Soul Coughing

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Soul Coughing
Soul Coughing publicity photo, 1998.
Soul Coughing publicity photo, 1998.
Background information
OriginNew York City, New York, U.S.
GenresAlternative rock, alternative hip hop, electronic
Years active1992–2000
LabelsSlash/Warner Bros./Tommy Boy
MembersMike Doughty
Mark Degli Antoni
Sebastian Steinberg
Yuval Gabay

Soul Coughing was an American alternative rock band composed of vocalist/guitarist Mike Doughty (also known as M. Doughty), keyboardist/sampler Mark Degli Antoni, bassist Sebastian Steinberg, and drummer Yuval Gabay. Soul Coughing developed a devout fanbase and garnered largely positive response from critics. Steve Huey of 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."[1] The band's sound was described by Doughty as "deep slacker jazz."[2]

Recording career[edit]

All of the members of Soul Coughing were regulars at The Knitting Factory, a New York City nightclub and performance venue that was part of the experimental downtown scene of the 1980s and 1990s. Doughty was a doorman known for his improvised comedic quasi-raps, while the others appeared at the Knitting Factory in various bands.[1][3] Doughty, Degli Antoni, and Steinberg all performed in versions of John Zorn's composition Cobra, appearing on John Zorn's Cobra: Live at the Knitting Factory (recorded 1992, released 1995)."[4]

Within a year of their formation, the band was signed to Slash Records, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records.[1] They released three albums: Ruby Vroom (1994), Irresistible Bliss (1996), and El Oso (1998), with the latter showing a marked drum and bass influence.[5] Irresistible Bliss and El Oso both reached the Billboard 200 albums chart.[6] They enjoyed minor hit singles with "Soundtrack to Mary" and "Super Bon Bon."[7] In 1996, Soul Coughing contributed to the AIDS benefit album Offbeat: A Red Hot Soundtrip produced by the Red Hot Organization. Also in 1996, the song "Unmarked Helicopters" was included in the Songs in the Key of X: Music from and Inspired by the X-Files. The band also placed songs in the soundtracks to the films Batman & Robin ("The Bug"), Tommy Boy ("Is Chicago, Is Not Chicago") and Spawn ("A Plane Scraped Its Belly on a Sooty Yellow Moon" featuring Roni Size). Their song "Super Bon Bon" was included on the soundtrack for the PlayStation game Gran Turismo 2 in 1999 and the soundtrack for the 2K Sports video game The Bigs 2 in 2009.[8]

The song "Circles" from El Oso reached #8 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart,[7] and was used as the soundtrack to a Cartoon Network extended commercial that poked fun at repeating cartoon backgrounds.[9][10]

Soul Coughing broke up in 2000.[1][11] Mark Degli Antoni moved on to a career as a film score composer,[1] while Mike Doughty began a prolific solo career, occasionally revisiting Soul Coughing songs in new styles.[12]

Lust in Phaze, a greatest hits compilation including a few B-sides, was released in 2002. Rhino Records reissued Soul Coughing's three studio albums on 180-gram black vinyl in 2015. This marks the first time Ruby Vroom had been pressed to vinyl.[13] In 2017, Swedish record label Woah Dad! acquired Soul Coughing's back catalog from Slash Records.[14]

Star honoring Soul Coughing on the outside mural of the Minneapolis nightclub First Avenue

Soul Coughing was honored with a star on the outside mural of the Minneapolis nightclub First Avenue,[15] recognizing performers who have played sold-out shows or have otherwise demonstrated a major contribution to the culture at the iconic venue.[16] Receiving a star "might be the most prestigious public honor an artist can receive in Minneapolis," according to journalist Steve Marsh.[17] Soul Coughing was especially popular in Minneapolis thanks to airplay on alternative radio station Rev 105, and regularly performed to audiences 5 to 10 times larger than in other cities.[18]



Title Details Peak chart positions
Ruby Vroom
Irresistible Bliss
  • Released: July 9, 1996
  • Reissue: August 24, 2015
  • Label: Slash/Warner Bros.
  • Formats: CD, CS, LP
El Oso
  • Released: September 29, 1998
  • Reissue: August 24, 2015
  • Label: Slash/Warner Bros.
  • Formats: CD, CS, LP
"—" denotes a release that did not chart.


Title Details
Lust in Phaze
  • Released: March 19, 2002
  • Label: Rhino/Slash
  • Format: CD

Live albums[edit]

Title Details
Tokyo, Japan 03.02.97
  • Released: 2004
  • Label: KUFALA Recordings
  • Recorded: February 2–3, 1997
New York, NY 16.08.99
  • Released: January 4, 2005
  • Label: KUFALA Recordings
  • Recorded: August 16, 1999
Berlin/Amsterdam 1997
  • Released: January 4, 2005
  • Label: KUFALA Recordings
  • Recorded: 1997
Rennes, France 03.12.94
  • Released: January 4, 2005
  • Label: KUFALA Recordings
  • Recorded: December 3, 1994
Live Rarities
  • Released: January 4, 2005
  • Label: KUFALA Recordings
  • Recorded: 1993, 1994, 1997


Year Title Peak chart positions Album



1994 "Down to This" Ruby Vroom
1995 "Sugar Free Jazz"
"Screenwriter's Blues"
1996 "Soundtrack to Mary" 37 Irresistible Bliss
"Super Bon Bon" 27
1997 "Soft Serve"
1998 "Circles" 8 38 24 El Oso
"St. Louise Is Listening"
1999 "Rolling"
"−" denotes singles that did not chart.


  1. ^ a b c d e Huey, Steve. "Soul Coughing band profile". Allmusic. Retrieved June 13, 2005.
  2. ^ Jenkins, Mark (October 23, 1998). "Soul Coughing: El Oso". Washington Post. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  3. ^ Giles, Jeff (July 9, 2016). "20 Years Ago: Soul Couging Start to Come Apart with 'Irresistible Bliss'". Diffuser.
  4. ^ Yanow, S. Allmusic Review accessed October 24, 2013
  5. ^ Klein, Joshua (March 29, 2002). "Soul Coughing: El Oso". AV Club. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  6. ^ "Chart History: Soul Coughing (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Chart History: Soul Coughing (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  8. ^ "Soul Coughing". IMDb. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  9. ^ "Lost Gems: "Circles" by Soul Coughing". RiffRaf. July 30, 2012. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  10. ^ "'Circles' by Soul Coughing for Boomerang". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 11, 2021. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  11. ^ Klein, Joshua (March 19, 2000). "Interview: M. Doughty of Soul Coughing". AV Club. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  12. ^ "Mike Doughty Annuls The 'Dark Marriage' Of His Former Band". NPR Music. September 15, 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  13. ^ "Soul Coughing reissues coming this summer". Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  14. ^ "Göteborgsbolaget Woah dad satsar internationellt". November 15, 2017. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  15. ^ "The Stars". First Avenue & 7th Street Entry. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  16. ^ Bream, Jon (May 3, 2019). "10 things you'll learn about First Avenue in new Minnesota History Center show". Star Tribune. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  17. ^ Marsh, Steve (May 13, 2019). "First Avenue's Star Wall". Mpls.St.Paul Magazine. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  18. ^ Riemenschneider, Chris (August 17, 2012). "Music: Doughty 'Golden' boy again". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  19. ^ "Soul Coughing Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  20. ^ "Soul Coughing Chart History: Alternative Songs". Billboard. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  21. ^ "Soul Coughing Chart History: Mainstream Rock". Billboard. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  22. ^ "Soul Coughing Chart History: Bubbling Under Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved May 2, 2019.

External links[edit]