CURE FOR PAIN
Celebrating The 30th Anniversary Of
Their Breakthrough Album
“‘Cure for Pain’ was unquestionably one of the best and most cutting-edge rock releases of the '90s.” – Greg Prato, AllMusic.
LOS ANGELES – This year, alternative rock group Morphine celebrates the 30th anniversary of their sophomore album, Cure For Pain, released on September 14, 1993. The band’s distinctive instrumentation - two-string bass, baritone sax, and drums - coupled with frontman Mark Sandman’s sultry baritone vocals created an alluring and original sound Sandman dubbed Low Rock.
Formed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1989, Morphine caught the attention of fans and critics alike thanks to their unconventional approach and clever, offbeat lyricism. Bassist, singer and songwriter Mark Sandman, saxophonist Dana Colley, and drummers Jerome Deupree and Billy Conway knew each other from the bustling Boston music scene, with Sandman and Conway having previously played together in the RCA-signed band Treat Her Right.
After releasing their critically acclaimed 1992 debut, Good, their sophomore follow-up the next year, produced once again with Paul Q. Kolderie (Pixies and Radiohead), generated enough hype to gain the attention of Rykodisc who signed the band and re-released Good under their own imprint. “That was the best batch of songs [Mark Sandman] wrote for a record,” Kolderie says. “He was just really on fire right around then; every song that came out was another winner.”
Dubbed by Alternative Nation as “one of the most original rock sounds of the decade,” Cure For Pain cemented Morphine’s place in alternative rock history, having sold over 300,000 copies worldwide and boasting over 89.7 million streams.
The album saw commercial success with tracks “Shelia,” “Thursday,” “Let’s Take A Trip Together,” “In Spite of Me,” and “Mary, Won’t You Call My Name,” featured in David O. Russel’s hit indie film, Spanking the Monkey; dirty, bass-heavy track “Thursday” in an episode of Beavis and Butt-Head; and groove-heavy hit “Buena” on the Sopranos and 90s animated sitcom Daria. The music continues to appeal to a new generation of fans, with songs from Cure For Pain appearing on the hit Netflix series Beef and The Lying Life of Adults.
Morphine went on to release two more albums, Yes (1995) and their first major label release, Like Swimming (1997), with DreamWorks Records, which landed at No. 67 on the Billboard 200, becoming the highest-selling title of Morphine’s career. “Early to Bed” peaked at No. 10 on the Adult Alternative Airplay chart, while its video earned a GRAMMY®-award nomination for Best Short Form Music Video the following year. The band was able to finish recording what would be their final album, The Night (2000), which Rolling Stone called their “most painstakingly layered and ambitious album” before Sandman collapsed of a heart attack on stage on July 3, 1999, at the Nel Nome del Rock festival in Italy.
As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of this iconic album, we are reminded of the band's talent and originality, which continues to leave an indelible mark on alternative rock music. Their legacy endures through vinyl reissues, covers by Matt Berninger and Les Claypool, and many other artists the band has influenced and inspired along the way.
Along with Orchestra Morphine, formed by Colley and Conway in 2000 to pay tribute to their late bandmate and support, The Night, in 2009, Colley, Deupree, and bassist/vocalist, Jeremy Lyons formed Vapors of Morphine performing original material and Morphine songs through regular concerts and recordings.
To celebrate Light In The Attic’s vinyl reissues of Like Swimming and The Night, Vapors of Morphine will be playing an intimate show this September 24th (Sandman’s birthday) upstairs at the Middle East Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts, following a walking tour led by the acclaimed author of Astral Weeks, Ryan H. Walsh who wrote the liner notes.
Sandman’s longtime partner and former manager also recently created the Morphine Loft, a virtual space celebrating Sandman’s life, writing, art, and music with exhibitions on Like Swimming, The Night, and Cure For Pain curated from his archives.