Slightly Stoopid & Friends: Live at Roberto’s TRI Studios
Tommy Chong, playing host for this incredible, two-hour web cast, “We’re all stoned tonight—especially me.”
He then screws up the name of the band he’s introducing. “A band called…” He looks at Miles Doughty uncertainly. “Something Stupid?”
Perfect. But maybe only the Cheech & Chong co-founder is wiped out, because Slightly Stoopid proceeds to put on a show so smooth that one of their guests, Bob Weir, goes out of his way to praise them during a half-time interview: “A tight band,” he says. “Tight songs.”
This 31-song concert was performed in the fall of 2011 at Weir’s TRI Studios in Marin County. I was there last year for the Qello and facebook premiere of The Doors Live at the Bowl ‘68, including a sitdown with Ray Manzarek. It’s a gorgeous, state-of-the-art audio, video and streaming facility, and Slightly Stoopid took full advantage of TRI’s vast soundstage, cameras and stellar lighting and environment. The results are now out on Slightly Stoopid & Friends Live at Roberto’s TRI Studios.
The friends include reggae great Don Carlos, sxax man and unofficial Stoopid member Kaarl Denson, Ivan Neville (keyboards) and brother Ian (guitarist) from Dumpstafunk. And, of course, Weir, who sits in for several songs, including “I Know You Rider,” one of the first tunes the Grateful Dead played, back in 1964.
But it’s all about the Stoopids, especially lead vocalists and co-founders Doughty and Kyle McDonald. They both sing and play guitar and bass, and they are outstanding vocalists. Although they’re from Ocean Beach in the San Diego area, Kyle sounds Jamaican through and through, while Miles has a soulful, bluesy texture, shades of Stephen Stills or Men at Work. Their horn section rivals the Tower of Power’s, and in percussionist “OG” (Oguer Ocon), they have a third fine singer.
They’ve called their music “a fusion of folk, rock, reggae and blues with hip-hop, funk, metal and punk.” But most of the latter is behind them. The emphasis – at least here – is on reggae, and rock and jazz-tinged jams, on some solid R&B grooves (“Just Thinking”), and on the freedom they feel to do and play (even scat) anything they like. They do a slow jam, “We Don’t Wanna Go,” then zoom into ska rhythms, then speed up even more for “The Train,” a rapid ride that must’ve had Chong spinning.
He recovers enough to conduct a nice chat with Weir and the band. They talk about wrestling, teaching (one Stoopid teaches music; another works with at-risk youth), and, of course, music, which keeps the Stoopids busy at a 280-concerts-a-year pace. They agreed that there would be no retiring. As Weir, who’s hit 65, put it, “It’s not the paycheck. It’s the music.”
For a limited time, you can watch Slightly Stoopid - Live at Roberto's TRI Studios for FREE on any of our apps, including Apple TV. You can also check out a preview of the concert below with the fan favorite "Closer to the Sun."
Slightly Stoopid - Closer to the Sun (feat. Karl Denson)