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Mayday - 1981 Mayday



ARTIST: Mayday
ALBUM: Mayday
LABEL: A&M
SERIAL: SP-4873
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 2016, Rock Candy Records, CANDY288

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Steve Johnstad - vocals * Randy Fredrix - guitars * Charles Mas - bass * David Beck - keyboards * Gregg Gerson, Mark Kaufman - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Chicago Nights * 02 So Young So Bad * 03 New York City * 04 Loco Love * 05 Life In Space * 06 Love Affair * 07 Innocent Bystander * 08 Getaway * 09 Familiar Faces * 10 Once Upon A Time


Background
Due to a brief, gleaming bio in the International Encyclopedia Of Hard Rock And Heavy Metal, this instantly became a personal must-have, and I presume for legions of AOR fans, eager to own a long out of print album that appears to have obtained legend status in the genre. Mayday's origins lay in the dissolution of New York rock act Sun, providing the nucleus of Mayday. Even in this day and age of the internet, information regarding Mayday is elusive, with little details existing about their exact formation. With mighty Steve 'Zeus' Johnstad at the helm the debut was solidly AOR in spirit, but rather heavier than most, with noticeably metallic riffs and relatively upbeat speed throughout. The band utilised two drummers on the album, although both were gone by the time of 1982's follow up 'Revenge'. The bands decision to cover the Starz track 'So Young, So Bad' (from 1979's 'Coliseum Rock') was curious as the track was only two years old at the time, but had already attained cult status from serious rock fans.


The Songs
Apparently Mayday were a New York based outfit, but opener 'Chicago Nights' would suggest anything but! A tailor made anthem, the similarities to Journey are unavoidable to ignore, both in melody and Johnstad's delivery, a match for Steve Perry at his best. Similar or not, this rivals 'Escape' for classic AOR. 'So Young, So Bad' follows, earlier than one might have suspected. A commendable cover that was recorded perhaps to do justice to an overlooked band and provide them with a hit. It wasn't to be. 'New York City' arrives to banish the childhood memories of 'Chicago Nights', this a fierce rocker with more emphasis on riffs and attitude than sleek harmonies. This attitude is continued with 'Loco Love', which again is close to Journey, reminding me of 'Dead Or Alive', but realistically it sounds like anything recorded prior to 'Escape' as both albums were recorded in 1981. 'Life In Space' features suitably space-like keyboard effects with a disco ridden bass track underneath. Disco AOR? - you can't beat it! Thankfully 'Love Affair' isn't a weepy ballad, instead a catchy three minute rock workout that had 'hit' written all over it. As was so common in the period there's some unwanted new wave keyboard work during 'Innocent Bystander', which is vanquished immediately by the assault of 'Getaway', very much an in your face slice of hard rock with no pretentions towards anything except going for broke. 'Familiar Faces' is unremarkable at best, leaving 'Once Upon A Time' to end the album on a sombre note, the closest to a ballad on the album, although it's emotional and melodically burning.


In Summary
'Mayday' is worth the hype and an easy classic. The following year's 'Revenge' was equally as accomplished, and the fact that both albums failed indicates how tough the competition was in the early eighties. After the band broke up, little was heard from the various members although Gerson drummed with Sven Gali, Adam Bomb and Skin And Bone reportedly. Johnstad made an appearance on the 1987 Loudness album 'Hurricane Eyes', and was heard from a couple of years ago, as a Maytag repair man of all things. He is still writing new music and was spotted jamming with Eric Singer and Karl Cochran in September 2003.


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Comments
#1 | gdazegod on March 08 2006 09:16:24
The track 'Getaway' is a rebadged version of Nikki Buzz's previous band Sun, and their classic track 'Romance'. Sun never officially released any of their own product, they appear on some New York LP compilations going back to about 1976 I believe.. Wink
#2 | ZEUS on November 06 2009 12:43:31
Thanks for the comments and reviews on MAYDAY! Although I've put the MAYTAG tools back in the box, I felt it important to note that my new band PROJECT GEEZER has once again headed into the studio.
I've recently posted songs from this band located here in Los Angeles, along with all the songs from both MAYDAY and MAYDAY 'Revenge' as released in 1981 and 1982 on AandM records. Also, songs from MAYDAY 1985 reformation. These songs along with many others I've written / recorded can be heard, as well a few live performances and showcases over the years, including the band I formed with Rudy Sarzo, Tommy Aldridge, Lanny Cordola, Philip Wolfe called NRG in 1986 just before Rudy and Tommy left to join WHITESNAKE for the 'Still Of The Night' video etc..
Another not before mentioned is the song I co-wrote with Mandy Mayer for HOUSE OF LORDS titled 'Wanna Be Loved' which became their first single. I later wrote a song called 'TALKIN BOUT LOVE' which was released on their third record. Ironically Tommy played drums on that song, which I personally felt was the best song on that record.
As you've mentioned, I co-wrote many songs over the years with LOUDNESS including several on their last record, and a couple of years ago I collaborated with Karl Cochran and Joe Lynn Turner on a song called 'Over The Top' for Joe's solo record SECOND HAND LIFE. Although the videos are home baked, and many of the recordings are basically low end demo in quality, it's great fun to share some of the countless songs I've been fortunate to have written with both on my own and with others over these past several years.
Please feel free to check out my YouTube.com site @ http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=COUSINHEAVY
I will try to keep you better informed in the future. Again, I appreciate your reviews and comments. Take care Steve Johnstad-Zeus.
#3 | rkbluez on November 14 2011 11:12:50
Mega abscure classic that I'm having a tough time figuring out how this hasn't been reissued by anybody yet...take note Rock Candy this is a killer album that a lot of people like myself have been waiting far too long to be reissued...this album is the real deal for anyone who likes melodic hard rock with some rippin' tracks...I consider this one of the best releases from the Glory Daze.
#4 | reyno-roxx on November 14 2011 11:35:01
Both albums have been issued on CD, albeit as very good quality bootlegs, in Europe in recent years. Would be great to see them released officially with input from Zeus though!
#5 | super80boy on February 14 2014 04:14:58
This debut has big melodic rock chops swerving from hard rock to AOR to a perfect mix of both. Even the change up synth new wave disco rocker 'Life In Space' is quite sharp.
#6 | gdazegod on August 29 2016 04:45:06
Looking forward to the forthcoming CD reissue from Rock Candy. Sept 30, 2016. Bring it!
 
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