Thirty-five years ago 10,000 Maniacs formed in Jamestown, New York, and this year the quintet—yes, 9,995 shy of its namesake—will celebrate the anniversary with the release of a live album, according to frontwoman Mary Ramsey.
Keeping with the Jamestown theme, the album was recorded live in the city’s Reg Lenna Center for the Arts on September 13, 2014. Ramsey says “the whole thing is pretty much done” and expects it’ll arrive in stores, er, online within the next four months.
While it’s not known if the entirety of the performance will make the final cut, that particular concert featured 26 songs (enough for a double album) and included hits like “Candy Everybody Wants,” “Like the Weather,” “These Are Days,” as well as covers of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven,” Patti Smith’s “Because the Night” and Roxy Music’s “More Than This.”
“It’s funny, I was looking through some old papers because I was in the process of moving,” Ramsey says. “I found a letter from [Roxy Music’s] Bryan Ferry that he wrote to us when we covered ‘More Than This.’ And it was such a nice letter. I thought, ‘this is so cool.’ I have a letter from Bryan Ferry.”
Ramsey distills the band’s longevity down to the basics. “The music, people still wanna hear it,” she says. “There are people that are maturing and they wanna go out and hear the songs they used to hear when they were younger and connect [with it].”
Despite the fact that Ramsey has been a Maniac since 1993 (aside from a six-year stretch in the aughts), she admits there’s still a number of people that believe original singer Natalie Merchant (who left the band after 1992’s Out Time in Eden) is still in the band.
“I take that as a compliment,” she says referring to the confusion. “You know how it is, all lead singers with brown hair and brown eyes—well, it’s brown eyes, I don’t know about brown hair anymore—we all look the same. I understand and something that is just part of our story, you know.”