"S" was a struggle. I had Stabbing Westward, Smashing Pumpkins, and Sevendust competing for the coveted slot. I even devised a plan to just randomly select one using a 12-sided die, each band getting four assigned numbers and picking whichever won. Then Soul Coughing popped into my head. And sure, I could have added them to the die roll, but I just decided to... roll with it... get it?!
I feel like Soul Coughing, despite having some commercial success, has always flown more under the radar than most. Their uniquely offbeat, jazzy rock certainly wasn't for everyone. There may have been a time when I wasn't sure it was for me. If so, it was short-lived. I still remember working at a factory job, putting together boxes of candles, and having "Bus to Beelzebub" playing while assembling with co-workers. It drove some people nuts, but I thought it was great!
Another song I loved from Ruby Vroom, Soul Coughing's debut album, is "True Dreams of Witchita":
Ah yes, I could listen to that song for days. Okay, that's a bit exaggerated, but still, it's very chill. I don't think everyone in my immediate group of friends were fond of Soul Coughing at first. And I know many people hadn't heard of them until their second release, Irresistible Bliss. I feel that "Super Bon Bon" and "Soundtrack to Mary" really started to garnish the band more mainstream attention.
However, one of my favorite songs off that track list is "Soft Serve":
This song is another (like some Eve 6 songs) that made me want to attempt some karaoke jams!
Holy crap, on a side note, this just reminded me of Smashmouth, the only band whose song I've actually sang during karaoke!
Anyhow, back to Soul Coughing. It sounds like during the production of Irresistible Bliss is where tensions were raising among its members. They released one more studio album (of new material) in 1998 called El Oso. This final release contained their biggest single, "Circles". It and another song were synced up with some cartoons back in the day by Cartoon Network, so I thought I would share one ("Rolling") synced to a clip of Betty Boop:
After El Oso's release, the band was done. They had a compilation of "greatest hits" some years later, but Soul Coughing was dissolved. This is definitely a band that I wish was still together! I'd like both new songs and the chance to see them live.
They had a lot of material that appeared on various video games and soundtracks, like some others on this A to Z list. One of my favorites, "Unmarked Helicopters" appeared on The X-Files soundtrack:
While it's a shame I'll never be able to see Soul Coughing perform, former frontman Mike Doughty launched a successful solo career. I believe he does continue to play a handful of the band's material (after avoiding it for years). Even if not, a lot of his solo work maintains his free-flowing, poetic lyrics and that's good enough for me!
Are you familiar with Soul Coughing? Did you enjoy the songs/videos? Do you have a favorite song and/or album? Have you ever seen them live? If so, how was the performance? Have you ever heard M. Doughty's solo work or seen him live? If so, what are your thoughts?