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¶ The '90s band Morphine burned bright and fast, and was snuffed out before it's time; from its ashes have come Vapors of Morphine, a group that claims the legacy of its predecessor without claiming to be the same band. Original members Dana Colley (baritone sax) and Jerome Deupree (drums) are joined by guitarist/singer/bassist Jeremy Lyons. They perform the “Low Rock” music of Morphine, also adding psychedelic renditions of African Blues, originals and obscure Rock and Delta Blues songs. Vapors of Morphine play with inventive arrangements – the unusual yet powerful instrumentation of electric baritone saxophone (a sound evocative of Jimi Hendrix' guitar), 2string slide bass (sometimes guitar, or electric bouzouki) and drums. Vapors of Morphine leave audiences from Boston to Chile, New Orleans to the Netherlands wanting more.
¶ The band formed officially in 2009; Colley was asked to bring a group to Nel Nome Del Rock Festival in Palestrina, Italy, in tribute to Morphine leader Mark Sandman, who died of a massive heart attack on the very same stage ten years earlier. Since that historic show the group has released one CD (under their original working name “The Ever Expanding Elastic Waste Band”), and played selective shows at home and abroad. Highlights have included Mês Da Cultura Independente (São Paulo, Brazil, 2014), The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (USA, 2012); Virada Cultural Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil (2012), New Orleans' Voodoo Experience (USA, 2011); and Maquinaria Festival in Santiago, Chile (2011). The band have appeared at Film Festivals in Austin, TX (USA), Tui, Spain and Amsterdam, Netherlands (Austin Film Festival 2014, PLAY-DOC 2012 and PLAY/IDFA 2011, respectively) in tandem with screenings of two documentary films, Morphine: Journey of Dreams and Cure for Pain: the Mark Sandman Story. The band has played club dates across much of the Northeast, Southeast and Midwestern United States, and concerts in Uruguay, Argentina and Chile.
¶ All three of the surviving members of Morphine -- baritone saxophonist Dana Colley, original drummer Jerome Deupree and succeeding drummer Billy Conway -- met blues guitarist/singer Jeremy Lyons in September of 2005 after he was washed up on Massachusetts' shore from New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. A bond was quickly formed between the musicians. This was born of a mutual love of New Orleans' music and culture, horror at the destruction of much of the city, as well as empathy based on their own, personal disaster of six years before. And a musical simpatico was clear from the start. After informal collaborations prompted Dana to invite Lyons to the gig in Italy, Lyons had a 2-string slide bass like Sandman's built and began learning much of the Morphine cannon. (The group has played with either or both of the drummers, so has appeared both as a trio and quartet, but Deupree has been the primary drummer.)
¶ Morphine's Film Noire-tinged sound was inspired by the Beats, by the Blues and by the Boston rock scene from which it was born. Jeremy's background in traditional blues help anchor the new band in Mark Sandman's roots. Their mutual interest in more exotic musics (of West Africa and beyond) reflect a restlessness that insures that this group will ALWAYS be more than a simple tribute band. And their tendency to segue between songs with an extended sound-scape of “space jams” is a conscious tribute to the mythology of Morphine, which was not named for the narcotic, but rather for Morpheus, a Greek God of Dreams (much like the Sandman of European folklore).
¶ Vapors of Morphine is currently recording new music and accepting bookings across the world.
¶ Starting in the spring of 2012, original drummer Jerome Deupree took a year-long hiatus for health reasons; Billy Conway now lives out West in Montana, so Boston drummer (and Jerome's protegé) Jeff Allison has been adding his own spin, filling in on local and regional gigs, and now shares drums duties with Deupree.