Though Mike Doughty first emerged in music fans’ consciousness as the raspy poetic voice of Soul Coughing, fans who read his recently released memoir, “The Book of Drugs,” won’t be likely to ever shout out requests of songs from his former band.
“The story of Soul Coughing was that I would be bullied; subjected to very odd, delusional perspectives that I wasn’t actually a songwriter in the band,” says Doughty. “My bandmates, it seemed, thought that I wasn’t particularly important to what was going on in the music.”
Though he doesn’t have many warm things to say about his bandmates — he refers to them by only the instruments they play throughout the 252 pages of “The Book of Drugs” — Doughty does detail the journey of a man thawing out from an icy military childhood, breaking through a series of crippling addictions and finding a renewed salvation in the sound of music. His narrative voice is vivid, confident and funny as he details just how ugly and ridiculous the unholy trinity of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll can be.
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“Basically, I didn’t sit down with the intent of constructing a narrative with a theme,” he says. “I just thought that I had a bunch of good stories.”
In live performance, Doughty plays a number of his solo songs, reads passages from “The Book of Drugs” and answers audience questions.
“I was terrified, bringing readings into a music show, but it’s worked out great,” he says.