Now why did Morphine's frontman have to go and die?

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The biggest flub of my life other than not seeing Nirvana before Kurt offed himself, must have been not seeing Morphine before Mark Sandman had his unluckiest day. Can anybody describe to me what I missed?

Scott Reid, Tuesday, 14 August 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I saw Morphine twice, although neither time on purpose. Saw them open for the gloriously strange Ethyl Meatplow in `93, and were really blown away by them.....Mark Sandman had a lot of presence. Saw them again with the mighty FIREWATER (a *GREAT* band) at Southstreet Seaport (playing in a glorified food court, actually) just weeks before Mark died onstage in Italy.

alex in nyc, Tuesday, 14 August 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Died onstage??!! For those of us who've been living in a cave for the last two years, can you give a quick account of what happened?

tha chzza, Tuesday, 14 August 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Here you go:

Mark Sandman, Morphine's lead singer, dies at 47 The popular Boston rocker collapsed on stage from a heart attack during a three-day music festival near Rome

ASSOCIATED PRESS July 6, 1999 -- The lead singer of the Boston rock band Morphine, Mark Sandman, collapsed on stage and died of a heart attack at a concert outside Rome, police said Sunday. "We're devastated," said band manager Deborah Klein, hours after Mr. Sandman collapsed just before midnight Saturday in front of several thousand spectators at a music festival. "We don't even know what to say. We're all in shock."

A doctor tried to revive the 47-year-old Mr. Sandman but failed, and he was pronounced dead in an ambulance en route to a hospital Mr. Sandman played bass, sang and wrote all of Morphine's songs. "His music was completely special and unique," Klein said in a telephone interview from Boston. "People loved him."

Morphine is a guitar-less trio that includes Dana Colley on saxophone and Billy Conway on drums. It started out playing at parties and bars around Boston and Cambridge in the early 1990s and built a solid cult following. Morphine has released five albums, including "Good," "Cure for Pain," "Yes," "Like Swimming" and "B-Side."

Mr. Sandman died on the second day of the three-day music festival at the Giardini del Principe in Palestrina, 30 miles east of Rome. Festival promoter Flavio Maniri said Sunday's performances would be dedicated to Mr. Sandman. Palestrina was the second stop on a two-week European tour. Klein said the band was supposed to start two-week West Coast tour on July19 after returning home.

alex in nyc, Tuesday, 14 August 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I had the pleasure of both interviewing the man and seeing a show of his here at UCI -- a very dry seen-it-all fellow, a bit withdrawn but not standoffish. I think the band showed their class when the PA went down and after checking with the audience the three went ahead and kept playing. Good show, enjoyable group.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 14 August 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Anybody seen Orchestra Morphine and if so is it worth seeing, or is it a misplaced attempt to keep something alive...

Scott, Tuesday, 14 August 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

seven years pass...

RIP ten years ago today

Elvis Telecom, Saturday, 4 July 2009 21:24 (ten years ago) link's funny, I was just talking to my wife about missed concert opportunities yesterday, and the first thing I brought up was that one of my biggest regrets was almost seeing Morphine a couple times in the years before Sandman died but never actually seeing them. didn't even occur to me that it was the anniversary, or that it'd been 10 damn years. still love that band, RIP.

okay fat ass rooster (some dude), Sunday, 5 July 2009 19:03 (ten years ago) link

i saw them in luxembourg in the melusina on the yes! tour. they were a great live band. sandman had a very strong presence on stage. i am not sure anymore but i think he was cracking some jokes during the concert.

alex in mainhattan, Sunday, 5 July 2009 19:56 (ten years ago) link

six months pass...

just stumbled into 'like swimming' and 'the night'
these rekkidz r awesome, dudes

Meteor Crater (jdchurchill), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 21:40 (nine years ago) link

I wholeheartedly agree. I don't really understand why those albums are considered to be inferior to the earlier albums (only 3 stars on AMG).

The new outtakes and radio performances collection "At Your Service" is really interesting, and it's so nice to bathe in that sound again.

Hideous Lump, Wednesday, 13 January 2010 04:36 (nine years ago) link

I don't know why music nerds tend to consider Morphine less than great

Shin Oliva Suzuki, Wednesday, 13 January 2010 11:29 (nine years ago) link

First Morpheus died in The Sandman, then a few years later Sandman died in Morphine. Coincidence?

Tuomas, Wednesday, 13 January 2010 13:27 (nine years ago) link

one month passes...

Cure For Pain is a fucking amazing record.

No, YOU'RE a disgusting savage (Scik Mouthy), Friday, 19 February 2010 14:43 (nine years ago) link

one year passes...

I look forward to watching this:

She Got the Shakes, Wednesday, 1 June 2011 15:07 (eight years ago) link

two years pass...

I saw these on their original broadcast and I just thought to look on youtube and I am so happy to see them again:

not a player-hater i just hate a lot (a passing spacecadet), Saturday, 18 January 2014 22:05 (five years ago) link

recently i relistened to "cure for pain". what a great album. morphine's sound was really something. mark's deep baritone plus the strong rhythm section and the sax, i still like to listen to them as they sound different than any other band. very powerful and brute but melodic and catchy at the same time. the best non-guitar band ever?

it's the distortion, stupid! (alex in mainhattan), Monday, 20 January 2014 17:38 (five years ago) link

i watched the doc recently, not bad for what it was

Cure For Pain legit one of the best albums of the 90s imo.

Algerian Horsebeater (some dude), Monday, 20 January 2014 17:55 (five years ago) link

they're kinda like a r'n'r version of bohren un der club of gore. it's pretty impressive how they were able to exist as a sax-heavy rock band and not sound corny at all.

christmas candy bar (al leong), Monday, 20 January 2014 18:01 (five years ago) link

five months pass...

Sandman died 15 years today

Master of Treacle, Thursday, 3 July 2014 16:32 (five years ago) link

15 years, really? i have the impression it was the day before yesterday.

it's the distortion, stupid! (alex in mainhattan), Thursday, 3 July 2014 20:54 (five years ago) link

July 3, so sayeth the wikipedia.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 3 July 2014 20:56 (five years ago) link

oh nm, i think i know what you're trying to say.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 3 July 2014 20:57 (five years ago) link

five years pass...

20 years.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 22:05 (four months ago) link

they were touring with Soul Coughing at the time right? there's got to be an alternate universe where Doughty overdosed and Sandman got healthy

frogbs, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 22:08 (four months ago) link

That's rather grim.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 22:23 (four months ago) link

His band Treat Her Right had a semi-hit, I Think She Likes Me, which used to be played often on New York FM radio.

kornrulez6969, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 23:06 (four months ago) link

yeah how about no ods?

maybe this is silly but ... just finished the new twin peaks and got damn they would have been a good roadhouse band

Vapor waif (uptown churl), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 23:08 (four months ago) link

also, relevantly, there’s no evidence he actually od’d

Vapor waif (uptown churl), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 23:16 (four months ago) link

I liked Morphine just fine but even at the time it felt like they had two basic songs, the quiet slow burner and the churning, menacing uptempo one. Mind you that is kind of Lynch’s wheelhouse so they would have been a good fit.

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 23:18 (four months ago) link

I saw them with Soul Coughing’s “funky” drummer as a sub and it was not good

calstars, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 23:41 (four months ago) link

most bands don't have one good song

they just had a really appealing sound, sonically just a very cool atmosphere

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 4 July 2019 00:11 (four months ago) link

I think they’d be a better musical fit for Tarantino/Rodriguez than Lynch.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Thursday, 4 July 2019 05:59 (four months ago) link


Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Thursday, 4 July 2019 17:49 (four months ago) link

I feel like "Yes" was a better album than "Cure for Pain" ... anyway ... I listen to both on the regular.

sarahell, Thursday, 4 July 2019 19:42 (four months ago) link

they just had a really appealing sound, sonically just a very cool atmosphere

― Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, July 3, 2019 5:11 PM (yesterday)

Yeah! ... that's a good way to describe it, esp. on songs like Supersex and Free Love

sarahell, Thursday, 4 July 2019 19:45 (four months ago) link

I never saw them be less than great live. In fact, I loved the tour they did without him behind the final album, that was great too.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 4 July 2019 20:00 (four months ago) link

On Cure for Pain, Fort Apache (production place right?) achieved a perfect slightly overdriven tone for the sax. Love the harmonies on the “shiela” solo for example

calstars, Thursday, 4 July 2019 20:44 (four months ago) link

The album sounds great.

Several years ago a band I was in played Minneapolis. Grant Hart and Mark Sandman were just hanging around - separately - and I thought that was so cool.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 4 July 2019 20:52 (four months ago) link

several years ago?

Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Thursday, 4 July 2019 20:58 (four months ago) link


Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 4 July 2019 21:03 (four months ago) link


Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 4 July 2019 21:04 (four months ago) link

The band in heaven ?

calstars, Thursday, 4 July 2019 21:15 (four months ago) link

I think they’d be a better musical fit for Tarantino/Rodriguez than Lynch

House band for a 80s Jarmusch joint

Master of Treacle, Thursday, 4 July 2019 22:50 (four months ago) link

That's rather grim.

well, yeah. Doughty talks about it a bit in his autobiography - seeing what happened to Sandman basically laid his fate out before him

frogbs, Friday, 5 July 2019 15:20 (four months ago) link

morphine was one of the first bands i discovered through the internet (i can't remember the mp3 blog, but it was the title track of "the night").

i've never seen images of sandman or the rest of morphine, but i'm fine with the version i have in my head - the smoky, 2 beers deep atmosphere

i will never make a typo ever again (Karl Malone), Friday, 5 July 2019 15:38 (four months ago) link

That's a good question, I have no idea how I first heard the band. I know I didn't hear "Good" when it came out, but I certainly owned and listened to a lot of "Cure for Pain." But I have no idea how I was introduced to the band. It could be as simple as Ryko having a strong roster at the time and me just checking it out.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 5 July 2019 15:42 (four months ago) link

The OG CfP CD in the emerald green Ryko case was a thing of beauty , sonically and aesthetically

calstars, Friday, 5 July 2019 15:59 (four months ago) link

i listened to them first on bernard lenoir's radio show on france inter.

je est un autre, l'enfer c'est les autres (alex in mainhattan), Friday, 5 July 2019 16:09 (four months ago) link

honestly surprised at the outpouring of appreciation for this band from ilxors, would not have predicted that

Οὖτις, Friday, 5 July 2019 16:14 (four months ago) link

I first heard them when they played at my college in ‘93 or ‘94. They then became the first band I ever attempted to contact via the Internet (email).

stan by me (morrisp), Friday, 5 July 2019 16:15 (four months ago) link

I have no idea how I first heard the band.

I heard/played "Honey White" on the radio when it was a hit in 1994? 1995?

sarahell, Friday, 5 July 2019 18:02 (four months ago) link

they were all over indie radio when I was in college

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Friday, 5 July 2019 18:03 (four months ago) link

oh duh, they had songs on the Spanking the Monkey soundtrack! That might have been my first awareness

sarahell, Friday, 5 July 2019 18:04 (four months ago) link

I discovered them via the liner notes on a dEUS album.

"Cure For Pain" was prominently featured on an episode of Homicide.

frustration and wonky passion (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 5 July 2019 22:30 (four months ago) link

Heard them on the long forgotten about Volume CD magazine, I think it was a version of Sharks Patrol These Waters, then picked up Yes a little later and that got me into them, saw them a couple of times in London, still love 'em greatly.

MaresNest, Friday, 5 July 2019 22:36 (four months ago) link

Nobody else has mentioned Thursday yet, so. Fun little noir mini-story.

but everybody calls me, (lukas), Friday, 5 July 2019 22:41 (four months ago) link

been thinking of them a lot, too, given my newfound obsession with Bohren & der Club of Gore.

was very deep into them the first year of college (2003-2004) and then let it drop off. i remember hearing "Honey White" on one of the CDs that came with CMJ back in the day, the April 1995 issue. blew my mind, of course, but had a hard time following up on it cuz i was only ten (yes, i was precocious). then i got into punk in 96 and all the indie stuff faded until i was in high school.

blue light or electric light (the table is the table), Friday, 5 July 2019 23:03 (four months ago) link

Not really, just the sad story of a cuck

calstars, Friday, 5 July 2019 23:05 (four months ago) link

i forgot about the double-sax-blowing

love this song so much

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Friday, 5 July 2019 23:40 (four months ago) link

I think it was a version of Sharks Patrol These Waters

Volume even named a best-of compilation after it!

quelle sprocket damage (sic), Saturday, 6 July 2019 09:22 (four months ago) link

I found rips of all the Volumes on Slsk a year or so ago, a pretty formidable mapping of nineties music overall (and a lot of shite inevitably)

MaresNest, Saturday, 6 July 2019 14:00 (four months ago) link

I loved Volume, and especially Trans Europe Express, the electronic-only sister magazine. The Volumes mostly just sit on the shelf these days tbh but I dig out some of the TEXes from time to time and they still mostly sound fresh - well, to my old ears, anyway. They got me into a lot of stuff. Didn't know the founder died in 2007, RIP.

And RIP Mark Sandman and Morphine too. I know "Cure For Pain" is the agreed classic but "Yes" was my first and I still love it the most.

I see on discogs there was a 2xLP reissue last year on Run Out Groove with bonus tracks; don't buy much vinyl these days but might have to make an exception for that. Anyone heard it? How does it sound and is the bonus stuff worth it?

a passing spacecadet, Saturday, 6 July 2019 16:03 (four months ago) link

to atone for my fairly stupid post upthread, this is a good read for fans

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Sunday, 7 July 2019 01:35 (four months ago) link

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