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10,000 Maniacs

10,000 Maniacs (named after the low-budget horror movie 2,000 Maniacs) were formed in Jamestown, New York, in 1981 by singer Natalie Merchant and guitarist John Lombardo. Other members of the sextet were Robert Buck (guitar), Steven Gustafson (bass), Dennis Drew (keyboards), and Jerry Augustyniak (drums). The group gigged extensively and recorded independently before signing with Elektra and making The Wishing Chair in 1985. Co-founder Lombardo left the band in 1986, and they continued as a quintet, releasing their second album, In My Tribe, in 1987. This album broke into the charts, where it stayed 77 weeks, peaking at number 37. Blind Man's Zoo, the 1989 follow-up, hit number 13 and went gold.

After 1992's Our Time in Eden had finished its run on the charts, Merchant announced that she was leaving for a solo career. MTV Unplugged was released a few months after her departure. The remaining 10,000 Maniacs decided to continue performing, adding the folk-rock duo John & Mary (original member Lombardo and violinist/vocalist Mary Ramsey). The new lineup released Love Among the Ruins. Merchant released her first solo album, Tigerlily, in the summer of 1995 and a follow-up, Ophelia, in 1998. In 1999, the remaining Maniacs released The Earth Pressed Flat on Bar/None. Sadly, a year later lead guitarist and founding member Robert Buck, who co-wrote some of the band's classics like "Hey Jack Kerouac," "What's the Matter Here?," and "These Are Days," died of liver failure on December 19, 2000. He was 42.

Following Buck's death, 10,0000 Maniacs took a yearlong hiatus, reconvening in December 2001 to play a benefit concert with Jeff Erickson now playing guitar. After this concert, Gustafson, Drew, and Augustyniak assembled a new lineup of 10,000 Maniacs featuring guitarist Erickson and vocalist Oskar Saville, who previously sang with Rubygrass. Over the next four years, this version of the Maniacs toured regularly -- their profile was raised somewhat in 2004 when Rhino released the career retrospective Campfire Songs: The Popular, Obscure & Unknown Recordings -- and in 2006, Mary Ramsey began playing the occasional concert with the band. Saville left the band in 2007 and Ramsey returned to her role as frontwoman.

10,000 Maniacs remained a staple on the folk-rock circuit right into the new decade, and in 2011 they released their first new recording in a decade: an EP called Triangles, which appeared on their label, Ruby Wristwatch. That year, the group also played two 30th anniversary concerts in their hometown of Jamestown, New York, then set out to record a new album in 2012. The resulting Music from the Motion Picture -- the first new 10,000 Maniacs album in 14 years -- appeared in February 2013. Not long after its release, Bob Wachter (who had played drums with the group back in 1981 before Augustyniak joined on a full-time basis) died at the age of 49. John Lombardo rejoined the band in 2014 as they were recording the album that became Twice Told Tales, a 2015 collection of British folk covers. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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By something very sweet and kind.... We Are Lucky !!!
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Always knew that we are touched and blessed ........We are
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Natalie Merchant may be the 10,000 Maniacs, but her music has not been nearly as interesting since she left the band. So perhaps John, Rob, et. al., had something to do with it.
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shaolin_gase r
Natalie's vocals are amazing, but they are lost without the music of Lombardo as guide. It's their symbiosis that propelled the 10,000 Maniacs to the height of thier popularity.
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doyleflower
Natalie Merchant IS the 10,000 Maniacs.
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Natalie Merchant's drollness depresses me. Thumbs down
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Love them to Death
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kevin-burns9
Natalie merchant rocks love her!!!pkb45
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I simply love you.
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Thanks for playing in Burlington, Nathalie! You're the best!
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timtime
she always takes me back to washington square park, nyc... my time...
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kevin-burns9
Natalie merchant vocals sounds so penetratj
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I love her voice that is so distinctive which gives all her music a life of it's own. Charming, yet strong and willful to defy standards set by others.
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I saw them in June 2014 in Des Moines IA.... Mary was awesome.... energetic stage performance. . . c r o w d was dancing and having a great time....
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twnz2trips
Natalie voice gives me a feeling of calm comfort and her music is always what I go back to.
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Natalies voice is soothing, magical & just a pure soulful sound of whatever or whomever she sings with or about. The songs are just magic!!!!
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More unplugged tracks please :-). Wow that voice. The maniacs were such a wonderful fit. Clean, complimentar y , strong! Damn I miss tramping to shows on a whim. Who? Where? Sure I'll get my coat. Youth, don't waste it when you're young!
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Magic in her voice!!!
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skoivu
She's a storyteller, musically. <3
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Natalie's voice is magic. I was hooked the first time I heard it in college. Verdi cries strikes a cord so deep in me I can't explain it.
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do you remember the first time you heard this song
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Unplugged and In My Tribe will forever be etched on my heart.
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Please don't hate on our wedding song and Natalie Merchant.
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this is our wedding song from 1998
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This is Natalie Merchant. she was with the band when they recorded this song
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What the hell. This isn't Natalie Merchant. She left 10,000 maniacs? They don't sound nearly as good. Major bummer.
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Love this band, Natalie makes the band brilliant. Great songs.
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Patti Smith version on Because the Night is better
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MAN I GROW UP IN THE 80' I SO LUCKY I GOT TO SEE 10.000 MANIACS
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Wow! Takes me back ! ❤ still love her voice !
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I was on JCC radio. Knew the boys before Merchant. Sweet to watch it from the ground floor.
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Wow bcmac87 knows so much about the 10,000 Maniacs;) hahaha ;-b
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:-)♡
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Another mistake on the bio is she announced leaving before the release of Eden. The Ramesy Maniacs were better anyway.
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I have to agree with lindylv61, I grew up in J'town as well and this biography is pretty awful. I knew Natalie and more directly her brother and sister. I went to JCC with the Rob (RIP), Steve and Dennis and know that 10,000 Maniacs existed and played college and other gigs in the area before Natalie joined them. All you have to do is check out Facebook to know that the band is alive and well, sans Natalie. Will always be a huge Maniacs fan, in all its incarnations ! !
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My dad used to work with Rob at Hopes in Jamestown, and a friends band used to play in the same clubs abd gigs as the maniacs in J-town. Love this Group, Just saw Natalie with the BPO in Buffalo and she still is amazing! :)
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Bruce Springsteen song - Because The Night
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mikeg19_82
Reunion!! With merchant please
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MARK FROM ROBBIN HILL RD FREWSBURG NY ,10KM ARE BETTER THEN EVER ! LOOKING FWD TO NEW ALBUM
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mtel01121979
What about their Unplugged album? That was huge, and it was how I learned about them.
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slatpet64
SERVOSS Family of Jamestown loves this band as well
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i love this band forever
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wanda1329
Natalie Merchant is one of my favs singers!
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'Cuse me?? I am from Jamestown, know these guys and would appreciate the bio fixed and updated, give more credit where credit is due,,, Dennis Drew, Steve Gustafson, and Rob Buck.
RIP Rob......
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I thought 10,000 Maniacs was unique because they supported Merchant's vocals in such a clean, minimalist way. Augustyniak in particular seemed to be able to be a master of this--I remember a few live songs where he just slapped his thigh.

When she went solo, she lost that. The guitar is mixed nearly as prominently as her voice. That, plus the more self-absorbe d lyrics, turned me off to Merchant.

I thought Mary Ramsey had a great voice--hopin g they can re-form around her for an album or two.
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Met Rob Buck many years ago after a show in Philly. I was sad to hear he has since passed from cancer.
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The bio is also wrong in that it says the new lineup has parted ways. That's incorrect. The group is still performing and still recording. I've heard some of the new tracks and they're absolutely great.
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Awesome song. You can feel the frustration of the character. Hypnotic guitar. Timeless and enduring.
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The bio info here is wrong and as a fan that bugs me. Natalie and John were both there at the beginning but the true founding members were Dennis Drew, Steve Gustafson, and Rob Buck.
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I caught the Maniacs in Albany, NY yesterday, and they were fantastic! I love Mary Ramsey's voice .. and the band was spectacular, with a great mix of different sounds and instrumental delights. Go see them if you get the chance. I also heard of an upcoming album.
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