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Mar 30, 05 11:16 AM

Pull My Coat.

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Handsome Dan Chen hipped me to this fantastic Asian-German (!!) band called Lali Puna.

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They're from Munich. They've got a lovely, lonely, pulsating sound, with girl vocals.

Note to self: be hipped to more bands by Dan Chen.

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Posted by Mike at 11:16 AM

Mar 29, 05 11:22 AM

The Nazarene/The Northerner.

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I've gotten access to a couple radio formats I previously have only been able to recieve on cross-country drives.

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After I did that show on The Loft, on XM Satellite Radio, they sent me a reciever. Initially I didn't think I'd use it much--WFMU dominates my radio life--but I was overjoyed to discover there's channels dedicated to Gospel and Norteņo.

The former I could only get driving through the South--that great, blasting, rollicking, yelling, impassioned sound.

Norteņo is Mexican music principally involving braying, drunken-sounding horn sections and weeping vocalists; it's one of my all-time favorite kinds of music, previously accessible only while driving a rental car through California. I annoyed the bejesus out of my bandmates on the June run, as I insisted on listening to Norteņo stations constantly. Who knows when I'd be back in California again? It's one of the weirdest genres of music I've heard in my life, outside the confines of the old Knitting Factory on Houston Street.

They've also got good throwback country and hiphop channels.

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I've gotten into reading jag lately, too; the new Haruki Murakami (he's got two kinds of books, the sentimental and the trippy, this one's the latter), and the Gospel of John. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Does that sound like Doughty country or what?

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Posted by Mike at 11:22 AM

Mar 28, 05 05:34 PM

Michael R. Doughty, Grand Juror Number ______.

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I was picked as a Grand Juror this morning. (Should that, in fact, be capitalized?)

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I sat in a huge, windowless courtroom--unadorned other than a plain IN GOD WE TRUST over the flags and the judge's chair--with a couple hundred other New Yorkers, a number of them seeming like they needed to look into their anger-management issues. In situations like this, I'm always struck, and humbled, by the diversity of New York, and New Yorkers. Believe it or not, I was actually kind of feeling good to be there.

It's notable to me that my segment of New York, the hipsters, are in fact a tiny minority. There was one gallery-owner looking woman with a floppy hat and a sort of Diane Keaton zoot suit, and an East Village-y guy with a lip piercing and fingerless gloves. That's it.

After a long speech and question and answer session lead by one of my favorite Comedia Dell'arte types of New Yorkers--the grandstanding, magnanimous New York civil servant--they called out a long list of names, most of whom hadn't bothered to show up. You'd call out either "March 28" or "April 11," the date on which you preferred to commence your service. I called April 11, and then was immediately bummed that the vast majority of others were canny enough to have said March 28. This gave them longer odds in getting called up.

So I stood in the back of the room while they hauled out an cylindrical card-mixer-upper with a hand crank and pulled out names. IN GOD WE TRUST, indeed. Both the zoot suit woman and the fingerless gloves guy got called, too. I was immediately pissed off, in a very New Yorker kind of way, as it seemed everybody else knew how to game the system, and I was the chump who couldn't scam my way out of serving.

But the truth is, I'm perversely stoked to be doing this. Despite that my manager, finding out that I'll be unavailable for two weeks in the month before my album comes out, expressed a desire to stab himself in the chest with a fat pencil. I'm happy to be a citizen.

I have a strange daydream that my old drug dealer--who actually cut me off at one point, when it looked pretty clear that I was about to die--is going to be standing in front of me, on this grand jury, and I'm going to have to vote on whether he gets indicted.

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Posted by Mike at 5:34 PM

Mar 26, 05 10:13 PM

Warm Up, Iron Out, Equip, Outfit, Appoint, Ready, Put Together, Groom, Rig, Appoint, Acouter.

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My blogging suffers as the record looms.

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I'm gearing up, and trying to breathe through some anxiety. Went and bought a Martin acoustic to play on the Small Rock tour. Went out to Jersey, and down to David Gage's, in Tribeca, to hear some upright basses for full band touring, later in the Summer and hopefully far beyond.

I'm going to take a meditation course--a technique recommended by Mason Jennings, actually--to develop a sort of self-medication routine for road stress. I went up for a lecture at this organization's office; I thought they were pretty hip, but I was uneasy about the veneration of their guru, whose garlanded photo is in every corner of the tiny office. I spoke my unease during the question and answer period, and the lecturer said, "He's kind of a visual trademark, so people don't think we're that sex cult in Oregon."

"So," I blurted before I thought better of it, "he's kind of like your Tony the Tiger?"

I've been called up for jury duty on Monday, which is so ill-timed and inconvenient it's almost hilarious. Those who know of good Pho within walking distance of 111 Centre Street are cordially asked to hip me to their culinary knowledge.

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Posted by Mike at 10:13 PM

Mar 23, 05 11:31 AM

Mudded in that Oozy Bed.

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Does anybody know anything about electric upright basses? My bass player and I are driving into darkest New Jersey to play a bunch of 'em at a store in Edison. Email me, any bass player with good advice.

Posted by Mike at 11:31 AM

Mar 22, 05 10:08 AM

Sean Penn on Art: "If You Want Entertainment, Get Two Hookers and an Eightball."

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I was woodshedding an old tune of mine, and couldn't remember the third verse, so I Googled it. I feel this is mildly bananas.

Posted by Mike at 10:08 AM

Mar 18, 05 03:46 PM

Mo Austin.

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The Austin gig was really cool.

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Though I generally dread industry crowds, they were good to me at Buffalo Billiards on Wednesday night. Dan Chen sounded fantastic--I love his Rhodes and Wurlitzer sounds, and his note choices are exquisite.

Also--I brought out Greeny (the green Coronado), and played most of the set with Greeny rocking through a Fender Deluxe amp. Loud! I had planned to use my Tacoma Chief acoustic on most of the show, but something went wrong with it, so I used Greeny for all songs but two. She sounded just radiant--ringing, gritty and nice. An old friend, a happy reunion. I'd forgotten just how lovely she is.

She may indeed be my guitar on the May tour, along with an acoustic and my National Resolectric.

May will just be me and Handsome Dan, which I'm psyched and slightly melancholy about--it's likely to be my last small rock tour for a while. I'm hoping to do something kind of special with it, and pull out a bunch of tunes I don't often play--40 Grand, Ossining, All the Dirt, Lazybones, Where Have You Gone, Sweet Francis, Maybe I'll Come Down, Cash Cow, No Peace, Laundrytown--tunes like that, the ones that one single solitary guy in the back is yelling for. Maybe a couple/three a night or something--diversions.

I also met with my prospective drummer, Pete McNeal, a sweetheart and genius. We basked in the sunshine on the benches outside the Starbucks on Congress. Such a good dude he is. I'm sad about leaving small rock behind, but stoked to have a full band together for the Fall.

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Posted by Mike at 3:46 PM

Mar 16, 05 11:18 AM

I Hate That New Wave Shit.

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It was a good day for cabbies here in Austin. The guy who drove us from the airport to the hotel regaled us with tales of celebrity taxi encounters: "You haven't lived until you've had a drunk Sandra Bullock and Julia Roberts' sister in your cab."

Last night we took a cab to the Salt Lick--really extravagant--$40 each way!--but worth it. We were driven by a guy named Leroy, who's got a musician son living in Manhattan: "He's gotten into jazz and blues, but he used to play that new wave shit. I hate that new wave shit."

Posted by Mike at 11:18 AM

Mar 15, 05 09:46 AM

Huddled Masses Yearning to Drink Beer.

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Dan Chen and I are playing tomorrow night at Buffalo Billiards in Austin. Sadly, we'll have neither the time nor the rental car to take to the Salt Lick. I generally have mixed feelings about SXSW--the streets crammed with half-drunk jerks from L.A. can be trying--but I intend to have fun.

I'm trying to stay away from reviews, but sometimes I can't help myself to read the message board posts about Haughty Melodic; some adore it, some hate it (mostly Soul Coughing fans seeking that old splatter effect, which isn't really my bag anymore). I think it's great--it's one of the few records that I've made that really conjure a kind of world within the album--Ruby and Skittish are the other ones--and I'm so proud of it.

It fills me with anxiety to put it out there. Because some old Soul Coughing fans are not gonna dig it. On the other hand, I'm getting a lot of emails that say: I love your voice, why haven't you made music like this before? What took you so long?

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Posted by Mike at 9:46 AM

Mar 11, 05 03:10 PM

The Return of Greeny?

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I had the old green Fender Coronado I used to play in Soul Coughing souped up.

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I got it out of a storage space in Weehawken; it was in its busted-up case, sitting in this spooky garage-like space by woods at the edge of a downtrodden suburb. I brought it home, polished the body, and restrung it. I believe instruments have a kind of spirit and need attention; I wasn't intending to play it, really, so I tuned it to an open chord and propped it up in a corner, and, almost like stroking a pet every once in a while, I would strum the strings up near the head as I passed it, brrrring!

I plugged it in the other day and discovered the electronics were shot, so I brought it over to Susan at Ludlow, and she tinkered with it, and now it sounds great. I don't know. I might bring it out on tour with me in May.

Posted by Mike at 3:10 PM

Mar 10, 05 10:47 AM

Moticos.

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I was mesmerized by a documentary I saw on IFC called How to Draw a Bunny.

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It was the story of Ray Johnson, an artist I always found mysterious, because there used to be a memorial to him, rumored to have been painted by Kenny Scharf, on Ludlow Street. It was a cartoon bunny's head and the text RAY JOHNSON 1927-1995. For years, I had no idea who Ray Johnson was.

The memorial was painted on the only standing wall of a collapsed building; it was wrecked in favor of condos a few years ago.

I don't have the space to go into his story, which I found fascinating, but there is one component of his art/life that appealed to me immensely; he did these small pieces called moticos, small collages that he mailed to other artists. (He was a pioneer of mail art, and called his circle the New York Correspondance [sic] School.

Quote from Ray Johnson:

"I've got a big pile of things at home which will make moticos. They're really collages - paste-ups of pictures and pieces of paper but that sounds too much like what they really are, so I call them moticos. It's a good word because it's both singular and plural and you can pronounce it how you like."

I've read in various places that "moticos" is an anagram of "osmotic." Who knows if that's true? I want to make some musical moticos.

Posted by Mike at 10:47 AM

Mar 7, 05 12:30 PM

As a Small Child in Leavenworth, Kansas, I Adored the Ticking Sound of the Turn Signal in My Mom's Giant Green 1975 Oldsmobile.

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I just heard a Soul Coughing song for the first time ever on WFMU, Free Form Station of the Nation. I was surprised. I listen to them constantly--even on the road, over the internet--but I always thought we were too mainstream for them. (in the world of New York exquisite weirdness, believe it or not, Soul Coughing was a pretty mainstream sound)

It was "Disseminated," the Official Soul C's Song Mike Doughty Likes Least, so I had to switch to my trifecta of top MP3s: "Since U Been Gone," "La La," and "American Idiot." From WFMU's delicious buffet of the strange to the sweet glory of mall guitar rock. Yeah.

Posted by Mike at 12:30 PM

Mar 5, 05 09:58 AM

Insert Def Leppard Riff.

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The pix that Aaron Farrington took of me the other week arrived at last.

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He's a great photog, they're lovely photographs. I'm happy to say that I'm comfortable in the presence of the lens--I don't have that harsh, intimidated, frozen look on my face--but, as ever, it's a shock to see myself. Who is this man, and where's the guy I see in the mirror? I'm balder than I thought, more haggard--I keep thinking I'm Kiefer Sutherland and there in the frame is a Teutonic Maynard G. Krebs.

Thank God I've lost some weight--20 pounds since January 2004--and I don't suffer from Howard Dean neck anymore. Or Neckface, as the great NYC graffiti artist puts it.

So I'm a man in my thirties. How did that happen?

I want to embrace my age and my looks, especially in publicity pictures and such--it's a stupid disease in our culture, this anxiety that drives one to cling to youth--and people in their twenties have enough angst without having to fear the onset of life.

Posted by Mike at 9:58 AM

Mar 1, 05 07:08 PM

After Much Contemplation, I Figured Out What I Really Need in Life Is My Own Small Geodesic Dome.

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I read about this in ReadyMade magazine:

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There was a piece about these compact, pod-style, 108-square-foot domes. So awesome! I want to buy one and put it up on my roof--and finally have room for an actual table in (or near) my apartment. Or a writing room. Or perhaps a dedicated nap space. Or perhaps just a pod-like structure to sit in for no particular reason.

Am I serious? I am so serious.

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Posted by Mike at 7:08 PM
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