With a singular percussive guitar cadence and an off-kilter, stream-of-consciousness vocal delivery, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Mike Doughty has carved out a special niche for himself. He has been recording and touring seemingly nonstop since going solo in 2000, and is turning out some of the most focused work of his career. He returns with his lauded Question Jar show, an acoustic evening where Mike also picks audience questions out of a jar.
As the leader of one of the most unique bands of the 1990s, Soul Coughing, Doughty’s music became part of the soundtrack to the decade with a fusion of rock, beatnik-inspired lyrics, and elements of hip-hop and electronic music. After breaking up the band in 2000, Doughty rented a car and toured the country by himself, covering 9000 miles while rediscovering his acoustic roots and love for songwriting.
Doughty’s solo career overlapped his Soul Coughing days by quite a bit: his first tour in 2000 featured music from a then-unreleased solo album from 1995, Skittish. This was recorded like it was presented, acoustic numbers with minimal instrumentation. His relationship with Minneapolis is well documented. His 2002 bootleg Smofe and Smang: Live in Minneapolis, was a limited edition pressing that caused an internet sensation on Napster. Songs from this record would be fleshed out with his next two full-band efforts, 2005’s Haughty Melodic and 2008’s Golden Delicious, both produced by Minneapolis native Dan Wilson.
Recent years have seen a slew of new records: 3 albums of original material, one covers record, and a live Question Jar show set have all come out over the last four years. Doughty has delved into the print world, with memoir The Book of Drugs (2012), which digs deep into his tumultuous Soul Coughing days, and Slanky, his first book of poems. 2013 saw the release of a project many fans have been waiting a long time for: Mike’s re-imagining of some of Soul Coughing’s most famous songs. Mike has spoken at length about the difference between his original conception of songs and what ended up on SC records; here he has complete control, and overhauls his own songs to great effect.