Cider Mag Winter 2015 Issue 52 - Page 48

WITHIN THE SANDBOX RISES Vapors of Morphine Words and live photos by Robb Way O fficially forming in 2009 after the death of Morphine lead singer and frontman Mark Sandman who died in 1999 during a live performance onstage in Palestrina, Italy, Vapors of Morphine has been touring this year, hitting New Hampshire a couple of times along the way. The September 25 performance was Vapors’ second time back at Harlow’s Pub in Peterborough and it couldn’t have felt any more up close and personal. Vapors of Morphine consists of original Morphine members Dana Colley (baritone sax) and Jerome Deupree (drums), whom are joined by New Orleans' very own slide guitarist and two-string bass player, Jeremy Lyons. Their music is experimental with exotic sounds of North Africa intertwined with more modern folk, blues, and jazz rock. Their sound has been heralded as hypnotic, psychedelic, unique and inventive. Vapors of Morphine plays reinvented songs with slightly different sounds as well as some originals. They have a sound and a story that are mystical and mythical. There were familiar sounding hints of old rock songs--the Doors, Van Halen and definitely some Jimi Hendrix-- but Vapors of Morphine is real art in musical form. Vapors of Morphine is a never ending experimental project with a signature sound reminiscent of the Deupree drumming style. Adding in Colley's 1930s Conn baritone sax and Lyons' closer to home New Orleans roots blues and jazz guitar puts Vapors of Morphine still within Mark Sandman's self described term "Low Rock", which to this day has taken on its own genre. After collaborating with surviving member Bill Conway (former drummer for Twinemen and Morphine), Dana and Bill assembled a large collection of original music, poetry and art left behind after Mark's death.This project became a must-have for fans of Mark Sandman's bands Treat Her Right and Morphine, known as the "Sandbox - Mark Sandman original music boxset". In the end, Vapors of Morphine are still within the fringe of that same old sound, that never tires, with some new stuff added in. The sound of Morphine rising up through the ashes of the Sandbox: The Music of Mark Sandman continues to this day, because within the Sandbox the Vapors of Mor- 48 • CIDER MAG • phine were built. Cider Mag was able to sit down with the members of Vapors of Morphine after their first set at Harlow's on September 25, to talk about what's been going on with Vapors of Morphine. Cider Mag: There are many bands out there who perform fast, heavy and hard. How would you guys classify your music, your sound? Deupree: The opposite of that! (Laughs) Cider Mag: I have heard the term “Low Rock” being used. Isn’t that a term Mark Sandman came up with to describe your sound at the time? Deupree: Yes, that was something of Mark’s. Colley: That term was used by Mark to give you journalists something to go away with as opposed to coming to the show and saying “What is it that you do?” So, people and journalists by the sake of using the term “Low Rock” virtually turned it into an actual genre. Cider Mag: What influences your songs and do you guys collaborate with each other? Winter • 2015