Category Archives: Alt Rock

Mike Doughty – Sad Man, Happy Man – CD Review

(*Editor’s Note – Thanks to my reliable laptop crashing this was postponed for quite sometime.)

Before I even start I would like to publicly kick myself in the ass for not attending last night’s Mike Doughty concert at the Beachland Ballroom (Oct. 10th).  I know I missed a good time and I am the one to blame for missing it.  I just had too much going on and not enough green paper in the wallet so I decided to sit it out and today am regretting it.  I also had the flu of sorts so it just was not happening.

Luckily I got my hands on his new album so at least I have something to listen to and talk about.

I always admire the musicians out there in the world that have overcome hardship and feed off the fan reaction rather than make music for pure financial purposes. One performer in particular that comes to mind when I think about a hard working true music maker is Mike Doughty.  Doughty, as many know, was the lead man of the 90’s alt rock act Soul Coughing.  Sadly the band called it quits thanks to constant battles with drugs and also financial hardship but Doughty kept going on doing his own thing.

He started recording solo material and soon had a cult following who worshiped his every word and sang along with to every song.  I was one of those folk who took a huge liken to him.  I loved seeing Doughty on stage alone with guitar in hand singing folky and rocky songs to an ever loving crowd.

Doughty took his fan’s reaction to his 2008 solo release Golden Delicious and used it to mold his next release titled Sad Man, Happy Man.  Some of the fans loved the rock pop heavy Golden Delicious while others hated it.  Perhaps the dis-likening came from the more upbeat fun styles that were bursting from the tunes over former albums.

Having such a huge step up from his widely known solo material was credited with Doughty’s “dude theory”, an idea of recording music that sounds like a bunch of dudes playing music for the fun of it. The result of his dude music won new fans and also caused some of the more so diehard fans to go so far as calling him a sellout for doing what he did. Not taking the negative reactions personal he used it to his benefit and began a different approach when creating new material.

In fact he used the responses as a fuel of sorts to making something better in his current release and admitted that his previous album sparked an array of feelings by saying:

“…some hated it, some loved it better than Soul Coughing.  I tend to take sharp left turns. Every time I put out a record, the audience seems to like what I did two years ago better. You’d think I could shrug it off because that’s what always happens, but it always gets to me.”

As a fan of everything Doughty has done since the days of Soul Coughing I have to admit that I was one of the fans who liked Golden Delicious. It was a change in his style but still catchy to my ears.  Just check out my review I did on it.  I was happy from start to finish and the album is still played here and there when I am looking for something fun to jam out to.

When I heard that Doughty was going back to his roots when recording Sad Man,Happy Man I was eager for the release.  After hearing listening to it (over and over I might add), it is clear that Doughty reached back to his solo roots as well as the days when he was in the popular 90’s act and pushed aside that poppy feel Golden Delicious had going on.  This time around there is more of a Soul Coughing vibe and less of the more pop rock he achieved previously.

“Nectarine (Part II)” sequel to song on Golden Delicious was acoustic with a brief add of Irresistible Bliss horns. “(I Keep On) Rising Up” continued with Doughty’s signature raspy hypnotizing voice moving through a more personal jam (he wrote it during hardship in a relationship).  Just after a couple of tracks and it was perfectly clear he was stripped down and focused on the acoustic.

“(You Should Be) Doubly (Gratified)” was a nice smooth rock song with long time touring pal Andrew “Scrap” Livingston taking bass duties.  I should add that this album is just Doughty and Livingston with Doughty providing not just the singing and guitars but also the drum programming and keyboards as well.

“(I Want To) Burn You (Down)” was a poignant acoustic jam reminiscent to the days when Doughty would play shows and would sell CDs himself from the stage after wards when he was trying to get back on his feet. “Pleasure On Credit” clearly reached back to his witty Soul Coughing days. I don’t think it was possible for me to enjoy this song more so than I did the first time I heard it.

Ending the CD with a Daniel Johnston cover completed this album for me. Hearing Doughty’s take on “Casper The Friendly Ghost” had me smiling.  The version was not nearly as depressing as the original schizophrenic take but still held on to Daniel Johnston’s eerie original.

It’s great to see that Mike Doughty keeps on going and Sad Man, Happy Man shows no form of slowing down.  It sounded throughout the album as if he was just having fun without getting too serious and to me that is what I admire him most for.  With all the hell the man has been though he never seemed to stop having fun doing what he loved – play music, and loving it while doing so.

Not just a musician but also an outspoken blogger.  Check out Mike Doughty’s blog site.  He’s not just a clever song writer you know…


Looks like I missed out on a little Q&A at the Beachland…  The tour was called the Question Jar Tour.  Looks like they took it very literally.  Damn me for getting sick!

Babble Blog: Random Nothings So You Care

BHP back in business? Well not completely but we are getting there…

I am still waiting to find out about my hard drive and it’s killing me to hear the answer. It’s not the end of the world by any means and if I do happen to lose everything I will live. It just sucks to have to be in the predicament when I have the means of backing up everything yet I do not for stupid reasons.

Thanks to good friends at work I was able to get another laptop used for low cost. My financial situation as of late is not at a place where I can drop some $$$ on a brand new laptop. The one I have will do for now and is just a little bit older than my deceased one. It’s nice to have a laptop again. Nothing against my desktop, but I prefer mobility over sitting in the office. I still love you old Dell desktop.

I am so hoping to hearing that my data was recovered. I should find out tomorrow. I took some really cool pictures at the roller derby I attended last weekend and I would love to be able to share them along with the interview I did with select members of the team. I also have a ton of music on there that never made it to the desktop. (Keeping fingers crossed)

The weekend is coming up and I am off to Cincinnati to visit one of my best friends. I am sure the weekend will include a lot of beers including Arrogant Bastard Ale and of course Guinness. It’ll be nice to get away for the weekend. I’ll be sure to make a stop at Shake It Records while I am there and tell Matt how awesome of a store it is…

So I have been listening to the new Converge and all I have to say about that is – WOW. That is one hell of a hardcore metal CD. Not for the faint of heart at all. I’ll be posting something about the CD here soon as well as a review of the show I was at earlier this week.

Have you seen the video off their new single? Holy hell. I’ll post it again for you all:

From one music spectrum to the other now… The Avett Brothers. I have listened to I & Love & You over 40 times since it’s release. No joke. I have not listened to a CD like that in years where I just can’t get enough of it. They are truly a talented band and I really like the path that they are going musically. I am excited to see them again when they return to Cleveland in February. This time I will be recruiting as many friends as possible to join me.

So is everyone enjoying my babble blog of sorts?

Well I am not done yet.

I have been fighting the H1N1 swine flu poison epidemic that has been attacking many in the area for over a week now. I did not have severe symptoms but I was not feeling well at all last week and had to skip out of the Mike Doughty show that I really wanted to go to. You know I am sick when I skip out on a show. I think it was a good idea though. In fact I think I was in bed by 8pm.

Couple other CDs I have been digging and will be writing something up soon about:

Bless The FallWitness
Strung OutAgents Of The Underground

Upcoming shows I am attending:

Mae w/ Jenny Owen Youngs – Oct 30th at Musica
The Whigs – Oct 31st at Musica
Gallows / Wreck Havoc – Nov 8th at the Grog Shop

Is anyone listening to anything amazing as of late that you would like to share? You know I do take comments on BHP… I am always looking for w stuff to listen to.

Finally who has seen Zombieland? Honestly that movie is now one of my favs when it comes to horror comedies… I’m not going to say anything yet about the movie in case you have not seen it yet and want to…

Well that is all I have going on right now. See you next time!

Slacky McSlackster…

Hey all,

Just wanted to send out a quick apology to all 7 of my readers.  Recently I took on a new position at the paying gig (aka work) that has been taking up a lot of my free time.  My hours range from early morning to late nights so my sleeping pattern is kind of messed up at the moment.

I can tell you that I have not forgotten about this little site I run here and have tons I need to share with you.  I just need to stop wanting to hibernate every time I come home.

I do have some concerts lined up this week and beyond:

Strike Anywhere / Polar Bear ClubGrog Shop – 10/08/09
I am super excited to see both acts.  There’s nothing quite like a punk rock show and a handful of friends will be joining me.

Sadly I will be missing another show that night since I can’t be in two places at one time.  A band called Youth Group is playing at Musica in Akron.  I have heard great thinks about these guys from Australia.

Here, see for yourself:

Mike DoughtyBeachland Ballroom – 10/13/09
The one time lead man of Soul Coughing returns to Cleveland touring in support of his latest release Sad Man, Happy Man, a CD I am trying to finish reviewing.  Having seen Mike Doughty many times in the past I know this is going to be one awesome show.

Converge w/ High On Fire – Grog Shop – 10/19/09
I am really hoping to make this show…  You have no idea how badly I want to see Converge.  I just hope I can make it.

Mae w/ special guest Jenny Owen Youngs – Musica – 10/30/09
I am super pumped to see both artists this night not only because I am a big fan of both but I get to hang out with my good pal Matt from Addicted To Vinyl and his super cool lady.

The Whigs w/ The Features – Musica – 10/31/09
As if one night with ATV and lady is not good enough I am going to hang out with them both again to see another great line-up.  I previously saw The Features at the Grog Shop when Those Darlins played with them so I know they are entertaining already and this will be the first time seeing The Whigs live.  Good times to be had, I know it.

Gallows – Grog Shop – 11/08/09
This show is going to be insane…I know it.  This UK band always is a insane act to see live.  I expect Frank Carter and crew to cause some hell on this Sunday night.

Here is a reason why I love Gallows so much:

Insanity. I love it.

So far that is all I have lined up but you never know.  I am trying my hardest to see as many shows as I can.

I’m planning on knocking out some reviews here shortly and I have some amazing bands I want to share with everyone including FREE MP3s!  So hang in there and I promise to spoil you with something entertaining.

Until then, be well.

Mike Doughty New CD & Tour This Fall!!!

Mike Doughty, formerly M. Doughty of the 90’s now defunct Soul Coughing is a bad bad man in the best way possible.  I’ve been a fan of him for years and am thrilled to see that he is releasing an all new album soon.  His 2008 release titled Golden Delicious won me over and I had nothing but nice things to say about it when I reviewed it for Blogcritics.org.

The CD will be released on ATO Records once again.  In case you did not know, ATO Records was founded by Dave Matthews back in 2000.  Dave Matthews was a huge fan of Mike Doughty’s work and still is for that matter so it only makes sense to see them working together. 

As much as I was a fan of Golden Delicious, other die hard fans of his prior solo material did not welcome the album as much perhaps from the more pop feel to it.

This time around Mike Doughty took consideration and decided to pull from his roots in hopes that the older fans will once again appreciate his material.  It sounds like more acoustic tracks will appear on the album which I know I myself will enjoy tremendously.  I am sure it will be full of humor and weird antics as well.

Mike Doughty had this to say about the upcoming release:

“I tend to take sharp left turns. Every time I put out a record, the audience seems to like what I did two years ago better. You’d think I could shrug it off because that’s what always happens, but it always gets to me.”

He continued by saying:

“The songs on Sad Man [Happy Man] are more arcane and convoluted songwriting-wise, though they’re sparer in terms of instrumentation. Although my choruses are still simple — I love taking phrases and repeating them ad infinitum.”

With Sad Man Happy Man dropping soon I can only wonder how amazing it is going to be.  I also am pumped to learn he will be touring again in support of the release this fall and is making a pit-stop in Cleveland.  I will finally get to see him again after my drunken 2000 experience when I saw him at the Odeon and remember absolute squat.

That’s not entirely true…  I do remember Mike Doughty on stage that night all by himself and he was changing guitars.  While grabbing a smaller instrument he mentioned something about it’s size.  I screamed “it’s not the size that matters, it’s how you use it!”  He chuckled as did most of the fans and replied “size does matter.”

Anyways, I truly believe you have to have a certain type of appreciation for music to enjoy and understand Mike Doughty.  I only speak from the truth as some of my friends absolutely worship every move he makes while others cringe at the thought of hearing anything by him because they never were a fan.

Growing up Soul Coughing always caught me in a good way and even as sad as it was to see the band part ways I was happy to see Mike Doughty continue on his own path.  I can not wait to hear his next release.

I can’t help but to smile every time I see this video and it’s not just because it makes you feel good but because I know one of the dancers in the video.  I won’t go into detail about her but she is an absolute sweetheart…

Mike Doughty “Fort Hood” Music VideoFor more funny movies, click here

Mike Doughty Fall ‘09 Question Ball Tour – all dates subject to change
OCTOBER
10/8 Pittsburgh, PA – Club Cafe(2 shows), ages 21+
10/9 Pittsburgh, PA – Club Cafe, ages 21+
10/10 Toronto, ONT, Canada – Drake Hotel, ages 19+
10/11Toronto, ONT, Canada – Drake Hotel (2 shows), ages 19+
10/13 Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
10/14 Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark
10/15 Chicago, IL – Schubas (2 shows), ages 21+
10/16 Chicago, IL – Schubas, ages 21+
10/17 Milwaukee, WI – Shank Hall, ages 21+
10/18 St. Louis, MO – Blueberry Hill
10/20 Louisville, KY – Zanzabar, ages 21+
10/21 Nashville, TN – 3rd & Lindsley, all ages
10/22 Athens, GA – Melting Point, ages 18+
10/23 Atlanta, GA – Eddie’s Attic (2 shows)
10/24 Charlotte, NC – Evening Muse
10/25 Asheville, NC – Grey Eagle
10/27 Carrboro, NC – Arts Center, all ages
10/28 Charlottesville, VA – The Southern, all ages
10/29 Alexandria, VA – The Birchmere
10/30 Sellersville, PA – Sellersville Theatre, all ages
10/31 New York, NY – Le Poisson Rouge, ages 18+

NOVEMBER
11/12 Northampton, MA – Iron Horse (2 shows)
11/13 Cambridge, MA – Regatta Bar (2 shows)
11/14 Newmarket, NH – Stone Church (2 shows)
11/15 Portland, ME – One Longfellow Square
11/17 Burlington, VT – Higher Ground Lounge (2 shows)
11/18 Albany, NY – Revolution Hall, ages 18+
11/19 Syracuse, NY – Westcott Theatre, all ages
11/20 Ithaca, NY – Castaways
11/21 Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom
11/22 Charleston, WV – Mountain Stage
11/24 Harrisburg, PA – Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center, ages 21+
11/25 Towson, MD – Recher Theatre, all ages

MORE DATES TO BE ANNOUNCED…