Dub-tinged American band Stick Figure released their seventh studio album Wisdom on September 9. Wisdom was written, produced, and recorded by vocalist Scott Woodruff. On tour, he’s joined by drummer Kevin Offitzer, bassist Tommy Suliman, guitarist Johnny Cosmic, percussionist Will Phillips, and KBong (real name Kevin Bong) who also has a successful solo career.
The album was recorded at Great Stone Studios in Oakland, California—former home of Green Day—featuring guests Slightly Stoopid, Barrington Levy, and Collie Buddz. The album was led by singles like “Paradise” and “Way of Life.”
There’s no denying the band’s imminent rise heightened by sold-out tours. In fact, Stick Figure averages over 4,200 tickets sold per show on almost every tour. The album topped the iTunes Reggae Albums chart, andJamaica Observer and Jamaica Gleaner report that Wisdom debuted on the spot atop the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart—the title normally occupied by Bob Marley’s collection Legend, or at least for the previous 140 weeks.
Stick Figure dabbled in cannabis flower in 2016, releasing Stick Figure Sour (Sour Diesel x Tangie)—based on one of Woodruff’s favorite strains—which debuted at The Emerald Cup, involving a partnership with Humboldt’s Finest.
Last February, Stick Figure performed to an energetic crowd at Cali Vibes, complete with pyrotechnics, and at Cali Roots. The connection with the crowd is one of the band’s key strengths. Stick Figure’s other star—a rescued Australian Shepherd named Cocoa—even has her own 501(c)3 charity and following on social media.
Woodruff discussed the new album with High Times, and finding peace and solace in the craziness of the world.
High Times Magazine: Tell us about what new themes can be found on the new album, Wisdom.
Scott Woodruff: Wisdom is all about the journey. I wanted to give people an album that makes them feel good and resonates with whatever they’re going through in their lives and hopefully reminds them that there is beauty and joy in the midst of all the craziness.
What was it like working with Barrington Levy?
I’m truly honored to work with the legend himself Barrington Levy. He inspired me so much from an early age and is one of the main reasons I make music. Barrington’s album Too Experienced was the first reggae album I ever owned, and this feels like such a full circle moment to collaborate with him on “Soul of the World.”
Was any of the new material recorded during the pandemic?
Yeah, my childhood friend TJ O’Neill and I challenged ourselves to write a whole album in a year and we did. We kept busy doing exactly what we love to do, writing music. Then I spent every day of the next year producing the whole album, playing one instrument at a time in my home studio.
Your tours frequently sell out. Is there an element that goes with Stick Figure that only comes alive during live shows?
We put a lot of thought into every element, from the live arrangements to the transitions to having a great light show. However, we try to keep it fresh, even during the set we often change the songs in real time; it keeps it interesting, as you never know what you’re going to see in our live show. For example, on one of our most recent tours we played the crowd a brand new song and recorded them singing along.
We then blended those recordings into a song on the new album Wisdom. There ended up being over 50,000 voices on that track from the ten shows we recorded at. We named the track “Smoke Signals”. Keep an eye on www.stickfigure.com for more tour dates.
Do you have a favorite venue to perform at?
It’s gotta be Red Rocks in Colorado—the setting, the energy, the sound; everything just feels like a movie at Red Rocks.
How is Cocoa doing?
She’s living the life. We just moved full time to San Diego, and she’s loving life being by the beach. She’s such a sweetheart, man.
Do you have any festivals lined up in the upcoming months?
We’re playing Reggae Rise Up in Las Vegas in October and Closer to The Sun in Mexico in December. We have some exciting festivals to announce for next year as well.
You’ve been working with Slightly Stoopid quite a bit again. How far do you guys go back?
Slightly Stoopid have been our big brothers in the music scene and supported Stick since day one. They’ve been a massive influence for me since I was a kid, especially when I was learning guitar and started singing. We’ve now done several tracks together, and it’s always fun collaborating and playing shows together.
The world desperately lacks positivity. Is that something you want to promote in general with Stick Figure?
Absolutely. The music is meant to bring peace and happiness into your life and create a feeling of joy and hope. Positivity makes the world a better place.
Do you have any other announcements or shoutouts regarding the new album?
It’s always exciting to release new music. The album has only been out a couple weeks, and the feedback has been incredible. I want to shout out my band and crew and the entire Stick Figure Family. Couldn’t do it without any of you.
Stick Figure reminds me of Bob Marley hit after hit after hit..spiritual positive messages this is the Future of Reggae in real time!
So grateful for this band, I can’t think of any other band that has the same level of song writing, production, positivity and spirituality. These songs are like meditation.
I’ve loved Stick Figure since the first time I saw them play! It was at the Greek Theater in Berkeley Ca opening for the Green in 2012. A moment i will never forget and I’ve been in love with the music….and cocoa ever since. There is nothing but love and positive vibes in the Stick circle and Scott is truly one of the most talented and smart business men in the business. I’ve loved watching them grow and getting to be a part of the Stick Figure Family since day 1! Sooo proud ❤