September 30: John Lombardo of 10,000 Maniacs, John & Mary and the Valkyries is 59-years-old today.

John Lombardo & Mary Ramsey

Lombardo, born in Jamestown, New York, is one of the original guitarists and songwriters for the folk-rock band 10,000 Maniacs and one of the band's most influential members, writing much of its early material.

10,000 M.s after Natalie Merchant left the group
Called by the Buffalo News "a dominant force" in the Maniacs, Lombardo was in the group from its inception in 1981 until he left in 1986 after the release of 10KM's first major-label album, The Wishing Chair. Lombardo cited creative and political differences as his reasons for leaving the band.

After leaving, he formed the folk-rock duo John & Mary with the classically trained Mary Ramsey, who played violin and viola for 10,000 Maniacs and sang backing vocals on the 1993 album MTV Unplugged. The pair made two recordings under the name John & Mary: Victory Gardens in 1991 and 1993's The Weedkiller's Daughter.

He returned in 1994 after Natalie Merchant's departure, with Mary Ramsey joining as the new lead singer. Lombardo picked up right where he left off by writing and shaping the band's music. He left the band again in 2002.

With Ramsey, the group released two albums with the Maniacs, 1997's Love Among the Ruins - which contained a cover of the Brian Ferry song "More Than This" that did well in the U.S. charts. and 1999's The Earth Pressed Flat. In 2002, after leaving the Maniacs following the death of guitarist Rob Buck, John and Mary released The Pinwheel Galaxy. With their current band, the Valkyries, they recently released Peace Bridge.

HIGHLY Recommended:

 Mtv UnpluggedLove Among the Ruins10,000 Maniacs - Time Capsule (1982-1993)