Employing a self-described amalgam of “folk, rock, reggae and blues with hip-hop, funk, metal and punk,” Southern California’s Slightly Stoopid originated in the 1990s as a classic SoCal skatepunk crew before transitioning into cannabis-fueled purveyors of carefree, jam-centric good times with the release of 2003’s Everything You Need. Signed to Sublime mastermind Brad Nowell’s Skunk imprint while co-founders Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald were still in high school, the band eventually grew into a sprawling seven-piece that became known for its musical eclecticism and energetic and inclusive live performances. Since debuting in 1996, the group has issued a string of studio and live albums, with highlights arriving via 2005’s Closer to the Sun, 2007’s Chronchitis, and 2015’s Meanwhile…Back at the Lab.
After inking a deal with Skunk in 1995, the band released a pair of LPs, Slightly $toopid in 1996 and Longest Barrel Ride in 1998. While the sound was skatepunk influenced by thrash elements and copious amounts of weed, Doughty and McDonald’s playing and singing had matured considerably by 2001 and Live & Direct: Acoustic Roots. The duo later added drummer Ryan Moran, saxophonist Daniel “Dela” Delacruz, and percussionist/vocalist Oguer Ocon to the line-up. By 2003 and Everything You Need, they were rocking a California-centric sound of loopy sampledelic pop, hip-hop influence, and sunny marijuana affirmations, with the occasional return to raucous skatepunk. In 2005, Slightly Stoopid released their most accomplished album to date, Closer to the Sun. The record mixed dub and reggae influences with light hip-hop and an easy groove — on tracks like “Ain’t Got a Lot of Money,” Doughty and McDonald suggested Jack Johnson fronting Fun Lovin’ Criminals. Their eclectic mix of sounds found the band on tours over the years with a variety of acts including the Marley Brothers, blink-182, G. Love & Special Sauce, Pennywise, and N.E.R.D. Considering Slightly Stoopid’s longtime and adamantly D.I.Y. work ethic, Closer to the Sun impressively debuted in the Billboard Top 200 and sold nearly 25,000 copies in its first two months of release. The EP Slightly Not Stoned Enough to Eat Breakfast Yet Stoopid appeared next, which contained Sun outtakes and other classic studio recordings. Playing nearly 200 shows a year for their diverse fan base affectionately termed Ese Locos or Stoopidheads, the group released a live album (Winter Tour ’05-’06) and DVD (Live in San Diego) in June 2006. The releases reflected the band’s tendency to jam for nearly two hours at their gigs, focusing on improvisation and crowd interaction. Despite their intense touring schedule, the band managed to make it into the studio, and in 2007 they released Chronchitis. The following year they treated fans to an updated version of their Slightly Not Stoned Enough to Eat Breakfast Yet Stoopid release. The updated version featured all of the tracks from the 2005 EP, as well as outtakes from Chronchitis, cover songs, and unreleased crowd favorites. The band returned in 2012 with Top of the World, an album that continued their evolution toward smoother sounds and featured guests like G. Love, Barrington Levy, and Jurassic 5’s Chali 2na. The album Meanwhile… Back at the Lab followed in 2015 and was supported by a U.S. tour, then a lengthy international jaunt that saw the group playing shows in South America, Australia, England, and the Netherlands. In 2017, they undertook their annual “Sounds of Summer” tour of headline shows at outdoor amphitheaters and issued the single “One Bright Day,” which featured a guest appearance by American-Trinidadian singer/songwriter and producer Angela Hunte. The following year saw the group issue their ninth full-length studio effort, Everyday Life, Everyday People, which featured guest spots from G. Love, Alborosie, Don Carlos, and Yellowman, among others. ~ Johnny Loftus