Keeping it Fresh
An Interview with Rymo of Slightly Stoopid

Words by Audra Tracy

“Is it supposed to be snowy there?”, Ryan ‘Rymo’ Moran asks me from his home in sunny San Diego County. Even though it’s an abnormally balmy 55 degrees in New Jersey during our call, I have to warn him that, by the time he and his band-members from Slightly Stoopid fly out for their gig at the Wellmont Theater on the 27th, they just may be in a winter wonderland after all.

The reggae rockers are just days away from kicking off a series of East Coast shows, starting in Montclair before heading to Long Island and Atlantic City, and finally ringing in 2014 at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland.

“I’m excited”, Rymo says of the holiday tour. “We’ve been kind of cruising for the last month or two, so it will be nice to do a few shows and have some fun for New Year’s.”

It will be one hell of a way to cap off 2013, a year which also saw the release of Slightly Stoopid: Live At Roberto’s TRI Studios, a DVD of the band’s performance at Bob Weir’s famed recording space. For Rymo, who hails from Northern California, the experience of performing with a founding member of the Grateful Dead was especially surreal.

“I grew up in an area actually right near where a lot of the guys from the Dead live…I actually went to high school with Jerry Garcia’s daughter”, Rymo recalls. “I was just a kid, skateboarding around town, and we’d see Jerry driving around in this tinted, jet black van. So it was pretty amazing to go back to my hometown, and be there for that reason – to play with Bob”, he says. “It was a real honor.”

Coined ‘the ultimate playpen for musicians’, TRI Studios boasts a state-of-the-art ‘acoustic simulator’ that any musician would geek out over.

“So you walk into this room, and the sound engineer can pull up these settings to make it feel like you are playing drums in, like the Grand Canyon, which is super huge and echo-y and crazy”, Rymo says of the space. “Or it can make it sound like you are in a huge wooden box, or a glass room. All these different sort of acoustic simulations this room can emulate based on like mathematics, and studying the acoustical properties and the distances. The way they have the room set up with the microphones and the speakers, it would feel like you were in these different environments. For music nerds like us, it was really awesome”, he gushes.

So what’s next for these music nerds? Any New Year’s resolutions for 2014?

“If I speak for the band, we are working towards putting out another great album”, Rymo declares. “We’re still doing the reggae, still doing the punk, but we’ve also been exploring some different types of styles…and basically just evolving. I think that’s what fans can expect – an evolution. That’s what most bands hope for… to grow, and to also keep it exciting for you, because you have to play those songs every night!”, he laughs.

As for the upcoming holiday shows, Rymo says fans can “definitely” expect to hear some new material this week. “Live shows are always sort of a mix, a cross section of all the different eras of the band. A little bit of old stuff, a little bit of new, and then brand new stuff we haven’t even recorded or put out yet”, Rymo teases. “And then trying to throw in some random stuff just to see how it feels in a live setting, and hopefully people are vibing on it and enjoying that too. We try to keep it fresh, ya know?”

Slightly Stoopid takes The Wellmont Theater this Friday, December 27th. It’s their first time playing in Montclair, so show them some love!

Upcoming shows:

Dec 27 The Wellmont Theater – Montclair, NJ
Dec 28 The Paramount – Huntington, NY
Dec 29 House of Blues – Atlantic City, NJ
Dec 31 The Fillmore – Silver Spring, MD

All shows with Passafire, Quincy Mumford & The Reason Why | Top of the World