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Morphine Members Morph Into New Band

of the Oakland Press

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The Elastic Waste Band was created from loss.

Reeds player Dana Colley and drummer Jerome Deupree are founding members of Morphine, the experimental rock outfit that stopped in 1999 when frontman Mark Sandman suffered a heart attack onstage at the Nel Nome del Rock festival in Palestrina, Italy. The musicians were invited back in 2009 to commemorate the 10 years since, and Colley and Deupree — along with singer/guitarist Jeremy Lyons, who they met after he moved from New Orleans post-Katrina to their home base in Cambridge, Mass. — used it as an occasion to start something new.

“A light bulb went off in my head,” recalls Colley, 48, who formed the larger Orchestra Morphine after Sandman’s Death. “I said, ‘My God, Jeremy, you can do this. You’re an amazing musicologist; treat it like you’re playing another song from the catalog of material we all draw from.’

“There was no emphasis on, ‘This is going to be Mark’s replacement’ or ‘This is gonna be the new Morphine.’ It was, ‘Let’s just do this music. Let’s just play and see what happens.’ ”

The Elastic Waste Band plays a combination of Morphine favorites — “Whatever we can bring our own flavor to,” Colley says — and Lyons songs, as well as some originals that the group has been writing and recording back in Cambridge. It’s produced a nine-song sampler disc that it’s selling at shows, but Colley says the trio isn’t rushing into fully active mode.

“It can go many ways from here,” he says. “It’s unique because there’s a certain ... joy and invention and history. It’s drawing on music that we thought might never see the light of day again in a performance setting. And to do that, it sort of feels like you’re taking back your land or something.”

The Elastic Waste Band, featuring members of Morphine, performs Friday, May 28, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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