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D80sV #33: 10,000 Maniacs - Trouble Me

Daily 80's Video #33: 10,000 Maniacs were a great 80's/90's band that hailed from my hometown, Jamestown NY.

I remember back in 1983, my third grade teacher, Mrs. Gustafson, telling us about a band her son was in, called, well, the 10,000 Maniacs. Her son was the bass player, Steve Gustafson. Okay, correction, apparently I'm misremembering that whole thing. I recently came in contact with Steve Gustafson and asked if he could confirm my memory. He told me this mysterious third grade teacher wasn't his mother. I thought, how odd, two Gustafsons in the Jamestown area not related to each other. Then he added that there was a large Swedish population in the Jamestown area. I can vouch for that, since both of my grandfathers were of Swedish descent, Danielson and Seastedt. I chalk the whole misremembering thing up to me romanticizing the past, which is something I tend to do, to reality's chagrin.

As for some other members of 10,000 Maniacs, lead singer, Natalie Merchant was the voice and social conscience of the group, as the main lyricist, and probably most publicized. Merchant's unusual voice blended perfectly with Robert Buck's exceptional guitar playing. When Merchant left in 1993, the Maniacs continued on with intermittent success.

As a side note, in one of the Maniac's offshoot bands, The Mighty Wallop!, which included original Maniacs keyboardist, Dennis Drew and already mentioned Steve Gustafson, my cousin, of all people, Ryan Seekings, played drums. This memory Gustafson was able to confirm in the email, proving that I'm not completely bonkers.

So, regardless of how real or unreal my memories are about the 10,000 Maniacs, I guess you could say I feel a little bit of a connection, if not kinship with them, as one of Jamestown's most famous native sons and/or daughters, not counting Lucille Ball, or to a much lesser degree, despised NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

As another side note, and a sad one at that, we lost Robert Buck to liver failure in December of 2000. I absolutely loved his guitar playing. I found it masterful and at times transcendent. RIP Robert Buck.


Steven said...

My mother was not a teacher though I learned much from her.
Another side note, we are releasing an album of new material February 26, 2013. "Music From The Motion Picture" is our first recording since the death of Robert. Mary Ramsey is our singer for those that care. visit us @ or ~ Steven

mtd said...

I find that Mary Ramsey's got a silky smooth voice, not as smokey as Margo Timmons of the Cowboy Junkies, but similar IMO. "More Than This" was a lovely, moving cover. Anyway, I/we are definitely interested in anything the Maniacs do! Count me among the 10,000!