The acclaimed folk rock group dominated the airwaves in the late 80’s and 90’s with FM radio staples like “These Are Days” “Trouble Me” and “More Than This,” leading a trend of fiercely independent, socially conscious bands that would become known as alternative rock. Now with violist and vocalist Mary Ramsey leading the way, and no signs of slowing down, 10,000 Maniacs will make their Rockport debut.  

Formed in Jamestown, New York in 1981 with an original lineup that included singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant, 10,000 Maniacs spent the decade writing, touring and recording on their own label before signing with Elektra in 1985 and releasing The Wishing Chair. Together with artists like R.E.M.(with whom they toured), they defined college rock and created the first wave of alternative rock bands and what became known as the alternative rock format on FM radio.

In 1987 the Maniacs recorded and released In My Tribe. Produced by Peter Asher (James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt) this album broke into the charts, where it stayed 77 weeks, peaking at #37 and selling over two million copies. In My Tribe featured the hit singles “Don’t Talk,” “Hey Jack Kerouac,” “Like the Weather” and “What’s the Matter Here?” It was voted one of the 100 most important releases of the decade by Rolling Stone. Blind Man’s Zoo, the 1989 follow-up, hit #13 on the Billboard charts and went platinum. It featured the hit singles, “Trouble Me and “Eat for Two.” The following world tour featured several European festivals, a string of US amphitheatres and the renowned Fourth of July concert with the Grateful Dead in front of 80,000 in Buffalo NY. Our Time in Eden was released in 1992, and featured the hit singles, “Candy Everybody Wants” and “These Are Days” selling more than three million copies. 

Singer Natalie Merchant left the band in 1993 to pursue a solo career, her lead vocal duties being taken over by Mary Ramsey (of the folk duo John & Mary), who also brought her considerable, classically-trained viola skills to the band’s sound.  The new lineup released Love Among the Ruins for Geffen Records in 1997, featuring a cover of Roxy Music’s “More Than This,” which went to #24 on the Billboard charts, the highest-charting single in the band’s history.

The band continued recording and touring throughout the years, In 2013, the band released their first full-length album in 13 years. Music From the Motion Picture, was hailed as a beautiful affirmation of the band’s classic poetic lyrics and dreamy Americana blend and two years later came out with Twice Told Tales, a collection of traditional folk songs from the British Isles.  Their most recent release, Playing Favorites which came out on Omnivore Records in 2016, is a collection of favorites recorded live in Jamestown, NY at the band’s 33 1/3 anniversary celebration.