Slightly Stoopid Interview

These days, Slightly Stoopid is a household name. But it hasn't always been sold out venues and worldwide tours. Backyard Ocean Beach, California parties in the early nineties alongside soon-to-be legends like Bradley Knowell (Sublime) are the benchmark of Miles Doughtly and Kyle McDonald's long yet steady ascension to rock stardom. We caught up with Miles and Kyle on the eve of their Southern California tour, where they'll be promoting their latest record Slightly Not Stoned Enough To Eat Breakfast Yet Stoopid alongside bros and fellow San Diego residents Pepper. From the beginnings to inspirations, to poli-DICKS. We covered it all.

Listen to them live now while you read the interview – Click Here to play their new CD “Slightly not Stoned enough to eat Breakfast but Stoopid”

What's going on boys? MILES: Just out here in Vegas for the start of this Tour. It's cooking out there man; I think it's like 100 degrees. It's cool though, 'cause we've got the pool out here at the Hard Rock and the little tropical island out there where you can grab one of those cabanas and drink pina coladas and cocktails all day. [laughs] Guess it's either in the pool or stuck inside with the AC. MILES: Yeah, I definitely couldn't live out here full-time, unless I had one of these sick tropical pools at my pad, you know? Gotta stay by the ocean, that's the rule, huh? KYLE: Oh yeah, that's why we live in Ocean Beach brother! Couldn't agree more. OK, so before the world tours, Hard Rock Hotels and tropical pools, who was Slightly Stoopid? MILES: Well, Kyle and I have grown up together since we were one and two years old, so we've been best friends ever since. Even before we started playing music together when we were kids, we always wanted to be in a band together, because we used to watch the old Motley Crue videos, like, the "Girls, Girls, Girls" video — stuff that you watch and you're just like, 'Man, that's what I want to do!' When you're a kid, those guys are like your heroes. So we started a band and started playing together when we were, like, 15. And sometime around there you met Bradley Knowell from Sublime? MILES: Yeah, were just doing the backyard parties and small gigs and stuff at the time. We actually met Brad at this place called Dream Street in Ocean Beach and we became friends. He ended up coming over to the pad one day and so we all started jamming and we told him all about our band. So we were friends and just kind of jammin' and chillin' for about a year and then at that point he asked us to come play a show with Sublime at the Foothill Tavern in Long Beach. So after the show [Brad] and Miguel [Happoldt] came up to us and were like, 'Let's make a record and get this stuff going.' Obviously, we were stoked — we had been listening to them for a while because Kyle's dad had this old school Sublime tape that they gave him when he met them on a surf trip down in Mexico. For us, it was sick, because the band that we had looked up to was getting behind us and supporting our music. From there, just having the Skunk Records label on our music — even if people didn't know who we were — they wanted to find out who Slightly Stoopid was. Just seeing that Skunk Records name made people want to check us out no matter what because it had that hard core, underground reputation. And that helped us out with starting our tour. Even if there were twenty people there. Was it a fast rise from there? MILES: No, it wasn't fast, 'cause I've been in this band for almost 16 years! [laughs] What was cool though was that when people started to catch on, you could see it — like, you could see the numbers of people at our shows growing substantially. It took about 10 years of just, like, grinding it out and just cruising around in the van doing our thing. We've been in a tour bus for only about 5 years now. But after that 10-year mark, it went from 1,000 to 1,500, 1,500 to 2,000, 2,000 to 2,500 and now some of these venues we're playing hold close to 8,000 or 9,000 people. It's crazy to think about that — we're just some beach kids that got lucky. We get to play our music and see the world. Definitely blessed. And we here you still show up and play the random house party in Ocean Beach. KYLE: F–k yeah. You have to, just to keep you leveled — to keep like it was when you started. We'll always do that, man. Was there a particular song that you feel busted you guys out? KYLE: Man, that's hard to say. We don't really go by one song 'cause we like so many different styles of music. Some people have hit singles, but since we play so many different kinds of songs I, personally, could never pin it on one. Different songs hit at different times, you know? Is there still the nervous factor, especially when you play these large venues? MILES: Yeah, but numbers only feed the energy now for us. You're heart will still race of course when you get on stage, but that's like one of the most insane feelings in the world. You kind of just go 'Holy shit!' It's kind of like when you walk down to the beach and it's triple overhead, you just have to match the craziness before you. When there are nine or ten thousand people out there, it forces you to be a maniac. Even in the small crowds though, you get that craziness. Like, we just played a little secret show the other night at our local bar, Winston's, in Ocean Beach (where we started out) with a capacity of, like, {{{200}}} people or something and it was just chaotic. The streets were flooded. The alleys were flooded. And the energy was just insane. Plus, the crowd's right there in your face and that's just sick, 'cause it's like playing a house party again. Going from backyard band to big-time recording artists, personally do you feel your sound has changed or grown? MILES: As musicians I think, as you get older your music evolves. When we started out we were mainly just a punk rock band. We had a lot of other musical influences, but that was the direction of the band. But as we got older, we just started playing more jam-style stuff because you start playing all of these different shows and you want to get the ladies dancing, the entire crowd crackin' — you don't just want to be playing pit music the whole time. Besides, myself and the rest of the guys in the band are fans of all different kinds of music, from reggae to blues to jazz to metal to hip hop to funk to punk rock. For us, it's cool to put it all together because that's the vibe we get nowadays.Also, when you're young and you're playing punk rock, you're pissed off — I think that almost every teenager is pissed at going to school, pissed at his parents, pissed at the cops, whatever, you know? Things are a lot different because you're starving for madness at that point in your life and now it's like we can reflect more and just chill because we're all good friends and we've been doing this for so long and we can enjoy everyday of it now. For us, we're still playing music, and we know we're the luckiest people on the planet. So, your inspirations have probably changed a bit over the years too? MILES: For me, I like going to tropical places and just chillin'. Musically, I get my inspiration from a bunch of different musicians, but for life inspiration I like the tropics, like Tahiti or something. [laughs] You can just disappear. With that in mind, describe you writing process? KYLE: That's funny, I was just talking about that with our percussionist OG (Oguer Ocon). We were saying that when you try to make a song, it doesn't really work, instead you kinda just have to go with the vibe. It's kind of like when you buzzed and you're just having a good time and you get in the flow. If you try to hard, it's never gonna work out. But when you just let it happen, that's when you get the best shit. And where do you prefer to record? The studio, or the house? KYLE: I like to record in the house. The studio can give that sound — that too-big-too-clean sound. I like the grainy shit. We've got so many recordings from the house that sound way better than the studio. What's it like dealing with the suits in the music industry? KYLE: We try not to deal with all of that and focus strictly on the music — we try to let other people handle that. We try to stay out of the politics…I don't even call it politics, I call it Poli-DICKS. [laughs] What we try to do is hang out with good people and try to have a good time and make the most out of our days, you know? Politics can get ugly and we don't like dealing with that. What are some of your favorite, and least favorite, places to visit when on tour? MILES: That's what's pretty nice about this job — that you see so many spots that you just want to stay at or keep on going right past. I love the East Coast, the vibe is cool there; the Carolinas are sick, Florida is cool. New York, that place is crazy. And Jersey, yeah, we used to play at the Stone Pony over there in Asbury Park. The coasts are always killer. But, I think the dopest venue in the country is the Red Rocks in {{{Colorado}}} — it's God's country out there. As far as international, Portugal is really rad and Guam…that place is killer.KYLE: I really do love San Diego, because it's right next to Mexico and it's so unique. Plus, it's home; it's paradise. But as far as elsewhere I'd have to say Australia…can't complain! [laughs] How weird is it when you're touring in another country with a different language and they know your lyrics? MILES: It's pretty crazy. Like, when we were in Guam there had been a DJ down there playing our acoustic record Wiseman for about a year, so when we got over there people already knew our music and we were just tripping. There were, like, 3,000 people at the show and every one of them knew the words. But, then when they're not singing and just talking, you can't understand a word they're saying and vice versa. It's a cool thing to see man, when your music reaches out worldwide. How is it touring with Pepper? MILES: It's cool. We've been friends for ten years so it's kinda like when your going out on the road with your boys, it's kinda like just going out on the town for a regular night, no different. You can't really do any wrong when you've been together like that for so long. What are your thoughts on your new album Slightly Not Stoned Enough to Eat Breakfast yet Stoopid? MILES: I'm stoked on the way everything turned out. It's basically a collection of how Slightly Stoopid is, you know? It's a melting pot of everything that we do — just all kinds of styles. The vibe stays the same in our music, like we preach about the herbs and having a good time and this album says that from start to finish. What about the future? You plan on doing this for a while? KYLE: Honestly, we don't plan on what the future will bring, we just take it day by day. We love what we do so, yeah, we're not stopping any time soon. You know, sometimes when we've been at home on break, we're just like, God we wanna get back out on the road and go play again. Some people drive buses, some people are professional skateboarders and that's what they do every day. With us, it's music and that's what we love to do — music is our calling and that's why we're all together now. It's what we're here to do. –Andrew Lewis