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Morphine


shakedownstreet

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I've been listening to them for a while. For those unfamiliar, the band consists of bass, baritone sax, and drums. The late Mark Sandman played a two string slide bass, if nothing else it's a different take on the instrument. Has anyone else ever heard of a bassist using a slide?
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Actually the bass that Mark played, at least when he was interviewed in the UK was a shitty old Premier bass, made in the UK I think. It had a pair of weird soapbar shaped single coil pickups. The bass was fretted, not fretless, on the live album I have you can hear the metallic grind of the frets. (What would be the point of playing fretless with a slide?)

 

If you can find a live album called "Bootleg Detroit" buy it because it's great. Unfortunately Mark Sandman died a couple of years ago, from memory he had a heart attack and actually died on stage.

 

The other two guys in the band, Dana(saxes) and Billy (great drummer) now play Morphine songs with a large group called Orchestra Morphine. There was a short piece about the bass player from this new band in Bass Player about 18 months ago, maybe more. At that point he had not been asked to bring out the two string and the slide, so he was reinterpreting all the parts. It sounds to me like it's the ultimate tribute band as opposed to the other guys cashing in on the songwriter's death. More power to them.

 

Mark was a great lyricist and story teller, as well as being one of the most original voices in modern bass playing. He is sadly missed.

 

PS: Dana sometimes plays "doublesax" which involves him taking his tenor and baritone saxes, sticking them both in his mouth at the same time and blowing his tits off. Sounds great...like a big horny elephant mating call. :freak:

 

My brain was out of tune

My whole brain was out of tune

I don't know how to tune a brain.

Do you?

So I took it into the brain shop

And they took one look at it and said...

"Well we're gonna have to rebuild the whole head."

 

And I said

"Do whatcha gotta do."

 

When I got it back it still didn't work right.

When I got it back it still didn't work right.

 

I haven't had a good idea since I got it fixed.

 

Mark...you are a deeply weird man.

Free your mind and your ass will follow.
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Morphine has long been a fave of mine, and that is true about Mark dying onstage. Such a loss...

 

Bueno is a tune I sing/hum all the time! Two strings or not, lots of tasty bass, and definitely educational.

Why have 4 or 5 or 9 strings, when 2 will do?

 

Peace,

 

wraub

 

I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.

 

 

 

 

 

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Most of the time I think the two strings were tuned to A and D, although he did vary tuning somewhat, including occasionally tuning to the same pitch.
Free your mind and your ass will follow.
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Morphine had been a favorite of mine as soon as they came on the scene. Deliciously unconventional instrumentation combined with great tunes...wonderful.

 

Mark Sandman would tune his two strings in to unison, octaves, thirds, fifths, whatever fit the song, usually.

 

I saw a side project of his called the Hypno-Sonic ensemble at the Knitting Factory back when I was in college: It was truly cool. Sandman sang and played sublime single-note lines and chords on guitar, Dana Colley was on baritone sax accompanied by three other horn players (alto, tenor, and trumpet, I think). The rhythm section consisted of a drummer playing a tiny kit that consisted of just a snare, bass drum, and hi-hat. And the bassist was a monster, pro-level groovemeister with fusion-approved chops (and taste to match).

 

It was a great show...very different than Morphine, but Sandman's presence brought in some similarities, of course. I miss having the guy around...he was always doing something different.

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:( I just got turned on to Morophine a few months ago and now I find out that the bassist is already dead? That SUCKS! I was planning on buying a couple of their CDs as soon as I got some down time (which is still a good idea). :(
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It's always a good idea to hear new music, even if it's not really new, you know?

And Morphine is definitely worth the trip. Check out all you can!

 

Oh, and here's this link about Mark. Kinda tacky, but pretty informative...

 

http://elvispelvis.com/marksandman.htm

 

And for a pic of one of the basses, go here-

 

http://www.matrixmaniax.com/music.html

 

and scroll down to poster 30.

 

Peace,

 

wraub

 

I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.

 

 

 

 

 

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I've been a big fan of Morphine for quite awhile. I have always loved how all three instruments come together along with Mark's voice and seem to create the perfect mood. Especially on "Good " and "A Cure for Pain" I don't think these two cd's will ever get old.

 

On another note, I was talking to my friend who first introduced me to Morphine and she told me at last year's bonnaroo Les Claypool said a few words, during one of his sets, about Mark Sandman . Something to the tune of "he was one of the most innovative creative bassist to come along." Kinda interesting...

 

It's good to see Morphine get some attention.

 

"played in the key of D...the key of morphine"-mark sandman

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Cure For Pain is an indispensible album. My casual band plays All Wrong at our quarterly gigs. Invariably, someone approaches us practically tearful, thanking us for a little Morphine.

 

When someone first described their instrumentation to me, I thought it sounded gimmicky. When I heard it, I immediately knew it was visionary .

Check out the Sweet Clementines CD at bandcamp
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