California’s feel good reggae rockers Slightly Stoopid are in the midst of their annual summer tour schedule. The San Diego band is on a 12-week journey across the country with supporting acts Iration, J Boog, and The Movement. The group recently released their new music video for the track “One Bright Day.” Additionally, a charity auction is taking place featuring original (signed and numbered) hand painted canvasses used in the video to benefit the Global BrightLight Foundation. The nonprofit group provides affordable solar energy solutions to rural and impoverished communities worldwide. In anticipation of their sold-out show this Friday at the Pacific Amphitheatre, I spoke on the phone with bassist and singer, Kyle McDonald, about life on the road and what we can expect in OC.
OC Weekly (Michael Silver): You and guitarist Miles Doughty switch up singing and playing lead guitar and bass so effortlessly throughout your shows. Whose idea was that? Was it always easy?
Kyle McDonald: There’s no real formula, I play the guitar, bass, and sing too. For the most part whoever is playing the guitar will be singing on that song. Plus we get bored (laughs). We all play guitar, bass, ukulele, so it makes it more fun.
How’s the current tour going? What’s it been like with Iration, J Boog, and The Movement?
We’re on week six right now of a 12-week tour and it’s pretty mental. You can’t dream this kind of stuff. When I go to bed I don’t dream this good! It’s insane, the shows are cracking, everyone is having a good time, and that’s what a concert is. For people to go and have a good time, it’s their outlet to go blow off some steam and forgot about realities of everyday life and throw back a couple of cold ones. All three (opening) bands are really good and extremely talented.
Are summer time tours the best in your mind or do they all blend together after awhile?
We tour all year round, this year we did some overseas in Brazil, Costa Rica, and Australia. We try to get everywhere and talking to our team like ‘We want to play here, we need to hit there,’ you definitely want to show love and play in as many places as you can. Now we’re on a 3-month tour and we wanted to add more dates honestly.
The upcoming Pacific Amphitheater show is sold out. Are there any special guests or songs you have in store for OC?
We have a big musical family so we’ll have homies from other bands join us. Right now Iration, J Boog, and The Movement, we all jump on each other’s sets. At the end of the show we do a big super jam sesh..
I’ve noticed the group has a strong connection to the skateboard community. Does that date back to your days growing up in San Diego?
I can’t really put my finger on what it is. We grew up in San Diego so surfing and skating is a big part of where we’re from. There’s so many good surfers and skaters it’s ridiculous. It’s the same with musicians, people that shred. It’s kind of a lifestyle in California for sure. We went on a Hawaiian tour a few years ago with Danny Way, Barrington Levy, and Don Carlos throughout all the islands to raise money to build new skate parks. We became pretty good friends with Danny. When we work with people and cross paths you know, we become family.
Meanwhile…Back At The Lab was released just over 2 years ago. Are there plans for a new album? Do you guys write new songs on the road or wait to hit the studio?
We’re always recording music no matter where we are. I like to have fun and record anywhere. We have our own studio that we built seven years ago. It’s a multi- facilitated operation where you can jam, rehearse, record, go to hang out and play XBOX or Playstation, go work out and handle business in the office.
We have a lot of songs already recorded and we’re still recording more but a lot of songs are already tracked for our next record that will probably be releasing early next year.
Your studio set-up sounds like the ultimate man cave, that’s awesome!
It pretty much is. If you look at our Meanwhile…Back At The Lab album cover we tried to put everything from the studio in one picture. It’s pretty awesome, when I grew up I was recording in my bedroom on a karaoke machine. I always have fun being a nerd, playing different instruments and having everything accessible. Plus it’s in an industrial zone so we can make some serious noise in there anytime that we want.
I’m fascinated by your album artwork and concert posters, especially the Star Wars themes; who comes up with the designs?
We have a bunch of different artists that we work with, some really talents artists for friends. Right now we have Jay Alders based in New Jersey, he does a lot of beautiful ocean and beach natural paintings. Forever Stoked are based up North and they’re amazing, one of my favorite artists. Emek does our album covers and for these tour posters a lot of fans actually do artwork for us. We ask them for permission to use them on select dates of the tour. They get pretty stoked out to be able to have us display their art, so it’s pretty cool.
If you could go on tour with any band, dead or alive, who would it be?
I don’t know if our band and their band would mesh well because it’s two different types of music but we grew up on Mötley Crüe. That would be insane. That’s apples and oranges, it’s a tough one. Those guys and Metallica are some of the bands that inspired Slightly Stoopid. Miles and I never thought it would transcend into what it’s become now. We started the band in high school and our first gig was in the quad during lunchtime. After graduating we hit the road, started making tracks, and have been doing it ever since.
If you can’t make it to the Pacific Amphitheatre on July 21st Slightly Stoopid returns to SoCal with shows August 24th at the Greek Amphitheatre in LA and August 26th at the Del Mar Racetrack.
Michael Silver is a journalist and photographer based in Southern California. He covers music, sports, technology, and streetwear. Tips & pitches: firstname.lastname@example.org