used to be in
performing a whole show of songs from EL OSO, RUBY VROOM, and IRRESISTIBLE BLISS
Mike Doughty and his band of musical samurai play "Circles", "Super Bon Bon", and the best of Soul Coughing.
On September 17, Mike Doughty will release his new album, a collection of 13 re-imagined songs originally performed by his former band, Soul Coughing. Doughty has famously eschewed the band's repertoire as he built a solo career in the years after their 2000 split, but decided to re-explore his old songs after writing his memoir, The Book of Drugs, which was published by Da Capo last year. The album was produced by Good Goose (Menya, Ninjasonik, Mac Lethal, Homeboy Sandman) and will be released worldwide via Snack Bar (Doughty's own imprint) and Megaforce Records. The album's title is a list of the songs included: Circles Super Bon Bon Sleepless How Many Cans? True Dreams of Wichita Monster Man Mr. Bitterness Maybe I'll Come Down St. Louise Is Listening I Miss the Girl Unmarked Helicopters The Idiot Kings So Far I Have Not Found the Science (running order is different from the album title). The album includes songs that originally appeared each of Soul Coughing's three studio albums, as well as "Unmarked Helicopters," a rarity originally written for the X-Files-themed 1996 compilation album Songs in the Key of X.
Doughty raised funds to record Circles Super Bon Bon... via a crowdfunding campaign with PledgeMusic.com. Doughty's enthusiastic fans helped the project reach its funding goal within 16 hours of launch in early April, and to date more than 3,400 fans have contributed. Incentives ranging from autographed CDs to exclusive t-shirts to a private concert and more are still available, and fans may continue to pledge up until the day before the album's release date at: http://pledgemusic.com/mikedoughty
Doughty says of the reinvented versions of the songs on Circles Super Bon Bon..., "After my memoir, which was full of pain, I picked up an guitar and, by myself, went through the songs I wrote in the '90s -- between the ages of 20 and 29 -- to figure out who I was, where I was, and what I was trying to say. There'll be more of the music I stumbled into, and fell in love with, when I came to New York as an 18-year-old -- an explosion of amazing hip-hop and house music. I can use the weirdness I absorbed as a doorman at an avant-garde jazz club, when I was 21, more artfullly. I think the songs can be better than they were. I can make the actual songs more hearable. I think I can make them more like what I intended them to be." Following the album's release, Doughty will tour the U.S. with a new band performing these 13 songs and more from the Soul Coughing catalog.
MIKE DOUGHTY WOULD LIKE YOU TO KNOW:
- The parts about Soul Coughing in my memoir, The Book of Drugs, were a big fat ball of darkness. After a long, arduous book tour, reading these parts to audiences, I sat down with an acoustic guitar and picked through them. I found myself wanting to figure out what I meant, who I was, where I was when I wrote the songs. I wanted to separate the songs -- not the recordings, but the songs -- from the darkness.
- These songs are as I meant them to be, when I wrote them, in the '90s: some are club bangers, some are pop songs; in general, they're bigger, heavier, cleaner, funkier, more streamlined than the originals.
- There are videos of me performing two acoustic versions currently up at pledgemusic.com/mikedoughty. One is "Circles," which anybody can watch; the other is "Super Bon Bon," which is only available to people who pledged to the crowdfunding campaign.
- People can still pledge, if they want to see the videos -- there are many more coming, before the album comes out. Some of them will be Soul Coughing songs that aren't on the album. There are also mini-documentaries of every day in the studio, from the first demos to the final mixes.
- I was doubtful of crowdfunding, but the fans jumped in fast, and the entire album was 100% funded in less than 16 hours. Really an explosive success.
- My favorite songs on the album are the ones that, when I wrote them, I envisioned as club bangers -- I've finally gotten to make them into what I heard in my head. I spent a lot of time in the '90s in dance clubs -- house, hip hop, and techno music in New York in the early '90s, big beat and drum and bass in London in the mid-'90s. I wrote melodies on the dance floor, singing snippets of lyrics to myself, then went home and wrote them down as the drugs were wearing off.
- My prime collaborators were the hip-hop producer Good Goose -- whom I met via my videographer Meg Skaff's band, Hand Job Academy -- and the upright bass player Catherine Popper, whom I've known for years. They're both Jedis. My sonic obsession, when I was 22 and trying to start a band, were the huge beats and the omnipresent upright bass on the great hip-hop records of the time.
- I'm really proud of the sampling work I did on the album -- lots of disembodied voices and weird sounds. It's always made me sad that I never got much credit for the samples I brought into Soul Coughing.
- I don't know that I'll ever dig the Soul Coughing recordings, but I've found my way back to the songs.