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10,000 Maniacs

Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 8:00 pm

10,000 Maniacs has covered incredible ground in its 35-plus years, from cult-herodom to international stardom, to their current status as a cornerstone alternative band.

World-renown for their trademark eclectic sound and poetic lyrics, 10,000 Maniacs has a lot in common with Jamestown, New York, the city that spawned them in 1981. Both are honest and hardworking, a step outside the mainstream, and both possess a bit of magic from this “city of blue-collar poetry” and “real life stories,” says keyboardist Dennis Drew.

10,000 Maniacs live shows embrace their entire catalogue, and the lineup is still anchored by four of the six original members. Drew and bassist Steven Gustafson cofounded the band in 1981, drummer Jerry Augustyniak came along shortly afterward, and founding guitarist/singer John Lombardo came back fulltime in 2015.

Two “new” members have long been part of the family: Mary Ramsey toured and recorded with the Maniacs as a viola player and backup singer before stepping into former front woman Natalie Merchant’s role 24 years ago. And the new guy, Jeff Erickson, lead guitarist for a mere 17 years, came in at the behest of his friend and mentor, the late Rob Buck.

The late ‘80s/early ‘90s found 10,000 Maniacs delivering a remarkable string of albums—1987’s In My Tribe and 1989’s Blind Man’s Zoo, and 1992’s Our Time in Eden. From these albums came the hits “Like the Weather,” “What’s the Matter Here?”, “Trouble Me,” “These Are Days,” and “Candy Everybody Wants”—all among the more thoughtful and beautifully crafted singles of their time.