Without taking away from his immense talent, one could call Dave Doughman a lucky man. Or a genius who has a knack of making his subconscious wishes a tangible reality. Like his music, he gets inside of people’s heads unintentionally. That is how Swearing at Motorists, his rock band, began.
What started off as a joke was actually an intuitive realization of a palpable dream. As a gag, him and a friend designed posters for a faux band called Swearing at Motorists. They hung them all over Dayton, Ohio and quickly drew the curiosity of the residents. Two months later, Dave who had been recording some original songs, gave his tape with the same name scrawled on the cover to the friend, who unbeknownst to him shared it with others. Soon people were congratulating him on his new band, the seed already planted and the posters still hanging around town. Dave Doughman grew up in a farming town. His childhood was the breeding ground for the stories he sings today, filled with a life lived deliberately. He had access to land, forests and his mothers large music collection. What could have been a time of isolation became a rich inner life with the soundtrack of artists such as Neil Young and Buffalo Springfield laying the ground work for his future success.
Still it was not so easy to bridge the gap of listening to music and being a musician. Young people weren’t in bands where he lived, the choir being an exception. It would take over a decade later in the sunny beaches of California for him to encounter people his age recording and jamming.
He kept close to the industry by becoming a sound engineer and eventually teaching himself guitar and singing his own songs. He found his voice, his expression, his link to the thread from his young days in a small town. He quickly caught the eye of Secretly Canadian, an independent record label and toured the United States and Europe several times. A two piece band, him and the drummer Martin Boeters, put on the best live shows. Dave is equally charismatic as he is talented, often speaking with the crowd between songs, jumping from the drum kit, and being completely engulfed in the moment. You become easily hypnotized, solidly present, and deeply moved from his songs.
A resident of St. Pauli since 2010, Dave is a well known fixture in the music scene. His most recent album “While Laughing, the Joker Tells the Truth” was released after a long hiatus. A powerful play list of 17 songs, the band traces its steps to those lost years, tragicomedy at its best.
He will be modest when you ask him about serendipity. Yet his life reads like a novel. His rise in the United States, spontaneously asking about housing during a concert on stage in Berlin and moving there, his resurface in Hamburg and the much anticipated release of his current album. Its normal to him, meeting key people at the right time. For the rest of us we see it as luck. A man resonating talent and drawing the world to him exactly when he needs them. Hamburg is lucky to have Dave and his band Swearing at Motorists calling it home.