Slightly Stoopid’s Miles Doughty talks about the reggae-rock band’s early influences ahead of Tahoe show
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
If you go
What: Slightly Stoopid
When: 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13
Where: Harveys Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena
Slightly Stoopid may be 20 years and eight studio albums into its career with its newly released CD, “Meanwhile…Back at the Lab,” but the band doesn’t mind giving fans a reminder of how things started for the group all those years ago.
Smack in the middle of “Meanwhile…Back at the Lab,” after seven songs that touch on the laid-back Southern California-styled mix of reggae, funk, soul and rock, the group unleashes the song “F*** You.”
It’s a blistering, guitar heavy three-minute blast of pure punk rock, and a song so different from the previous songs that it makes one wonder whether some different band hijacked the album and sonically photo bombed Slightly Stoopid.
That’s not what happened, obviously. “F*** You” was written and recorded by Slightly Stoopid. And singer/guitarist/bassist Miles Doughty feels it has an important function on “Meanwhile…Back at the Lab.”
“I felt like it was more of a statement, just saying look, just because we’re playing jammy kind of music, reggae, blues, rock, hip-hop, just because we’re playing that stuff, doesn’t mean that we don’t remember our punk rock roots,” Doughty said in a late-June phone interview. “That’s all Slightly Stoopid used to be when we first started as a band. I don’t want to just play punk rock music my whole career. That’s not what I wanted to do and neither did Kyle (band co-founder and other main songwriter Kyle McDonald). Kyle writes good songs. It’s something that, we’ve always been punk rockers at heart. We grew up listening to Minor Threat, Black Flag, stuff like that, Descendents, Operation Ivy. That element is there in our music, and we just thought this record needed some (of that), right like almost at about the middle point of the record, just kind of like an in-your-face (moment).”
As Doughty suggested, instead of going punk, Slightly Stoopid became one of the trailblazers of what has become one of the most popular alt-rock subgenres to emerge over the past two decades – SoCal-styled reggae-rock. Slightly Stoopid is one of several bands in the genre that can now headline outdoor amphitheaters, enjoying a level of major popularity that seemed like a pipe dream when the group followed pioneering bands like Sublime and 311 onto the scene.
Slightly Stoopid built its career the old-fashioned way – by touring relentlessly. The band also kept recording albums that saw the group’s sound evolve and expand considerably over time.
“Meanwhile…Back at the Lab” is nothing if not diverse. The reggae that has become a cornerstone of the Slightly Stoopid sound is well represented with songs like “Come Around,” “This Version,” the dubby “Fades Away.” But there’s also acoustic folk-pop on “Prophet” (a song that appeared on Slightly Stoopid’s first album and has been reworked here). “Hold It Down” is a well executed Jamaican-style ska tune. On “Time Won’t Wait,” the group digs into a deep funk groove, but adds some psychedelic touches and horns that put an inventive spin on the song. If Muddy Waters had grown up in Jamaica, he might have come up with something like this version of “Rolling Stone.” And oh yes, there’s the blazing punk of “F*** You.”
It’s easy to visualize fans dancing and grooving to the songs during the warm evenings at Slightly Stoopid concerts this summer, and Doughty says the group is indeed adding new tunes into its live set.
“Well we’re definitely in the summer going to start playing some tracks off of the new album,” he said. “This will be our eighth record, so we’re going to have eight records to choose from with songs. We’ll mix in a little bit of the old, old in between and try to sprinkle in like five or six songs from the new album during the show. I think it’s going to be good.”