MAYDAY – Mayday [Rock Candy remastered / First Time on CD]

MAYDAY - Mayday [Rock Candy remastered / First Time on CD] full

MAYDAY self-titled debut Mayday was for years an almost impossible to find LP. Now, thanks to Rock Candy headquarters the album is being remastered and released on CD for the first time, a must for American AOR fans eager to own a long out of print album that appears to have obtained legend status in the genre.
Initially called Sun, and formed in the late Seventies with their roots in Chicago but based in New York City, Mayday plugged themselves into Manhattan’s burgeoning club scene playing underground clubs such as CBGB’s or Great Gildersleeves.
It was this live circuit that helped to toughen the band up, winning them the attention of an independent production company who bank rolled the start of their debut album and helped them to sign to industry leaders A&M records.

Issued in 1981, the album was received with glowing reviews and set in motion a dedicated following amongst fans of perfectly executed melodic hard rock blessed with interesting twists and turns. The album boasts a number of superbly written and performed tracks, highlighting Steve Johnstad’s captivating voice (compared on occasion with Steve Perry) and the biting guitar work of Randy Fredrix.

And indeed the Journey comparison doesn’t end there.
The excellent opener ‘Chicago Nights’ is a Melodic Rock / AOR anthem where the similarities to Journey are unavoidable to ignore, both in melody and Johnstad’s vocal delivery, a match for Steve Perry at his best. Similar or not, this rivals ‘Escape’ for classic AOR.
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.

However, despite the solid solidly AOR spirit, Mayday had a hard rock origin as well, and some of the songs here display metallic riffs and relatively upbeat speed throughout like the fierce rockers ‘Chicago Nights’ and ‘Getaway’, with more emphasis on riffs and attitude than sleek harmonies.
Mayday also surprise with an inspired and indeed rousing version of the Starz classic ‘So Young So Bad’.
‘Love Affair’ isn’t a 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 new wave keyboard work during ‘Innocent Bystander’, while ‘Once Upon A Time’ end the album with this closest to a ballad on the album, although it’s emotional and melodically burning.

Kudos to Rock Candy for not only remaster / reissue major bands and albums, but also rarities and obscurities like this Mayday album. This was a truly outstanding unit that offered a refreshing and compelling alternative to the mega selling acts of the day yet, for whatever reason, were criminally overlooked at the time.
There’s some great tunes here – Steve Johnstad co-wrote later House Of Lords hit ‘Wanna Be Loved’ plus songs for Joe Lynn Turner, Loudness and more – so take for sure songwriting is strong.
Highly Recommended


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

Steve Johnstad: Vocals
Randy Fredrix: Guitar
Charles Mas: Bass
David Beck: Keyboards
Gregg Gerson, Mark Kaufman: Drums



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