Former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty will on May 3 release his debut for the Dave Matthews-co-owned ATO Records, "Haughty Melodic."
Former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty will on May 3 release his debut for the Dave Matthews-co-owned ATO Records, "Haughty Melodic." The 12-track set was produced by former Semisonic principal Dan Wilson and boasts a guest appearance from Matthews on "Tremendous Brunettes." Other guests include N*E*R*D drummer Eric Fawcett, cellist Jane Scarpantoni and Groove Collective's Jay Rodriguez.
Doughty tells Billboard.com that ATO is "basically my dream label" and that after years of releasing his own music, he resolved to pitch his services to the company when both he and Matthews played the Bonnaroo festival last summer.
"I burned up a big old stack of rough mixes of my record and had this fierce determination to find Dave," he recalls. "I had no idea how to actually do this, with the different circles of important at Bonnaroo. Finally I get backstage and he literally had just finished rocking 70,000 people. The irony was that someone had given him a copy of my EP, 'Rockitty Roll,' a month beforehand, so apparently I didn't even need to make all that strenuous effort to see him."
Doughty says he knew he wanted Matthews to appear on the album, but how to fit him in was not immediately apparent. "I've always envied hip-hop artists, because they can come in and do a verse and make a featured appearance on someone else's record," he notes. "It's difficult to do that in the context of a pop song. So I asked Dave to sing a verse of this song and just said, 'pretend you're Lil' Kim!'"
As for what else listeners can expect from "Haughty Melodic," Doughty describes the sound as "a lot like the 'Madchester' bands of the late '80s, early '90s. You ask an artist and he's going to say something completely unlike what it actually sounds like. But to me it sounds like a very American take on that sound. It's kind of dance-y. There's a lot of congas. But it's rock, you know? It's much more rock and its much more sung than Soul Coughing was."
Doughty is gearing up to tour in support of the album, most likely beginning in late April. "I'm not sure if I'm going to do a full band or just go out with a piano player at first," he says.
Beforehand, fans can watch out for Doughty's involvement in two non-musical projects. He wrote the storyline for an entry in DC Comics' upcoming book "Bizarro World," in which "Aquaman wants to become a folk singer. He goes to open-mic nights and tries to meet girls."
Doughty also shot "a bunch of soft-core porn pictures of a very tattooed lady" for the Web site Suicidegirls.com. "I get to put comics artist and pornographer on my resume now," he says with a chuckle.