Inside Mike Doughty’s soul or at least his head

Former Soul Coughing frontman steps out on his own and out in Minneapolis

Jenna Ross

Mike Doughty might have been more interesting when he was on drugs. As the frontman for 1990s band Soul Coughing, he was certainly more radical.

Now Doughty is happy. Like his new solo album, “Haughty Melodic,” he is also excited and earnest.

“Creatively, I’m in a really great rhythm, a really fabulous space,” he said in a recent interview with The Minnesota Daily. “I’ve just kind of learned the rhythm of the world and my place in it.”

Doughty, 35, recorded “Haughty Melodic” with producer Dan Wilson of Semisonic here in Minneapolis. The experience, he said, was “a slow, wonderful process.”

Why is the now-solo artist so sublime? Let’s take a look into the mind of Mike Doughty.

Minneapolis
“I love it. I’ve been coming there for years. But truthfully, only making this record did I really get to see the city besides the inside of a hotel and the inside of First Avenue. I just have a much more in-depth understanding of the city now.

“I had the Tempe Reuben at the Ö French Meadow (Bakery) about twice a day. And what’s the chai place on Franklin and Lyndale? That’s really awesome. They make the best chai. All my knowledge revolves around food, basically.”

Soul Coughing
“The last two years of Soul Coughing I was really unhappy. We really didn’t get along as people. Creatively, I wasn’t getting out of what I needed to get out of the band. I was unhappy with the band; I was really depressed; I had Ö stupid drug problems. It was bad, bad, bad.”

Dan Wilson
“He’s just super chilled-out, very creative. A lot of producers get really stressed out, but he just stays chillaxed all the time.

“I flew out to Minneapolis to work on some songs with him. I had some uncompleted stuff that I wanted to get another perspective on. We just sort of started recording. I came back a few months later and did a little more. It gradually turned into a record.”

“Haughty Melodic”
“It’s about recovering from drug addition. It’s about trying to get my shit together after a long period of wasted squalor.

“It’s about drugs and girls. That’s like 80 percent of rock ‘n’ roll history right there.”

Spirituality
“I’m not religious. I’m definitely not religious. But I’m super spiritually oriented. Spiritual consciousness doesn’t necessarily mean a belief in God or buying into anybody’s religious system or anybody’s dogma. I think it’s just a part of trying to stay open to the world. It’s affected the way I do everything.”

Soft-core porn
“I’ve shot soft-core porn for suicidegirls.com. One of the Suicide Girls wrote me, saying a lot of the people at the site are fans and ‘Would you be interested in taking my picture?’

“And I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ She lived in Philadelphia and came up to New York. We did it on my roof. Well, we didn’t do it on my roof.

“Talk about unique experiences in the world and in life. If you go through the world with an open mind-set, things just happen to you.”