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Live Music Week happens bi-annually at WERS to raise money to keep our station running. We ask if you can pledge your support in order to keep us live on air, bringing you live performances from your favorite musicians. Pledges can be made here.
Mike Doughty was welcomed back to the WERS studios with open arms for Live Music Week 2013. He’s no stranger to our studio. “I’ve been on this station like thirty seven times and it’s great, I love you for it.” Upon being told he was welcome any time, Doughty joked “You’ll be sorry you said that. You won’t be able to get rid of me.”
Doughty’s set consisted of three songs off his new album of reimagined tracks that he originally released with Soul Coughing. The full name for the album is every track listed in succession, but for ease’s sake, he condensed it down to Circles Super Bon Bon. Both tracks used in the album title were played in studio. The first song in his set was “Super Bon Bon”. The performance was stripped down, using only an acoustic guitar and his voice. The tone of his voice was also a bit darker than what we usually hear from Doughty. Next he performed “True Dreams of Wichita,” a lightened-up version of the original with a pithy guitar riff. Lastly, Doughty gives us a cleaner sounding “Circles” with all of the heart none of the metallic dings found in the original.
DJ Good Goose, who Doughty describes as a “stereotypical hip-hop nerd”, collaborated on Circles Super Bon Bon. Doughty says of the new album, “It’s all the stuff I wrote just kind of souped-up… like I wanted to make them.” In essence, the album is a second chance to make the Soul Coughing songs sound the way Doughty intended them to. “I kind of wanted to push the darkness aside and find what I loved in the songs.” Since the album was crowd funded, it’s clear that the Mike Doughty fan base saw a need for this record to be made, and they were not disappointed. Doughty successfully improved the songs without getting caught up in the past. “You’d think there would be some kind of forced reminiscence, but really I’m just in the middle of a song, playing a song.”
Doughty also released an album of covers called The Flip is Another Honey in 2012. Even though both of his most recent albums involved recording already existing songs, Doughty says there is a big difference between them. “[My] old songs kind of live in my muscle memory,” he explains, “It’s straight out of my heart, so it’s in there… When you do a cover album you have to meticulously go through other people’s work and really make sure you get it right.”
As someone who has released sixteen albums in his solo career alone, Doughty has logged quite a few studio hours. He’ll never get tired of it, saying that it’s impossible not to have fun while recording an album. “You could write terrible songs, I suppose, and it wouldn’t be fun and interesting,” he says, “As long as you’re making music and trying to bring your emotions into it, it’s always fun.”