Dear 13-Year-Old Pete,
Hey there. Your future self here, writing from the year 2013. Before I cut to the chase, I’d like to congratulate you on making it through the summer of 1997 without obtaining a milk crate full of ska records. Choosing Soul Coughing’s Irresistible Bliss over the latest Goldfinger record was a prescient choice few tweens in Akron, Ohio, would have made at the time, and I am here to tell you that you chose correctly. Picking Airwalks over Vans was a total poseur move, but putting your faith in that weirdo “slacker jazz” band from the Lower East Side will turn out to be a trend-bucking maneuver you will not regret.
The choice to sell your ticket to see Mike Doughty and company at the Odeon in Cleveland in order to purchase Magic: The Gathering cards, however, will be very regrettable. You will use an impending family vacation to some lake near Buffalo to further rationalize this decision, but I’m here to inform you the vacation will end early, and you’ll end up being able to go to the concert. You better find a way do this, because the band will acrimoniously implode in 2000. This is your last chance to see them. Sort of.
You see, after throwing the other members of Soul Coughing under the bus in one interview after the next, Doughty will spend the next decade as a trad-rocker, releasing earnest, semicrunchy roots-rock records on onetime tourmate Dave Matthews’ ATO label. You’ll be too busy listening to emo to bother seeing him live, which won’t be worth your time, anyway. Between acoustic ditties about his boozy days as a doorman at the Knitting Factory, Doughty gets flustered when drunkards in the crowd troll him endlessly by yelling out requests for alt-rock gold-rush-era hits like “Super Bon Bon” and “Circles.”
Rather than get the band back together to cash in on nostalgia like contemporaries Pavement or Archers of Loaf—two other ’90s bands you’ll inevitably trade your Senses Fail and Taking Back Sunday records for—Doughty is trotting out the oldies on a tour he’s snarkily dubbed “M. Doughty Used to Be in Soul Coughing.” The title is meant to take the piss out of residual fans who would rather not see him grow up and move on, yet the end result is the same: a live set of Soul Coughing songs! Doughty will be the only original member, but it will certainly be better than watching the other dudes attempt to re-create the hits with the former lead singer of Dishwalla or the New Radicals in Doughty’s place.
If you’ve already sold that ticket, there’s not much else I can do but urge you not to sell those Magic cards to buy books for college. They’ll turn out to be worth a lot more than your communications degree.
SEE IT: M. Doughty Used to Be in Soul Coughing
plays Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell St., with Moon Hooch, on Sunday,
Nov. 3. 7:30 pm. $20 advance, $22 day of show. 21+.