10,000 Maniacs
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10,000 Maniacs is an American
alternative rock Alternative rock (also called alternative music, alt-rock, or simply alternative) is a category of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1970s and became widely popular in the 1990s. "Alternative" refers to th ...
band that was founded in 1981. They have released nine studio albums, six EPs and five live albums. They achieved their most significant success between 1987 and 1993, when they released four albums that charted in the top 50 in the US: ''
In My Tribe ''In My Tribe'' is an album by the American alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs. Released on July 27, 1987, it was their second major-label album and their first to achieve large-scale success. John Lombardo, Natalie Merchant's songwriting partn ...
'' (1987), ''
Blind Man's Zoo ''Blind Man's Zoo'' is the fourth studio album by American alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs. It was released on May 4, 1989, through Elektra Records. The album contains songs addressing social issues and current events, which occurred during a ...
'' (1989), ''
Our Time in Eden ''Our Time in Eden'' is the fifth studio album by American alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs. It was released in 1992 on Elektra Records. The release is 10,000 Maniacs' last studio album with original lead singer Natalie Merchant. The album in ...
'' (1992) and the live album ''
MTV Unplugged ''MTV Unplugged'' is an American television series on MTV MTV (originally an initialism of Music Television) is an American cable channel that launched on August 1, 1981. Based in New York City, it serves as the flagship property of th ...
'' (1993). After the recording but before the release of ''MTV Unplugged'', original lead singer and main songwriter
Natalie Merchant Natalie Anne Merchant (born October 26, 1963) is an American alternative rock singer-songwriter. She joined the band 10,000 Maniacs in 1981, and was lead vocalist and primary lyricist for the group. She remained with the group for their first s ...

Natalie Merchant
left the band to pursue a solo career. She was replaced by
Mary Ramsey Mary Ramsey (born December 24, 1963) is a member of folk rock Folk rock is a hybrid music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It ...
, who was the lead singer from 1993 to 2001 and then from 2007 to the present.


History


1981–1993

The band was formed as Still Life in 1981 in
Jamestown, New York Jamestown is a city in southern Chautauqua County, New York Chautauqua County is the westernmost in the of . As of the , the population was 127,657. Its is , and its largest city is . Its name is believed to be the lone surviving remnant ...
, by
Dennis Drew Dennis Arnold Drew (born 8 August 1957) is the keyboardist A keyboardist or keyboard player is a musician A musician is a person who Composer, composes, Conducting, conducts, or Performing arts, performs music. According to the United Sta ...
(keyboards), Steven Gustafson (bass), Chet Cardinale (drums), Robert Buck (guitar and Newhouse's ex-husband) and Teri Newhouse (vocalist and Buck's ex-wife). Gustafson invited
Natalie Merchant Natalie Anne Merchant (born October 26, 1963) is an American alternative rock singer-songwriter. She joined the band 10,000 Maniacs in 1981, and was lead vocalist and primary lyricist for the group. She remained with the group for their first s ...

Natalie Merchant
, who was 17 at the time, to do some vocals. John Lombardo, who was in a band named The Mills (along with brother guitarist/vocalists Mark Liuzzo and Paul Liuzzo and drummer Mike Young) and used to play occasionally with Still Life, was invited to join permanently on guitar and vocals. Newhouse and Cardinale left the band in July, and Merchant became the main singer. Various drummers came and left. The band changed its name to Burn Victims and then to 10,000 Maniacs after the low-budget horror movie '' Two Thousand Maniacs!''. They performed as 10,000 Maniacs for the first time on Labor Day, September 7, 1981, with a line-up of Merchant, Lombardo, Buck, Drew, Gustafson, and Tim Edborg on drums. Edborg left and Bob "Bob O Matic" Wachter was on drums for most of the 1981 gigs. Tired of playing cover songs—though their first notable American hit was a cover of the
Cat Stevens Yusuf Islam (born Steven Demetre Georgiou; ), commonly known by his stage names Cat Stevens, Yusuf, and Yusuf / Cat Stevens, is a British singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. His musical style consists of folk music, folk, pop, rock, a ...
hit "
Peace Train "Peace Train" is a 1971 song by Cat Stevens Yusuf Islam (born Steven Demetre Georgiou; ), commonly known by his stage names Cat Stevens, Yusuf, and Yusuf / Cat Stevens, is a British singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. His musical st ...
"—the band started to write their own music, usually with Merchant handling the lyrics and Lombardo the music. In March 1982, with Jim Foti on drums, the band recorded an
EP album An extended play record, usually referred to as an EP, is a Sound recording and reproduction, musical recording that contains more tracks than a Single (music), single but fewer than an album or LP record. Contemporary EPs generally contain fou ...
titled '' Human Conflict Number Five''. More gigs followed in 1982. During this time they lived in Atlanta, Georgia for a short period at the encouragement of friends who said that many gigs were available there. Discouraged by the lack of actual gigs, and by having to sell plasma and rake leaves to buy food, the band moved back to Jamestown in November 1982 to regroup. At the beginning of 1983, Jerry Augustyniak joined the band as their permanent drummer. The Maniacs met Augustyniak when they played in
Buffalo, New York Buffalo is the second-largest city in the U.S. state In the , a state is a , of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a , each state holds al jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory where it shares its ...

Buffalo, New York
, where he was in a punk band named The Stains. Between March and July, the band recorded songs for a second record, ''
Secrets of the I Ching ''Secrets of the I Ching'' is the first album by 10,000 Maniacs (following their 1982 Extended play, EP, ''Human Conflict Number Five''), released in 1983 by Christian Burial Music, the band's own label. The album was recorded at SUNY Fredonia, wit ...
'', their debut full-length album, which was pressed by Mark Records for the band's own label Christian Burial Music. The record was well received by critics and caught the attention of respected
BBC Radio 1 BBC Radio 1 is a British national radio station owned and operated by the BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London London is the ca ...

BBC Radio 1
DJ
John Peel John Robert Parker Ravenscroft (30 August 1939 – 25 October 2004), known professionally as John Peel, was an English disc jockey A disc jockey, more commonly abbreviated as DJ, is a person who plays recorded music for an audience. Typ ...
in London. One song, "My Mother the War", turned out to be a minor hit in the United Kingdom and entered the independent singles chart. The band toured extensively during 1983 and 1984, and played gigs in the UK. Peter Leak, an Englishman living in New York City, became interested in the band, made contact and was made their manager. With the help of Leak and Elektra Records A & R man Howard Thompson, 10,000 Maniacs signed to Elektra in November 1984. In the spring of 1985, they recorded their second full-length album, '' The Wishing Chair'', in London at Livingston Studios, with
Joe Boyd Joe Boyd (born August 5, 1942) is an American record producer A record producer is a recording project's creative and technical leader, commanding studio time and coaching artists, and in popular genres typically creates the song's very sound ...
as producer. Though the album was not a blockbuster hit, its status as the band's major label debut did win it some notice, and it received significant critical acclaim. Co-founder Lombardo left 10,000 Maniacs during a rehearsal on July 14, 1986. The remaining five members started recording a new album in Los Angeles with
Peter Asher Peter Asher, (born 22 June 1944) is an English guitarist, singer, manager and record producer. He came to prominence in the 1960s as a member of the pop music vocal duo Peter and Gordon Peter and Gordon were a British pop duo, composed of ...
as the producer. ''
In My Tribe ''In My Tribe'' is an album by the American alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs. Released on July 27, 1987, it was their second major-label album and their first to achieve large-scale success. John Lombardo, Natalie Merchant's songwriting partn ...
'', a more pop-rock oriented record, was released on July 7, 1987. The album stayed on the charts for 77 weeks, peaking at No. 37, and established a large U.S. audience for the group. It was also well received in the UK. The album originally contained "Peace Train". It was removed from subsequent pressings after Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam) made comments implying he agreed with a death Fatwa against author
Salman Rushdie Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie (born 19 June 1947) is a British Americans, British-American novelist and essayist of Indian people, Indian descent. His work, combining magical realism with Historical novel, historical fiction, is primarily concerned ...

Salman Rushdie
. 10,000 Maniacs' next album, 1989's ''
Blind Man's Zoo ''Blind Man's Zoo'' is the fourth studio album by American alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs. It was released on May 4, 1989, through Elektra Records. The album contains songs addressing social issues and current events, which occurred during a ...
,'' hit No. 13 and went gold, further increasing the group's following. In May 1989, the British music magazine ''
NME ''New Musical Express'' (''NME'') is a British music, film and culture website and brand. Founded as a newspaper in 1952, with the publication being referred to as a 'rock inkie', the NME would become a magazine that ended up as a free publi ...
'' reported that 10,000 Maniacs had won the songwriter category prize at the
New York Music Awards The New York Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony and live concert, established in 1986 with its first sold-out show at Madison Square Garden, New York City, United States. It ran for six years with annual sold-out shows at the Beacon Theatre ...
. In 1990, with the help of Lombardo, they remastered their first two records, '' Human Conflict Number Five'' and ''
Secrets of the I Ching ''Secrets of the I Ching'' is the first album by 10,000 Maniacs (following their 1982 Extended play, EP, ''Human Conflict Number Five''), released in 1983 by Christian Burial Music, the band's own label. The album was recorded at SUNY Fredonia, wit ...
,'' and released them as a compilation named ''Hope Chest: The Fredonia Recordings 1982–1983''. Lombardo and
Mary Ramsey Mary Ramsey (born December 24, 1963) is a member of folk rock Folk rock is a hybrid music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It ...
, who had formed a folk act named
John & Mary John & Mary is a United States-based folk rock duo featuring John Lombardo and Mary Ramsey both members of alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs. History 1989–1993 John & Mary was formed by John Lombardo and Mary Ramsey soon after they first ...
, opened gigs for the Maniacs on the Hope Chest Tour in 1990. In 1991, during the recordings of a new album, Merchant revealed to the other members that she would be leaving 10,000 Maniacs for a solo career in two years' time. The new album, ''
Our Time in Eden ''Our Time in Eden'' is the fifth studio album by American alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs. It was released in 1992 on Elektra Records. The release is 10,000 Maniacs' last studio album with original lead singer Natalie Merchant. The album in ...
'', was released on September 29, 1992. In 1993, the band performed at the
MTV MTV (originally an initialism of Music Television) is an American cable channel Channel, channels, channeling, etc., may refer to: Geography * Channel (geography), in physical geography, a landform consisting of the outline (banks) of th ...

MTV
Inaugural Ball for
President Clinton William Jefferson Clinton ('' né'' Blythe III; born August 19, 1946) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 42nd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state ...

President Clinton
in January and on ''
MTV Unplugged ''MTV Unplugged'' is an American television series on MTV MTV (originally an initialism of Music Television) is an American cable channel that launched on August 1, 1981. Based in New York City, it serves as the flagship property of th ...
'' on April 21. Merchant announced her departure from the band on
MTV MTV (originally an initialism of Music Television) is an American cable channel Channel, channels, channeling, etc., may refer to: Geography * Channel (geography), in physical geography, a landform consisting of the outline (banks) of th ...

MTV
on August 5, 1993, saying she "didn't want art by committee anymore." The ''
MTV Unplugged ''MTV Unplugged'' is an American television series on MTV MTV (originally an initialism of Music Television) is an American cable channel that launched on August 1, 1981. Based in New York City, it serves as the flagship property of th ...
'' album was released on October 26, 1993. "The last 10,000 Maniacs gig was the first time I'd got drunk in nearly two years," Merchant later recalled. "I laughed a lot and threw lots of flowers out of the hotel window."


1994–2001

In late 1993/early 1994, the remaining members of 10,000 Maniacs (Augustyniak, Buck, Drew and Gustafson) asked John & Mary to join the band and continue. The revamped band began performing new material almost immediately, initially calling themselves John & Mary, Rob, Steve, Dennis, & Jerry; then they were able to legally regain control of the 10,000 Maniacs name. 10,000 Maniacs released two albums with Ramsey on vocals. In 1997, they released ''
Love Among the Ruins Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states, from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest Interpersonal relationship, interpersonal affection, to the simplest pleasure. An example of this range of ...
'' on
Geffen Records Geffen Records is an American record label established by David Geffen and owned by Universal Music Group through its Interscope Geffen A&M Records imprint. Founded in 1980, Geffen Records has been a part of Interscope Geffen A&M since 1999 and h ...
, from which their cover of the
Roxy Music Roxy Music were an English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compoun ...

Roxy Music
song " More Than This" became a moderate hit, and followed up in 1999 with ''
The Earth Pressed Flat ''The Earth Pressed Flat'' is a 1999 album by 10,000 Maniacs. The album contains nine songs that had been written for, but not used in, the band's previous album, ''Love Among the Ruins (album), Love Among the Ruins'': "The Earth Pressed Flat", ...
'' on
Bar/None Bar/None Records is an independent record label based in Hoboken, New Jersey. Early history Tom Prendergast started Bar/None in early 1986 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Having previously worked in pirate radio and booked and promoted bands in his nat ...
. In December 1998, Buck took some time off from the band, moving to Texas to focus on a new project named
League of Blind Women League of Blind Women was a short-lived alternative rock Alternative rock (also called alternative music, alt-rock, or simply alternative) is a category of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1970s and becam ...
. 10,000 Maniacs recruited Buffalo-based
Michael Lee Jackson Michael Lee Jackson is an American guitarist A guitarist (or a guitar player) is a person who plays the guitar. Guitarists may play a variety of guitar family musical instrument, instruments such as classical guitars, acoustic guitars, electric gu ...
of the band Animal Planet to step into the lead guitar role. Buck returned to the band in the summer of 1999. On November 3, 2000, 10,000 Maniacs played with the
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is an American symphony orchestra located in Buffalo, New York. Its primary performing venue is Kleinhans Music Hall, which is a National Historic Landmark. Its regular concert season features gala concerts, c ...
in Buffalo, New York. It was the last concert they performed with Buck. On December 19, 2000, Buck died of
liver failure Liver failure is the inability of the liver The liver is an organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (anatomy) An organ is a group of Tissue (biology), tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs t ...
at the age of 42. He was buried in the Mission Covenant Church Cemetery in
Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania
Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania
. Following Buck's death, 10,000 Maniacs took a break. Gustafson and Drew, with Jeff Erickson, started a band named The Mighty Wallop!. Augustyniak joined a band named Only Humen. On December 5, 2001, a 10,000 Maniacs line-up comprising Gustafson, Drew, Augustyniak, Lombardo and Ramsey played a benefit concert in Toronto, with Buck's former guitar technician, Erickson, on lead guitar.


2002–2007

In 2002, Gustafson, Drew, and Augustyniak decided that they wished to continue 10,000 Maniacs with a new lead singer. Lombardo showed up at the first band practice, found out that the band had hired Erickson to play lead guitar and
Oskar Saville
Oskar Saville
of the Chicago-based band Rubygrass to sing, and quit the band. This lineup toured sporadically between 2002 and 2006, playing at various festivals. On January 27, 2004, Elektra/Asylum/Rhino Records released '' Campfire Songs: The Popular, Obscure and Unknown Recordings'', a two-CD set compilation, with 31 digitally remastered songs, four of them demos and one unreleased. The second disc contained B-sides and outtakes throughout the band's career up to that point, including many covers.
Jackson Browne Clyde Jackson Browne (born October 9, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter and musician who has sold over 18 million albums in the United States. Emerging as a precocious teenage songwriter in mid-1960s Los Angeles, he had his first successes ...

Jackson Browne
's " These Days" and
Tom Waits #REDIRECT Tom Waits #REDIRECT Tom Waits Thomas Alan Waits (born December 7, 1949) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, composer, and actor. His lyrics often focus on the underbelly of society and are delivered in his trademark deep, grave ...
' "I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love with You" were among those included. In 2006,
John & Mary John & Mary is a United States-based folk rock duo featuring John Lombardo and Mary Ramsey both members of alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs. History 1989–1993 John & Mary was formed by John Lombardo and Mary Ramsey soon after they first ...
formed a folk-rock band named the Valkyries. John & Mary & the Valkyries are composed of several longtime Buffalo music scene stalwarts. Ramsey rejoined the current edition of the band for several dates in 2006, playing viola and singing backing vocals. Saville left in 2007, and Ramsey regained the lead vocalist spot.


2008–present

The band—consisting of Augustyniak, Drew, Erickson, Gustafson and Ramsey—remained active, playing shows throughout the United States. In June 2011, the band released the EP ''
Triangles A triangle is a polygon In geometry Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ' "earth", ' "measurement") is, with , one of the oldest branches of . It is concerned with properties of space that are related with distance, shap ...
'' on its own label, Ruby Wristwatch Records. The band celebrated its 30th anniversary in October 2011 with two sold out concerts at the Scharmann Theater on the campus of
Jamestown Community College Jamestown Community College is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the ...

Jamestown Community College
. The band spent most of 2012 recording a new full-length album at their studio in Jamestown, New York. In February 2013, they released the album, titled ''
Music from the Motion Picture ''Music from the Motion Picture'' is an album by 10,000 Maniacs. The album, their first full-length in 14 years, contains eleven original songs. This album is the first to feature guitarist Jeff Erickson since he took over for Robert Buck follow ...
''. Former drummer Robert Wachter died on March 26, 2013 at the age of 49 due to a long illness. ''
Twice Told Tales ''Twice-Told Tales'' is a short story collection in two volumes by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The first volume was published in the spring of 1837 and the second in 1842. The stories had all been previously published in magazines and annuals, hence the ...
'', an album of traditional British Isles covers, was released on April 28, 2015, on
Cleopatra Records Cleopatra Records is a Los Angeles-based independent record label An independent record label (or indie label) is a record label A record label, or record company, is a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other fea ...
. Founding member John Lombardo was brought back into the fold as creative director and to play guitar on the album and following tour. 10,000 Maniacs released its live album '' Playing Favorites'' on June 3, 2016, their first live album with
Mary Ramsey Mary Ramsey (born December 24, 1963) is a member of folk rock Folk rock is a hybrid music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It ...
on lead vocals.


Band members

; Current *
Dennis Drew Dennis Arnold Drew (born 8 August 1957) is the keyboardist A keyboardist or keyboard player is a musician A musician is a person who Composer, composes, Conducting, conducts, or Performing arts, performs music. According to the United Sta ...
 – keyboards, backing vocals, rare occasional lead vocals (1981–present) *
Steve Gustafson Steven E. "Steve" Gustafson (born April 10, 1957) is the bass guitar The bass guitar, electric bass or simply bass, is the lowest-pitched member of the guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string inst ...

Steve Gustafson
 – bass guitar, backing vocals, rare occasional lead vocals (1981–present) * Jerry Augustyniak – drums, backing vocals (1983–present) *
Mary Ramsey Mary Ramsey (born December 24, 1963) is a member of folk rock Folk rock is a hybrid music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It ...
 – lead vocals, violin, viola (1993–2001, 2007–present) * Jeff Erickson – guitar, occasional lead vocals (2001–present, guest appearance in 1998) * John Lombardo – guitar, occasional lead vocals (1981–1986, 1994–2002, 2015– present, touring member other years) ; Former *
Rob Buck Robert Norman Buck (August 1, 1958 – December 19, 2000) was an American guitarist and founding member of the alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs. Some of his compositions with Natalie Merchant are among the most popular songs recorded by 10, ...
 – guitar (1981–1998, 1999–2000; died 2000) * Chet Cardinale – drums (1981) * Teri Newhouse - vocals (1981) *
Natalie Merchant Natalie Anne Merchant (born October 26, 1963) is an American alternative rock singer-songwriter. She joined the band 10,000 Maniacs in 1981, and was lead vocalist and primary lyricist for the group. She remained with the group for their first s ...

Natalie Merchant
 – lead vocals, piano (1981–1993) * Tim Edborg – drums (1981) * James Rocky Calavitta – saxophone (1981) * Debbie Heverly – piano (1981) * Duane Calhoun – lead guitar (1981) * Bob "O'Matic" Wachter – drums (1982; died 2013) * Jim Foti – drums (1982–1983) *
Oskar Saville
Oskar Saville
 – lead vocals (2002–2007) ; Touring members * John Lombardo – guitar (1990, various special guest appearances other years) *
Mary Ramsey Mary Ramsey (born December 24, 1963) is a member of folk rock Folk rock is a hybrid music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It ...
 – violin, viola, backing vocals (1990, 1992–1993, 2006–2007) *
Max Weinberg Max Weinberg (born April 13, 1951) is an American drummer and television personality, most widely known as the longtime drummer for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and as the bandleader for Conan O'Brien on ''Late Night with Conan O'Brien'' an ...
 – drums (1992) * Morgan Fichter – violin, backing vocals (1992–1993) *
Amanda Kramer Amanda Kramer (born 26 December 1961) is an England-based American composer and touring musician. __TOC__ Background and family Amanda Kramer was born on December 26, 1961, in New York City. Her parents were Beverly Dennis and Russell Dennis, ...
 – piano, acoustic guitar, backing vocals (1992–1993) *
Michael Lee Jackson Michael Lee Jackson is an American guitarist A guitarist (or a guitar player) is a person who plays the guitar. Guitarists may play a variety of guitar family musical instrument, instruments such as classical guitars, acoustic guitars, electric gu ...
 – lead guitar (1998–1999) * Kevin Osborne – trombone (1992–1993) * Tommy LaBella – alto saxophone (1992–1993, 2013–2019) * Tony White – tenor saxophone, horn arranger (1992–1993, 2002–2003, 2013–2019) * Scott Burrows – trombone (1993) * Levi E Swanson – lead trombone (2003–2008) * Maria Sebastian – acoustic guitar, backing vocals (2010–2011) * Melanie Luciano – acoustic guitar, backing vocals (2012–2014, 2015, 2020) * Savannah King – acoustic guitar, backing vocals (2014–2015) * Amanda Barton – acoustic guitar, backing vocals, violin, tambourine (2015–2016) * Inga Yanoski – viola, violin, backing vocals (2016–2018) * Noelle Hone – backing vocals (2018) * Maggie Zindle – violin, viola, backing vocals (2018–)


Timeline


Discography


Albums


Studio albums


Extended plays

*'' Human Conflict Number Five'' (1982) *''You Happy Puppet'' (1989) *''Candy Everybody Wants'' (1993) *''Few & Far Between'' (1993) *''
Triangles A triangle is a polygon In geometry Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ' "earth", ' "measurement") is, with , one of the oldest branches of . It is concerned with properties of space that are related with distance, shap ...
'' (2011) *''For Crying Out Loud'' (2016)


Live


Compilations


Singles


Other releases


Filmography


Television


References


External links

* * * {{DEFAULTSORT:10000 Maniacs Alternative rock groups from New York (state) Elektra Records artists Jamestown, New York Musical groups established in 1981 Musical quartets American folk rock groups Natalie Merchant College rock musical groups