Posts Tagged ‘morphine’

The BrothersFiasco were throwing around a few ideas for weekly adventures to regularly feature on the blog.  One of the ideas that made the cut is the revival of old classics that may have an importance to modern times or may deserve more attention or we just think were really cool and want to share.  So was born the first Classic ish Thursday.

This week’s Classic ish Thursday is featuring 90s alternative rock group Morphine.  Morphine was formed in 1989 by bassist/vocalist Mark Sandman and saxophonist Dana Colley.  Drummer Jerome Deupree, who had played with Sandman in previous efforts, joined Morphine and completed its initial lineup.

If you’re familiar with Morphine at all, chances are you’ve heard something from their sophomore album Cure for Pain, with singles like “Thursday” and “Buena.”  In 1994, “Sheila” and “In Spite of Me” were prominently featured on the soundtrack of the film Spanking the Monkey. The band returned to the studio in 1995 and produced Yes. The album featured the single “Honey White,” the music video for which appeared on Beavis and Butt-head.

[EDIT: For some reason, the Beavis & Butthead clip for Honey White is not posting.  A simple YouTube search for “beavis and butthead honey white” will work splendidly.]

(btw, I dare you not to be sucked in by old Beavis and Butt-head videos)

Two years later, Morphine signed with DreamWorks Records, who released their major label debut, Like Swimming.  It was a critical success, but did not break the band into the domestic mainstream as had been hoped.  DreamWorks released a music video for the single “Early to Bed”; directed by Jamie Caliri and released in March 1997, the nightmarish yet humorous video became an instant favorite among fans and was later nominated for a Grammy award.

The band’s final studio album, The Night, was completed in early 1999.

On July 3, 1999, Sandman collapsed on the stage of the Nel Nome del Rock festival at the Giardini del Principe in Palestrina, Italy (near Rome).  He was soon pronounced dead of a heart attack and Morphine immediately disbanded. The Night was released in 2000.

Morphine’s instrumentation was quite unusual:  Sandman’s primary instrument was a two-string bass guitar (with both strings usually tuned to a 5th or octave interval) played with a slide; however, on the group’s records he added touches of guitar, piano, electronic organ, and other self invented guitar instruments such as tritar (three stringed guitar). Colley played primarily baritone saxophone, along with soprano or tenor saxes, and the rare bass saxophone, and he sometimes played two saxes at once, a la Roland Kirk; he also played occasional percussion, and Dobro on a B-side.

The Morphine sound was unique and innovative but still unable to gain mainstream US tread.  So take a second to watch some Classic ish quality tunes from the late Mark Sandman and Morphine.

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