Interview: Slightly Stoopid

Interview: Slightly Stoopid

Celebrating the release of their 9th studio album, Everyday Life, Everyday People, I had the chance to catch up with Slightly Stoopid vocalist, guitarist, bassist and San Diego sports fan, Miles Doughty.

The album comes out July 13th and features an all-star cast of guest appearances that include: Ali Campbell of UB40, Yellowman, Don Carlos, Alborosie, G. Love and Chali 2na. Stoopid also worked in collaboration with multiple producers, teaming up with Miguel Happoldt, James Wisner, Jerry Wonda, Colin York, and George Spits. It’s said that the group produced this record at studios in San Diego, Long Beach & Los Angeles, CA, as well as Miami, FL, New York, NY and Kingston Jamaica.

Slightly Stoopid will carry the momentum of this new record into another Closer 2 The Sun event in Mexico from Nov. 30th – Dec 4th. They announced that at this event they will be performing their infamous Acoustic Roots: Live & Direct album in its entirety, for the first time since it was originally played in August of 2000. The line-up also includes UB40, Michael Franti, Thievery Corporation, Stick Figure, Pepper, Alborosie, G. Love & Special Sauce, The Expendables, The Movement, and Hirie.

In addition to the new album and Closer to the Sun, Miles spoke at length about Sublime and Long Beach Dub Allstars, which is always a captivating topic, as well as his take on the Stoopidheads movement. Our discussion lasted for about 35minutes while Miles was on their Schools Out For Summer Tour with Stick Figure and Pepper! Enjoy the read!
[This is a condensed transcription of our discussion.]

Interview: Miles Doughty of Slightly Stoopid

Everyday Life, Everyday People:

The Pier: I live about 10 miles from Ocean Beach and anytime I have friends that come to town, the first place they want to go to is Ocean Beach. When I heard the title of your record, Everyday Life, Everyday People, it made sense to me with going to OB with friends and them always asking “Hey do you think we’ll run into the Stoopid guys walking around?” It lines right up with the title of your record in how fans seem to naturally perceive you guys.
Miles: Yeah man, I totally agree. If you were cruising OB then you’d likely see us cruising OB, whether its down at the beach or on Newport Avenue hanging with homies. That’s the funny thing about it.

The Pier: Yeah and of course we’ll make our way over to Nico’s for Mexican food, as you guys paid tribute to that on Acoustic Roots, or HODADS is super popular in OB. Is there a Miles Burger at Hodads yet or a special plate at Nico’s that fans should know about?
Miles: At Hodads I usually just get a double cheeseburger with all the goodies that come on it. My boys take care of me down there, we’ve known all of those guys forever. At Nicos, I have a spread of things I like to get. Sometimes you need your hangover food when you wake up and you get a breakfast burrito or a couple beef tacos. The carne asada nachos are bomb or their bean & cheese burritos. I been going there since I was a little kid, you know? It’s a family staple.SlightlyStoopid_ELEP_Cover_Web

The Pier: Your Everyday Life use to include going down to Qualcomm Stadium on Sundays in your Antonio Gates jersey rooting on the San Diego Chargers. I myself was a 15 year season ticket holder. Are you still a Chargers fan now that they’ve moved to Los Angeles?
Miles: I’m still in the bitter-break up mode, so I’m not following them right now. I just think the way everything went down was poorly handled by the NFL, poorly handled by the Chargers, poorly handled by the city. Since the Chargers left San Diego, I didn’t watch a whole game the entire season. I’d watch tidbits of games, but never sat down and watched a whole game. The way they left, it was like: Fuck You Guys! They basically gave San Diego the middle finger. I too was a 15 year season ticket holder and was a fan for 35 years. Its kind of like someone died in the family, left and took everything you had. The NFL kind of proved they don’t give a shit about the fans. I’ve got season tickets to the Gulls now–The hockey games are awesome. If you haven’t gone to live hockey, it’s insane, the energy level is just epic!

The Pier: I was watching you guys perform at Cali-Roots and of all the new songs that you played live, the one that really stood out to me was “Fire Down Below!” What can you share about that song?
Miles: Oh right on! I got to work with Jerry Wonda out in New York and it was awesome! He’s an amazing producer. I went in there with kind of a rhythm in mind and we just started playing. It was cool because there was a whole room of cats in the studio and he was like: “Okay you play this, you play that” and we were all just jamming. The melody came out in the studio because of the vibe that he created, energy wise, while taking you on a ride with music.

The Pier: This new album includes guest appearances from Chali 2na, G. Love, Don Carlos, with Alborosie & Ali Campbell being new comers. Is there anyone you’d like to work with that you haven’t had the chance to yet?
Miles: I wouldn’t mind working with Snoop Dogg in the studio. I think it would be dope to work with Buju Banton, he’s always been one of my favorites.

Acoustic Roots and Closer 2 The Sun:

The Pier: You know, I was excited to see you guys announce playing Acoustic Roots at this year’s Closer 2 the Sun in Mexico. What do you remember about that original session?
Miles: It just kind of happened out of the blue. We walked into the Rock 105.3 studio and there was a couple of acoustic guitars, a 12 pack of Coronas and a couple of spliffs. We sat down and played a live set. There were no stops, no rehearsals for it. We were kind of in transition, between drummers, at the time. This was back in August of 2000. The cool thing is we were just in that studio, me and Kyle, having a few beers, smoking some herbs, the guy hit record and that album is what came from it.

It was a cool experience just because it was something that was suppose to be nothing and then turned out to be this cool piece of music for us over time. We’ve never played the Acoustic Roots album from top to bottom since we first performed it. It’s going to be cool to rehearse it, get it nice and tight and play it for the fans. There are songs we haven’t played in years, since we first played that, so its going to be fun.

The Pier: It’s long been the voice of fans who want to see two things: 1.) Acoustic Roots on Vinyl, and 2.) A sequel to Acoustic Roots. Has a sequel, so to speak, been discussed?SlightlyStoopid_AcousticRoots
Miles: Yea we’ve definitely discussed it. We don’t have anything set in stone right now, but we definitely had discussions of doing it. We also have the TRI-2 stuff we did with Bob Weir & family. I think the biggest thing is to just keep moving forward, creating and having fun with it. I think another acoustic album would be rad for the fans. For us, it’s a cool vibe and it’s just something different.

The Pier: Any chance we can see the original Acoustic Roots put to vinyl?
Miles: Honestly, I wouldn’t mind seeing it. I don’t think we’ve done it yet and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get it going. I think we’ve put vinyl out for everything but Longest Barrel Ride and Acoustic Roots, so it’d be pretty cool to get those going.

The Pier: Are you a Vinyl collector, yourself?
Miles: Yeah, I do have a lot of vinyl. I have some cool limited edition Sublime records from back in the day. I have some rad, old UB40 ones, John Denver and it’s just cool shit because of that analog sound. You’ll never get that, even though it sounds good on your iPod, or on your computer, or whatever! You’ll never get the same tone as the old analog, reel to reel sound and you get that through the vinyl.

The Pier: Totally! And I think that’s why fans would love to see that Acoustic Roots or Longest Barrel Ride on Vinyl! And being someone who collects vinyl in the band, I’m sure you’d love to add those to your collection as well.
Miles: Yeah, I definitely think that’d be a cool idea. Probably tell our management that shit today! [Haha!]

The Pier: Staying on Closer 2 the Sun, you mentioned UB40 and you guys have UB40 on your new album AND joining you in Mexico, how crazy is that?
Miles: Oh dude, its like a dream come true. Growing up listening to those guys and to be able to connect with them musically was awesome. I’m looking forward to collaborating with them live, having Ali Campbell sit in with us, vice versa and just having fun creating. We pay a lot of tribute to the people we grew up listening to because there’s just so many new artists today, and for us, a lot of the old artists are what paved the way for all of the newer ones. So we always try to pay tribute on records, like getting Ali Campbell, King Yellowman, Don Carlos, Alborosie, G. Love, and Chali 2na – Just paying tribute to the guys we love.

The Pier: Yeah! And with your cover of “Legalize It” on the new album, I was talking with Ali Campbell and he said with UB40, they previously put out a version of the song – is that what sparked the interest in reaching out to him to do a Stoopid version of the Peter Tosh original?
Miles: Ali Campbell’s voice is just so dope, like we just wanted him on the record. He has one of those voices in reggae that’s just a world renown voice and to be able to work with him is incredible.

The Pier: He was saying you guys also recorded a cover of a John Lennon song — What can you share about that? Is that something we can hear performed live at Closer 2 the Sun?
Miles: Oh I don’t know if we’re going to be doing that. We’ll see about what we’re going to be doing live. I’d definitely love to do as much as we can. That’s what fans want to see is all of the collaborations, and that’s what we’re looking forward to as well. Playing your own shows is cool, but when you have all of the guests sit in with you its like pouring gas on the fire and watching it explode!

International Touring, Long Beach Dub Allstars & Sublime:

The Pier: How exciting is it that you guys will be going to Europe in August? Can fans expect more frequent international touring?
Miles: Yeah we’re doing Spain, playing this festival that Alborosie is headlining. He does a lot of killer shit over in Europe and we get to work with him. We play the Melkweg in Amsterdam and the venue is so punk rock, it’s awesome. And then we get to play in England again, it’s fun, we played there last year.

I think in the fall, sometime around there, we’ll break off down to South America and more Europe stuff. Just staying busy. We try to dedicate a lot of time at home because we all have kids, but then we like to get on the road as much as we can.

The Pier: Growing up, I use to see you guys open up for Long Beach Dub Allstars in the late 90’s, early 2000’s and of course they disbanded in 2002, but have returned with new music and have been touring as of late. I know you still work with Marshall Goodman & Miguel Happoldt — Have there been talks of a Stoopid/LBDA tour in the future?
Miles: I don’t know about a tour, but we’re definitely doing some shows together. I just kind of sprinkled that into Miguel & Marshall’s ears about doing something special for the fans. We’ve had a relationship with those guys for so long. Me, Kyle, Marshall & Miguel talked about something cool and we want to come up with something that makes sense and is special for the fans. They’re all great musicians and its just good to see them back to work and having fun.

The Pier: I always noticed that much of the formula that they started out with, in housing guest appearances on both their albums as well as their live shows, you guys kind of inhibited over the years with your albums, connecting with some of the same artists in Barrington Levy, Tippa Irie, Chali 2na — How much of an influence was LBDA on Stoopid?
Miles: When we were kids, we looked up to those guys like older brothers. Now, we’ve been touring the last 18 years, when they kind of took a break from touring the last 18 years. It’d be cool to get us together, do something musically and have fun. When Long Beach Dub first came out, its kind of like the way Sublime sounded like in the studio. When Long Beach Dub came out, they had all of those pieces to the puzzle right out of the gate. Sublime was a 3-piece and still sounded amazing. Long Beach Dub basically just took the CD version of Sublime and put it LIVE, you know? And brought it out for everybody, which was incredible!
The Pier: You guys are notorious for doing covers and tributes across so many genres and time periods. With enormous respect to the history that is “The Prophet,” and with as many of the tribute compilations that were released with artists like Michael Franti, Jack Johnson, Pennywise, Reel Big Fish, No Doubt, all paying tribute to Sublime, Stoopid has never put out a Sublime cover song, is that right?
Miles: For the most part, I just felt like so many people were coming out with so many covers that it was almost like doing it a disservice, a little bit. We love Sublime, Brad & Miguel did so much for Slightly Stoopid. We were actually working on a song for this new record, but we just didn’t finish it so I think maybe we’ll do something in the future. We pay our respects to Brad by touring the way that he told us to tour, recording the way that he told us to record back when we were kids. They took us under their wing. They basically said you need to get your ass on the road and tour as much as you can. It don’t matter if there’s just a bartender there or a security guard. Just keep grinding, grinding and grinding and it’ll pay off cause you’re going to build that grassroots style of fans, and they were right! That’s what we did and that’s all we’ve ever done. We tribute that to Sublime, so its cool.

The Pier: Is there any particular song that comes to mind that you think would be fun to cover? I hear that there is a cover of “Slow Ride” on a hard drive somewhere from maybe 10-15 years ago…
Miles: [Haha] Ahhh yeah, there is a cover of that one on there for sure and a few others. I don’t want to throw them out there just in case we start using them. But yeah, on the recording side, I just thought it was the right thing to do to just let it breathe. Just because so many people were already covering Sublime, it didn’t feel as special anymore.

The Pier: And what song were you referring to that didn’t make the album that you & Miguel were working on?
Miles: Well I can’t tell you that! [Haha]… But we love Sublime and everything they’ve done for us. We grew up such big fans, I remember going on surf trips to K-38 in Mexico when there was cassette tapes of 40oz to Freedom. They’ve always been special to us and meant so much to Slightly Stoopid. There will probably be something in the future.

The Stoopidheads Movement:

The Pier: What can you share about the Stoopidheads and that whole movement?
Miles: Man, it’s absolutely incredible! First of all, no band is anything without their fans and we have some of the most passionate fans there are. There are fans that go to 15-20 shows every summer tour. Growing up with them and seeing the same people at the shows the last 15 years is special. They’re bringing their kids now to the shows and you see them go from little kids to adults and they’ve watched you evolve as a band. They become your friends along the way. They’re the driving force behind this engine. And they all stay in contact with each other, all over the country, its almost like they’re a giant gang, it’s epic!

We always talk about how lucky we are to be out on the road with our best friends, making music and traveling the world. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of hard work and it was especially a grind before the internet. Before all of these southern CA style bands were touring, we were out there in a van for 250 dates a year. This was right at the start of Napster, before iTunes, right when music started getting shared. We were grinding it out and that’s what I think got the Stoopidhead movement started. Just getting on the road, playing the same towns over and over and over again. We would spend a month in Colorado at every ski town, every little bar, it didn’t matter! That’s how you build the fan base. Those people would come out when you’re driving in the middle of the snow when no one else was touring. That mentality of getting on the road, bringing music to everyone and having fun! That’s what started the Stoopidheads movement and we’re blessed to have them.



Listen: Slightly Stoopid – “One More Night”

Related Links:
Exclusive Slightly Stoopid Blog
Slightly Stoopid Website
Slightly Stoopid Facebook

Interview By: Mike Patti
Photos By: KZ of In The Barrel Photo

Listen: Slightly Stoopid – “Higher Now” (ft. Chali 2na)

Listen: Slightly Stoopid – “Stay The Same (Prayer For You)” (ft. Don Carlos)