Milford– They’re back! After a two year hiatus during the pandemic, the band is on the road again. They are celebrating their 40th anniversary, which was actually in 2021, but they were not playing because of Covid 19. Four of the original six members are still with the band: Steve Gustafson (founding member), Dennis Drew, John Lombardo, and Jerry Augustyniack.
Founding member Natalie Merchant left in 1993 to pursue a solo career and was replaced by back-up singer Mary Ramsey, who turned out to be a natural fit with the added dimension of her talent on the violin and viola. Robert Buck passed away in 2000, and Jeff Erickson, his longtime guitar tech replaced him. The Maniacs like to keep their music in the “family.”
The band has sold more than 10 million albums, with eight “Billboard Hot” 100 singles. Their music continues to be heard in films and TV shows. Their music has changed somewhat and sounds different from the early 80s, now heavily influenced by British folk music, Reggae, and pop, but not hard rock.
Other things have changed for them, as well. Steven Gustafson said, “We used to do about 110 shows a year and were often gone from our families. Now we do about 50 shows a year and have more time with our families and quality time with our ‘band family.’
We have a loving, creative, and exciting family on stage.”
When asked how they got the name, “10,000 Maniacs,” Gustafson said, “It was 1981- pre-computers. There was a group of us at a friend’s house, smoking marijuana. We were making a list. There were some horror films at the time, like 2,000 Maniacs. We later realized we got the number wrong--- but it stuck. We play a lot better sober.”
The pandemic break was productive for them. It gave them time to write new material and they now plan a new studio album. They are all happy to tour again after the Covid shut down.
“We get excitement from our audiences. We really appreciate them and look forward to coming to Milford,” Gustafson said.
Beth O’Neil, artistic director of Milford Theatre is excited about having them at the theater.
“I could not be more thrilled to have 10,000 Maniacs open the Milford Music Festival here at Milford Theater. Having a band of such incredible talent and fame is a real win for Milford and I know is just the beginning of attracting world-class talent.”
Their music has changed somewhat and sounds different from the early 80s, now heavily influenced by British folk music, Reggae, and pop, but not hard rock.