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By Alexandria Sardam | @KyKernel
Reggae phenomenon Slightly Stoopid took on Buster’s Wednesday night, promising a show that’s as jubilant as the sweltering summer air that’s been present these past few days.
If you’re not familiar with their tunes, don’t let their beachy West Coast vibe act as a spoiler alert because these guys bring more than tropical jams to the table with sweet hints of blues, punk and that all good psychedelic funk rock.
PTI was lucky enough to shoot the breeze with drummer Ryan “Rymo” Moran and chat about jamming with Bob Weir, playing Lollapalooza and smoking weed.
PTI: So you play a ton of instruments. When you’re not drumming for Slightly, what’s your favorite to play?
I play vibraphone, didjeridoo, a little piano and tabla (indian hand drums) in addition to drumset. I guess I like them all for different reasons.
PTI: When you were in school getting your BA in music did you know you wanted to be in a band? What were your plans for after graduation?
Yeah, definitely. I knew I wanted to perform and was spending 4-6 hours a day practicing while taking a full class load. My plans were to get on the road as much as possible. I started touring during my sophomore year and haven’t stopped since.
PTI: I want to talk a little about your own album, “Structure and Flow.” Took about three years to complete?
Not really, three years of fulltime work, but it took shape gradually over that period. In terms of actual studio time recording/mixing/mastering it probably took about 30 days. But I was touring/recording with Slightly, and would work on it when I had time and a clear mind. … It was also difficult to schedule because the owner of the studio I was working at tours a bunch and was also in and out of town frequently.
PTI: The song “Chase Scene” was named by your sister, Heather. Aside from her naming your songs, does your family influence you musically?
Have you written anything for them? Both of my sisters are very creative and artistic people and they were very influential to me at an early age. One was listening to punk, ska, rock, and metal; the other was listening to the Grateful Dead, Bob, Crosby Stills and Nash and other stuff like that. I actually liked it all for different reasons. Music has always been about the expression of different moods.
PTI: How did you meet Miles and Kyle and become part of Slightly Stoopid?
I met Miles and Kyle in the late ‘90s. I had seen them play around town, and had done gigs with Slightly while in another band. I liked the music a lot. It had flavor and also an edge. I lived in Ocean Beach, San Diego, for years and knew the guys from around town. We did a tour together in 2002 called the “Yellow Snow Tour” all through the mountain region and ski towns in the West. California, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Colorado, Idaho, etc. OG was helping drive and do merch and he would sit in and play a few songs with Slightly. He joined right there on the spot. We hit it off and they called me a year later and offered a tour and then a fulltime position.
PTI: What was the band dynamic like after Miles and Kyle decided to add you and additional people to the band? I mean they had been playing together and then they just add a few other dudes. Did it take a while to adjust?
The band was a four-piece when I joined. It was Miles, Kyle, OG and myself. We toured as this configuration for a few years. We would have guests come sit in and play a few songs on various tours. That’s when we met C$ and Dela. They were playing with a great reggae band out of Boston called John Brown’s Body. We clicked instantly and have since added a great keyboard player, Paul Wolstencroft also from Boston. Each individual brings their own style and flavor and listening history with them and that helps us shape songs.
PTI: It’s no secret the band is associated with marijuana. I mean you guys even have a song called “Marijuana.” Were you or anyone with the band nervous about being that blunt about drug use?
No, it’s something we’ve grown up with. It’s a lifestyle choice that we make conciously and aren’t shy about it.
PTI: How do you get away with smoking weed on stage?
Most of the time it’s all good … we have had a few run-ins though.
PTI: The band’s played Coachella, NOLA Jazz fest to Lolla. What festival has been the band’s favorite to play?
One of my favorites was Lollapalooza in Chicago. So many people, so many great bands. It’s a great gathering. Also, Street Scene in San Diego and Austin City Limits in Austin. We love festivals.
PTI: What’s one venue you’d love to play that you haven’t yet and hope to?
Probably more overseas venues and festivals that we’ve heard about. We’ve done a ton of great places here in the U.S. over the years.
PTI: If touring wasn’t a schedule conflict, what’s one festival you’d absolutely have to be at this summer?
I’ve never been to Bonaroo and always wanted to go. PTI: What’s it like playing in college towns? Great. You know there will be a fun crowd and probably some good restaurant options within walking distance.
PTI: Talk to me about Bob Weir inviting the guys to play in his studio and the making Live at Roberto’s TRI Studios?
What an honor. Many of us are huge fans of the Dead, so it was great for us. Also, his studio is in my hometown, so I visited a few friends and had some dinner at my old spot.
PTI: You played with Karl Denson there too, correct?
Yeah, Karl was a guest on TRI, as well as Ian and Ivan Neville of Dumstaphunk, and reggae legend Don Carlos, and of course Bob Weir, too.
PTI: Working on any new projects?
When can we expect the next S.S. album? Solo album?
Yeah. We are working on music all the time at the lab. It’s possible we will release another record some time next year. I have been working on some solo stuff too. Hopefully getting it out this year, time permitting. We are touring like crazy this year.