Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Book of Drugs

Mike Doughty, a prolific multi-tasker who issued 2 new albums in recent months, has published his compelling memoir, THE BOOK OF DRUGS. As the press-release states, it features "cameos by Redman, Ani DiFranco, the late Jeff Buckley, and others." The book also mentions the Raymond Scott sample loops that Doughty memorably incorporated to great effect into 3 songs with his 1990s band, Soul Coughing. Excerpts, detailing tensions with his former bandmate:

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"There's two ways to play the sampler," the sampler player said, "as a conventional keyboard, or to trigger sound effects." I hoped I could convince him otherwise.

I brought some CDs over to his house. There were a bunch of sounds I wanted him to use: Howlin' Wolf, the Andrew Sisters, Toots and the Maytals, The Roches, Raymond Scott, Grand Puba, a cast recording of Guys and Dolls.

His house was so organized, it made me feel weird. He had a master's degree in composition from an uptown conservatory and was well inculcated in the conservatory mind-set — he called rock drummers "percussionists" and used terms like sforzando when discussing how to best approach a rhythm that I'd ripped off from Funkdoobiest. ...

The repetitions of dance music were foreign to him. "You mean, you want me to play this over and over again?" he asked in rehearsal.

"Yo, G," said the drummer, "just hold down that there key with some duct tape."

He was too proud for the duct-tape maneuver, but he became OK with the repetition. ...

There's another interview out there that I can't find: the interviewer mentions the Howlin' Wolf sample, Andrew Sisters sample, the Raymond Scott sample, and he asks the sampler player what makes for a great sample. The sampler player answers at length, and quite pedantically, about how he selects and manipulates them. But wait — though certainly the guy's fantastic at what he does, no question — the interviewer guy's talking about samples that I came up with.

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1 comment:

  1. Doughty was in Soul Coughing? I had NO IDEA!!!

    (Sorry, my smiley key is broken.)