It seems like only yesterday that Pop & Hiss was hanging out at dimly lighted upstate New York bars watching a hot new alt-folk-rock band called 10,000 Maniacs, and trying to figure out the words to "Lilydale" because the lead vocalist, Natalie Merchant, sometimes turned her back to the audience in those days, absorbed in some private mystic reverie.
That was the early '80s. Merchant, of course, is long gone, departing the band for a solo career. The group's original lead guitarist, the virtuosic Robert Buck, died of liver failure in 2000 at age 42. Other personnel, like guitarist John Lombardo and singer Mary Ramsey, have come and gone, and come again. But the band from Jamestown, N.Y., has endured through it all.
Now, a reconstituted 10,000 Maniacs is releasing its first album of new material in 13 years. "Music From the Motion Picture," to be released Jan. 15, will include the talents of founding members Dennis Drew, Steven Gustafson and Jerry Augustyniak, with Jeff Erickson replacing Buck on lead guitar and Ramsey once again fronting the band. Not many more details at this point, but we'll be manically watching out for more Maniacs news.
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