In the mid-late Nineties, when “alternative” became mainstream, the term lost it’s meaning. Bands like Counting Crows, who were as traditional a rock band as there ever was, were all of a sudden “alternative”. Alternative to what? A term that was first used to describe bands that were off the beaten path turned into a catch-all for any act that wasn’t dance/pop. I was gonna add R&B and hip-hop to the mix of categories, but there was an “alternative” division of each of those genres as well.

New York’s Soul Coughing was truly alternative. Led by Mike (then known as “M.”) Doughty, Soul Coughing invaded rock radio with a sound that dipped toes in genres ranging from jazz to hip-hop. They was definitely more cerebral than your average mainstream music, and although they were never huge, they do have a couple of tracks that would be easily recognizable to anyone that was watching MTV in the late Nineties, like “Circles” and “Super Bon Bon”, a live clip of which is included here.

After the band imploded in 2000, Doughty began making solo recordings that explored a more traditional singer/songwriter approach while still being inspired by beat poetry and hip-hop. He’s also a respected author and blogger (you can catch him at His latest album, “Sad Man Happy Man” was released about a month and a half ago, and I was very fortunate to be able to see him perform a week ago.

This live clip isn’t the best quality, but it’s still enjoyable.