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Soul Coughing Reuniting For First Tour In 25 Years


Michael Angulia | 06-20-2024 1:44 PM EDT

Soul Coughing Reuniting For First Tour In 25 YearsReunion tour poster

Soul Coughing have surprised fans by announcing that they will be reuniting this fall for a short U.S. tour that will mark their first time on stage together in 25 years.

Here is the official announcement: They said it would never happen, but now it is - after 25 years, Soul Coughing are reuniting for a 17-date American tour beginning September 11 in San Diego, CA. The tour ends with a two-night celebration at Brooklyn Steel in Brooklyn, NY on October 4 and 5.

Artist presale tickets go on sale this Monday, June 24 at 10 am (local). The general on-sale begins on Friday, June 28 at 10 am (local). The complete tour itinerary is below.

The four members of Soul Coughing have said it again and again to audiences, fans, and journalists: We will not reunite. Stop asking. Well, you might want to pose that question one more time, because the tune has changed. This fall, all four original members will take the stage once more, with 17 dates across the country - bringing their glorious, off-kilter magic to a whole new audience.

Mike Doughty (vocals/guitar), Mark degli Antoni (keyboards/sampler), Sebastian Steinberg (bass), and Yuval Gabay (drums) formed Soul Coughing in 1992 after meeting at New York's Knitting Factory, where Doughty worked the door. A truly eclectic collection of musicians, the guys merged drum & bass, trance, rock & roll, and hip-hop to create a totally unique strain of music. As Doughty says: "Our music didn't fit into the landscape then and it doesn't now. We were super incorrect. We were messy. We were all over the place. There were moments in our career where we tried to be less different, and we always failed." And thank God for that.

Over their eight-year history, the guys collected a motley crew of fans who gravitated to the deeply weird - yet danceable - energy of their discography, starting off with their 1994 debut, Ruby Vroom. They broke up in 2000, but Soul Coughing has lived on in the minds and hearts of their most ardent fans - and a new crop of listeners who may have heard standouts like "Super Bon Bon" on a video game soundtrack or "Circles" on a favorite TV show.

And the guys themselves are no slouches. Doughty has been releasing solo records at a steady clip since the band broke up and has penned two memoirs. Meanwhile, degli Antoni has thrown himself into the soundtrack world, scoring films by the likes of Wernor Herzog. He also collabed with Steinberg, who has played with everyone from Iron & Wine to Fiona Apple - notably on her critically acclaimed 2020 record Fetch the Bolt Cutters. Steinberg also linked up with Gabay on a drum and bass project called UV Ray and select recordings for Suzanne Vega. Gabay then moved to the U.K. and recorded with DJ Krust, ADF, and Roni Size Reprazent.

When they hit the 30th anniversary of Ruby Vroom, though, Doughty started looking backward. After playing the whole record on tour solo, he reached out to the band with a radical idea: a reunion tour where they'd play a best-of collection of tracks from Vroom, 1996's Irresistible Bliss, and 1998's El Oso. "The end was acrimonious, but I just thought I'd give it a shot," he says. "So I just wrote an email to all three guys. It took a little convincing for some of them, but I was really gratified that everyone wanted to take part in that again - to see if we can be a great band again."

To say the guys were shocked might be a bit of an understatement. But it was also a kind of much-needed salvation. "When he first reached out it was such a relief," says Steinberg. "We all have our part to play in any dysfunctional relationship. But it was an immediate relief. I could just say, 'Hey, man, we did something wonderful. And I'm sorry, too. That was cool.'" Gabay had a similar reaction: "I respect the music. I love what I did there. I love what the guys are doing - we were a good band."

"I guess I just sort of came back to the music after lots of years of not listening to it," Doughty says of his decision to reach out. "We were never imitated. What really struck me is just how individual all the instruments were. Mark, the sampler player, really did something playing those live samples that nobody ever did. And we just had the best rhythm section in the world." And after all those years of practice, the band all agree they're only going to sound better when they reunite.

"I think the music aged really, really well," Gabay says. "The vibe is there and sounds as fresh as it did back them to my ears. I think that was part of the greatness of the band - we were not boring. If I go to see a band and they're playing the songs just as like they do on the record, I find that boring."

As for the setlist, that's still in flux. Doughty lives in Memphis, degli Antoni in New York, Steinberg in L.A., and Gabay in Jerusalem, so they have yet to get together for rehearsals. Still, they're all practicing - and will rehearse for a solid week leading up to the show. Doughty is singing three hours per day, Steinberg is getting back into the very muscular swing of Soul Coughing, as is Gabay - and degli Antoni? He's unearthing his old sampler - which he bought decades ago with his student loan money - and sorting through everything from snippets of '60s songs to seagull calls.

"We're just trying to pick the songs that bring us joy," Doughty says. "We're really trying to kind of revel in each other as musicians and that's what the setlist is going to be based on. One thing that's always been true about this band is every song is somebody's favorite song."

"Really one of the best conversations I've had in this band ever was Mike and I sitting down by the L.A. river for almost two hours and just going through the songs," Steinberg adds. "I think there's nothing I wouldn't try to tackle, because it's all so insane." As for the clubs, they went back to venues that supported them back in the day. "Our agents did some archaeological work, finding people in the music business that would really care about this - and really, really be excited about it," Doughty says.

As they head toward making history, all Soul Coughing knows for sure is that the band was something special - something never replicated. And this time around, it's all about unity. "Music is a place of escapism, for people to go to a magical world," Gabay says. "That's what interests me. I want to bring people together. How can you bring a variety of people to the gig? Music brings people together - both the band and the audience."

And as for how they promised to never (ever) get back together? "We just decided to let bygones be bygones. You know, everybody had issues," Doughty says. "Our fans are going to be shocked, man. I can't even believe how much they're going to be shocked."

SEPTEMBER
11 - San Diego, CA - Belly Up Tavern
13 - Los Angeles, CA - The Bellwether
14 & 15 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
17 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom
18 - Seattle, WA - The Showbox
20 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Depot
21 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre
22 - Boulder, CO - Boulder Theater
24 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
25 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theatre
27 - Pittsburgh, PA - Mr. Small's Theatre
28 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
29 - Boston, MA - Royale

OCTOBER
3 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
4 & 5 - Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn Steel

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