9 p.m. Feb. 18 at Cosmic Charlie's, 388 Woodland Ave. $15. (859) 309-9499. Cosmic-charlies.com.
Among the many amusing postscripts of touring summoned by Mike Doughty in his newly published memoir, The Book of Drugs (Da Capo Press, $16), is a brief snapshot from the Fort Knox native's days as misfit frontman for the band Soul Coughing. At the time, the band was in the company of a burly road manager named Gus.
The story's setup is half the fun — and just as long, with Doughty describing Gus as "a high school linebacker who blew off football for punk rock."
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"His left eye went a little funny; he told me later that a stepbrother had attacked him in his sleep with a hammer."
But the actual tale places Doughty on the road with Gus in Germany.
"We rode to the Frankfurt airport with a cabbie wearing a German walrus mustache. 'Vair are you from?' he asked. 'America,' I said. 'Oh! America! I love America! Cowboys! Montana! Giddy-up!'
"I can tell you guys know how to party," Gus said.
The Book of Drugs is hardly a comic story. It deals with road exhaustion, record-industry bureaucracy, addictions, bipolar disorder and Doughty's rebirth as a solo artist. The themes are often dark, but they also underscore the absurdities that often accompany life's greatest traumas. The book recalls, in places, the wildest work of Hunter S. Thompson but with considerably more heart.
Doughty visits Cosmic Charlie's on Saturday for a sort of three-in-one performance. He will read from The Book of Drugs and play songs from his new live album, The Question Jar Show, and last year's studio recording Yes and Also Yes along with, in all likelihood, works from throughout his career in and out of Soul Coughing. Capping the evening will be a question-and-answer session with the audience.
"This stuff sounds corny, right?" Doughty writes near the end of The Book of Drugs. "I don't want to be corny. But it's all true."
Honk for Madness
It has happened again. Lexington's March Madness Marching Band has been invited back to Honk!TX, the festival that brings community street bands from around the country to the live-music mecca, Austin, Texas.
But the ensemble is an all-volunteer troupe, so your help is being enlisted. On Saturday, the MMMB returns to Buster's Billiards & Backroom, 899 Manchester Street, to help raise money for the trip. Officially billed as the Monkey Monkey Monkey Bash, the event will sport a full evening of performances from Big Fresh, The Blueberries, The Payback, Prefab Rehab, Rakadu Gypsy Dance and more, and blasts of brassy fun from the MMMB itself. (8 p.m. $15, $18. (859) 368-8871. M-m-m-b.org.)
Van Halen's newest beginning
Who decided to kick off one the most ballyhooed arena tours of the year Saturday at Louisville's KFC Yum Center? Van Halen, complete with ol' Diamond Dave, David Lee Roth, mainstay siblings Eddie and Alex Van Halen and son/nephew Wolfgang Van Halen.
The band has a new album, A Different Kind of Truth, to back up the tour — a recording that might well bump the seemingly indestructible Adele off the top of the charts this week. The opening act will be '70s/'80s pop-funk stars Kool and the Gang. The curious pick reportedly was Roth's.
Web sites have rumored the concert to be a sellout, but seats were available early this week. (7:30 p.m. $29.50-$149.50. Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000 or Ticketmaster.com.)