I am confident I’m in the majority when I say this, but when it comes to summer time hanging, it doesn’t get much better than outdoor chilling with friends, beers and some background reggae music. Sure, Bob Marley is great the first 100 times, but there’s so much fantastic reggae music out there that demands your Spotify attention. Enter Slightly Stoopid. This SoCal band has released eight studio albums over the last twenty years, which in their own words consists of “a fusion of folk, rock, reggae and blues with hip-hop, funk, metal and punk.” To validate that, they’ve toured with Snoop, recorded with Bob Weir, were discovered by Sublime, and have played sold out shows on four continents.
They are returning to the North Charleston Riverfront this Friday (June 23rd) with special guests: Iration, J Boog, and (South Carolina natives) The Movement. What better way to spend a Summer Friday night?!
I had a chance to catch up with drummer, Ryan Moran (RyMo), this past Saturday while he’s touring down the East Coast and I was licking my hangover wounds from Day 1 of the Monterey Pop Fest. Slightly Stoopid had played Charleston, SC, last summer so we talked about how the set would change this year (new album news alert!), the state of rap today (we both seem to be ready for auto-tune to die a fiery death), and his thoughts on Rolling Stone’s Best Drummers of All Time list.
Writers on the Storm: I was at your show last summer at Riverfront Park and it was nothing short of greatness. With no new album out this time around, what can we expect for the set?
Rymo: “We’ll be putting in some new material. We actually have a new record that’s almost done and will be out early next year. Yea, we always try to mix it up. Play some oldies. Some really oldies. Some newer stuff. And some stuff we haven’t even recorded yet. We’ll probably do two or three tunes we haven’t released yet. We always try to throw a couple curve balls in there.”
Slightly Stoopid’s new album is still untitled at this point but Rymo shared that collaborations on the new album include reggae great Don Carlos on a track or two, G Love, Karl Denson (sax for Rolling Stones and Lenny Kravitz), UB40, and Bob Weir.
What are your thoughts on the state of rap music today?
Rymo: “I’ve heard the new Kendrick record and love it. I think it’s going in an interesting direction. I can’t speak on the genre as a whole because I’m just not versed in it, but it’s going back to some interesting music and lyrical content.”
I’m still trying to wrap my ahead around this auto-tune craze. I really tried to give 2Chainz and Future a hard listen but I just don’t get it. Probably doesn’t help I’m 40…but I do like J Cole and Kendrick.
Rymo: “Yea, I’m kind of over the auto-tune thing. What I would hope would happen the music would become just as important as the lyrics. I’m a musician, so I want to hear music. I don’t want to hear just the same ole boring tracks. I want to hear different sounding drum tones, different drum machine patterns, or hear a real drummer playing. That’s what I love about The Roots or guys that play with an actual band.”
“We did a tour with Pharrell years ago and he had a band behind him. It was a musical interaction. You can’t replicate that with a replayed track. When we did a tour with Snoop years ago it was kind of the same vibe. Drum machines, DJ, synthesizers, guitars, bass players – they really made the music elevate beyond what it would have been with just a DJ and Snoop.”
I was just perusing Rolling Stone’s 100 Best drummers of all time list. I don’t really agree with their ordering but wanted to ask you about it given your expertise. They had Ginger Baker #3, Keith Moon #2, John Bonham #1.
Rymo: “For me, I’m a Bonham guy so I wouldn’t disagree. But anytime you make a list it’s based on opinion. But, Bonham got me to start playing drums. I heard Zepplin when I was nine years old and I wanted to play because the drums spoke to me in a way that nothing else did. And years after that I got super into Moon and start studying The Who. I had all The Who records.”
“I love Stewart Copeland and obviously Vinnie Colaiuta. [Vinnie] is one of my top players. He’s such a powerhouse and beast. He’s played in a million types of genres from straight ahead jazz, to crazy fusion, to rock. He played with Zappa. He’s played with everyone. I like guys that can step up on the technical stuff and can get crazy but can also sit in the groove. To me, Vinnie is right there at the top of my list for that.”
“But the instrument and drumming has evolved so much. There are guys on YouTube who can blow doors on me all day long and I’ve been on the road the last twenty years. So, who’s better? I don’t know. I feel like these lists are slippery slopes.”
If your agent said he could setup anyone you want to do your next tour with who would it be?
Rymo: “It’d be nice to do some stuff with some older cats like supporting The Dead or opening for the Chili Peppers. We can go jammy or hip hop and shape our vibes for whoever we’re playing with.”