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