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Mike Doughty: The Making of the Small Rock

Mike Doughty performs "Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well." The former Soul Coughing frontman kicks off a nationwide tour Wednesday.
Julia Peck, NPR
Mike Doughty performs "Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well." The former Soul Coughing frontman kicks off a nationwide tour Wednesday.

In 2000, Mike Doughty found himself with an album's worth of songs sitting on the shelf, but no band to play them with. His jazzy, genre-bending band Soul Coughing had just disbanded and a solo album he recorded four years earlier, but never released, was gathering dust. He took those songs and his guitar and hit the road.

To his surprise, fans greeted his first solo tour by singing along to his unreleased songs. Napster was the culprit. Doughty took the hint and released the album himself under the title Skittish. That album, only available at the time through his Web site or at performances, went on to sell 25,000 copies.

Doughty begins the first day of his self-proclaimed "Small Rock World Tour" by taking caller questions and performing songs from his new album Haughty Melodic at NPR's Washington studios.

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