During the two years that have passed since the breakup of Soul Coughing, the band’s former frontman Mike Doughty tells Billboard.com he is seeing a whole new side of the music business as he navigates the waters of a solo career. Indeed, money continues to roll in from sales of his Internet-only 1996 album “Skittish,” recorded when Soul Coughing was still active.
“It’s incredible that I can make more money selling 10,000, basically, CD-Rs in a paper sleeve than I did selling a million records worldwide,” Doughty says. “This is what I discovered, the big boys don’t make so much bucks as when you are just putting your s*** out on the Internet and touring in a rental car. This is a much hipper way to live. I go out on the road, I come home with a bunch of money and I start paying some rent. It’s like an adult life. It’s quite incredible when you look at it.”
As bombastic as Soul Coughing could be, Doughty’s solo endeavor is a quiet, folk singer affair, which brings the New York-based musician back to his pre-Soul Coughing roots. As heard on his recently released live album “Smofe + Smang: Live in Minneapolis,” Doughty’s live shows are one-man-and-his-guitar outings that include a few tracks from his previous outfit (“Janine” and “Circles”) as well as solo material and plenty of improvisational banter.
Currently, it’s a busy time for Doughty. In addition to recently releasing “Slanky,” his book of poetry which was originally sold at Soul Coughing shows years ago, the musician has scored his first feature film, “Evenhand,” which is currently making the rounds at independent film festivals. Plus, Doughty is working on his next solo album, which may or may not be an independent release. He says if the right label came around and showed enough commitment “…in the 11th month of release rather than in the first six weeks,” he would consider an offer. As for the album itself, it will differ in style and texture from anything else he’s done.
“There are going to be beats, for one thing,” says Doughty. “I think it is going to be more fully realized instrumentally. It’s just a question of arrangements, which are just an extreme pain in the ass to write. I’ve turned into [Fleetwood Mac’s] Lindsey Buckingham. The whole thing is written and ready to go [but] every time I say a date, I end up jinxing it. 2003, 12 beautiful months [so] it could be [released] in January, it could be October, there is no telling. And now that I’ve said it, it’s officially coming out in 2004!”