Cedarburg – The dimly lit rooms were filled with intricate historical trinkets. The merry-go-round faintly played tones that delicately danced along the line between haunting and mesmerizing.
It has been almost 20 years since the 10,000 Maniacs crew drew inspiration for their “More than This” music video from its filming location at the House on the Rock.
Yet lead singer Mary Ramsey cites the band’s experiences exploring the well-known whimsical Wisconsin landmark among the most memorable in what has been a long and successful career.
“We got access to some of the rooms that I think are off limits and everything about that place at night was definitely not something you forget,” said Ramsey, as she recalled filming at the House on the Rock. “The place itself is so extraordinary so it really leant itself a lot of fun and creativity.”
That means a lot coming from Ramsey, who joins the other five members of 10,000 Maniacs on stage in at The Cedarburg Performing Arts Center on Friday, Sept. 23.
The concert will feature band and fan favorites like “More Than This,” “What’s the Matter Here?” and “These Are Days,” which are included on the “Playing Favorites” album the group released in June.
Returning to the state where the “More Than This” music video was filmed is bringing to life some vivid memories for Ramsey, who said she most specifically remembers walking with caution up on the merry-go-round.
“It was so neat but at the same time I was so nervous because everything on there was so delicate,” she said, laughing. “I worried if I sat down on anything it would break under me like paper mache.”
New life for the past
A similar sense of nostalgia may also be among the things to draw fans of 10,000 Maniacs to their shows, which Ramsey said the group embraces wholeheartedly in everything from its music to their fashion choices.
“It’s been so interesting to see the world of fashion evolve and kind of recycle itself since we first started,” Ramsey said. “It’s kind of funny because sometimes I think ‘oh my goodness, what was I thinking,’ and the next thing I know the same thing is back in style.”
Founded in the fall of 1981 in Jamestown, New York, the group has won the hearts and ears of music fans around the world, selling more than 10 million records.
The mid-1990s through much of the next decade was marked by lineup changes and breaks for other projects, but the core members remained intact.
Now with renewed purpose, 10,000 Maniacs return full force to celebrate their time together.
“We try to keep songs pretty similar to what they were in their original structure because we know that nowadays there is a lot of appreciation for that kind of sound,” said Ramsey. “But we are also adding little things to keep it modern and add kind of a Celtic edge to it, especially with my strings.”
As the group celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, “Playing Favorites” features a live recording of their best-known songs, drawn from all eras of their multi-platinum career.
The album spans from 1983’s independent “Secrets Of The I Ching” to 1987’s “In My Tribe” to 1993’s triple platinum “MTV Unplugged,” which featured the Billboard #11 single “Because The Night.”
“We are thrilled to release a recording that represents 10,000 Maniacs’ true live sound,” said Dennis Drew, vocalist and keyboard player for the group. “This is really what we sound like, a rock band. The energy in the room was electric.”
Tickets are $55 for the Sept. 23 show, which is at 7:30 p.m. at the Cedarburg PAC, W68 N6111 Evergreen Blvd. To purchase tickets, or for more information, call 262-376-6161 or visit http://www.cedarburgpac.com.