Tag Archives: Billy Conway

Mark Sandman of Morphine

 

“Our attitude is every tour could be our last tour.”

 

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At the Middle East Restaurant, Cambridge, Massachusetts

February 10, 1997

 

As much as I (and many others) liked Morphine’s music, it was not a band anyone ever expected to see sign a major label record deal. Too much going against it: the druggy name, the dark sound, the beat poet lyrics, the oddball instrumentation: drums, baritone sax and a two-string bass, whatever the hell a two-string bass was. I mean, really?

But Morphine defied my expectations and likely their own. I sat down for dinner with Morphine’s leader, two-string bass inventor Mark Sandman, at maybe his favorite hangout spot – the Middle East, a restaurant/rock club complex – in maybe his favorite neighborhood – Central Square – one month before the release of “Like Swimming,” the band’s fourth album and its first for a big label, Dreamworks. We ate falafel, drank beer and talked, the 44-year old Sandman exhibiting a dry sense of humor and a laconic demeanor that matched sleepy Robert Mitchum eyes that didn’t miss a thing.

I was as stunned as everyone else when a bit more than two years later -–on July 3, 1999 – Sandman collapsed onstage at Palestrina, Italy, felled by a fatal heart attack.