» Interviews » Let’s get STOOPID! Catching up with SLIGHTLY STOOPID’s Ryan “RyMo” Moran!
Let’s get STOOPID! Catching up with SLIGHTLY STOOPID’s Ryan “RyMo” Moran!

Slightly Stoopid

In their latest video, “The Prophet,” reggae band Slightly Stoopid shares a clip of a home recording with the late Bradley Nowell of Sublime jamming the song with them.  The clip is just one glimpse into a story that began almost twenty years ago with Stoopid singers and songwriters Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald hitting it off with Nowell, and getting signed to his label Skunk Records.

“When Miles first wrote that song, Brad loved it…” Drummer Ryan “RyMo” Moran shared, “He actually covered it for a little while and we played it live a little bit, but not as a whole band – usually Miles would play it solo at the end of the night.”

It’s a unique back-story, one that no doubt intertwines into everything, but it’s only one part of a story that’s still being written.  I had the opportunity to sit down with RyMo to talk a little about what he’s learned over the last thirteen years with Slightly Stoopid, the band’s new video and album.  A very special thanks to Sarah Shatto for shooting all of the interview photos!  I hope you enjoy!

How excited are you to be at Marymoor today?
RyMo: I’m super pumped! The Northwest has been really good to us over the years. It’s one of our favorite zones to be in. Specifically here at Marymoor, we’ve done this a bunch of times over the years. We have some friends here and the weather is nice, so we’re pumped!

Well I’d love to talk to talk about Meanwhile…Back at the Lab. What was different this time around?
Well we have our own studio now. We recorded Top of the World there too, so this is our second record now, in our own space. With this specific record – we have a second room now – we have kind of a huge compound. We have two industrial warehouse/business park type spaces. We customized them and soundproofed them and put crazy art all over the wall. We recorded the whole record there.

We had a bunch of guests; we had Ras MG, who used to play drums with Sublime, do some of the drum machine programming. We had another great drummer, Zed, who plays with Barrington Levy, sit in on a tune. Ivan Neville from Dumpsta Funk band from New Orleans. I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch of people but we were just super pumped to get back to work, make another album and get out on tour to support it!

How do collaborations like that come together?
The band has been together for almost twenty years, I’ve been a part of the band for thirteen, but most of the collaborations we do are friendships first. We meet these guys on tour and hit if off, become friends – “Hey, you want to sit in on a tune?” “Yeah, we’ll sit in on one of yours, you sit in on one of ours!” So we’ve been doing that for years.  And sometimes we make phone calls and say that we want a specific artist and get our Management to touch-base with their management and we make it work.

Kristina Valencia of interviews RyMo of Slightly Stoopid

Is it challenging to write as a 7-piece band?
Yes, it can be! When the band started, it was a 3-piece, even before my day. It was just bass, drums and guitar and of course Miles and Kyle were singing and switching between guitar and bass. Then we added OG, who joined in 2002. I joined a year later, then we were four. And then we added two horn players and since then our keyboard player, Paul as well.

It changes the sonic sort of textural things that we can create now because there are so many more voices. It also means that as individuals, we have to simplify our parts a little bit as musicians so that we’re not just stepping on each others’ toes musically. It’s kind of nice, it has refined everyones role in a certain way.

That being said, Miles and Kyle are our primary songwriters so if they have an idea or a riff that we can start on, we’ll put some drums and percussion down, create a backbone and then build as we go. So usually it’s drums, percussion, guitar and bass and then we’ll add the horns.

It’s an interesting collaboration. Not every tune has every member of the band. When we do a punk or ska thing, it might just be three of us playing. Also, if there’s an acoustic encore at a show, I’ll step off and Miles will just do guitar by himself, or Miles and Kyle together.

It’s enabled us to go broader in terms of musical styles and it’s given everyone more of a defined role.

I love the new video for “The Prophet” with that clip of home video with Brad Nowell…
Yeah, Miles and him became friends back in the day in San Diego. They were hanging out playing guitars, cruising, having some drinks and they just hit it off and became friends. Brad offered Miles and Kyle – he said, “hey I’m starting up this record label, Skunk Records, would you guys like to give it a shot and make an album? I’ll help you shape it and produce it.” That was 1994 or 1995. So that was the beginning of the whole thing and where we are now.

When Miles first wrote that song, Brad really liked it, as you can see in the video of them jamming together. He actually covered it for a little while and we played it live a little bit, but not as a whole band – usually Miles would play it solo at the end of the night. I think he just really liked the song so he re-worked it and re-shaped the lyrics a little bit and now it’s in its current form.

Has having a family and kids changed your approach or feeling toward the music that you make?
Yes and no. This has always been a huge part of my life since I was a young kid. I’ve been touring and playing in bands since I was 15. It’s always been a part of my life and I’m hoping it always will be. If I have the opportunity to stay as a professional performer, I would love that.

When you have kids – all the natural stresses aside – it makes you a little more responsible. Instead of just drinking beer all night and getting crazy, you have someone else that’s relying on you for money, for support, for everything. I think it’s made all of us quite a bit more responsible. Most of the guys are married and have kids for the most part.

For me personally, it’s made me a lot more serious. I think about the big picture now in terms of how I am I going to start a savings plan, how am I going to get my kids through school, how am I going to pay my mortgage for the next six months. Things that every parent worries about…I’m in that same boat.

It’s made me pick and choose my nights. I still have my nights where I go a little big, but you just get smarter about it as you get older.


How old are your kids?
I have a two year old and a nine-month old. Both girls.

So not quite old enough to comprehend what your day job is?
My two year old kind of gets it because I try to really explain it. She’s been on the tour bus. I’ll say, “Daddy’s going on the tour bus. I’m going to go play music with the uncles!” It’s funny because we FaceTime every day and my daughter just says, “Hi Daddy, uncles, can I see the uncles?!” She wants to see to them, she doesn’t want to see me [laughs]! I pass the phone around, and most of the guys have kids, so everyone makes faces and is funny. She loves it. So yeah, she kind of gets it now.

My wife and I both try to be as open and transparent about everything so that she doesn’t resent what I do. I know that a lot of times, depending on how you handle it as a parent, you can shape that resentment. I want to makes sure that she knows that I love what I do, it’s fun and it’s also providing us a comfortable lifestyle to where we live in a house and we have a car and can support basic needs in society.

What has touring taught you?
A lot. Everything. I’ve been doing it for twenty years. If nothing else, it has taught me humility. We’ve all paid a lot of dues over the years – starting in the van, pulling a trailer and then graduating to a tour bus. Then from there, starting to fly and sometimes fly first class. It’s gotten nicer, but it’s still a grind. Any time you’re traveling you’re in a different city every day.

What I’ve learned is to just be cool to people and people will be cool to you for the most part. If something feels weird, just leave. If there’s a party and things are getting weird or people are getting angsty…you don’t have to stay. I think I’ve gotten a sixth sense of just sensing how things feel as opposed to just being a clueless tourist.

Touring is pretty intense socially, so you’re always interacting with people and fans. You learn how to feel your place and go with the flow.

What are your three forever go-to albums?
Ah, that’s so hard! I would say any Led Zeppelin album. If I had to narrow it down, maybe Houses of the Holy. And then Miles Davis’ A Kind of Blue was an incredible album that really opened me up to jazz, so that was a really big album for me. I went through a huge jazz phase and then got back into rock. Another record that really opened my ears and head up was Radiohead’s OK Computer. It was something new at that point in my life. Those three albums are phases I went through in my life. Zeppelin got me started with music, jazz was something I pursued through my college years and then I came back around full circle to rock.

Thank you so much, RyMo!  For more on Slightly Stoopid, visit their Facebook page and their official site!  You can also see some more behind the scenes photos from our interview here.

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