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The Book of Drugs: A Memoirby Mike Doughty
Synopses & Reviews
Mike Doughty first came to prominence as the leader of the band Soul Coughing then did an abrupt sonic left turn, much to the surprise of his audience, transforming into a solo performer of stark, dusky, but strangely hopeful tunes. He battled addiction, gave up fame when his old band was at the height of its popularity, drove thousands of miles, alone, across America, with just an acoustic guitar. His candid, hilarious, self-lacerating memoir, The Book of Drugs—featuring cameos by Redman, Ani DiFranco, the late Jeff Buckley, and others—is the story of his bands rise and bitter collapse, the haunted and darkly comical life of addiction, and the perhaps even weirder world of recovery.
"This memoir by singer-songwriter and former Soul Coughing front man Doughty is hardly your typical rock star memoir. Doughty is brutally honest about life as an addict, as he describes his transition from a cigarette smoker and pothead to a junkie (who takes two hours to walk to the ATM machine) and a drunk who had to sip the first drink of the day while it sat on the bar because his hands shook so much. Bringing the writing skill that he has crafted to his underground poetry, magazine articles, and songs, Doughty conveys his message with both despair and humor. For instance, reading about the slew of women he slept with while he was wasted, like the girl with the 'boyish seventeen-year-old's body and a middle-aged senator's jowls,' one can't help cringing and laughing at the same time. Clean since May 5, 2000, Doughty's revelations about going to 12-step meeting and his 'spiritual awakening' are just as forthright as his reminiscences about being a junkie and a drunk, though these memories and thoughts are recounted much more vividly. Along the way, Doughty discusses his bitter relationship with his band mates and the usual creative and personal problems common in rock bands, which are only made worse by the paranoia and self-hate brought on by substance abuse. While fans of Doughty will be disappointed that he doesn't reveal more about the genesis of his songwriting, this is a compelling look at one man's struggle to come to terms with the much-discussed connection between addiction and art." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book News Annotation:
Solo singer-songwriter Mike Doughty was once the singer-songwriter of the 1990s alternative band Soul Coughing, but don't remind him. In this memoir, he describes his neurotic former bandmates and his own outrageous behavior with self-deprecating humor and brutal honesty. Behind the media spotlight and record company hype is a painfully insecure young man lying on wet pavement for hours for an MTV video shoot. Throughout his downward spiral to an unglamorous near-death from heroin, and his eventual recovery through 12-step programs and a mysterious rock legend, Doughty rarely sees himself as a rock star. "I was usually too high to pick up girls," he says. "Every night that I spent alone, cotton-mouthed, in a hotel room, I loathed myself for loneliness itself." His travels in Asia and Africa are as much a part of his reconnection to his creative process as his recovery from drugs and alcohol. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A brutally honest memoir of addiction and recovery by Mike Doughty, the world-renowned solo artist and former lead singer and songwriter of Soul Coughing
About the Author
Mike Doughty is a musician and prolific blogger. Among other publications, he has written articles for the New York Press, Paper, and Village Voice. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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