Most bands don’t survive for more than 10 years. Band members grow up, start families or lineups change. Slightly Stoopid, is not one of those bands. Formed in 1994, Slightly Stoopid released their 8th studio album in 2015 and are still touring around the globe. They started out as a smaller band, but finalized their lineup with a new drummer, percussionist, trumpet/keyboard and saxaphone. Slightly Stoopid’s drummer Ryan Moran, aka RyMo, took time out of his day to chat with me about emotional music, divas and grassroots.
Kristina Haney: You have been involved in the music industry for some time now. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen?
Ryan Moran: Mostly record labels, controlling the release of music. With the internet, social media, iTunes, YouTube, there are so many ways to get music out to people. That’s probably the main change we’ve seen in the last 6 years.
KH: Tell me more about your drumming background. When did you get started?
RM: I started playing drums, gosh I’ve been playing for a long time now. I started playing when I was nine, so 30 years. Basically just started listening to music and enjoying it and in the beginning it was all about having fun. I always found myself gravitating towards drums and then I started playing and getting real serious and getting really into it through high school. I went to college and studied it in college and then it basically turned into my profession.
KH: What is your favorite part about touring?
RM: Probably just seeing the world. Seeing places I probably wouldn’t have gone otherwise. Our country and other countries as well. Eating different foods. Just traveling in general. I’ve always been a fan of travel in general, even as kind of a young kid, I always enjoyed flying around places. That’s probably my favorite part of the touring life. It’s just doing it and being out there and taking things as they come and see the world.
KH: Who in the band is the biggest diva on the road?
RM: Ha! The biggest diva? If you asked the other guys they’d probably all say me, but I’d probably point at all of them. We all get along pretty well. We’re all pretty road tough by now, we’ve been doing it a while. I don’t know, who is the biggest diva? This is funny. I guess it depends on the context, you know. Flying kind of beats us up, but everyone is pretty tough. I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus.
KH: Are there any new songs or albums in the works for you guys?
RM: Yeah so we released an album last June and we just in the last couple of months, we took some time off for the holidays, but just in the last couple of months we’ve been in the studio working on some stuff. We’re always kind of working on something, but nowadays with all of us having kids and are married and things like that; we of course value our home time equally. We’re looking at getting a new record out hopefully by next summer.
KH: What is a piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
RM: I guess I would just, you know. I guess I would just say, just keep working and don’t give up. That’s kind of what I did, but there were definitely sometimes along the way in the past if I’m wondering if I’m on the right path. In my 20s, things were looking pretty bleak, I was really making any money playing music and I was giging sometimes 4 or 5 nights a week, six times a week and barely making any money at all. I would just tell myself not to give up.
KH: Do you have a favorite type of music that is different than the styles of Slightly Stoopid?
RM: Oh yeah for sure. I mean we play a lot of reggae-rock, funk and ska and stuff. I listen to that, I listen to a lot of reggae and funk and punk. But I also listen to like classical music and metal and hip-hop. I’m a fan of music in general. I listen to just about everything. I don’t really listen to like Top 40 or pop, but just about anything that has some substance, I’m a fan of.
KH: Do you think that the variety of music you listen to helps you while making music?
RM: Oh absolutely. I think music is in abstract art form. It’s there and it’s gone instantaneously. I think learning different styles of music, different world cultures and things like that that also tie into music is refreshing instead of doing one thing all the time. Eventually you’re going to get sick of it and burn out. So for me, it’s about keeping it fresh, listening to different styles of music. Music to me is always about a mood or a reflection. If I’m feeling in a happy mood, I’ll listen to happy music. If I’m feeling kind of down, or something is on my mind, I might listen to something a little darker or something more just dark. Or if I’m feeling cerebral or doing some kind of work where I really need to think, I’ll listen to some classical music. So I feel like there is music for each emotion that we go through and so that depending on what you’re going through in your life, you know, life isn’t just one emotion. You’re constantly going through ups and downs and neutral points. And for me, music has always been an expression of that, whatever kind of mood I’m in that day is what I’m going to listen to because that is what my brain is going through.
KH: If you could set a lineup for a show, who would you choose?
RM: Well I mean, we’ve got a really good lineup for this coming summer tour, well I mean we’re doing Pot of Gold as you know, which is why we’re talking, for St. Patty’s Day. But after that, this summer Slightly Stoopid is going out with Soja and The Grouch Eligh, which I’m really excited about, so yeah I’m just gonna say, and to help promote this tour, is that we have a really great lineup coming up, it’s going to be Slightly Stoopid with Soja and The Grouch Eligh and it’s kind of going to be a nice cross section of different music and a good crowd and a good vibe. This summer’s tour is going to reflect that.
KH: Is there anything else you’d like to add about you, the band or music in general?
RM: I mean, I would just say thanks to the fans that have supported us over the years and have kind of grown with us. One of the things I kind of value about our band is that we’re pretty grassroots, and we’re kind of true to who we are. We don’t put on costumes or crazy makeup or anything like that we’re just kind of “what you see is what you get”. Day in and day out we’re always kind of the same on and off stage and in our family lives and our touring and working lives. So shout out to the fans for the support over the years and thanks for growing with us!
Stay up to date with the band on their website. Slightly Stoopid will be performing at Pot of Gold Music Fest in Chandler, AZ on March 17th. Buy concert tickets to Pot of Gold here and purchase a CD here.