closed out this year’s memorable California Roots Festival before they head on out on the Everything Is Awesome Tour with Dirty Heads, The Expendables, and Stick Figure.
The Pier had the opportunity to catch up with vocalist/guitarist Miles Doughty at this year’s California Roots Festival and we looked forward to learning a little more about the multi-talented musician.
Slightly Sporty In San Diego…
Of course when I get the opportunity to interview one of my San Diego hometown heroes the first question out of my mouth is, “How about those Padres?”
Miles dove right in…
“Right now pitching is struggling a little bit. We could talk for a long time, I don’t want to get into that,” but Miles continued, “I hope we sign (Justin) Upton to a long-term deal, he’s legit. His bat speed is incredible, it just makes it a lot more fun to watch. Having offense is key.”
The fellow Friar fan spent his childhood at Jack Murphy Stadium going to five-dollar games with his family. He was proud when the organization invited him to throw the ceremonial first pitch at a game last July. Doughty undoubtedly received some pointers from friend, and Padres pitcher, Tyson Ross. Miles took the time to practice pitching with his dad and brother before his Padre debut. When he climbed the pitcher’s mound he was handed a plastic baseball one would find in a ballpark gift shop.
“It was fun. I made the mistake of getting buzzed before. Drank a few cocktails and bounced it right in front of the plate just ‘cause I tried to fire it in there. It was pretty funny, I still had a great game.”
When he gets invited back he is certain to request a baseball that is regulation size and weight, although he is definitely having fun being a part of our local ball club.
Miles On The Mat…
Slightly Stoopid has had the opportunity to work with other local talent from America’s Finest City for years and Miles appreciates sharing the creativity of other artists. Although they have had several locations across the county for which to practice and hone their craft, Slightly Stoopid has spent the better part of the last year in The Lab which is now their home.
“It’s the ultimate man cave, it has everything you could possibly want.” The Lab affords them the time and privacy to write music without distraction. “It’s really cool to have that escape and have the creative space to do whatever you want.”
Doughty leads an interesting life outside of Slightly Stoopid as a high school wrestling coach in his eighth season. If you ever want to know what he is doing from November through February he will be working six days a week with the students on the wrestling mat. His program has seen a growth from five to fifty kids during his tenure and he could not be more proud.
“The biggest thing is what we’re doing for the kids,” he says candidly. “We’ve had a couple of CIF champions, so we’re getting there.”
Approximately three months ago his coaching partner organized a jiu-jitsu tournament and asked Miles and their wrestlers to help work. As he enjoyed the contest as a worker and spectator, the men’s division opened up and all eyes turned to Doughty to enter, even though he’s not trained in jiu-jitsu.
“I haven’t had competition in twenty years but they just kept egging me on.”
After some coercion Miles entered the contest for fear of regret if he declined the opportunity.
His friend and co-coach, who also has a black belt in jiu-jitsu, “saw the look on my face, he was all ‘you’re nuts for doing this’ just because these guys have been training. I said, fuck it; I have a lot of heart, that’s all you really need in battle.”
The 38-year-old fought through a string of 25-year-olds tooth and nail. The singer who brought us “Collie Man” and “The Prophet” earned his way into the final match in true storybook fashion.
“My heart was racing, it felt so good. I tip my hat to my opponent, he was a strong dude. He knew jiu-jitsu, all I knew was wrestling. I didn’t know you could grab the gi (jiu-jitsu uniform). When you pull clothes they stretch and when you pull a gi, it doesn’t… you go with it.”
It took Miles a second to adjust to the new fighting style and after fracturing his foot he took home second place. It is an astounding finish for someone with the balls to enter into an intense martial arts tournament with minimal experience.
“My wife was kind of pissed ‘cause I’m 38. When you do shit like that, its hardcore. I’m not saying you’re decrepit and shit at 38, you definitely take it. The next day, it was funny, my face was all torn apart and it looked like I had been in some real fights. My face was all black and blue; the gi makes a rug burn almost. It looked like I had just got done scrapping; it was pretty cool. It was just a really cool experience regardless. I wanted to do it. They talked me into it, but I wanted to do it for myself. The adrenaline… just the pure adrenaline.”
I asked Miles whether music or wrestling was preferred for letting out aggression. He took a few seconds and replied, “Honestly, if you’ve ever been on a mat, there’s nothing like being on a mat.”
Everything Is Indeed Awesome…
When wrestling season has concluded, Miles is back on the road living the dream and touring with artists like NOFX, Cypress Hill, Barrington Levy, Stephen Marley, G. Love, and numerous others.
“You pinch yourself going holy shit this is so cool. I’m a fan of music, when you play with someone you grew up really admiring… NOFX was one of the punk rock bands I listened to every day as a kid. It’s something that changed me. I loved Rancid, Minor Threat, Bad Religion, Operation Ivy… Obviously just getting to play with all the reggae legends that we’ve played with and recorded with, it’s just crazy, and you become friends with them over time.”
The Godfather of reggae (and best dressed reggae artist) Don Carlos has been touring with Slightly Stoopid for five years now. Miles still seems in shock that “Uncle Don” has taken Miles and (guitarist/bassist/vocalist) Kyle McDonald under his wing. Don Carlos will just call them on a whim to see if they need any tour support.
“After this run, Don’s going to stay in San Diego for a week and hang out, and we’ll just record music. That’s the kind of bond we have. I’m sitting there making music with Don Carlos. It’s a cool thing to be apart of.”
Miles says they have been inundated with requests for a tour with the Dirty Heads for years. It took a trip to Mexico last year for their all-inclusive vacation/concert Closer to the Sun for the two powerhouse bands to make it happen and us fans could not be more thrilled.
“We had bumped into them at different festivals here and there and everyone was cool, but we never really knew them until we spent that week with them in Mexico,” explained Miles. “We shook our hands together and said, ‘Let’s go have a fucking ridiculous summer’ because the fans have wanted us to play together for so long.”
With support from The Expendables and Stick Figure on various dates, everyone and their mother needs to attend this show. In fact, take some time right now to purchase your tickets for you and your mother by clicking HERE! I’ll wait… Might as well get your pre-order in for Meanwhile… Back at the Lab while you’re at it.
Miles Doughty concluded our interview with, “Like the tour says, ‘Everything is Awesome’ you can’t really beat it. We’re excited and with the new album dropping June 30th, it’s gonna be a good summer.”
Pre-order Meanwhile… Back at the Lab on iTunes by clicking HERE!
Listen: Slightly Stoopid – “The Prophet”