Slightly Stoopid is not just a stoner band anymore
Over the course of a career that dates back to 1995, Slightly Stoopid has grown into one of rock’s most eclectic groups. While the band started out leaning heavily on punk and surf-rock influences, it eventually built its reputation on a mostly reggae-rock base with all manner of hip-hop, folk, blues, funk and world-music layers added to the sound over the years.
The varied nature of Slightly Stoopid’s music might turn off listeners who don’t like a particular style filtering through group’s sound, but co-frontman Miles Doughty thinks the eclecticism is actually what defines the band.
“I feel like we have our own sound,” Doughty said during a recent interview. “For us it works for Slightly Stoopid. I mean, we’ve made eight records, so for us I think it’s going the way it should be.”
Additionally, Doughty said, the variety might have helped the group appeal to a larger audience.
“I think even in like the live show, it’s something for everybody. Maybe not everybody likes reggae, or maybe not everybody likes the blues music or the punk rock or hip-hop,” he said, adding, “When you go to the shows, you’ll see people from age 12 to like 60 years old in the crowd. And it’s pretty insane. And for us as musicians, it keeps it fun and fresh to play all styles of music.”
The group’s exploration of styles continued on its latest album, Top Of The World, which was released last August. Of course, there is reggae (“Don’t Stop” and “Ur Love” being good examples). But the CD starts to branch out with songs like “Devil’s Door,” which leans toward funk; the title song, which mixes reggae and hip-hop; and “Way You Move,” a musical melting pot with elements of soul, funk and rock bubbling up.
Running throughout all the songs, though, is that signature, relaxed, feel-good vibe that we’ve come to expect from the Ocean Beach group.
While the music shows the band continuing to branch out, Doughty said he believes the biggest evolution has been with the lyrics.
“I feel like we were more lyrically conscious on this record,” he said. “Not that we weren’t on other records, but [on] other records it was more of like a party a lot in the vocals. It was kind of talking about that kind of scene. And this, as an artist and as a songwriter, I feel like we kind of took the next step.”
He said the shift toward more mature lyrics reflects the changes in the lives of some of the band’s members.
“Myself and Kyle [McDonald, co-frontman] and our buddy Dela [aka Daniel Delacruz, saxophonist], we all have kids and we started families and I feel like it really kind of helped us in our writing,” Doughty said. “You feel like your soul is kind of at peace once you have children and start a family; I believe your mind is kind of as whole as it will ever be.”
While there are still plenty of party-happy odes to weed, booze, sex and hittin’ the dance floor, there are now just as many tracks about faith (“Serious Man”), hope (“New Day”), love (“Don’t Stop”) and introspection (“Just Thinkin’”).
Top Of The World also gave Slightly Stoopid a chance to collaborate with a number of notable guests, including G. Love, Don Carlos, Barrington Levy, Fishbone’s Angelo Moore, and Karl Denson, who is playing with the band during its current tour, which stops off at the Senator Theatre Friday, Jan. 18.
“For each one of those guys, they have their own flavor, and it blends well with Slightly Stoopid,” Doughty said. “It’s an honor for us. It’s not like we want to put them on just for the sake of putting them on. They’re all incredible musicians, whether they’re singer-songwriters or guitar players-singers. Each one of those guys, honestly, brought the record to a whole new level as far as the collaborations that we’re able to do together. So we’re excited, and I think the fans will dig what they did.”