"Soul Coughing" (1992–2000) was a New York-based band founded by vocalist and guitarist Mike Doughty (who billed himself at the time as 'M. Doughty'), a folk singer (he attended Eugene Lang College with Ani DiFranco, where they studied with Sekou Sundiata and played around the school together), slam poet, sometime music writer, and doorman at the old Houston Street location of The Knitting Factory, then a nexus for such avant-garde artists as John Zorn and Marc Ribot.
Doughty put the band together from instrumentalists he met as they came through the club; he met sampler player Mark De Gli Antoni (recently graduated with a composition degree from Mannes College of Music) when they both participated in a performance of Zorn's "game piece" Cobra. This same ensemble also featured Jeff Buckley. Doughty brought a stack of CDs over to De Gli Antoni's house one afternoon and had him sample iconic riffs from Raymond Scott, Carl Stalling, Howlin' Wolf, and The Andrews Sisters, among others. These, along with samples from De Gli Antoni's own orchestral works, became the foundation of Soul Coughing's musical identity, powering Doughty's half-sung, half-spoken vocals.