Subscribers to Mike Doughty's email list got a neat Valentine's Day present the other day with a link to a cool interview with him.. which also could be downloaded. When I went to the link, the hosting server had essentially crashed because of the traffic, moments after the email went out. Which just goes to show ya.
To my knowledge, this is the first time Doughty has addressed the breakup of Soul Coughing. And based on his very specific parsing of their toxic behavior, I am fairly sure he's on the money.
A couple of things caught my ear... I was surprised that he said that Soul Coughing was not really a band; it was more like a group of musicians that he tried to orchestrate à la Duke Ellington. I can't imagine any other contemporary musician in the mainstream genre knowing who Duke Ellington is, much less The Duke's famed leadership method. Outside of that, his musical tastes are surprisingly commercial. (I'm sure he was just joking about Ke$sha.) He knows that the heart and soul of a band is the rhythm and bass section, not the flashy guitarist, so accordingly he likes Paul McCartney over the other Beatles--and he credits him for his bass skills. And he's right. I've heard all the Beatles songs over and over for forty-so years now, but Paul's bass line still jumps out. Take a listen to the closing chords of "The End" from Abby Road to see what I mean.
Still, you know, great things have come from some really awful setups. And Soul Coughing produced some great stuff. I have to give the other three SC guys their due on that; even if, as Doughty says, he had to pound it out of them. There will never be another Soul Coughing, just as there will never be another Beatles.