May 22, 2022

How Slightly Stoopid rode the reggae-rock wave to success

View Original Notice ? How Slightly Stoopid rode the reggae-rock wave to success

When guitarists/singers Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald started Slightly Stoopid in 1994, they were out front of a second generation of bands that wanted to build on the reggae-rock sound that was starting to take hold thanks to the success of groups like Sublime, 311 and to a lesser extent, No Doubt.

Now some 28 years later, Slightly Stoopid is one of several California reggae-rooted bands that can headline outdoor amphitheaters and a veteran member of a scene packed with acts playing some variation of reggae-rooted music and espousing California culture built around skateboarding, surfing, and in many cases, the benefits of cannabis. In fact, touring amphitheaters has become an annual summer ritual for Slightly Stoopid, which will be a featured act at this year’s Cali Vibes fest in Long Beach. To say the least, Slightly Stoopid have become veterans at what it takes to deliver a large-scale show to crowds that can number upward of 20,000.

“Now it’s kind of like we’ve got a great crew, awesome lights guy,” Doughty said in a recent phone interview. “Everybody kind of knows what we’re all thinking. It just makes it that much easier when you surround yourself with the right people and the right energy. It’s like anything. If you’ve done something so many times, you get a lot better at it and start to perfect what’s going on around you.”

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Playing amphitheaters was a pipe dream for Slightly Stoopid when the group started out, but that’s not the case for groups trying to make their mark in the scene now. The Cali-reggae scene has grown into a significant part of the overall music scene and Doughty is pleased to see other bands benefiting from the genre’s popularity.

“I never thought we’d be where we are when I was a kid. This is like living the dream times 10,” Doughty said. “And it’s great. I’m happy for the successes for all of those bands. It’s great to see when a lot of your friends are doing well and are experiencing the same things across the board. It’s pretty cool.”

There’s been no magic formula to Slightly Stoopid’s success. The group built its following the old-fashioned hard way, playing 200 or more shows a year during its first decade. Over the years, Slightly Stoopid also added band members to go with its expanding instrumental mix. Today, the lineup includes Doughty, McDonald (guitar, bass, vocals), Ryan Moran (drums), Oguer Ocon (percussion, harp), Daniel “Dela” Delacruz (saxophone), Paul Wolstencroft (keyboards) and Andy Geib (trombone),

And as the touring miles piled up, Slightly Stoopid released studio albums on a regular basis, developing and refining their sunny brand of reggae mixed with rock, funk, folk, pop and even punk rock along the way.

The group’s ninth studio album, “Everyday Life, Everyday People,” arrived last summer and features guest appearances from several major figures in the reggae world, including Ali Campbell of UB40, Don Carlos (of Black Uhuru fame), Yellowman, Sly Dunbar and Chali 2na (of Jurassic 5). While plenty eclectic, “Everyday Life, Everyday People” finds Slightly Stoopid leaning a bit more toward reggae than on some of the previous albums.

  • Miles Doughty of Slightly Stoopid performs onstage during Concerts In Your Car’s Slightly Stoopid’s Drive-In Concert at Ventura County Fairgrounds and Event Center on Oct. 09, 2020 in Ventura, California. Slightly Stoopid is one of the headliners of the Cali Vibes reggae festival in Long Beach Feb. 4-6. (File photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

  • Slightly Stoopid performs on the Low Tide stage at the BeachLife Festival at Seaside Lagoon in Redondo Beach on Friday, May 3, 2019. The band is one of the headliners of the Cali Vibes reggae festival in Long Beach Feb. 4-6.
    (File photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

  • Kyle McDonald and Miles Doughty of Slightly Stoopid perform onstage during Concerts In Your Car’s Slightly Stoopid’s Drive-In Concert at Ventura County Fairgrounds and Event Center in October 2020. Slightly Stoopid is one of the headliners of the Cali Vibes reggae festival in Long Beach Feb. 4-6. (File photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

  • Miles Doughty of Slightly Stoopid performs at the McDowell Mountain Music Festival, on Saturday, March, 29, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona. The band is on the lineup for Goldenvoice’s new reggae festival California Vibrations Festival, which is set to take place Feb.4-6 at Marina Green Park in Long Beach. (Photo by Rick Scuteri/Invision/AP)

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Doughty credited the guest artists on “Everyday Life, Everyday People” with helping set the tone for the music on the album.

“Just because of the guest stars we had on the record, it’s definitely more of a reggae-influenced record. But you still have songs like ‘One More Night,’ which is nothing even in the reggae realm,” he said. “I think for us, with the guest stars we had, we ended up doing more reggae than we usually do on the records, which is fine because we love reggae music anyway.”

Doughty said there’s always a chance fans will see musical collaborations on stage between Slightly Stoopid and the other musicians, and these are moments he enjoys.

“What’s cool is it’s really something just special for the fans when they can see that kind of camaraderie, Doughty said. “It really makes a difference in the shows. It’s genuine. There’s nothing like set up about it. That’s what so special about the bands. People can relate because we’re all just regular, real people.”

If you go

When: Noon each day, Feb. 4-6

Where: Marina Green Park in Long Beach, 386 E. Shoreline Drive, Long Beach

Admission: Three-day passes start at $285 for general admission, $420 for VIP and $999 for luxe Beach Club passes. For single-day passes, general admission passes starts at $125, VIP starts at $180 and Beach Club starts at $450.

COVID-19 rules: Attendees must present proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result (molecular, PCR or antigen) that displays the name, result and timestamp. It also must be administered by an official testing center. Home test results will not be accepted. A PCR test taken within two days of the attendee’s arrival at the festival or within 1 day if it’s an antigen test. Face masks are required at all times, except when actively eating and drinking.

Information: calivibesfest.com

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