Hope.

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In spite of my anger at the Bush administration’s arrogant assumption of America’s divinely conferred status as global missionary of an unquestionable value system–and the hypocrisy! Where are the troops for Darfur? Would we be taking on Kim Jong Il if there was oil in North Korea?–I’m praying hard for these Iraqi elections to succeed.

Russian Tonality.

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I’ve been listening to audiobooks while I practice guitar in the morning.


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I’ve been practicing really intensely in the morning; running scales. I found a music theory website (I don’t know a lick of music theory; I mean, I should say, I know it when I feel it, when I play it, but the names of the scales and the chords I never learned) and I’ve learned stuff like the Mixolydian mode, the Dorian mode–things which previously seemed incomprehensible and hilarious to me.
I’m peculiarly drawn to the minor scale. I’ve never cottoned to that scale, until now.
I think it’s because I downloaded an audiobook of Chekhov’s short stories–the Black Monk, the one where the pudgy officer goes into a dark billiards room and makes out with a girl he never identifies–and they’re great. I’ve never read them. All those doleful Russian dudes wandering through spooky gardens with pale Russian heiresses–it imbues that minor scale with a certain melancholy Russian ambience.

Lonely Guitars Looking for Homes.

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Above is the back of the cheap-shit Yamaha telecaster copy I played on Ruby Vroom. I got more guitars that I need to find happy homes for; see below.
Let me reiterate my earlier entry–


Hey–I’ve sold some of these already–see below.
I have a bunch of guitars to sell. A few things I should note:
1) It disturbs me to keep a guitar in a storage space; guitars need to be played and loved.
2) People keep telling me I should hang on to old guitars I don’t play any more, because I may need them, but I can’t help it, it’s my psychic disposition to travel light.
3) I don’t want to fuck with eBay.
See below for more information–anybody interested, please email me at md@mikedoughty.com.
Oh, and I’ll be humbly asking the purchaser to pay for shipping–shouldn’t be more than $30 in most cases.
GIBSON J-150
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This is a beautiful guitar, and I adore it; I played it on about half the tracks on Smofe + Smang. But I just can’t lock it up in a storage space anymore with a clear conscience. I took it to Susan at Ludlow Guitars today, it’ll be spiffied and awesome, no buzzes or nothin’. I bought it new in 2000. I’m selling it for $1,351.08.
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“WILDWOOD” CORONADO II
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I’ve sold this one already.
I played this one on the El Oso sessions; if memory serves correctly, I recorded “Circles” and “$300″ on this guitar. (my other Coronado, the famous green one that I played Letterman with, I actually didn’t like as much sound-wise, so it’s a reasonable guess that this one is the one on the album)
You’ll probably need to take it to a shop for a set-up; it hasn’t been played for years. I’m selling it for $805.27.
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BABY TAYLOR (WITH FISHMAN PICKUP)
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I’ve sold this one already.
I played this on my first solo “small rock” tour, although the pickup is newer. Baby Taylors sound really beautiful, but here’s the thing–they’re REALLY fragile. The hardware on the headstock is really heavy, and thus I’ve had the experience numerous times of the headstock snapping off the neck. No fun. So beware!
The pickup doesn’t actually come out, the screws that hold it in having been stripped. I’m selling this for $227.53.
Oh, and one more thing–all I’ve got is a soft-case for this. So, please be in the New York area, or visiting New York, so I don’t have to put it in the clumsy hands of UPS.
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DANELECTRO BARITONE
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I’ve sold this one.
Do they make these anymore? I don’t know. This is a reissue circa 2000, not vintage. People keep writing and asking about this one–the truth is, I have no idea what to ask for it. Somebody want to hip me to this guitar’s value situation? Somebody just wanna make an offer?
This is another one in a soft case, so a New York area person is preferred.
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STRATOCASTER WITH ROLAND GUITAR-SYNTH PICKUP
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I sold this one already
I bought this to use as a secondary guitar on the Rusted Root/Volkswagen tour.
The jack that you plug the Roland synth cable into has been broken–the jack still works, but what held it in place is gone, so the cable dangles precariously (see the pic below). There may be copious futzing-about involved.
I’m askin’ $335.03.
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CHEAP-SHIT YAMAHA TELECASTER COPY
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I sold this one, sorry to the billions of people who inquired!
OK. So, this is the guitar I recorded Ruby Vroom on; I also played every Soul Coughing show up ’til about 1996 on it, and wrote “City of Motors,” “Supra Genius,” “Sugar Free Jazz,” on it.
Now. Here’s the deal. THIS GUITAR IS A PIECE OF JUNK. (like you can’t tell that by just looking at it!) It should be noted that the duct-tape around the high pickup holds the pickup in place. Actually, I played with duct-tape holding the pickup in on Ruby and on tour; it worked fine that way, though who knows if anything works on this guitar now.
I gather from the torrent of email that lots of people are interested in this guitar (which, me being a dumb-bag, I was actually surprised by), and I think are prepared to offer WAY more money than this thing is worth. Which does make me feel a little weird.
So. I’m open to whatever anybody wants to offer for it. One of the reasons I’m selling this stuff–besides just wanting to unburden myself of unnecessary items–is that I need to go out and get some new guitars, work out a new guitar sound that will slot a little better into a full-band’s sound–and I need a little cash for that.
But, if someone should be willing to buy this thing for too much money, I’ll be donating half the proceeds to the Musicians’ Assistance Program, a group that helps musicians with addiction problems get treatment.
Fun facts: The ugly gashes come from a night I got really high and tried to scrape off the blackish-purple paint with a screwdriver. That’s my old Brooklyn number on the sticker on the front-page photo; I printed the stickers up to put on Soul Coughing demo cassettes. On the other pic of the guitar’s back, that’s a half-photo of Atlantic Records A&R guy Jason Flom, and a sticker meant for the back of a remote control, listing the Time Warner cable channel lineup circa 1992.
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ANTIQUATED E-MU 4000 SAMPLER
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I sold this one.
Here’s another one for the “Who the hell would want this thing?” category. This thing was great stuff in 1998–the drum-and-bass producer Optical recommended it to me. I played a few things on El Oso on it; the Chris Rock sample (“How much! She said!” etc) on “$300,” some of the samples on “Monster Man”. I’ve heard a Kazaa’d live Soul Coughing track called “A Milkshake” that’s me playing samples of Bette Davis saying “Fully equipped with fire and music!” and “A milkshake?” and “Sole and exclusive rights and privileges!” on this thing.
But, do you want it? It’s big and heavy (in a very sturdy enclosure, I might add.) It’s eight years out of date. It’ll cost you a ZILLION BUCKS to have it shipped.
But if you live in the NYC area and want it–I’ll take best offer–hey, otherwise I think I’ll be putting it out on the street!
(Those pieces of tape with multiple area-codes written on them in magic marker were done by my guitar tech RJ on the El Oso tour; he would research all the local area codes and put those stickers everywhere so I could shout out, “Is the 516 in the house?!” etc.)
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The Island of Misfit Guitars.

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I have a bunch of instruments I want to find good homes for.


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A few things I should note:
1) It disturbs me to keep a guitar in a storage space; guitars need to be played and loved.
2) People keep telling me I should hang on to old guitars I don’t play any more, because I may need them, but I can’t help it, it’s my psychic disposition to travel light.
3) I don’t want to fuck with eBay.
So. The one very good guitar I have is a Gibson J-150, which is gorgeous; I feel particularly guilty about keeping it locked up. It’s in OK shape–neck’s a little buzzy. The pickup is kinda muted and weird. Clearly it needs a little trip to the guitar hospital for a touch-up.
The other things are:
The cheap shit Yamaha telecaster copy I recorded Ruby Vroom on (I doubt the pickups work, the hardware is rusty, and I took a screwdriver to the paint job once when I was high, leaving ugly gashes).
A Danelectro Baritone guitar. (It’s a reissue, not vintage)
A black Mexican stratocaster. It’s got a Roland guitar-synth pickup in it, but the jack is messed up (not the actually part where you plug the cord in, just the plastic bit that keeps it in place), so you’ll either need to do some gluin’ or just resign yourself to a permanent condition of futzing every time you play it (that’s exactly what I have to do with my other two Fender/Roland strats, sigh)
A Baby Taylor with a nice Fishman pickup in it.
A greenish-yellow Fender Coronado II, my secondary guitar from Soul Coughing days–it’s all over El Oso, though I couldn’t tell you exactly which tunes. It’s one of the “Wildwood” series, where Fender in the hm, late 60s? stained the wood in this manner where, though the guitar is really colorful, you can see the grain of the wood. It’s quite beautiful.
All of these guitars have been sitting lonely in a cell at Manhattan Mini-Storage, unused, so they’ll all probably need a little tune-up. (I take horrible care of guitars; I’m a bad daddy)
I’m going to head up there and take some pics in the next few days; in the meantime, if anybody’s interested, drop me a line at md@mikedoughty.com
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_____Dance.

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I had a bizarre and great gig in Park City, Utah.


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The film festival sent this extremely odd and chatty guy to pick me up at the airport. The moment I got in the minivan he started complaining: “What time are you going to the show tomorrow? 5 pm? I tell ya, I told ‘em I needed five hours off tomorrow, just five hours, you know I told ‘em last week, so maybe 5’s not gonna work, maybe somebody else’s gonna drive you there, you know, I mean I’ve been driving ten hours a day, and twelve yesterday, that’s just too much, you know, that’s a lot of driving, let me tell you…”
And on and on all the way to the hotel. At one point he turned to me and asked, “So, what is it you do, you’re a guitar player?” Yeah, that’s right.
“I’m a performer, too,” he said. “I do an Elvis show.”
The next day, as foretold, a different guy picked me up to drive me from Salt Lake to Park City. Nice, normal guy, which was a relief. His cell rang. “Jerry wants to talk to you,” he said.
I figured it was one of the festival’s organizers, so I took the phone. It was the driver from the day before. “Hi, Bill, oh did I call you Bill? I mean Mike, sorry Mike, I just got mixed up there, well anyways, hi, this is Jerry, and I wanted to tell you that I’m sorry that I couldn’t pick you up, that’s my son that’s driving you right now, and be nice to him, he’s a good kid, heh heh, you know, a very good guy, and once again I’m real sorry I couldn’t be there myself to drive you…”
I got off the phone. So, your Dad’s an Elvis impersonator? I asked Jerry’s son.
“Well, um, you know, for karaoke and stuff,” said Jerry’s son. “He sure is into Elvis, though.”
Park City was packed. There are something like 200,000 film festivals appended with the word “dance” going on simultaneously. My favorite was Thumbdance, which I was told is all movies shot on camera phones.
I anticpated a rough, talky gig, full of industry schmoozers, and that’s what I got. But, with a heaping dollop of pure weirdness.
In the front row were a pack of maybe five or six really big Mexican dudes in blue football jerseys. They were ridiculously into what I was doing, yelping and hooting. So weird! At one point I had to (VERY nicely) ask them to stop whoop! whoop! -ing. They stopped for a minute or two.
One of the security guards came over to the big, blue-jersied Mexicans, and was waving his flashlight at them. I thought he was shushing them, but in fact he was doing some kind of disco light-circle over them, egging them on. Apparently, at one point in the show he got onstage behind me and was dancing and waving his flashlight in time.
A drunk girl walks up to the stage. “Could you play ‘Tiny Dancer’?” I made fun of her, and her friends laughed, and she slinked away.
A few songs later, a guy walks up to the stage. “Mike! Mike!” Um, yes?
“I’m the percussionist who played before you, and I’d love to do a song or two with you.”
Um. Thanks for offering, man. But, uh, I have no idea what you sound like, and I usually like to rehearse with people I’m playing with…
“Oh, I totally get it, Mike, you do your thing, Mike,” he said. Like he was being magnanimous about it.
A few songs later, a DIFFERENT drunk girl walks up to the stage. “Excuse me,” she said. “Could you play ‘All Along the Watchtower’?”
You have an interesting sense of entitlement, I said.
“What’s the matter?” she said, entirely friendly and unfazed. “You don’t like that song?”
It was a pretty fierce gig though, even with the strangeness and the talking. Apparently Denis Leary came; the guy on the door told me he walked up, said, “Where’s Doughty?” and was pointed up the stairs.
A local Salt Lake guy named DJ Knuckles played after me; REALLY good, with turntables, laptop, and the aforementioned percussionist.
I was driven back to Salt Lake by the fabulous Spencer and Maggie. In this strange weekend of existential mishaps, the minor miseries were capped off when I woke up with a stomach flu, and enjoyed a very pukey flight back to New York.

Mountain Time.

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I’m in Salt Lake. I was planning to console my blizzard-missing self by looking at the mountains. But–the mountains are shrouded in fog, and there are only bland bank towers to stare at. What did I do? I’m a good boy. I promise.
Maybe I’ll see ‘em when I get up to Park City this afternoon.

How Can You Laugh When You Know I’m Down?

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Oh, I’m depressed today. I’m missing a snowstorm.


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I adore a blizzard, especially in Manhattan, where the whole city shuts down and becomes eerie and pristine. There’s going to be a foot and a half of snow in New York today, and I’m in San Francisco. To make the irony crueler, I’m flying to Utah today, where it’s positively balmy in relation to gorgeous, frigid New York.
I remember a blizzard in 1993 when I came in from Brooklyn and trudged around looking for Magnetic Fields records in an East Village that was rendered so quiet that you could hear somebody’s footsteps crunching the snow a block away.
I really get into these exorbitant spirals of blue funk when I miss a blizzard (I missed the big two-foot one–last year?–when I was, again absurdly, in a relatively temperate Minnesota) I mean, almost Germanic depths of bleakness. Pretty comical.

Jacob Epstein’s The Visitation.

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I had a an hour to kill before catching my train last week, when I was in DC doing an XM radio appearance. The Visitation is in the sculpture gallery at the Hirschorn Gallery. It scared the hell out of me as a twelve year old, visiting DC on a family trip.
I’m in San Francisco (“San Francisco–an oasis in the California desert!” opines George Sanders in All About Eve), opening for Gomez, who are fantastic, and their rollicking, woolly sound is beautifully suited to this chilly, mysterious town.