“The bulk of my friends are, you know, not rock stars,” admits Mike Doughty. The former Soul Coughing frontman tends to cultivate a lower profile these days as he tours the country delivering his acoustic “small rock.” But his shows are not just Soul Coughing Unplugged. There are the old-band favorites, but also, “new songs, all kinds of stuff” that Doughty has been perfecting since he recorded his solo-demo-come-self-released-album Skittish back when Soul Coughing still existed.

Paul Wong
Drugs are bad, mmkay? Wait, no, they”re cool. My bad.<br><br>Courtesy of Mike Doughty

Like that record, his live show is a toned down affair. With Soul Coughing”s bulky beat emphasis removed, Doughty”s songs take on a more reflectively rhythmic quality. They are the nuanced, jazzy free verse to Soul Coughing”s bombastic iambic pentameter. But Doughty hasn”t always been such a laid back cat.

“I had a coke and sluts period definitely,” Doughty professes. Like most fantasies about life as a “minor rock celebrity” though, Doughty”s debauched drugs-and-groupies era was, “never quite as good as you think it”s gonna be.” And though he kicked heroin a while back, Doughty still hasn”t given up on women. He has “no girlfriend, but I like “em still like the ladies.”

Lately, though, he”s been busy with his music, “I”ve been pretty focused on the songwriting,” he says, “Get up every morning and do it.” His current tour reflects this, as Doughty continues to embellish his solo setlist with new numbers. Lately enlisting studio help from a bass player and “sort of old school “70s session drummers,” Doughty plans to eventually, “make a record with a band (but still) tour acoustically.”

When not busy with these pursuits, Doughty maintains, and occasionally posts messages on, his website, superspecialquestions.com.. Not one worried with how his electronically-enhanced accessibility might damage his rock star status, Doughty reasons that, “In terms of like, the big rock stars I know and hang out with, I don”t think any of them give a fuck. And in terms of the big rock stars I don”t hang out with, you know, none of them give a fuck in the first place. And in terms of the small-to-medium rock stars I hang out with, I don”t think any of them are aware.”

Despite his lack of a record deal, some of the music community is aware of Doughty”s potential as a collaborator. Following successful partnerships with electronic beat-brewer BT and They Might Be Giants” John Flansburgh, Doughty remains open to future fusions. And though he praises MTV news for covering, “all kinds of bands that do not have Fred Durst in them,” Doughty says that if the red-hatted one calls, he”ll “consider it.”

Such potential indiscretions aside, Doughty”s forecast looks promising. Although when considering other possible co-conspirators in his future of small rock, Doughty laments, “I definitely can”t bring people back from the dead that would be a good thing.” Should he ever tire of the acoustic rock while on tour, Doughty could always bring back the big beats and bouncy bass maybe he could even revive the coke and sluts for the ride.

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