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Slightly Stoopid to Kick Off Closer to the Sun Hangout in Mexico This Week: Q&A

Billboard - February 15, 2019

As the fall months turn into winter, most bands take a break from touring and plot their summer and spring runs, but reggae-rock legends Slightly Stoopid are showing no signs of slowing down with a busy schedule through the end of 2018.

The band formed in 1994 by Oceanside, California friends Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald and discovered and signed by Sublime’s Bradley Nowell just wrapped their fall Just Passing Through tour and is getting ready to head to Riviera Maya, Mexico, Nov. 30 through Dec. 4 for the fifth anniversary of Closer To The Sun, the band’s destination music and vacation experience, where Slightly Stoopid will perform their album Live and Direct: Acoustic Roots in full for the first time since it was released in 2004.    

It’s been a busy year for the band, who has recorded and performed with Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill, 311, UB40, Stephen Marley, and Mac Miller, who passed away in September. The band’s ninth studio album Everyday Life, Everyday Peoplewas released July 13 and peaked at No. 60 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart.

Billboard recently caught up with Doughty to talk about the band’s long history as one of reggae rock’s biggest bands and the time he spent earlier this year recording and performing with Grateful Dead legend Bob Weir. 

The Closer to the Sun festival in Riviera Maya is about to celebrate its fifth year. How has the vibe and experience of Closer to the Sun evolved?
It’s the ultimate fan experience and the dopest backyard party you’ll ever attend. For a lot of the fans who come every year to hang out, it’s their annual trip. They’re repeat offenders who come down every year to hang out and have a blast. We’re all in the same resort and everybody’s having lunch together and drinking together — it’s basically like the ultimate backyard party.

How did you settle on Riviera Maya?
It’s so beautiful down there and it’s a gorgeous time of year to be in Mexico, doing a little pre-holiday party for adults. It’s a great place for us to unwind — we spend the whole year touring and recording and this is a little party with the fans. 

Next year is the 15th anniversary of Live and Direct: Acoustic Roots. Why do you think the album has had so much staying power
The fans have been wanting us to play it for a long time and we’re going to play it in its entirety at Closer to the Sun for the first time. Most people don’t know that we recorded the entire album in one take. We didn’t expect to get this cool record out of it — we just sat down to play this 45-minute acoustic set and we released it because we were in between touring and having a little bit of shakeup in the lineup. We sat there with a 12 pack of coronas and a couple spliffs and just hit record. 
Are there songs on Live and Direct that haven’t played in a long time?
We haven’t played the original “Fire Shot” in a while. We used to play that all the time and was a staple of the live show. We’ve been playing “Devil’s Door” and every now and then we play “If This World Were Mine.” There’s definitely some songs that we mixed in to the repertoire as of late, so it’s gonna be really cool to dip into that era and have some fun. 

Let’s talk about the new album Everyday Life, Everyday People which has some great covers and collaborations with Charlie 2na from Jurassic Five and the G. Love. What has been the response to the album?
The response has been awesome from the fans and just the experience recording it was, was great. I mean if you listen to the record, it’s really just life experiences for us on the road and what we’re dealing with now as parents with families at home. It’s us trying to reflect on our view on the world as we see it today. Music is the one weapon that we can use globally that reaches so many people and brings peace in a crazy time. And that’s what I love about the touring and summertime vibes is that everybody comes out and lets all their worries go and just has a good time. 

Weed is now legal in your home state of California. Have you thought about jumping into the cannabis game?
That’s in the works right now, it’s just a matter of getting the right people and get everything lined up the way we want it. But yeah, we’re definitely going to dabble in it, we’ve been supporting it since day one and it’s just something that we’re always going to be a part of. I can tell you we’re going to do a couple of strains, but I don’t want to give away the flavors.

What was it like recording at Bob Weir’s TRI studios. 
I mean, that was ridiculous. Bobby is a legendary musician himself and to be invited to his studio to jam and record and that element was insane. It was just something where you really can’t ask for anything better. Weir has got a galaxy in his eyes because he’s just been through so much. He’s in his seventies now and still killing it with Dead and Company and it’s just pretty incredible and all the Dead Heads and the Stupid Heads got to meet and unite and it’s been a force ever since. Now we got the Dead Heads coming to our shows and it has opened up a new fan base for us. 

There’s not a ton of new bands playing your style of California-driven, roots reggae and rock. What do you think will happen long term to bands that sound like Slighty Stoopid?
Ever since Sublime set the platform for it when their self-titled record came out and brought it to national attention, the movement has been huge. You know, back in the day we were kind of like the only baby band in that movement to the Sublime. And then came No Doubt, then 311 but still, there wasn’t a lot of bands doing that sound and then when we started touring and that kind of movement started just getting bigger and bigger and now it’s kind of like that Southern California culture has reached globally.  Like wherever you go you can still see a little bit of that vibe everywhere and people are attracted to it.