SLIGHTLY STOOPID Drummer Ryan Moran Opens Up About SLIGHTLY STOOPID’S Upcoming Summer Tour And A Lot More!
Posted On 26 Jun 2015
Tag: All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, Andy Geib, Artist Interview, Bradley Nowell, Daniel “Dela” Delacruz, Dirty Heads, Everything Is Awesome Tour, Green Day, KAABOO, Karl Denson, Kyle McDonald, LOCKN' Festival, Lollapalooza, Meanwhile.. Back At The Lab, Miles Doughty, Oguer “OG” Ocon, Outside Lands, Paul Wolstencroft, Ryan Moran, san diego, Silverback Music, Skunk Records, Slightly Stoopid, Social Distortion, Stick Figure, Stoopid Records, Stoopid Studios, Sublime, Surfdog Records, The Expendables, The Lab, Top of the World, Wakarusa
Slightly Stoopid describe their music as “a fusion of folk, rock, reggae and blues with hip-hop, funk, metal and punk.” To date, they have released ten albums (three live ones), with their seventh studio album entitled “Top of the World” released in 2012. Slightly Stoopid was originally signed by Bradley Nowell from the band Sublime to his label, Skunk Records while they were still in high school.
On June 30th, Slightly Stoopid will put out their eighth studio album entitled “Meanwhile…Back At The Lab” via the band’s label, Stoopid Records. The title and album cover reference the band’s collective break from touring and home life at their San Diego warehouse studio (The Lab at Stoopid Studios), where they have been working on numerous creative and collaborative projects. “Meanwhile…Back at the Lab” is the first release from these sessions.
The band will kick off their “Everything Is Awesome” Summer 2015 tour on July 8th and will hit 40+ cities in select outdoor amphitheaters and theaters ending on September 19th. Slightly Stoopid will perform at several festivals including Outside Lands, Wakarusa, the LOCKN’ Festival, and KAABOO. Tickets for these shows are on sale now!
Visit: pr.slightlystoopid.com/everythingisawesome2015/ for more information.
Before heading out on the road, Slightly Stoopid drummer, Ryan Moran took some time to chat with All Access about touring and what keeps them going year after year:
In all the albums that Slightly Stoopid has released, how do you think your sound has grown and changed over the years? Do you think it really has?
Yeah, I think it’s changed considerably. I’ve been with the guys now for 12 years and when I joined, it was pretty much either reggae or punk. That was the main thing. In the last 12 years, we’ve recorded and changed a lot of things because well for one, we have grown.
When I first joined it was a four piece group. There were drums, percussion and Miles and Kyle up-front playing guitar and bass and singing lead. Then shortly thereafter, we added some horn players and a keyboard player. In that way alone, those three additions have definitely changed the band.
It’s opened up a lot of different doors stylistically so now we are playing elements of hip hop and even afro-beat in some of the new stuff and hip hop loop stuff too. There are also elements of straight funk and even some more bluesy material. It has broadened us considerably. And I think all of us are really open to a lot of different music and styles. So it’s always fun. We just get in the studio and try different things. We just go with it and try to have fun.
How do you think being from San Diego has influenced the group’s sound and style in general?
The guys are into surfing, skateboarding and the music that we were always listening to – reggae, rock, hip hop, ska, punk and any kind of beachy stuff really. I think that our music reflects that. I would say that’s probably the biggest way that our influences have gone into our music. It’s really a part of our lifestyle. It’s a close parallel between the two.
Looking back, can you remember the moment when you all got together and started this band and then realized that it was going to be something big?
For me personally, I definitely was paying some dues through my 20’s and stuff. I was working and playing in a bunch of different bands. When I joined Slightly Stoopid, I knew that this was going to be something. I just knew it. I had already been friends with the guys and knew the music and I really enjoyed the music back then. I think I kind of knew that we were going to travel and play all over the place even back then.
It hasn’t always been easy but it’s been an ongoing non-stop rollercoaster ride where we are touring tons every year, putting out new albums and starting the cycle all over again. I joined the band in 2003 so that was almost 12 years ago. I knew that it was going to keep us busy back then. I knew it was going to grow and get bigger. Yeah, it’s been fun.
I’ve been playing a long time. I think I’ve been playing close to 30 years now. I started playing drums when I was about 9 or 10 and I started getting really serious about it in high school. I had to get a high school music teacher that was kind of a mentor and really supportive of us pursuing it professionally. Actually, a bunch of guys I went to school with (we performed together) a lot of them are professional players in NY and SF today. So, I knew at around 15 or 16 that I was going to at least give it a good shot and see what happened. Fortunately, things have fallen into place pretty well.
Had they already chosen the name when you joined?
Yeah, so the name goes back to the early 90’s with Miles and Kyle who were basically the band founders. They were just kids in high school and were playing punk rock all the time. They hadn’t really done a whole lot of gigs. So they were just throwing around names and saying how about Slightly this or Slightly that… Then someone said, what about Slightly Stoopid? Everyone laughed and that was it. It kind of just happened. They didn’t plan on having this name. It was just sort of something that happened when they were 15 or 16.
So this summer, you are going on the Everything Is Awesome Tour with Dirty Heads, The Expendables and Stick Figure. How did this line up come to be?
Well, we’ve been fans of The Dirty Head guys for awhile and but we hadn’t toured with them yet. We’ve toured with a lot of bands in our genre. We met The Dirty Heads a couple times over the years and things just sort of lined up. They were interested in touring again and we needed someone to go out with us. So it just sort of all fell into place. We’ve actually done a couple shows with them down in Mexico in December and more recently in Phoenix. They seem to be really cool so we are looking forward to hanging out with them and the Expendable guys. I haven’t met the Stick Figure guys so I am looking forward to getting to know them better.
With all the tours that you have been on, do you still get excited at the beginning of every tour like this?
Definitely! There’s a lot of anticipation and a lot of preparation that goes into doing these trips. They start working on these tours basically in December and January when people are doing their holiday things and when potential dates and artists are lining up. For each of us individually, especially for me being a drummer, there’s a ton of gear that’s necessary so I’m making sure that everything I need is checked and that I have enough supplies to get me through 2 or 3 months of touring solid before we have any breaks. So yeah, there’s a lot of tour anticipation and there’s even more for bigger shows of course.
When it comes to festivals, what are the similarities and differences of playing a smaller club show versus a giant music festival? Does your approach change at all when playing them each?
Not necessarily. I think when it comes to festivals, the main difference is that in the clubs, there are usually 2 or 3 bands playing, the people that are showing up are fans of 1 or 2 of the bands or all of the bands performing so there are a lot of more fans going to see a specific act. At a festival, there is a pretty broad lineup, and so a lot of people are going to festivals to learn about new artists. Us included. I really look forward playing at festivals so I can check out new acts. Who can I check out on the day that we are going to be there and to check out someone I’ve heard is great. So that’s really the main difference. The fan-base is quite a bit different. At a festival, you are trying to make new fans cause fans of other bands are there hopefully checking out a couple songs in your set and deciding if they like you or not. And hopefully, they’ll come see you the next time you come through their city. Festivals are definitely a way to build up your fan-base and also ways to check out other bands we like.
Do you have any show experiences that have stood out to you?
Yeah, we have a few of those about every week. Some of the highlights would be playing at Lollapalooza a couple years ago where we played between Social Distortion and Green Day. That was pretty awesome. To be big fans of these two bands and playing between them on our set.
Of course, doing what we do, we get to have a lot of fun. We get to tour all over in a tour bus, have a couple beers and do what we love. We look forward to the summer time when we can get out there.
What advice would you give to a group of young musicians just getting started now? Is there anything that you wish someone had told you back then?
Not really. I feel like a lot of people are looking for an angle and there is no angle. You just got to get out and do it. That’s one thing that I’ve learned in the basically 20 years that I’ve been doing it professionally. So many people are going to tell to you that their best friend’s sister’s cousin is a producer at Capitol Records. If I had a nickel every time someone told me something like that, I’d be rich. Basically, there is no shortcut. If you are good and you work hard at it, it’s going to produce fruit. If you are just looking for a short cut and a one hit wonder, that might work out for you too but I think everyone wants to know, how can we be like you? I don’t know. We worked really hard and we are still working really hard to maintain a following. I don’t think that ever really stops. I think that the procession changes. We are still touring a lot of dates a year and are away from our families and eating whatever kind of gas station food there is and crammed on a tour bus.
So, yeah, its fun and glamorous on the outside but when you look at it and all the other sides of it, it can be difficult. I guess the most important thing I would tell a young musician is to just practice and get good at what you do. Get good at it so someone will pick you up or that you can create something out of your own creativity that people will enjoy and latch on and you can be in demand for your project. Really it’s just about working and honing in your craft just like in any other industry.
It’s definitely added a little bit of pressure in a way. We have a different lifestyle and I don’t work the typical 9 to 5. I don’t get to come home every night and eat dinner with be with my wife and hang out with the family. So when you are away from your family for weeks on end, it’s put pressure on everything. Fortunately, the band is doing pretty well so when we have to be away from our wives and children, we are able to come home with some money, which is nice. It’s definitely made us a lot more mellow. We used to party pretty hard and nowadays, we pick and choose how you want to enjoy each day. We try to be smart and take it easy. A lot of us are trying to fly home when we have breaks. It’s a good type of pressure though because when we get to see our wife and kids, it’s so good to be there and be home.