Soul Coughing Members Split To Work On Side Projects

Band's eight-year career included hits 'Circles,' 'Super Bon Bon.'

Soul Coughing, the arty, hip-hop-influenced New York rock band best known for the hits "Super Bon Bon" and "Circles," are breaking up after eight years together, the band said on Monday.

"This is not an end, but a new beginning for all," the group said in a statement. "Each of [us] have been working with other people throughout the duration of Soul Coughing, and collectively they decided to refocus their attentions onto other projects."

Soul Coughing's last album, El Oso, which included "Circles" (RealAudio excerpt), was released in 1998.

The band's frontman, M. Doughty (the M. stands for Michael), declined to discuss the breakup, except in jest. "I really only want to make one public statement about it: Ricky Martin drove me to such despair that I decided to give up playing music altogether," he said.

Doughty has, in the past, pointed out a strong resemblance between the pop star's hit "Shake Your Bon-Bon" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Super Bon Bon" (RealAudio excerpt). Last month, Soul Coughing posted on their Web site (www.soulcoughing.com) a tongue-in-cheek Liquid Audio remix that includes both songs, "Shake Your Super Bon Bon — Desperado Mix."

Doughty, who writes for the weekly newspaper New York Press, is working on a solo album, according to the band's statement. He declined to discuss details of the project. The frontman has toured in recent months as a solo act.

The band's other members — keyboardist Mark de Gli Antoni, bassist Sebastian Steinberg and drummer Yuval Gabay — also intend to keep busy, according to the statement.

Steinberg recently toured with singer/songwriter Beth Orton, and he collaborates with Gabay in the drum & bass project UV Ray. De Gli Antoni, meanwhile, played on a recent album by jazz guitarist John Scofield, and is also writing the score for an IMAX film.

Doughty said in a February New York Press column that Soul Coughing were renegotiating their contract with Slash/Warner Bros.

"Contrary to popular belief, few bands on major labels make any money from royalties, due to the one-sided math of the advance/recoupment equation, but rather through contract renegotiation," he wrote. "It took us like two months to figure out who we had to call to say, 'Oi, we wanna renegotiate.' "

A Warner Bros. spokesperson did not return a call for comment.

Lou Springer, one of the many Soul Coughing fans who congregate on the alt.music.soulcoughing newsgroup, said that while he and other fans will follow the bandmembers' solo careers, the group will be missed.

"There are bootleg copies of Doughty solo material floating around, and I don't feel that it will carry the Soul Coughing spirit. It will carry the spirit of what Doughty does," Springer, a 31-year-old New Hampshire resident, wrote in an email. "This was a band of musicians. Yes, Doughty was the frontman, but we're not talking about a singer/songwriter with a bunch of backing musicians here."

Doughty met his bandmates while working as a doorman at the New York nightclub the Knitting Factory. Soul Coughing released their first album, Ruby Vroom, in 1994, which established their signature blend of rock, hip-hop, jazz and wise-ass beat poetry. They followed with Irresistible Bliss (1996).