Interview with Slightly Stoopid
Slightly Stoopid is one of the those bands that feels like they’ve been around forever. In actuality, they have been a band longer than some of you reading this have been alive. Every time Slightly Stoopid rolls into town, it’s sure to be one hell of a good time. To get extra hyped up for their upcoming show on June 9 at Festival Pier, we spoke with their drummer, Ryan ‘RyMo’ Moran, about life on the road, fatherhood, their 13th studio album, his guilty music pleasures, cheesesteaks, and a whole lot more.
Independent Philly: Who came up with the name ‘Slightly Stoopid’?
RyMo: It goes way back to when the guys started the band in the early 90’s. Basically, it was a bunch of guys in a room, throwing names around, giggling, and then ‘Slightly Stoopid’ took shape and it stuck as the name for the band.
Independent Philly: Slightly Stoopid has been around now for well over 20 years. To what do you attribute your staying power in the industry?
RyMo: I would say that we stay on the road super-consistently is the main thing. We never really take a lot of time off and try to stay on the road four, five, six months out of the year. I would say that’s the main factor: that we just won’t go away. We put music out every couple of years as well, albums, and stuff like that. We are a touring band; we’ve been built on that since the beginning, and we just try to keep that motion happening.
Independent Philly: Being that you are almost in a constant state of touring, what do you find to be the most difficult aspect of life on the road? What do you enjoy the most about it?
RyMo: I’d say that nowadays is that all of us are family guys. I have two kids myself. Most of the guys have two. Some guys have three kids. The hardest part now is just trying to balance being a dad and changing diapers and then getting on a plane and getting on a tour bus and then being on stage and the whole chaos that surrounds that lifestyle. That’s the hardest part for most of us: just being away from our kids. We enjoy that show, that’s what we all live for, to travel and get to the next show and just have a ball. The hardest part is definitely being away from the family and missing being grounded.
Independent Philly: You have a show coming up here on June 9th at Festival Pier. What can fans expect from a live Slightly Stoopid performance?
RyMo: It’s high energy. It’s a lot of fun. We try to get the crowd pumped up and keep people excited and the energy level ramped way up. For the fans, they can expect to hear us play songs from our full catalog, it’s not just the latest record or anything like that, we try to play stuff from the early days, stuff we haven’t even put out yet — a little bit of everything. You get a variety of music and just a good time.
Independent Philly: Do you have a favorite memory from a past show here in Philadelphia?
RyMo: We’ve been fortunate enough to play Penn’s Landing every year, I think this is our sixth or seventh year. It’s always one of our favorite stops and I’m not just saying that. It’s one of the craziest crowds on the whole tour. There are a handful of crowds that are nuts and Philly is always right there at the top of the list. That’s really what I like the most is just when you get such an enthusiastic response from the fans, it makes you perform better. That’s one of the things I really enjoy about playing there.
Independent Philly: Slightly Stoopid’s last album was released two years ago, is there currently a thirteenth album in the works?
RyMo: There is, yeah. We’ve been working on it since last year and we’ll have it out next year for sure. We’ve been doing some other things and working on some other music, but at this point we’re not trying to force the release, we’ll have something out early next year and we’ll tour on that next year.
Independent Philly: Is there any new direction to the new album or is more in line with the classic Slightly Stoopid sound?
RyMo: I think each album has a different sort of vibe. This one will sound similar, because we are still the writers of course, but we try to keep the variety there. We’re not playing only reggae or only ska or only punk, we’re trying to play a little bit of everything to keep the fans interested, and ourselves interested. This coming album will have a lot of that variety as well. We’ve got some good guests and the songs are taking shape; I’m really happy with the songs. It will have some funk, it will have some reggae, it will have some punk rock, some ska, a little bit of everything, which I think people will enjoy.
Independent Philly: You mentioned that Philly crowds are always one of your favorites. On the opposite end of the spectrum, what’s one of the dumbest things you’ve ever seen a fan do at your show on a scale of Slightly Stoopid all the way up to Donald Trump?
RyMo: (laughs) Well I’ve seen a lot over the years, probably more than I can even remember off the top of my head. A lot of the time I just see some really bad stage dives going down. That’s always something I’m going to tell my kids not to do. We’ve seen people get hurt and to me that’s like the one thing — some bands just do it like crazy and it’s awesome because their fans are ready to catch them. Sometimes we see people charging and just doing a crazy stage dive and the seas part and they land on their head. That’s never good. Probably the craziest thing I’ve seen is people just belly flopping onto the floor, which sucks, pretty high on that scale.
Independent Philly: If I was to do a search through your current iPod, which artist(s) or song(s) would you be the most embarrassed for me to uncover?
Rymo: Oh shit. Oh man I’ve got some really bad 80’s stuff that’s probably pretty laughable. I don’t know, I can’t say I’d be embarrassed by anything. If it’s on there, I’ve probably listened to it a couple times. (laughs) Probably just some of the 80’s era stuff. I grew up with MTV when it was still music videos and not just reality TV as much, so some of that stuff is still near and dear to me.
Independent Philly: Philly is a big foodie city. If we were whipping up a ‘Slighty Stoopid Sandwich’, what ingredients would it include?
Rymo: It’s gotta be cheesesteakesque. Some of the guys here actually really like what we call the “surf and turf”, so I would suggest that we do Philly style, you know, cheesesteak, wiz-wit, let’s add some shrimp, let’s add some hot sauce, add some more onions, let’s make it spicy and add some jalapenos. That’d probably be the Slightly Stoopid. A lot of the guys like a burrito shop we go to here for some Mex and the guys like the shrimp and Carne asada, so we would do that equivalent on the East Coast for sure.
Independent Philly: That sounds pretty tasty actually.
Rymo: (laughs) Yeah, it’d be pretty good.
Independent Philly: Do you personally, or does Slightly Stoopid as a whole, work with any charities that are near and dear to your heart?
Rymo: We try to do something every year. We’ve done ‘Toys For Tots‘. We did an Autism benefit a couple years back. We had a really bad year of fire here in San Diego about eight years ago and we raised a bunch of money to help people rebuild their homes. We try to do something around the holidays every year when we’re home, and donate all of the proceeds to charity. Usually there are two or three of those per year. We’ve done ‘Surfrider Foundation‘ over the years which is a non-profit organization that promotes water cleanliness. We’ve touched a bunch of different charities over the years. We did something for Childhood Cancer Awareness, I’m spacing out on the charity name at the moment. There are been a bunch of things, pretty much one or two a year, where we are able to kick those proceeds to charity and give back a little bit to the community.
Independent Philly: Tell me something about yourself or Slightly Stoopid as a whole that might surprise or even shock our readers.
Rymo: We are all music nerds. A couple of the guys are ‘gamers’, that’s kind of embarrassing, but I think it’s funny. Definitely have some video game guys in the band. Most of us are dads now so we are kind of just dorky dads and take the kids to school every day and then get on the airplane. That’s probably about it.
Independent Philly: Are your kids old enough to grasp that fact that their dad is a well known, touring musician?
RyMo: I think they’ll probably figure it out. My kids are pretty young, they are four and two. My older daughter, my four year old has seen a couple of local shows so she kind of gets it but I still think she kind of doesn’t understand the magnitude. She just knows I’m gone, and I’m home when I’m home and then I’m gone when I’m gone. I think there is some understanding of, “Yeah, dad’s a musician”. She sees me practicing all the time at home, so she knows I like to play drums a lot. So yeah, I think she has an idea.
We are really looking forward to rocking out with Slightly Stoopid at Festival Pier this Friday evening, June 9! Tickets are still available for the show, which also features Iration, J Boog, and The Movement, and they can be purchased right here.