THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In 1986, while low-rock pioneer Mark Sandman was still touring with his first major label band Treat Her Right — and before he convened the now-mythical Morphine — he assembled what is often referred to as his “secret band.” Hypnosonics remained a favorite side project, and performed for the last time two weeks before Sandman’s death in 1999. Playing guitar and organ as well as singing, Mark was joined by members of the large jazz ensemble Either/Orchestra for the funkiest excursions of his diverse career. This month, two never-before-heard Hypnosonics albums — Drums Were Beating: Fort Apache 1996 and Someone Stole My Shoes: Beyond The Q Division Sessions — are finally seeing the light of day.
Hypnosonics were built around a stripped-down drum kit with no toms and a piece of plywood in place of cymbals, played by Jay Hilt. With funk in its heart, Hypnosonics was originally a five piece with Sandman on guitar and organ, Tom Halter and Russ Gershon of the Either/Orchestra on trumpet and sax, and Mike Rivard, who later founded Club d’Elf, on bass. After Morphine took off, Dana Colley joined Hypnosonics, Hilt added hi-hat cymbals to his kit, and the horn section started singing. In 1996, the same year that Morphine recorded Like Swimming at the legendary Cambridge, MA studio Fort Apache, Hypnosonics visited the Fort to play a live-in-the-studio radio broadcast on beloved local rock station WFNX. Drums Were Beating contains much of that session. Known for their unpredictable live shows, this collection features the band stretching out a bit, as well as some choice snippets of Sandman’s witty stage patter.
An edition of the band which included future founding drummer of Morphine, Jerome Deupree, and future bassist/leader of Club d’Elf, Mike Rivard, recorded five songs at Q Division Studio in Boston in 1989. Also included are four more tracks by the 1996 edition of the group featuring original drummer Jay Hilt along with Morphine’s Dana Colley, trumpeter Tom Halter, and saxman Russ Gershon. While these releases pre-date Morphine on Sandman’s musical timeline, even at the height of their popularity, he embraced the opportunity to play in front of a small club almost in disguise with Hypnosonics.”