Sunday, September 27, 2009

Remembering Mark Sandman

DATELINE: CAMBRIDGE, MA - It's hard to imagine what the Boston music scene would be like today without the influence of Mark Sandman. As a member of local legends Treat Her Right and the frontman of celebrated sonic plowmen Morphine; Sandman was a real game changer. The songs he created changed the way a lot of way listened to music. Take for example Morphine: Mark Sandman's distinctive and emotive voice was an instrument all by itself. Trapped between notes on the sax and keeped in time by bass and drum - there was never any need for guitar present. Shockingly, amid a culture of celebrating rock guitar, Morphine was ascending the golden steps.

[click for full poster]

THE MARK SANDMAN MEMORIAL CONCERT - Today, the Mark Sandman Memorial Concert in Cambridge marks the 10th anniversary of Mark's passing (also his birthday weekend), celebrating his life and his music. Featured performers at the benefit include Orchestra Morphine, Elastic Waste Band, Treat Her Right, Zili Misik, Mean Creek, Rite Hook, Faces on Film, Mariachi Internationale, Mickey Bones, and more. The concert - which will take place at the Middle East Downstairs at noon due to rain (again with the rain, Mark?) is absolutely free. Any raffles from donations or the on-site raffle and online charity auction going to the Sandman Music Project. The event will have special guest emcees, special Sandman items will be made available for sale and Harmonix Music of Cambridge will provide the brand new The Beatles: ROCKBAND on-site to check out during event.

I exposed Sandman's music recently to a Boston neophyte, a relocate with an under-fed sense of music history, and when we got to Morphine, the results were somewhat predictable: "OMG, who is this? This is just so different - it's great. Are they from Boston?" Yes. It's Mark Sandman and the band is Morphine. He's from Boston, but he belongs to the World now. Stunned silence - and we listen a bit further. And so it goes... No matter what language he sang Sandman sang in or whether he was complaining about lost love or the weather (Morphine has the best rainy day songs ever) Sandman was all about looking at things just a little different. Today we celebrate these differences. It's been (unbelievably) a decade since Sandman's last exit (more on this, later) and the essence of his music is as much alive today as it's ever been.

The Sandman Music Project - The Sandman Music Project is a collaboration of local musicians and volunteers dedicated to helping youth develop a positive means of self-expression through creative collaborations. Located in the Armory Arts Center in Somerville, Massachusetts, The Project seeks to provide opportunities for young people to participate in music and develop creative, social, and cognitive skills. The theory is simple. Creative collaboration forms community.

MARK SANDMAN - On July 3, 1999, Sandman collapsed on stage at the Giardini del Principe in Palestrina, Latium, Italy (near Rome) while performing with Morphine. He was soon pronounced dead of a heart attack at the age of 46. Morphine immediately disbanded following his death, though the surviving members briefly toured with other musicians, creating Orchestra Morphine as a tribute to Sandman and in support of the posthumous release, "The Night."

Following Sandman's death, Hi-n-Dry (the Cambridge recording studio he founded) became a commercial record label and studio, recording and releasing the work of Boston-area artists. The label and studio are managed by Sandman's former Morphine bandmates Conway and Colley. Hi-n-Dry issued a retrospective box set of Sandman's music called Sandbox in 2004. (Highly Recommended folks! - Ryan)

Having left a permanent mark (a happy scar) on the souls of listeners, friends, and fellow musicians. We have much to be thankful for today. Remembering Mark Sandman isn't hard because his legacy is the music you are listening to today. Stop by the Middle East today and stand on Mark Sandman Square and enjoy the moment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow! Morphine gave us (still does)a genuine state of mind... Mark Sandman is living in each low chord that claim his name.