Upstate New York's 10,000 Maniacs represented the haunting, folk-tinged side of college rock in the ‘80s. Originally inspired by The Byrds and Fairport Convention, they got more streamlined after hooking up with star producer Peter Asher on 1987's double platinum In My Tribe. Guesting on that album was R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, who maintained a creative friendship with singer Natalie Merchant. 1993 brought a successful appearance on MTV Unplugged; by now singer Merchant was the obvious star of the band. She went solo that year and the group carried on with singer Mary Ramsey.