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Morphine Biography

Home > Music > M > Morphine > Biography

Birth Place: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Years Active: 1989–1999
Genres: Alternative Rock, Experimental Rock, Indie Rock, Jazz Rock

Morphine was an alternative rock group formed by Mark Sandman, Dana Colley and Jerome Deupree in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1989. Over the course of a decade the band produced five successful studio albums and toured extensively, until tragedy hit in 1999 that ended the band's career when lead singer, Sandman died on stage from a heart attack. Morphine's sound fused blues and jazz elements with traditional rock music, giving the band their own unique sound. The band's music was met with mixed responses, but generated a loyal following over the years. All three members of the band had played in and around Boston in other bands before coming together as Morphine. Deupree temporarily left the band in 1991 due to health reasons and was replaced by drummer Billy Conway. The band held off on recording and releasing their debut album until Deupree returned later that year; “Good” arrived on the Boston Accurate/Distortion label in 1991. The album was met with positive reviews as the band hit the road to expose their music to wider audiences.

The band followed up with “Cure for Pain” in 1993 on Rykodisc Records, and produced the hit singles and singles: “Thursday” and “Buena,” which gained airplay on a number of local college radio stations. The band embarked on a tour of the U.S, Europe, and Japan in support of the album. 1995 saw the band return to the studio and release their third offering, “Yes.” The next two years saw the band extensively touring all over the world and building up their fan base before signing with DreamWorks Records; their major label debut, “Like Swimming,” emerged in 1997 to critical success. The band's final studio album, “The Night,” was completed in 1999, however before it could be released, Sandman collapsed on the stage in Palestrina, Italy, while performing. He was pronounced dead of a heart attack and Morphine immediately disbanded. “The Night” was released in 2000.

A year after Sandman's death, Colley and Conway created 'Orchestra Morphine,' which consisted of a group of friends and musicians that were close to Sandman who toured together playing Morphine's music as a way to celebrate Mark Sandman. Conway and Colley also went on to form their own independent record label, Hi-n-Dry. Deupree continued to record with various jazz musicians and joined the group Bourbon Princess. 2009 saw Colley and Deupree regularly performing Morphine songs and new material as 'Members of Morphine,' with singer Jeremy Lyons. 'Members of Morphine' released their debut album in 2010.