Slightly Stoopid is in the middle of their Return of the Red Eye summer tour, which is currently cruising down the East Coast with stops this weekend in Raleigh, NC, and Charleston, SC. Also on the ticket are SOJA, The Grouch, Eligh, and Zion I. Drummer, Ryan “Rymo” Moran, was gracious enough to hop on the phone to chat with me about the tour and a variety of questions talking festivals, collaborations, best and worst shows, and working with Bob Weir and Cypress Hill. We’ll be doing a write up of their Charleston, SC, show on July 31st at Riverfront Park, so follow us on Twitter @LiveFnMusic for that.
So looking at the schedule, today is the second night of five straight shows. That fifth show’s got to be tough, right?
Rymo: “We’ve been doing it for so many years at this point, if we can work four nights it enables a lot of us to get home for a three day break. But yea, it’s inevitable. We got a couple five night shows on the tour and the fifth show can be hard, yea. The body is pretty wrenched out by that point, you know?”
How does the set list work when you’re doing that many shows in a row?
Rymo: “We try to vary it a little bit each night. We have our set quote of songs that we’ve been playing night in and night out and fan requests…and we try to add and subtract a few. We’ve been pretty consistent as far as the song selection on this tour. It’s kind of good because it makes the songs really tight and right but keep it fresh.”
Of all the gigs, festivals and pool parties Slightly Stoopid have played, which one stands out the best?
That’s a hard one. For me the big festivals are pretty awesome. We did Lollapalooza a few years back. That was really special. We were playing along some bands I really like, like Social Distortion, and I think Green Day headlined. It’s nice to finish the show and then go watch bands you grew up being inspired by. All the festivals are probably my favorite for that purpose. We saw Robert Plant last year. Blues Traveler. Lots of variety.
What goes into selecting festivals year in and year out? There seem to be a million out there now.
It depends on the year. This year we did a lot of festivals in the early part of the year on the West coast. Typically, with the festival selection, you usually do it once every two to three years so there’s not the exact same lineup every year. At this point we’ve done pretty much all the major ones. Austin City Limits. Riot Fest in Chicago last year. California Roots on the West Coast. Gathering of the Vibes up in the Northeast. Summer Camp. We try to do them every second or third year. If there’s availability, we’ll fly out there and back.
You’ve done some festivals with great talents like Kanye at Bonnaroo in 2014. Is it easy to get other acts to join you on stage?
Oh yea, we do that a lot. We were in a festival with Brazil last year and Cypress Hill was there. We’ve toured with them a couple times in the past. We invited B Real to come up and do a song. Yea, we do that all the time with bands we know…come up and sing something. Like right now we’re out with SOJA and they come up on the last song. Pretty much their whole band comes up and kind of does a takeover. It’s really fun for us. Kick back for a minute and let the crowd vibe off the energy.
With all the different styles of music you guys play, I thought you’d be perfect for the Bonnaroo Superjam…but no?
Yea. We didn’t get invited to the Superjam. I guess we’re not cool enough.
Ha, yea right. Who are some of the other people you’ve enjoyed jamming with?
Over the years, Damian and Stephen Marley, Snoop Dogg, Nevilles, Tony Ruffin, Chali 2na is a big one. Lots of horn players.
So, on the flip side, what was one of the worst concert experiences you’ve had?
Man, there’s been a ton. It’s hard to pinpoint just one. The worst ones for us is when we see people get hurt. The band stops. There’ve been a few events where there have been some weird injuries from people stage diving and trying to get on stage…just head-banging speakers and literally passing out. We want people to come out and enjoy the show and not get hurt. We like to get a little crazy and play some punk and want a little bit of a mosh. We want everyone to have a good time but the injuries, that’s not our style.
Piggybacking what happened to Queen recently and the O’Jays, if you woke up to find out both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were playing your song, The Prophet, on their campaign stages, what would the band reaction be?
I don’t know man. (laughs). As a group, we have different political views so we wouldn’t want to commit to either one side. We’re pretty A-political really. We all have our own beliefs but our music is not about an agenda. It’s about having fun. It’s the opposite of the political views. We wouldn’t want to be a mouthpiece for that.
So Bob Weir has invited you guys twice before to jam with him at his studios. You think there will be the hat trick?
A little too soon to tell but yea I hope so. We’ve played there twice. We’re huge fans. He’s busy as hell right now with Dead Co. Yea, I think we’ll probably do something again with him I hope. I grew up a huge Mickey Hart fan. I love all the drumming records he’s made. We’re huge fans. Karl Denson, who has played with the Rolling Stones, is sitting in with us. He just did a gig with Phil Lesh last week in Northern California. We’re pretty close to their camp in several different ways.
Have you thought about hosting a streaming studio session like Weir’s TRI Studios?
We’ve done it a couple of times. We did it for a benefit in our own studio a couple years back. We had some cameras setup and Go Pros and a live stream. We’ll definitely be doing more of that in the future. That’s a new way to reach a lot of fans quickly and still be in the comfort of your own studio.
So many bands breakup over money and so close to each other all the time what keeps you going for so long?
We’re just like any other band where we can butt heads and days we’re fried and tired. The thing about it is you have a deep bond. A lot of us have been in this band for well over 10 years. We want to do it. All of us want to play music. We love the lifestyle. We love being on the road. And sure, there’s those days you’re missing your family. A lot of us now have kids, wives and stuff. Those things make it tough, but we love doing it at the end of the day. So, that’s what keep us going.
What concerts are you going to see after the tour as a fan?
I’d like to see some punk rock shows. I haven’t been to a good punk show in a minute. Maybe some festivals. Check out some shows with my wife.
Being San Diego based you do so much with West coast rappers…what East coast rappers have you worked with?
Hmm. Top off my head no idea but I think we have.
I always thought a good collaboration would be Kyle and Busta Rhymes on a song with how fast both of them go.
That would be sweet. We haven’t really done a lot of collabos with East coast guys, but we’ve had them at our shows. The Wu-Tang guys and Tribe Called Quest guys come out usually but yea, we’ve haven’t collaborated with them.
I’ll be at the Charleston, SC, show on Sunday. With the South being so conservative, would you consider opening with (the very NSFW) Til It Gets Wet?
Oh yea. (laughs). We do it all the time. We did last week a couple of times. For sure.
For those that haven’t seen Slightly Stoopid live, I highly recommend it. They change between reggae, punk, metal, rap. Here’s a short fan video of what to expect with their style: