10,000 Maniacs (named after the low-budget horror movie Two Thousand Maniacs) was formed in Jamestown, NY, in 1981 by singer Natalie Merchant and guitarist John Lombardo.
The group gigged extensively and recorded independently before signing with Elektra and making their The Wishing Chair album in 1985.
The album was a delightful folk-rock record full of insight, originality and personality, with Merchant’s strong, clear voice providing a fine lead instrument.
Co-founder Lombardo left the band in 1986, and they continued as a quintet, releasing the second album, In My Tribe, in 1987. This album broke into the charts, where it stayed 77 weeks, peaking at #37.
Blind Man’s Zoo, the 1989 follow-up, hit #13 and went gold.
After 1992’s Our Time in Eden had finished its run on the charts, Natalie 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.
Merchant released her first solo album, Tiger Lily, in the summer of 1995. Guitarist Rob Buck died on 19 December 2000 from liver failure.