September 24, 1952 – July 3, 1999
Mark Sandman was an singer, songwriter, musical instrument inventor and multi-instrumentalist. He was born on September 24, 1952.
He became an indie rock icon and longtime fixture on the Boston/Cambridge music scene. Sandman was best known as the lead singer and slide bass player of the band Morphine.
Sandman was also an amateur photographer and artist. He created a comic entitled The Twinemen, starring three anthropomorphic balls of twine who form a band, become successful, break up, and later reunite.
His instruments were extensively altered and sometimes built by hand to create unique sounds. In Morphine, he played primarily a two-string slide bass guitar usually tuned to a fifth, but he also was known to play a unitar (named after the one-stringed instrument in American blues tradition), and three-string slide bass with one bass string and two unison strings tuned an octave higher (usually A). He sometimes paired bass strings with one or two guitar strings, creating the "basitar" "tri-tar" and "guitbass." The guitbass and basitar were later used by the band The Presidents of The United States of America, with whom Sandman was close friends.
During the 1990s, Sandman continued to expand his Cambridge-based home recording studio with second-hand instruments and equipment, calling the studio Hi-n-Dry. Hi-n-Dry became Morphine's unofficial home and they recorded many of their signature tracks using Sandman's unique homegrown production methods.
Hi-n-Dry is a Cambridge, Massachusetts, independent record label and recording studio. Founded by the late Morphine singer and bassist Mark Sandman, the studio and label are currently managed by former Morphine bandmates Dana Colley and Billy Conway along with Laurie Sargent and Andrew Mazzone. Once located in Sandman's former loft apartment, the studio moved to the Somerville Armory Arts Center in Somerville, Massachusetts in December 2007.
Sandman collapsed on stage on July 3, 1999 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.
"I don't know why I picked this bass, maybe 'cause it was so... freaky lookin', I suppose."
Mark Sandman Bio