Natalie Merchant – Interview 2018

When she was just 17, Natalie Merchant was working in a health food store and was considering a career in special education whilst at college in her home city of Jamestown, which sits just below Lake Erie that straddles the border with Canada. Harbouring no more than your average desire to sing in a band, she was invited to do some vocals for a group called Still Life in 1981. They inexplicably decided to call itself Burn Victims, before settling on 10,000 Maniacs all in the same year, performing their fist gig under that name on September 7th. Named after the obscure 60s low-budget grindhouse splatter flick Two Thousand Maniacs!, and often cited as one of the worst band names in history, 10,000 Maniacs nevertheless became huge on the alternative college circuit, as well as finding an early fan in the shape of John Peel, who turned on his radio listeners to the band via their song 'My Mother The War'. "The only solid plan I had was to go to New York City to attend art school," says Natalie Merchant. "I wanted to be an artist and in the end achieved that goal."

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