Eugene Mirman’s Guide To Modern Life: Mark Sandman’s “Sandbox”

eugenelogoAlong with David Cross, Zach Galifianakis and Patton Oswalt, Eugene Mirman has liberated stand-up comedy from the zany fratboys and sweater-clad neurotics. Mirman’s latest album, God Is A Twelve-Year-Old Boy With Asperger’s (Sub Pop), isn’t representative of a “new breed” of comedy or a supposedly edgy advancement in humor; it’s a collection of smart, imaginative bits that embody the anger, absurdity and awkwardness of everyday life. You might also say it’s full of guffaws. Mirman, who also published a book this year (the mock-advice tome The Will To Whatevs) and regularly appears on HBO’s Flight Of The Conchords, is guest editing this week. Read our Q&A with him.

Sandman400Mirman: Mark Sandman was probably the first musician that died (during my self-aware lifetime) whose music I really loved. I was too young (and foreign!) when John Lennon was killed, and I sadly couldn’t do anything to prevent the overdoses of Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin and the tragic deaths of Phil Ochs and Harry Chapin. (Side note: Now that I’m out of high school, it isn’t quite as sad that Jim Morrison died, since much of what he sang about was riding a snake to a lake—admittedly—in a very sexy way.) This year marks (sorry, but that is the best word for it) the 10th anniversary of Sandman’s passing. Since that time, some of his unreleased music has trickled out, most notably Sandbox, a wonderful two-CD collection of his unreleased music. There are lots of simple, beautiful songs: “51{e5d2c082e45b5ce38ac2ea5f0bdedb3901cc97dfa4ea5e625fd79a7c2dc9f191}” (about getting along with a girl 51 percent of the time), “Patience,” “Tomorrow,” “Hotel,” “Imaginary Song.” Some are songs I’d never heard, and some are songs they’d play live and never released. I remember going to see Morphine many times at the Middle East in Cambridge when I was in college and seeing Sandman eating there. At the time, I was surprised that a famous musician would eat falafel out in the open, instead of spending his time in the sky in a flying limousine doing rock ‘n’ roll shit—only occasionally landing to get whiskey and make love to a hot art student. Now, of course, I understand that the media had skewed my understanding of celebrity and entertainment, and that musicians eat food in bars and restaurants just like teachers and firemen. (Need more proof? OK—I recently ate at a Thai restaurant in L.A. where Orlando Bloom had just been to). I miss Sandman’s music and hope that more is unearthed in the future (like in the next two years, not in 2155). At the very least, I’m sure that Billy Ruane has thousands of live Morphine and Pale Brothers shows that he keeps hidden in a moped. Video after the jump.

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