Monday, June 30, 2014

Paul was a Maniac

"In 18 years they've never been rained out." — Tom Zmolek, music promoter and founder of the entertainment company, Zen

FRIDAY NIGHT Paul was privileged to play with 10,000 Maniacs for the Des Moines Art Festival. He had a blast, and so did the audience. 

We were worried about the weather; it's been raining and raining and raining here in central Iowa. It rained Thursday, Friday morning, Saturday, Sunday and today (boy howdy, did it rain and hail and blow today!!) — but it cleared off Friday afternoon and ended up being perfect weather for the concert Friday night.

A few days before the concert, Paul and Tom Zmolek, music promoter and the guy who hired him and the band, were discussing the dicey weather. Tom said that the Maniacs hadn't been rained out for 18 years (apparently they were rained out one time in in the mid-90s) and exhorted Paul to trust the Maniac karma. 

It must have worked because Friday night was beautiful.

Wow, does that band work hard and put on a good show! They played for at least an hour and a half straight through with no break. 

Two of the original founders are still in the band: Dennis Drew, on keyboards, and Steve Gustafson on bass. Drummer Jerry Augustyniak has been with the band since 1983, so just two years short of the beginning. Mary Ramsey who sings and plays the viola has had two stints with the band: from 1993 to 2001 and from 2007 to the present. Guitarist Rob Buck, who was one of the original founders of the band, died in 2000 and Jeff Erickson, who had been Rob's guitar technician, stepped in and continues to be "maniacal." Melanie Luciano on acoustic guitar and vocals joined the band two years ago.

Before the show, founders Dennis and Steve introduced themselves to Paul and the other two horns Paul had lined up, Dave Bohl and Jim Romain — and me — making a point to get our names straight. There was no reason for them to include me (I was just sitting there with the boys) other than old-fashioned, good manners.

So here's the inside scoop on 10,000 Maniacsthey're all genuinely nice people. No divas, no big egos; just very talented and incredibly hardworking.

After the concert I said to Mary, "Holy moly! Aren't you exhausted?!? You sang and played on every single tune without a break!" She said in a no-big-deal voice, "Oh no. But I will be tomorrow morning when we have to get up at 4:00 AM to catch a plane to Cleveland."

I told you they were hardworking!!

Below are a few pictures I took with my iPhone, their setlist from the night, and their touring schedule. I recommend that you catch 10,000 Maniacs anywhere you can. Paul's parents, who are in their 80s, went and they loved it as much as the rest of the audience did.

From left to right: Jeff Erickson on guitar, Paul, Melanie Luciano on acoustic,
Jerry Augustyniac on drums, and Mary Ramsey.

The horn line in back: Jim Romain, Dave Bohl and Paul. Melanie and Mary harmonizing.

Melanie, Mary, Paul, Steve Gustafson and Jerry on drums.

Dennis Drew rockin' out on keyboards.

The setlist from Friday night:

What's the Matter Here?
Like the Weather
Trouble Me
Can't Ignore the Train
It's a Beautiful Life
More Than This
Stockton Gala Days
Because the Night
Candy Everybody Wants
Sister Rose
Rainy Day
Everyday People
These Are Days
Few and Far Between
Just Like Heaven

10,000 Maniacs 2014 Schedule

July 5 — Aurora, IL
July 11 — The Palace Theater, Greensburg, PA
July 12 — Veteran's Park, Springfield, OH
July 17 — The Kessler, Dallas, TX
July 18 — One World Theatre, Austin, TX
July 19 — Dosey Doe, Houston, TX
Aug 1 — Columbus, OH
Aug 2 — With Peter Frampton, New Lenox, IL
August 7 — Madison Beach Hotel, Madison Beach, CT
August 8 — The Verve Crowne Plaza, Natick, MA
August 10 — Rocky Mountain Music Festival, Littleton, CO
September 20 — Taco Festival, Chicago, IL
October 4 — Infinity Hall, Hartford, CT

For the 10,000 Maniacs website, click here.

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