Friday  May 31, 2002


I was on vacation in Maine a few years ago listening to WERU, a radio station that broadcasts from Blue Hill. They usually play great music, so when we're up there we tune in whenever we get a chance. On one particular day they played a song that I had never heard before and really enjoyed. Annoyingly, they didn't identify it at the end of the set, but I liked it enough to call the station and ask them what it was. The nice lady that answered said it was "Soft Serve" by a band called Soul Coughing.

I'd never heard of the band, but as soon as I got back to New York I went out and bought the album, Irresistible Bliss. I was blown away by the music and listened to it obsessively. As soon as I saw Jon I told him he had to check out this amazing band -- and coincidentally he, too, had just bought the CD and loved it. I soon found out that they had also released an earlier album, Ruby Vroom, which I also bought and played constantly (really loud). When El Oso, their most recent and final CD, was released I was ecstatic -- more Soul Coughing!

During post-production on our second feature, Cherry, I was determined to put a Soul Coughing song in the film. I found a great place for "Disseminated," a cut from Irresistible Bliss. In a rare moment of disagreement, though, Jon didn't like it for the scene, so we used a Robert Cray song, "I got Loaded," instead, a song that we agreed worked really well.

A couple of years later, during production on EvenHand, Bill Dawes and I got talking on the set one day about music for the film and he mentioned that he was friends with Mike Doughty, the lead singer/songwriter from Soul Coughing and wouldn't it be cool if we got him to write some music for the film. I told Bill what a huge fan of Soul Coughing I am and he said he would arrange a meeting.

After we were back in New York, Mike Doughty came to Cypress and we chatted a bit about EvenHand and his music. I showed him an early cut of the film and he liked it enough to agree to write a song. Not long after, he delivered "Sweet Francis," the first of a total of four songs he would eventually write for EvenHand.

If you're a fan of Soul Coughing, you're going to love Doughty's songs in the film. They capture the mood and tone perfectly. "Sweet Francis" works great as Francis' theme song; "You Can't be a Friend to Everyone" is all about Morning; "Green Hotel" plays over a scene of Toby running away and "Get Along" adds great texture to the relationship between the two cops (Francis and Morning) and is reprised for the end credits.

Doughty rocks.

- Joseph Pierson


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