Alternative pop band, 10,000 Maniacs, will be making its South Point Hotel & Resort debut, Aug. 3-5, in the main showroom at 7:30 p.m. each night. The band is winding down its 30th anniversary with a summer tour throughout the United States.
In a phone interview with Steven Gustafson, Maniacs co-founder, bass player, and keyboardist, he said they will cover favorite songs, inject new material and have a horn section for a big band sound at South Point. “Music for us is fun and a celebration.”
A staple of college rock in the ‘80s, 10,000 Maniacs have sold more than 10 million records worldwide. They are currently recording their first album in 13 years in the group’s hometown of Jamestown, N.Y., where three members still reside and the band originated in 1981.
The group took the death of their guitarist Robert Buck at age 42 to cancer 11 years ago real hard. Some of the songs they wrote while in mourning have sat on the shelf but are part of the album. Gustafson gives the analogy that writing songs and recording them are like raising a child beginning with birth. He said “art by committee is fun” and that everyone in the group has to say “ooh, we like that” for a song to be accepted.
The yet-to-be-named recording is scheduled to be released in January 2013. They haven’t planned how they’re going to release the album but he emphasized that the group is social media savvy. They already have a free downloaded new song on their website http://www.maniacs.com. “We’re doing it ourselves like we did 30 years ago when family gave us money.”
Gustafson admitted 10,000 Maniacs is a goofy name. He and his co-founding partner Dennis Drew went to high school together and had a band called Still Life. John Lombardo was in another band and they wanted a new name when he joined them. “We had 200 names and narrowed it down to 10,” said Gustafson. “We needed to differentiate ourselves from the other bar and cover bands and fancied ourselves to be punks. We liked 10,000 Maniacs because it had numbers and letters.”
Gustafson reiterated that their beginnings were humble. “We weren’t looking beyond the end of our nose.” Yet the group went on to an exciting career that included performing at President Bill Clinton’s inaugural ball. But Gustafson says the USO show they did in the desert in Kuwait in 1999 for at tank battalion was the best.
Today’s current members are Drew, Gustafson, singer Mary Ramsey, Jeff Erickson on guitar, and Jerome Augustyniak on drums. Tickets are $35, $40 and $45, and may be purchased at the South Point box office 1-866-796-7111 or online.