Rock Docs: Morphine: Journey Of Dreams (2016) - Reviewed

I will start right out of the gate by saying that I did not really “get” the whole '90s alternative thing.  To me it was a strange time.  It was a time that saw the death of a lot of my favorite bands due to changing interests by people and the industry for this thing called “alternative” music.  

I remember hearing bands like Morphine back then and thinking “So, we are not angry anymore?  We don’t have any animosity?  We have nothing to yell at anymore?”  Now, this was obviously my young mind being resistant to change.  It was all not for me, but looking back, I now know I robbed myself of indulging in some of the most experimental and interesting music of our time.

Morphine: Journey Of Dreams tells the story of this now enigmatic “Low Rock” band.  We get to hear from all of the key players here (no pun intended), all the way from band members Dana Colley, Jerome Deupree, and Billy Conway down to band manager Deborah Klein who you can tell had a real emotional stake in Morphine that was much larger than her business interests. 

Morphine: Journey Of Dreams circles around Morphine founder and braintrust Mark Sandman.  In watching this film I identified with a key element of Mark’s drive and vision, sonically and career-wise.  Early in Morphine’s run, original drummer Jerome Deupree, started to have difficulty playing his drums due to pain in his hands.  Mark’s attitude was to “take some aspirin and keep playing”.  He did not want to be held back.  I am not trying to leave any impressions that Mark Sandman was a heartless man with a “lead, follow, or get out of the way” attitude, but I have seen this thing happen in my creative projects over the years.  It's very hard to get something going musically in most cases, and even harder if you finally think you are where you want to be with it and a key piece of the puzzle has the possibility of coming up missing.  It can set the entire thing back months.  This to me was one of the most interesting and compelling parts of Morphine: Journey Of Dreams.  It showcased Mark Sandman’s drive while at the same time displaying the “no rules” aspect that made up the Morphine sound.

All in all Morphine: Journey Of Dreams is another full package in the sea of band documentaries that really delivers the goods giving you the full story of the band.  Morphine: Journey Of Dreams will leave you wanting to explore Morphine’s brief, but ground-breaking discography and wondering just what would have we seen from Morphine if we would not 


-Scott W. Lambert