Music | Doughty Boy: From Soul Coughing to solo, Mike Doughty forays into DJ-ing 

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Although his December schedule is pretty mellow, it wasn’t easy to track down Mike Doughty. Actually, you may know him as M. Doughty of 1990s eclecto-rockers Soul Coughing, a band whose popularity was of the “cult” variety, meaning they were a rung or two above one-hit wonder status (remember “Super Bon-Bon?”). Since their demise, Doughty has been operating solo, venturing into singer-songwriter territory á la Dave Matthews, who released Doughty’s Haughty Melodic (2005) and the upcoming Golden Delicious (2008) on his ATO Records label. A late addition to the Not Quite Silent Night 3, a benefit for the Utah Food Bank featuring trance musician BT and Davidian, Doughty further evolves/devolves musically with his first-ever DJ set. City Weekly finally caught up to him via e-mail; fresh off an airplane but ostensibly with stuff to do, Doughty quickly clickety-clacked his way through a Q&A about his apparently unpredictable, uncharted life and work.

City Weekly: Where are you? And what were you doing before you had to sit down to this interview?

Mike Doughty: I was on a plane, actually running through my DJ set for the 15th, on a laptop with the headphones on. I’m either gonna have to stretch out forty minutes of music into my 60-minute set, or cram 75 minutes into that short space of time.

CW: You have three gigs in December. One in Colorado on Dec. 6, then nothing till this Not Quite Silent Night show, then a New Year’s show in Teaneck. How are you filling your time between shows?

MD: I’m working on a little video for “27 Jennifers” [from Golden Delicious]. I have no idea how it’ll turn out. Also, I’m working on a little chapbook hopefully to put out when I go on tour in the spring, putting together a photo book for Yeti Press, and in general I’m addicted to making electro music on my laptop.

CW: Until recently there was precious little information about this upcoming DJ gig online—even on your own sites. Is this because it’s a charity gig and the Lawd (read: Lord) honors what is done in secret more than highly publicized acts of charity?

MD: I have no idea.

CW: Do you think there’s a certain insincerity to public figures broadcasting their good deeds?

MD: Personally, I make my own charitable donations privately; I prefer it that way.

CW: You’ve gone from an eclectic, adventurous band setting to a singer-songwriter context and now you’re DJ-ing. Bearing in mind that you’ll surely not limit yourself to any one of these things, there’s also an arc of devolution here. Or is it evolution? Please—expound.

MD: I don’t think there’s anything linear about what I do and when I do it. I just kind of follow my impulses wherever they take me. If there is a pattern, it’s unclear to me!

CW: What is the simplest way one can make music and are you prepared, are you courageous enough, to reduce the performance of music to simplest terms? Is the world ready?

MD: I think naivete is overrated. What’s awesome is to keep your art direct and universal in spite of your knowledge. I read a great quote today, I think it was Mahler’s: “Don’t be afraid of banality.”

CW: Assuming you can make music through the typewritten word: Care to scat a bit? If not, then do you dare, sir? Don’t be shy. This’ll be super fun-fun!

MD: Paba laba tongle nevoticus vlatch vlume dling dlang dlum vaba vaba eckben zo way.

Not Quite Silent Night 3 @ In the Venue, 579 W. 200 South, Saturday Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m. 24Tix.com

Rave Till … You’re Full
If you’re not involved in the club scene—inasmuch as that means the ring-pop, glowsticks & Special-K rave scene, its denizens aren’t the first people who come to mind when you talk charity and benefits. But you know there’s a lotta love there, and it’s not all chemically induced.

“We’ve noticed that there hasn’t really been a lot of charity work in the club world,” says Eric Hill of Kickass Entertainment, promoters of Not Quite Silent Night 3, a Utah Food Bank benefit show featuring BT and Mike Doughty. “There’s so much money that’s generated from these bars and things like that, but none of it really goes back to the community. And in all reality, it’s the community that keeps it afloat.”

Toward the end of the year, Hill and his partner Jake Williams realized they’d done pretty well for themselves and decided to spread some good will. “We thought, do we pocket the cash and make sure that our families get everything that we need or do we kick it back?” says Hill, who credits Williams as the mastermind behind the project. Quickly settling on the UFB as beneficiary, they contacted BT’s management, who helped Kickass book BT for a proverbial song. Soon Doughty signed on, scheduling his first-ever DJ gig. From there, the project snowballed.

“It’s such a rare thing, that something like this would happen,” Hill says. “Everybody’s really excited about it.”

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