The Night Eagle Cafe
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200 State Street Binghamton, NY (607) 217-7334

Mike Doughty

Doughty played bass in a high school band and started writing songs as soon as he picked up the bass. "When I could play two notes, I'd yell something over it and call it a song." By the time he entered the New School in New York City to study poetry, he'd developed his syncopated guitar style. "I listened to Public Enemy and tried to play their rhythms on guitar; with a combination of ineptitude and persistence, I started playing the rhythms within the melodies." Doughty credits Sekou Sundiata's poetry class (Ani DiFranco was a classmate) and the work of playwright Suzan-Lori Parks with sparking his interest in the craft of songwriting. "Sundiata told me to let the poem, or the song, do what it wanted to do," Doughty explains. "He spoke about how to be musical, how words exist within time and transcend time.

I'm rhythmically driven; it's my blessing and my curse. The rhythms of my guitar, the nature of my voice and the strange cadence of the lyrics aren't funky enough to be funk, but they're too funky to be rock." This dilemma is at the heart of Doughty's art - an inability to compromise his desire for honest communication for the sake of the marketplace. "I'm an adult, trying to be an adult. It's not the most commercial move to make at 37, but you have to let the music take you where it wants to go." Doughty's solo career started with SKITTISH, a solo acoustic album Doughty made in 1996. His band, Soul Coughing, was signed to Warnes Bros. Records at the time; the label rejected SKITTISH, but it leaked and became a hit on Napster. After the band split in 2000, Doughty rented a car and started playing acoustic shows. "People who knew the songs from the Internet lip-synched every word," Doughty recalls. In four years, Doughty sold 20,000 copies of SKITTISH at gigs and through his website, with virtually no promotion. He was actually making a living playing music. "Even when I was in Soul Coughing with hits on alternative radio and a video on MTV, I was writing CD reviews under a pseudonym to make ends meet." Being on the road sent Doughty's creativity into overdrive. He released a live album called SMOFE + SMANG in 2002 and the ROCKITY ROLL EP in 2003. He was working on the songs that became HAUGHTY MELODIC when he ran into Dave Matthews, a big Soul Coughing fan, at Bonnaroo. Matthews signed Doughty to his ATO label and financed HAUGHTY MELODIC. ATO also issued a two-CD set comprising SKITTISH and ROCKITY ROLL, along with several bonus tracks. HAUGHTY MELODIC followed in 2005, Doughty's first solo album with a band backing him, and reached the top 5 at AAA radio on the strength of the hit single "Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well." Doughty and his band -- simply billed as Mike Doughty's Band -- performed at Bonnaroo and the Austin City Limits Festival, supported arena tours with Dave Matthews Band and Barenaked Ladies, and headlined successful nationwide club tours. And through it all, Doughty has maintained a widely read blog ( chronicling his unique shows, creative endeavors, international travels and more.