Hi, I’m DJ Michele. Every Friday night I host a show on KEXP called Nite Life. Usually I spend about 3 hours preparing for my show. Then at 9pm I get to hit the air with danceable sets for your Friday night madness. Every week at 12 o’clock I do a Midnight Album Spotlight. This Friday it’s Morphine’s sax-infused melodic rock masterpiece Cure for Pain. Morphine’s from Boston, and this is their second album.
Released in 1993, this baby has sold more than 300,000 copies. When I first heard this at a friend’s house, I asked her the album name and she said, “Cure for Pain. It works.”
Morphine singer Mark Sandman died on stage during a concert. The official report was that he was hit with a sudden heart attack while playing a festival in Palestrina, Italy -- near Rome. Mark’s love affair with drugs and his recurring depression were no secret though. And although this album is a statement about how music pulled him through, it didn’t save him. Here’s the title track to Cure for Pain:
Mark was 46 years old when he went down. Like many brilliant artists who died young, tracing his history is like watching a shooting star. His best songs have this feeling too. Fiery, fast and doomed. Check out “Buena”:
The trio Morphine were together for 9 years. They formed in 1990 and on this album you can hear Mark Sandman on the two-string slide bass, Dana Colley on sax, and two drummers: Jerome Dupree and Billy Conway.
Morphine’s sound is totally unique. There is no guitar in this band. And no other group integrates sax into rock and roll like this one. And I love the sensitivity of Sandman’s lyrics on all the songs. His vocals on “In Spite of Me” are especially soft. He’s so perceptive too. This song is like opening a window during a rainfall. It’s an obscure, unusual Morphine track. And if you weren’t listening to KEXP, I doubt you’d ever hear it.
Join Michele Myers for Nite Life every Friday night at 9pm on KEXP.