A smarter way to be Stoopid7/27/2016
San Diego-based psychedelic rock outfit Slightly Stoopid celebrated 20 years together in 2015. Now, as year 21 inches past its halfway point, the band is back on the road, doing what it does best. And while Slightly Stoopid has surprisingly experienced little turnover for a band beginning its third decade of existence, life on the road has evolved as the individual members have gotten older and more anchored.
“It’s different now than it used to be,” drummer Ryan Moran said in a phone interview. “A lot of us are fathers and husbands with kids. We try to get home and visit family whenever possible. For the last month, we’ve been taking breaks to get everyone home.
“It’s been great. It makes things a lot easier. Back in the day, we could go out for six to eight weeks straight. But now, it’s nice to have a little more space and see our families for a couple days and being able to come back to the band refreshed; it’s like hitting a reset button.”
The sense of growing family is not just an inward observation, either. Moran says that as the band returns to familiar stomping grounds, the familiar faces of longtime fans have been joined by their own children, paving the way for another generation of Slightly Stoopid fans to see the band live and experience the music first hand.
“We have been doing it a long time,” he admitted. “So we see a lot of that newer demographic coming in. A lot of us are getting up close to 40 now, so our fans who started a little younger have kids who are teenagers now, and they’re able to bring them to these venues. That feels great. We’re really happy with the decisions we’ve made to keep the band a touring band. We didn’t want to just set up a studio somewhere and make albums. For us, it’s always been about the long haul.”
But while Slightly Stoopid may have no intentions of becoming strictly a studio act anytime soon, setting up its own place to write and record — colloquially known as “The Lab” — has enabled the band to keep its new content flowing at its own pace, something that paid its first dividends in the form of last year’s studio release, “Meanwhile…Back at the Lab.”
“In years past, we had been doing the typical things that bands do where you go into the studio and work for a month or six weeks,” Moran explained. “Studios are expensive, and you kind of go in hoping for the best experience out of that time. So our idea was, ‘Look, we can keep spending 40-50 grand on an album, or we can start our own studio and work on things at our own pace.’ ”
A project that took five years of work back in its hometown of San Diego, The Lab takes up two large warehouses and includes rehearsal space and a recording studio, as well as storage space for instruments and room to write and work. It has allowed Slightly Stoopid to keep its creative output loose and free flowing without breaking the bank or forcing the band to operate on a restrictive time schedule. So far, it seems to have paid off: “Meanwhile…” peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Indie and Alt charts and became the band’s fifth-straight album to crack the upper half of the Billboard 200.
“We weren’t concerned with daily costs and dealing with that unspoken pressure,” Moran said. “We can go in and work three, four, five days in a row and have a more relaxed environment. I think, for us, it made the music a lot better.” CV