Cure for Pain:
The Mark Sandman Story

Brattle Theatre, Harvard Square, Cambridge
Friday, June 22 – Sunday, July 1

(Fri) (3:30, matinee), 5:30, 7:30 (w/producer Jeff Broadway), 10:00 PM
(Sat, Sun) (1:30 and 3:30, matinees), 5:30, 7:30 (w/special guest TBA), 10:00 PM
Local Theatrical Premiere!
::: buy tickets :::

Opening tonight and running through July 1 is the local premiere of Cure Fore Pain: The Mark Sandman Story, an in-depth look at the beloved singer-songwriter and enigmatic frontman of one of Boston’s most celebrated bands, Morphine.

Directed by filmmakers Robert G. Bralver and David Ferino, it includes archival footage and interviews with Dana Colley, Billy Conway, Chris Ballew, Dicky Barrett, Ben Harper, Mark’s family, and Mark himself. A few of these showings will include Q&As with people associated with the film, such as producer Jeff Broadway. See the Brattle’s site for more information and show times. If you can’t make it to the Brattle, Gatling Films will be releasing the documentary on DVD; it will be available July 3. To commemorate this event, a little story follows.

This is my own personal Mark Sandman story. I had just moved to Boston to get a job in the music biz, and ended up first interning at Northeastern Records in Framingham, a tiny indie label run by Lynn Joiner, which he “spirited away” from Northeastern University, moving from an all-classical label to classical and everything else you can imagine. Which come to think of it, in those challenging pre-twitbook days, may well have been his undoing. One of the many cassette demos we got in the early 90s was from Mr. Mark Sandman, an early verion of their “Good” album. Lynn passed on it (I’m guessing that was one of many regrets), and Russ Gershon wisely released it on his own Accurate Records.

A year or two later, I had the great honor and privilege of seeing Morphine perform (for my first time) at the seediest of Boston venues, the old Causeway Lounge, above The Penalty Box bar across the street from the Boston Garden. I fondly remember the evening as a slice of the Boston music scene at its finest – a small, cramped space; dark, dank, with sticky floors and the smell of rotting beer. And the glorious sound of Morphine – slow, slithering, sensuous, with Dana Colley’s smooth and oh-so-funky sax, the shuffle and crack of percussion (I can’t recall if it was Jerome Deupree or Billy Conway that particular night), and Mark’s impossibly sexy croon – filling up all those empty places in the soul.

Cure For Pain (The Causeway, 8/7/93) (mp3)

You Look Like Rain (The Causeway, 8/7/93) (mp3)

Fast forward to today, nearly 13 years after the sad passing of Mark Sandman, during a performance at a festival in Italy. It was a profound loss for the Boston music community, though much music has happened since then, with Orchestra Morphine, Twinemen, Conway and Colley’s Hi-n-Dry record label, Bourbon Princess, and A.K.A.C.O.D. (the latter two featuring the dark, mysterious chanteuse Monique Ortiz, who keeps Mark’s spirit alive in female form. Colley and Deupree also performed shows as Members of Morphine (a.k.a. the Ever-Expanding Elastic Waste Band), with singer Jeremy Lyons.

Gatling Pictures’ Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story Collector’s Edition DVD/CD box set will be available on July 3, 2012, at It will then be released on digital platforms worldwide in August 2012 by FILMBUFF. There will also be showings at select theaters around the U.S. throughout this year. Check their facebook page for updates and to request the film in your town.

Official film site | facebook
Brattle Theatre: web | facebook

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