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Mark Sandman

Multi-instrumentalist/singer Mark Sandman was best known as the frontman for self-described "low-rockers" Morphine. An intensely private person, not much is known about Sandman's early days, just that he was born in 1952 (growing up in Newton, MA), and after graduating from UMass Boston, did some traveling before working on a fishing boat in Washington. By the mid-'80s, Sandman had moved back to the Boston area where he formed and played guitar/sang in the blues roots rock quartet Treat Her Right (along with guitarist/singer David Champagne, drummer Billy Conway, and harmonica player Jim Fitting). The group enjoyed minor success with the college rock crowd, issuing a total of three albums: 1986's self-titled debut, 1989's Tied to the Tracks, and 1991's What's Good for You, before splitting up.

During the latter years of Treat Her Right, Sandman could be seen playing in any of several side projects, including Supergroup (with future Presidents of the United States member Chris Ballew), Treat Her Orange (a collaboration with Blood Oranges frontman/mandolin player Jimmy Ryan), and the horn-driven funk outfit Hypnosonics. But of all the Sandman-related bands at the time, it was Morphine that caused the biggest stir. Comprised of drummer Jerome Dupree, tenor/baritone saxophonist Dana Colley, and Sandman on vocals and a homemade, detuned two-string bass that he built himself, the trio specialized in stripped-down jazz-lounge rock complete with Kerouac-like lyrics, which would have provided the perfect soundtrack to a dimly lit, late night bar.

In the midst of their debut album's recording sessions, Dupree was replaced with former Treat Her Right skinsman Billy Conway, resulting in 1992's Good on the Accurate/Distortion label. The band's regional buzz grew worldwide with incessant touring and such further releases as 1993's Cure for Pain and 1995's Yes, both issued for Rykodisc Records (who in turn reissued their debut). Morphine's buzz had grown too loud for the major labels to ignore any longer, as Dreamworks signed the trio and issued the slightly disappointing Like Swimming in 1997. The album failed to catapult Sandman and the group to the big time, but their large and devoted cult following remained intact. With Morphine working long and hard on what would be their fourth studio album overall (Sandman in particular wanted the album to take the group to the next level musically, he was weary of the group repeating the same formula over and over), the trio toured Europe in the summer of 1999. Sadly, on July 3 at a festival performance in Rome, Sandman collapsed on stage, dying shortly thereafter from an apparent heart attack.

The studio album that Morphine had just completed, The Night, was issued posthumously a year later, as was a live album chronicling a 1994 show, which Sandman was overseeing at the time of his death. After Sandman's death, the remaining members of Morphine toured as the Morphine Orchestra (which was supplemented by added players), while the Mark Sandman Music Education Fund was founded, which benefits music education in the Cambridge public school system. In addition to his recording output with Morphine, Sandman guested on other artist's recordings over the years, including a pair of albums by the Either/Orchestra (Across the Omniverse and Half Life of Desire), Duke Levine's Lava, and Wooden Leg's self-titled debut. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Comments

SmokScreen - Completely AGREE!
Fuc$;"& music makes me cry
Morphine is still my favorite band. No one else sounds remotely like the still.
What A Cool-A** Mo-Fo!!!
Great musician.... . L o v e Treat Her Right then found The Sandman....h e was awesome and still is!
.
rivyndarkhea r t
His music has always been "morphine" my soul
msersion
Went to a live morphine show mid'90s. Expecting 4A&J piece band I was blown away by every note. There is something about seeing a human playing 2 instruments at the same time that changed Me for life. Morphine would have been my favorite band if Zeppelin didn't happen.
msersion
A true perfectionis t I will forever miss! Does anyone remember how amazing"Trea t Her Right" was?
The best.
I saw him for the first time in 87 when Treat Her Right opened up for Robert Cray in Lowell MA...Then had the distinct pleasure of meeting him at Criminal Records in Little Five Points in Atlanta GA...He was an amazing artist!
laura8382
So so sad, started listening to them in 94, saw them once. I really miss him wish they were still out there playing. Wig is the best song on this album to me, but I do love Patience too.
I miss the "Sandman" he was truly one of my favorites. I got to see them 3 times before Mark Left us :(
catsmeow5
Who hasn't lived through the scenario in "Thursday"?
died in 99, heart attack.
His solo alblum has a couple tunes that are as good as anything ever (patience, 51, some other dog), but the rest doesn't move me at all honestly
mgm.arts
i saw mark play his bass without morphine in the morphine days at the plough and stars between harvard and porter squares. what a charismatic man he was/is. thanks to andrea k. who took me there that night...
Presidents of the United States of America do some of the same detuned style. I heard an interview with them on NPR and they credited Morphine and Mark Sandman with influencing them.
Anyone who wants to, go to my profile and check out my Radio Chillage staion. It started as morphine radio about a year ago
None that I know of. Who cares anyway! Sandman invented new ways to play and groove.
More! Give me more! This is the trademark of an old fan. He will always be remembered by us.
Does anyone know of anyone else besides Mark Sandman that plays the two string slide bass?
R.I.P., Mr. Sandman.
It's always the special ones we lose too soon
Your music lives on...
R.I.P, sweet Sandman.
strong!
Thank you for your Music :) Florida
Thank You Mark

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