Published on October 6th, 1994 | by Gerry Galipault0
Soul Coughing can hack it
Just when New York alternative-rock quartet Soul Coughing had all but given up, a miracle walked through the door.
Their savior: Randy Kaye, an A&R representative from Slash Records.
“We were playing right next to CBGB’s, at a place called CB’s Gallery,” says lead singer Michael Doughty. “Randy tried to get into CBGB’s and he either couldn’t get in or whatever – Boss Hog was playing that night – so he wandered next door and was going to sit down and chill and have a cup of coffee, and we were playing. The rest is history.
“We thank Boss Hog and their immense popularity for all our success,” Doughty says with a hearty laugh.
That success, credited to Kaye’s divine intervention, comes in the form of one of the year’s quirkiest releases, “Ruby Vroom.” It’s a mishmash of sounds, from rap to jazz, coupled with Doughty’s beatnik-inspired poetry.
While working as a doorman at the Knitting Factory club, Doughty met bassist Sebastian Steinberg and drummer Yuval Gabay, and later keyboard sampler Mark De Gli Antoni, and coaxed them into his dream groove band. Ultimately, he wanted a showcase for his poetry and his love for hip-hop.
They played their first gig after only one rehearsal and haven’t looked back since, developing a cult following in New York’s club scene.
“We were talking to a small label about putting something out, but they were kind of being (jerks) to us and offering not enough money to make a record,” Doughty says. “At that point, I said, ‘To hell with it, I’m just gonna play New York and hopefully enjoy myself,’ and get two or three people who live here to like our music.
“Right about then, when we were ready to pack it in, Randy shows up.”
Doughty can’t define the typical Soul Coughing fan. He says there isn’t one.
“We have this very odd and diverse confederacy in New York,” he says. “It’s a real broad kind of category. It’s NYU kids, indie-rock pavement kids, hip-hop heads, guys in suits, chefs, waiters, stewardesses, park rangers … I think you get the picture.”