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His days of leading avant-rock outfit Soul Coughing are long behind him, but singer-songwriter Mike Doughty continues to carve out a sturdy solo career with releases like the well-received 2005 disc Haughty Melodic and his most recent, 2008’s Golden Delicious. Doughty will play Tuesday night at Hotel Cafe and Wednesday night at Largo as part of a duo with fellow musician Andrew “Scrap” Livingston in what is being dubbed “The Question Jar Show.” The premise? Audience members write questions pieces of paper and place them in a jar before the show. Between each song, Doughty will pull a question or two from the jar and answer it. A simple idea, yes, but also a good example of why Doughty remains a fan favorite. Doughty sat down with Decider to talk about back-in-the-day blogging, The Question Jar, and what he hopes to find in it.
Decider: How did the idea for "The Question Jar Show" come about?
Mike Doughty: One of my favorite parts of playing live is having a dialogue with the audience, and it's hard when you're straining to hear what the single drunk guy is yelling. So, the jar enables a more fun conversation.
D: You're playing with Andrew Livingston on this tour as part of a duo, which is a middle ground between doing solo acoustic shows and playing with your full band. Why a duo this time around?
MD: There's no rationale. I just enjoy playing with Scrap. I'm somewhat guided by my whims when it comes to choosing things like that. Playing with a band is about rhythm and energy and when I'm playing alone or with Scrap on cello, my head gets sucked very deeply into the songs.
D: You recently spent some time at an artist's community, Yaddo, to work on new material for your next album and an upcoming electronic side project, Dubious Luxury. How did you handle being separated from everything?
MD: Being at Yaddo was pretty amazing—off in the woods at this historic artists' colony. They feed you and give you time to work. They give you a lunchbox—yes, an actual lunchbox—so you can stay in your studio all day working. The best part of it, actually, is having no Internet access. I'm hoping I can go back at some point.