The Question Jar is a remarkable thing.
It is a jar. A jar wot done has questions in it. Questions that you, if you were at the Biltmore Cabaret show (and if not, why not?), have asked. Questions that Brooklyn’s Mike Doughty and cellist/foil Scrap Livingston answer. Questions that, in Vancouver, are unfolded throughout 1 hour and 41 minutes of solo Mike Doughty goodness.
The Question Jar is lo-fi interaction in action and it is raw awesome. The Jar helps to stitch fun and silliness between melodies that are generally either unsoppily beautiful and romantic, or kinda deep and meaningful. Or slightly bonkers.
The Jar works not because it’s imbued with indie/folkie rock magic. The Jar works because Doughty is sharp of tongue and ragged of wit. He is the guy who on this night inspired an attendee to Tweet that she wanted to wrap herself up in his voice. It is a good voice. A deep voice.
Yeah, we’ve kinda known each other on and off for 15 years, okay? Used to party together in the ‘90s when he was in The Band What Dare Not…Uh…Have Its Name Spoken (Soul Coughing, but let’s not mention that). But now that he’s sober, he’s much more betterer (at least half of the time if you believe the title of his latest album), and if you want to read a real review and a thinkpiece, check my riff on Doughty’s last Vancouver show.
But you want fun and silly, don’t you?
You’ve got your own question and it is thus: “WHAT WAS IN THE QUESTION JAR?”
Gather round. Herewith, The Vancouver Question Jar, tipped over.
But first, two caveats:
1) There’s a lot of fucking swearing.
2) Guess which questions are mine and leave a comment. There are two. And no, not the one about the G-Spot.
M’kay. Ready? Hold on to your socks.
Do you play private events and can you tell a story of a fun one please?
Well, the other day I was playing this bachelor party and I was fucking this guy…yeah and we played Busting up a Starbuxx and he took it the wrong way. It was bad.
Is this a good question?
Great question. Fan-fucking-tastic. You blew my mind, man. You just stumped yer uncle.
What is your favourite curse word to use in a song and which haven’t you used yet but would like to?
I like fuck a lot, I don’t like shit very much and uh, I don’t know, cunt’s pretty good but it’s a little, I don’t know, outré. Perhaps a bit louche.
What is the biggest problem we face on the planet today and what can we do about it?
The biggest problem on the planet today is people not being groovy and the solution is to be groovy. I’m serious.
Which dead musician would you like to perform with if you could?
Louis Prima. What? One shout for Louis Prima? Poor Louis.
Which is your favourite chipmunk and why?
I don’t really know the difference except for Alvin. Yeah, I know their names but I don’t what the fuck…okay I’m going with Theodore because he has the longest name. What the fuck, I like him, I like long names.
Movie star or hotel bar?
I’ll go hotel bar. Again, no idea what the fuck that means. It seems like two very disparate items.
Did you know it was Diane’s birthday?
No, I did not. Happy birthday Diane. I think you knew that I didn’t know it was Diane’s birthday. I think you could have asked something like ‘would you please say happy birthday to Diane’, because now I feel like a chump. I feel like I just stepped into this little role you wanted me to play. Now I look dumb.
Scrap: But isn’t one of those things like if you really want a drink, you say “it’s 5.30 somewhere,’ so like you could say ‘on Planet Earth it’s Diane’s birthday somewhere’
[laughs] Yes, it’s Diane’s birthday somewhere.
If provoked, who would you rather fight, Joe Biden or Oprah?
Oh I could never fight Oprah, I just wouldn’t want to get the shit kicked out of me. I’d fight Joe Biden and knock him in his big white teeth.
If you were a rock what rock would you be?
I would be…uh…what kind of rock would I be? I would be an igneous rock. Is that a kind of rock, Scrap?
Scrap: Yes, it is. And also there is metamorphic rock.
What do you think happened to the kid at the end of Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy?
Oh shit, I read that book when I had food poisoning in Laos in South-east Asia. That is the wrong fucking book to read if you have food poisoning. There’s like dudes dying all over the place. IT is like the book of misery and it was all I fucking had. And I laid there for four days shitting my brains out reading this terrible, awful book of death and destruction.
Scrap: That’s tight.
Yes, Firetruck. It’s gotta be a movement, though. I mean, you know. We do not take Firetruck lightly.
What kind of sweets or candy did the Cabaret give Scrap tonight?
He didn’t get any! No sweets tonight. Got orange juice. But that’s okay, right, Scrap?
Scrap: OJ. The quintessential fruit of the diabetic fruit party. And you’re all invited.
We request a piece of candy for Scrap, because Scrap’s diabetic and in case he ever needs something so in Portland, in Portland they gave us a chocolate bunny. It wasn’t a hollow one. It was a solid chocolate bunny. If you’re ever in Portland just know, solid people. Good people.
Who was the Only Answer?
Uh, it was a lady.
Can you name five words that start with the letter Z?
Zebra. AW FUCK! Uh, zoology…zygote….zucchini! ZAMBONI! Of course, Canada! Zamboni. I shoulda started with Zamboni.
Which one of your songs is most likely to bring about world peace?
That is very hard because all of my songs bring about peace. Everybody at war kinda goes ‘wha’?
What benefit does Daylight Savings bring to the world?
No fucking benefit at all. In fact, we’ve got a long-ass drive to Twin Falls, Idaho tomorrow and we’re gonna be getting into Twin Falls an hour later than we fucking thought we were.
Do you ever think about archives? And if so, what do you think?
Archives, like keeping stuff? I like keeping stuff. I watch Hoarders from time to time.
@MikeDoughtyYeah Looking for love in Vancouver? Adultfriendfinder.com
HAHAHAHAHAHA! There’s spam in the Question Jar! Somebody spammed the fucking Question Jar. It had to happen!
Who is my real father?
Uh, I am your father.
Why not grasshoppers?
Why not grasshoppers? They’re crunchy, and full of proteins and nutrients so why not grasshoppers?
Are you closer to getting that Nobel Prize in Rock?
I am so close to getting that Nobel Prize in rock. So fucking close. If Al Gore doesn’t pick up the guitar, I will be in there man.
What’s your favourite children’s story?
The Cat in the Hat
Why do cats sleep so much?
Cos they’re motherfuckers. Fuckin’ motherfuckers.
Do you think I’m pretty?
You are so pretty. In fact, I’d like to do you right now. These songs, they mean nothing to me. It’s all about you, baby.
Where exactly is the G Spot?
I think it’s sort of in and up. In and up. Behind and up and in. But I don’t fucking know, they could be lying to me. It’s not impossible.
How do you feel about the whole Tiger Woods thing?
I’m kinda sceptical about the concept of sex addiction and I’m sceptical that you can not fuck up your marriage through rehab.
How do you know when it’s love?
I’ll tell you. Just call me. I’ll let you know.
If you could create your own Olympic sport what would it be?
It would be Mike Doughtying. And would totally win. I’d be in for the Winter Mike Doughtying competition and you know, I’d have to hop between the different things with the bronze and the silver and gold and I’d be awesome. And then you’d send up the inflatable beavers and mounties.
Is it really necessary to love thy neighbour? My neighbour is an asshole.
Actually it’s necessary to make love to your neighbour and then he won’t be an asshole anymore. He’ll be like, ‘hey, how’s it goooooing’?
If I get too drunk at your show, would you drive me home?
Yeah, sure! We’ve got the van parked outside, let’s go!
What would be the ideal food to give to an unemployed circus clown?
I would say…gruel.
Ice dance or figure skating? Pick one and tell us why you secretly love it.
The secret is out. I don’t know, I didn’t really watch much of it. We’ve been on tour so I’d go to sleep after the shows. Umm, but I’m gonna go with…which one is Johnny Weir in? Figure skating? Okay, I’m into Johnny Weir so…
Was I a good kisser?
Ha, fuck yeah you were. I wanna introduce you to this guy’s neighbour.
What do you eat for breakfast?
We had free breakfast at the Best Western in Seattle and so first I had two mini muffins, mini blueberry muffins, then I had two mini Danishes, then I had two bowls of Fruit Loops and like four cups of coffee.
What does it all mean?
It means FUCKIN’ YEAH!
Explain the oddest source of inspiration for a poem or a lyric. What was her name?
How do you know that the oddest source of inspiration has to be a woman? I’ve dated some pretty odd women so it’s not a bad guess. Ummm, oh I don’t know. I do know but I’m totally not gonna be like, yeah, there was this one girl, and she was sort of wooo, if you know what I’m sayin’…and then one time it was late at night and you know what happens then and…
How’s the fucking writing of the fucking book going?
It fucking sucks, writing books. They gave me money to write a book, they were like, ‘hey Mike Doughty, write a book’ and I was, like, sure, that’s easy, psssshaw.
Can I be your backup singer?
Sure! The van leaves tomorrow and starts with a 700-mile drive to Twin Falls, Idaho. Welcome to the glamorous life!
Where is the most unusual place you’ve ever had sex?
It was on the floor of an office of Atlantic Records in New York. Awww yeah.
Drew Doughty has one Olympic medal. How many do you have?
I got none, alright? I GOT NONE! NOTHING! Yeah, will you love me even if I don’t have medals? Oh, no you won’t.
You and Scrap spend a lot of time on the road together. Has anything ever “happened”?
Well, we were talking about my oddest source of inspiration…
Who would win in a fight, William Shatner or Anne Murray?
Oh, Anne Murray would beat the shit out of Shatner. Are you fucking even asking me that question? \m/
Photos by Brit Kwasney, Bright Photography
Mike Doughty’s new album Sad Man, Happy Man is out on ATO Records. He’s also on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and My Sofa. Okay, not the last one. But the point is that he’s kinda everywhere. So you should check him out. Mike Doughty Live at the Biltmore on March 13, 2010 was presented by Timbre Productions Concerts.