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MANIAC NO MORE: What’s in the future...

MANIAC NO MORE: What’s in the future for Natalie Merchant now that she’s left her longtime band 10,000 Maniacs?

“I want to leave myself open to a lot of possibilities,” said the singer, in town last week to perform on “The Tonight Show” with Texas country-folk cult figure Jimmie Dale Gilmore.

“I want to try to co-write, just for my own education, with a lot of different writers. I’m interested in working with Jimmie, John Cale and (R.E.M.'s) Michael Stipe. Suzanne Vega and I have talked about writing for years. I’d like to try and do that. . . . There’s even some talk about working with Iris DeMent, which I’d really like to do. But I don’t want to spread myself too thin.”

The Maniacs’ final release will be an “MTV Unplugged” album scheduled for a late October release. Her thoughts at the end of the line?

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“Nostalgic and sad, but also liberated. . . . We would have been starting our 13th year. That’s a long time. I don’t know a lot of people who’ve done the same thing with the same people from the time they’re 17 to 30.”


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