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Rob Buck: Age 42
December 19, 2000
Liver Failure

robbuck.jpg (22306 bytes)
ROB BUCK MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP FUND


 

 
Robert Norman Buck
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inmytribe.jpg (15077 bytes)  GORDON'S CD PICK:  In My Tribe

 

OBITUARY

 

       Guitarist for 10,000 Maniacs Dies

By ANDY LEFKOWITZ, Associated Press Writer

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Rob Buck, lead guitarist for the rock band 10,000 Maniacs, has died of complications from liver failure. He was 42.

Buck died Tuesday night at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said Blair Woods, the band's publicist.

Buck wrote the music for some of the band's best-known hits, including ``Hey Jack Kerouac,'' and ``What's The Matter Here?''

``Rob was a great guitarist and very underrated,'' band member Dennis Drew told the Buffalo News. ``He had a big influence on other bands. This is a very sad time for all of us.''

Buck, who was born in Jamestown, N.Y., started playing guitar at the age of 6 and decided to become a professional guitarist at 16 after seeing ``The Jimi Hendrix Story'' He formed 10,000 Maniacs with Drew, Steven Gustafson, John Lombardo and Natalie Merchant in 1981, taking their name from the 1964 horror film ''2,000 Maniacs.''

''10,000 Maniacs was one of the seminal bands that helped form the shape of modern pop in the '90s,'' said Jack Barton, music director at radio station WYEP in Pittsburgh.

Merchant left the band in 1993 for a solo career and was replaced by Mary Ramsey. Buck and the band last performed Nov. 6 at a rally for Hillary Rodham Clinton (news - web sites) at Buffalo State College.

 

   
     Bar None Records joins the members of 10,000 Maniacs, their families, friends, and fans in mourning the loss of guitarist and songwriter Robert Norman Buck, who died on December 19, 2000 at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA, due to complications from liver disease.

From the very outset of 10,000 Maniacs career, Rob’s innovative approach to guitar playing gave the group a unique and sophisticated sound. He combined elements of progressive rock, folk, and jazz to create ethereal instrumental tracks that worked in striking counterpoint to Natalie Merchant’s down-to-earth lyrics and vocals. His extraordinary performances on the group’s first album, the independently released Secrets of the I-Ching, helped attract the major label interest that lead to a deal with Elektra Records. He wrote the music for two of the group’s most popular songs, "What’s the Matter Here" and "Hey Jack Kerouac," from their breakthrough album, In My Tribe, as well as "Please Forgive Us" from Blind Man’s Zoo and "These Are Days" from Our Time In Eden.

Rob was born on August 1, 1958 in Jamestown, New York, and he started playing the guitar at the age of six. When he was 16, he was inspired to perform professionally after he saw the documentary The Jimi Hendrix Story on Christmas Eve ‘74 in Florida. In 1981, Rob joined Dennis Drew, Steve Gustafon, John Lombardo, and Natalie Merchant to form 10,000 Maniacs. They played their first public show on Labor Day weekend that year. Jerome Augustyniak joined the lineup two years later.

10,000 Maniacs released its Elektra Records debut, The Wishing Chair, in 1985. Though the album was critically well-received, a fan base was growing, and the group had found supporters among better known fellow musicians like R.E.M., 10,000 Maniacs didn’t hit its commercial stride until 1987, when Elektra released In My Tribe and it became an alternative rock sensation, spending 77 weeks on the Billboard album chart. The band’s tenure at Elektra culminated in 1993 with the MTV Unplugged live album, which included the Maniacs’ hit rendition of Patti Smith’s "Because the Night."

After Natalie left the group to pursue a solo career, the Maniacs continued to record and perform, with Mary Ramsey, another Western New York musician, taking over as lead vocalist. They released one album, Love Among the Ruins, with Geffen, then went to Bar None to put out the critically acclaimed Earth Pressed Flat. The revamped Maniacs toured throughout the world and had most recently performed a series of U.S. dates in October. The band capped the year with a band-and-orchestra performance on November 3rd with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Band members have made no statement regarding their future plans. Funeral arrangements are pending at Lind Funeral Home, Jamestown, NY. Rob is survived by his parents, Kenneth Buck and Ray and Carol Ciper.


A Letter From Steve of 10,000 Maniacs

Dear Friends,

Most of you know that our guitarist, Robert Buck, died December 19, from liver failure. This has been an extremely sad and difficult time for us and I sincerely thank you for all your kind thoughts. Rob was an amazing person with volumes of talent, humor and kindness. He told friends and fans that he felt very lucky to be a professional musician, and that all the travel and performing for people was like a wonderful dream. To the guys in the band, he often confessed that he wanted the responsibility of influencing the youth of America, and he would do it, ONE COED AT A TIME. To continue his wishes, (but in a more PC way) 10,000 Maniacs and Rob’s Mother and Step Dad, have set up a scholarship fund with the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, here in Jamestown, NY. Each year, the interest from the fund will go to a college student studying music. The band and our web master have set up a web page for donations at www.gottabuck.org. I ask you to take a few minutes and donate a buck or two (or more if you can) and remember to leave your name on the list of donors. If you don’t feel safe spending money on the internet, send donations to the address below.

Influence the life of a college student, remember Rob, and let the music play.

10.000 Thanks!
Steven Gustafson

Rob Buck Memorial Scholarship Fund
c/o Chautauqua Region Community Foundation
418 Spring Street
Jamestown, NY 14701

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born: August 1, 1958 Jamestown, NY
died: December 19, 2000 Pittsburgh, PA


A founding member of 10,000 Maniacs, Rob Buck's unique, ringing guitar sound has been a trademark on most every 10KM related-project including both John and Mary albums. Rob does more than pluck the strings, he kindles smooth, mystifying sound-waves from the instrument in a way like never before heard. Before joining the Maniacs he was a student of anthropology and a welder. He also studied the ancient Eastern arts, the album SECRETS OF THE I CHING was named after one of his favorite books. Suprisingly, he left 10,000 Maniacs in 1998 after seventeen years for The League of Blind Women. But LoBW split up in the summer of 1999 and Rob Buck rejoined 10,000 Maniacs ~http://members.delphi.com/robbuck/index.html

 

All-Music Guide

Ten Thousand Maniacs

10,000 Maniacs (named after the low-budget horror movie 2,000 Maniacs) was formed in Jamestown, NY, in 1981 by singer Natalie Merchant and guitarist John Lombardo. Other members of the sextet were Robert Buck (guitar), Steven Gustafson (bass), Dennis Drew (keyboards), and Jerry Ausugstyniak (drums). The group gigged extensively and recorded independently before signing with Elektra and making The Wishing Chair in 1985. Cofounder Lombardo left the band in 1986, and they continued as a quintet, releasing the second album, In My Tribe, in 1987. This album broke into the charts, where it stayed 77 weeks, peaking at #37. Blind Man's Zoo, the 1989 follow-up, hit #13 and went gold.

After 1992's Our Time in Eden had finished its run on the charts, Natalie Merchant announced that she was leaving for a solo career.  MTV Unplugged was released a few months after her departure. The remaining 10,000 Maniacs decided to continue performing, adding the folk-rock duo John & Mary (original member Lombardo and violinist/vocalist Mary Ramsey). The new lineup released Love Among the Ruins. Merchant released her first solo album, Tiger Lily, in the summer of 1995 and a follow-up, Ophelia in 1998. In 1999, the remaining Maniacs released The Earth Pressed Flat on Bar/None. — William Ruhlmann

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