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A Guitar-Less Rock Band of the 90s- Morphine

*Listening to the song above while reading the story below will make the whole experience even better, I promise.

The Boston native band Morphine gathered a cult following before and after the sudden death of mysterious frontman, Mark Sandman, on stage in a small town in Italy. His death was not of a rock-star, but of an ordinary man doing what he loved as his body failed him on stage- not because of alcohol, not because of drugs.

Morphine always had a mysterious sound to me, one that stuck out through layers of feeling. Morphine identified their music as “low-rock”, as they were a rock band from the 90s that sounded nothing like the 90s. Still, Sandman’s voice is one of my absolutely favorite male voices- it’s hypnotizing, tragic, yet strangely relaxing.

Their trio consisted of a baritone saxophone, drums, and Sandman’s legendary home-made two-string slide bass (which can be seen in the photo below.) The saxophone has a very identifying power in Morphine songs- setting up the mood, the tempo, and the melody. Morphine’s lyrical strength can also be seen in one of their most famous songs, The Night. 

This is a song of ingenious sounds, Sandman’s voice and Colley’s saxophone creates an overpowering vision of an endless, misty forest.

Morphine-Live-@-Westbeth-Theatre-New-York-USA-29-10-1996

“You’re a bedtime story, the kind that keeps the curtains closed”

I gathered my “factual” information from these helpful and beautifully written articles about Morphine, the band: The Weeklings and Huffington Post.

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