Mike Doughty,'The Idiot Kings': Exclusive Song Premiere

Sarah Forbes Keogh
Mike Doughty

Former Soul Coughing frontman revisits the beloved band's catalog on new album, "Circles Super Bon Bon…"

For Mike Doughty, it’s all come full-circle. The singer and songwriter split with his influential band Soul Coughing back in 2000, turned solo and turned his back on revisiting the group's repertoire. Then Doughty had a change of heart. He re-explored his old songs after writing his memoir, "The Book of Drugs," which was published in 2012 by Da Capo.

What Doughty did next was anything but conventional. He teamed with hip-hop/house producer Good Goose (Menya, Ninjasonik, Mac Lethal, Homeboy Sandman) and reinvented 13 of the Soul Coughing works. And he then floated the project with crowd-sourcing platform PledgeMusic.

The album project "Circles Super Bon Bon…" was a rapid-fire hit, reaching its funding goal within just 16 hours of launch in early April. To date, it has generated more than 3,600 "pledges."

"The Idiot Kings" is the first release to drop from the album. Catherine Popper, of Jack White's band, plays upright bass on the track. Listen to it here first:

"When I wrote this, at age 24, I was hoping for a pop single, and it never quite turned out that way," he tells Billboard. "Now, with the hip-hop producer Good Goose -- who's actually a stealth pop guy -- I think I made the song what it wanted to be."

Doughty is clearly enjoying his trip down memory lane and even wonders if the track influenced another artist's much-bigger hit. "I'm not 100% sure, but I think Alanis Morissette ganked a little something from it -- the 'Everything is fine, fine, fine' part [from 1995's "Hand In My Pocket"]. At least I can tell you for certain that I didn't gank it from her! If that is in fact the case, I'm definitely not mad about it -- I've certainly done some remorseless ganking myself.”

He admits he gets "a lot of lyrics by mishearing other people's lyrics." One such line – "'wider than the mind' comes from mishearing a Henry Mancini lyric--'Moon River, wider than a mile'." 

The album is due Sept. 17, and will be released worldwide via Doughty's imprint Snack Bar and Megaforce Records. 

Doughty will tour the U.S. this fall with a new band. Popper and drummer Pete Wilhoit will join the artist on the five-week, 32-city tour. Importantly, he'll be performing the 13 songs and more from the Soul Coughing catalog -- marking the end of a years-long period during which Doughty refused to play his former band's music.

“Circles Super Bon Bon…” track list:

1. Sleepless
2. How Many Cans?
3. True Dreams of Wichita
4. Super Bon Bon
5. Mr. Bitterness
6. The Idiot Kings
7. Monster Man
8. Maybe I'll Come Down
9. Unmarked Helicopters
10. So Far I Have Not Found the Science
11. I Miss The Girl
12. Circles
13. St. Louise Is Listening

Mike Doughty's “All-Soul-Coughing-Songs Tour” dates:

October
16 - Teaneck, NJ Mexicali Live
17 - Philadelphia, PA Union Transfer
18 - Burlington, VT Higher Ground
19 - Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
20 - Portland, ME Port City Music Hall
22 - Cleveland, OH Beachland Ballroom
23 - Detroit, MI St. Andrew's Hall
24 - Chicago, IL Park West
25 - Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
26 - St. Louis, MO Off Broadway
27 - Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall
29 - Boulder, CO Boulder Theater
30 - Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge

November
1 - Vancouver, BC The Biltmore
2 - Seattle, WA Neptune Theatre
3 - Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom
5 - Santa Cruz, CA Rio Theater
6 - San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
8 - Los Angeles, CA The Fonda Theatre
9 - Santa Ana, CA The Observatory
10 - Phoenix, AZ Crescent Ballroom
12 - Dallas, TX Trees
13 - Austin, TX The Belmont
14 - Houston, TX Fitzgerald's
15 - New Orleans, LA Tipitina's
16 - Tampa, FL Crowbar
17 - Orlando, FL The Social
19 - Nashville, TN Mercy Lounge
20 - Atlanta, GA Terminal West
21 - Raleigh, NC Cat's Cradle
22 - Washington, DC 9:30 Club
23 - New York, NY Webster Hall