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In the late '90s, Slightly Stoopid sprouted like a fat, sticky bud from the same California soil that birthed the band's ska/skater/punk/ stoner brethren Sublime. The two groups' works were similar enough that Sublime's Brad Nowell signed Slightly Stoopid to his label in 1996, when Stoopid's Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald were still in high school. In the wake of Nowell's 1996 death -- and the explosion in Sublime's posthumous popularity -- Doughty and McDonald carved out their own brand of backyard-barbecue, slacker-rock reggae. They also throw in the occasional punk/ska thrasher and enough weed references to give listeners a musical contact high. But despite the limitations of such a self-defined genre, Doughty and McDonald's songwriting skills have grown tremendously. It never gets boring, even if you're not high. McDonald and Doughty recently talked to us about life on the road and smoking the reefer.
Westword: You're embarking on a nearly three-month tour. Do you ever get tired of it all?
Kyle McDonald: We go to venues where people who work there had seen us the year before, and these guys tell us, 'Man, you look like you've been beaten with a stick.' And it's just from playing so many shows in a row. But that's our fucking job, you know? It happens to people working nine to five, too. If you do something every day, it's going to catch up to you.
Miles Doughty: It's really hard to be a successful touring band. It's crazy -- we've actually been in the band for twelve years, and you just kind of blink your eyes and go, 'Holy shit.' To see what's going on right now, you just have nothing but thanks.
You releasedCloser to the Sun on your own label, Stoopid Records. Have you ever considered taking the major-label route?
KM: In this day and age, that's not where a musician wants to go unless he's, like, Shakira or some shit. It almost seems like the only people doing good in the record business right now are girls. They're not about the music; they're just about the look and shaking their ass.
MD: We're not trying to make radio songs; we're trying to make good music for us and the fans. Honestly, what we're doing on our own is pretty much insane, as far as the numbers. Why go the other way and have someone else try and tell you what they think it should be like when we've already proven what we can do?
I heard a rumor that you guys like the chronic. Do you think it's a gateway drug?
KM: I've smoked weed since I was twelve, and I love it. I got the dank right next to me; I'm about to smoke. I don't think it's a gateway drug, though. I'm not the type of person who's going to do any meth or coke or smack or anything. For me, there's no fucking way I'm ever going to quit smoking weed, and there's no fucking way I'm ever going to do anything white.
So pot and avoiding major-label entanglements are the keys to your success?
MD: What's been so good for Slightly Stoopid is that we've always done it the way we want to do it. Anything aside from that would just jeopardize what we've always been.
KM: And God bless Denver for trying to legalize it.