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Soul Coughing, 1998.
|Origin||New York City|
|Genres||Alternative rock, alternative hip hop, experimental rock, funk rock, jazz fusion|
Mark Degli Antoni
Soul Coughing was an American alternative rock band. Based in New York City, the band found modest mainstream success during the mid-to-late 1990s. Soul Coughing developed a devout fanbase and have garnered largely positive response from critics. Steve Huey in Allmusic describes the band as "one of the most unusual cult bands of the 1990s… driven by frontman Mike Doughty's stream-of-consciousness poetry, Soul Coughing's sound was a willfully idiosyncratic mix of improvisational jazz grooves, oddball samples, hip-hop, electronics, and noisy experimentalism (described by Doughty as 'deep slacker jazz')."
Mike Doughty (who billed himself at the time as "M. Doughty") was a folk singer (he attended Eugene Lang College with Ani DiFranco, where they studied with Sekou Sundiata and played around the school together), slam poet, sometime music writer, and doorman at the old Houston Street location of The Knitting Factory, then a nexus for such avant-garde artists as John Zorn and Marc Ribot. He put the band together from instrumentalists he met as they came through the club.
He met sampler player Mark Degli Antoni (recently graduated with a composition degree from Mannes College of Music) when they both participated in a performance of Zorn's "game piece" Cobra. This same ensemble also featured Jeff Buckley. Doughty brought a stack of CDs over to degli Antoni's house one afternoon, where they sampled iconic riffs from Raymond Scott, Carl Stalling, Howlin' Wolf, and The Andrews Sisters, among others. These, along with samples from degli Antoni's own orchestral works, became the foundation of Soul Coughing's musical identity, powering Doughty's half-sung, half-spoken vocals.
Degli Antoni, Doughty, Boston-based upright bass player Sebastian Steinberg, and Israeli drummer Yuval Gabay (a collaborator with Zorn, and David Linton) played their first gig, as "M. Doughty's Soul Coughing", at the Knitting Factory on June 15, 1992, a late-Monday night slot that Doughty cadged from his boss because nobody else wanted it. In 1993, he founded a club night called "SLAW" at CBGB's 313 Gallery, which was meant to emulate the popular jazz and hip hop club Giant Step, but eventually became a showcase for Soul Coughing. Posters for SLAW were headlined "Deep Slacker Jazz" (a parody of The Who's slogan "Maximum R&B"), which became an enduring description of the band's sound.
The band was signed within a year to Warner Bros subsidiary Slash Records, and released three albums: Ruby Vroom (1994), Irresistible Bliss (1996), and El Oso (1998). In 1996, the band contributed to the AIDS benefit album Offbeat: A Red Hot Soundtrip produced by the Red Hot Organization. They enjoyed minor hit singles with "Circles", "Super Bon Bon", and "Screenwriter's Blues." They also had songs featured in the movies The X-Files film (Fight the Future), Batman and Robin, Tommy Boy and Spawn (a song called "A Plane Scraped Its Belly on a Sooty Yellow Moon", a collaboration with drum and bass artist Roni Size.) Also released following their breakup was Lust in Phaze (2002), a greatest hits compilation including a few b-sides.
Breakup and afterwards
The band broke up in early 2000, after years of feuding over songwriting credits and publishing.
Doughty continues as a solo artist, collaborating with trance producer BT on the hit single "Never Gonna Come Back Down" in the summer of 2000. Dropped by Warner Brothers that same year, Doughty toured as a solo artist for three years in support of a self-released solo CD titled Skittish. In 2005, he signed to Dave Matthews's label, ATO Records, and to date has released four full-length studio albums, two live albums, an album of electronic sample-based music, and several EPs. Doughty chose to leave ATO for reasons related to creative control to release his most recent studio album, Yes and Also Yes.
Mark Degli Antoni
- Roni Size's Return to V LP — featuring Beverly Knight and Jocelyn Brown
- DJ Krust's Coded language LP — featuring Saul Williams
- DJ Krust's Hidden knowledge LP
- MC Tali's Lyric on my lip LP
- DJ Krust and DJ Die's Kamanchi LP — featuring Lady Miss Kier
- Ben Westbeech's Welcome to the best years of your life LP
|Year||Album details||Chart peaks||Certifications|
|1994||Ruby Vroom||—||—||Gold (as of 2013)|
||136||—||Gold (as of 2012)|
||49||200||Gold (as of 2000)|
|2002||Lust in Phaze||—||—|
|"—" denotes a release that did not chart.|
|2004||New York, NY 16.08.99
|Rennes, France 03.12.94
|Tokyo, Japan 03.02.97
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1994||"Down to This"||—||—||Ruby Vroom|
|1995||"Sugar Free Jazz"||—||—|
|1996||"Soundtrack to Mary"||37||—||Irresistible Bliss|
|"Super Bon Bon"||27||—|
|"St. Louise Is Listening"||—||—|
|"—" denotes singles that did not chart.|
- Soul Coughing Underground - An unofficial website including a discography, guitar tablature, and other information
- website of Mike Doughty
- Mike Doughty's blog
- website of Mark degli Antoni
- Soul Coughing collection at the Internet Archive's live music archive
- Suckerfied Assman Tripping In His Own Dribble: An Appreciation of Soul Coughing (No Ripcord feature)