Prolific Soul Coughing Founder Mike Doughty "Tells Your Future" in Cincinnati This Week

On Feb. 13 at Oakley's 20th Century Theater, Doughty will perform, among other songs from his catalog, specially crafted tunes based on suggestions from fans

click to enlarge Mike Doughty - PHOTO: RACHEL HURLEY
Photo: Rachel Hurley
Mike Doughty

Mike Doughty might have made his name as the frontman of Soul Coughing, but he’s now been solo for more than twice as long as that artfully anomalous quartet existed in the 1990s. But back to the beginning: Soul Coughing used off-kilter polyrhythmic grooves and Doughty’s spoken-word-by-way-of-Hip Hop vocal deliver and acerbic wit to garner a sizable following over the course of three stellar albums, beginning with 1994’s Ruby Vroom.

The band broke up for multiple reasons — the most obvious being Doughty’s substance abuse issues — in 2000. A string of solo recordings followed, at least 20 in all, including full-length efforts like his most recent album, 2016’s The Heart Watches While the Brain Burns and 2013’s Circles, a reworking of Soul Coughing songs that surfaced after he finally came to terms with his first band’s legacy. The latter became a reality following the publication of Doughty’s memoir The Book of Drugs, an uncommonly perceptive look at what made Soul Coughing unique and, ultimately, toxic.

In recent years, Doughty has immersed himself in a Patreon-aided project in which he writes a song a week. And then, yet again, there’s his tending to the legacy of Soul Coughing — last year he celebrated the 25th anniversary of Ruby Vroom with a tour featuring the album performed in full.

His current tour, a quick two-week run, will include interaction with audiences at each stop; he’s encouraging attendees to submit song ideas via social media, which he will then unveil on stage in each city. The jaunt is called the "Tells Your Future" tour and Doughty and collaborator Andrew Livingston will also, according to a press release, "test the limits of their clairvoyance." On Facebook, Doughty says the show will be "a dubbed-out goth jazz thing."

“I have that thing where I wake up and the first sip of coffee is with a guitar in my hand,” Doughty said in an interview with The Marquee last year. “If you write this much you’re constantly thinking about what you can do differently than last week. So, I’ve done stuff like rapping, weird experimental pieces, a little chamber orchestra piece and acoustic songs. I don’t know what the next record is going to be, but it’s going to be very, very good.”


Mike Doughty plays 20th Century Theater on Thursday, Feb. 13. Tickets are available for $22 in advance via ticketweb.com; they're $25 at the door on the night of the show.

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