Just having the name Slightly Stoopid is going to pigeonhole a group as appealing to a certain age group.
But while the group always has teenage fans, Ryan Moran (better known as "RyMo" to fans) can attest, Slightly Stoopid doesn't just appeal to teenagers.
"We definitely have a crowd that's grown with us," says Moran in a call from his home in San Diego. "We're all in our mid-30s, and we've got friends and fans who've been with us since the beginning, about 18 years ago. But we're definitely touching on a younger demographic. Some of the people coming to the show are between 15 and 25. We also have some people in their 40s, so it's a pretty wide variety in the crowd."
And the music's subject matter is the stuff of youth or people who want to remember what it was like.
"The music is about having fun, partying with your friends, cruising for girls. We're fortunate to have grown up where we did. We're beach people and grew up surfing and skateboarding, that type of lifestyle and a lot of the music reflects that. And that appeals to a younger crowd for sure."
Slightly Stoopid formed in 1995 in Ocean Beach, Calif., by longtime buddies Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald. Blending elements of hip-hop, reggae, punk and other styles, the group gained a following quickly, but it wasn't until the band's fourth release, 2003's "Everything You Need," that the group really gained a national following. It was just after the release of that record that Moran joined the group.
Moran began his musical adventure playing piano, trumpet and violin as a child, but nothing really took.
"When I was a kid I was listening to Casey Kasem's 'Top 40' and listening to a lot of Huey Lewis and the News and Wham, just like every kid. Then one of my sisters came in and said, 'Here, listen to this!' There was a punk mix on one side and a Led Zeppelin mix on the other. That was it. I was hooked from that point on. I wanted to play drums and that's all I wanted to do. So the Led Zeppelin mix-tape was what had the most profound effect on me early on.
"Then I started playing drums when I was about 10 years old. I'm 36 now and began playing professionally when I was about 18. I just fell in love with it."
He played in bands as a teenager and studied music in college, which led to a career.
Moran was in a band called the B Side Players, playing Latin funk, when he met the members of Slightly Stoopid. The two bands toured together in the early 2000s.
"We just really hit it off," says Moran. "I really liked the music that they were playing."
A year after that tour Slightly Stoopid was looking for a new drummer and gave Moran a call. He says the B-Side Players had hit a plateau and joining Slightly Stoopid "sounded like a new opportunity." It was both a career boost and a chance to play a wider variety of music.
"I studied tons of jazz. I got a degree in music and was playing big band and jazz combos and percussion ensemble and world ensemble, so I had a pretty broad understanding of musical styles. When I joined the Stoopid guys they were like, 'Yeah, we want you to do all that! Occasionally throw a blues thing out or hip-hop or something a little world influenced.' I was ready for that. I was excited that we were gonna explore those different styles and not just going to play the same stuff over and over."
Moran says critics and listeners who only heard the band during the first few albums should give the group's music another chance.
"Music critics and insiders kind of wrote us off, like, 'Well, they just about partying and there's no real substance to it.' People who see the band now are actually kind of taken aback and say, 'Whoa, I was wrong,'" says Moran. "The sound has grown and evolved and matured. We're not 18 any more, getting crazy. We're adults and a lot of us are married or have kids or both. We're trying to create a career that has longevity. So we'll be able to do this when we're 50."
With: Karl Denson, Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds
When: 8:30 Friday, Oct. 12
Where: The Valarium, 112 Ramsey St.
Tickets: $25 ($28 for ages 18-20), available at www.thevalarium.com
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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