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The Mayfield Four - Clarity and Chemistry with the HR824

The Mayfield Four
  The Mayfield Four
 

"This was the first band that I had ever played in where from the first downbeat, we knew there was something special happening," says Myles Kennedy, lead vocalist and guitarist for The Mayfield Four. "It wasn''t something we really had to work on—the chemistry was there immediately."

This chemistry is probably why The Mayfield Four (technically three)—Marty Meisner (Bass), Zia Uddin (drums), and Kennedy, hailing from the sheltered environs of Spokane, Washington, have done what few bands from a small market are able to do—sign a multi-album deal with a major label. Their Sony/Epic debut, CD Fallout was released to glowing reviews, in 1998, and tours with Fuel, Creed, and Big Wreck followed. Their latest disc, Second Skin was released last summer, and they just finished a summer tour opening for Everclear.

Produced by Peter Collins (Rush, Brian Setzer, Shawn Mullins) and mixed by Tom Lord-Alge (Live, The Wallflowers, Weezer), Second Skin shimmers with brilliant production, and combines impassioned performances with gut-wrenching lyrics, proving that this tight-knit group of childhood friends didn''t fold under the pressure of delivering the sometimes career-ending "sophomore" album. "There was a lot of pressure," says Kennedy. "I wrote probably over 100 songs before we picked the twelve that made the CD. It became an obsession to make sure this was a great record."


The Mayfield FourThe band worked with Collins on pre-production for Second Skin in Kennedy''s home studio using Mackie HR824 monitors. "What I like the most about the HR824s is the low ear fatigue—I can listen to them all day. It''s not like other monitors I''ve used in the past where you blow your ears out in a matter of hours." Having faith that his monitors are reproducing exactly what he has recorded is a necessity for Kennedy—especially considering that some of these home studio takes actually make their way to the final product. "In the case that I have a keeper—I just fly in the tracks I did at home. Sometimes it''s hard to beat vocal tracks you''ve done in the comfort of your own home without the usual pressures of a big-time studio."

Collins was the perfect foil for Kennedy in the studio. "For someone like me, who sometimes gets a little down in the studio because it is a lot of work, and I''m always second guessing everything—Peter just kept the vibe happening. He''s all about keeping it fun. That''s the reason we do this in the first place."

LIVE!Live, The Mayfield Four walk a fine line few bands can master—combining the visceral with the ethereal and delivering a potent package of spleen-splitting bombast and raw-nerve emotion. Touring endlessly for three years, Uddin, Meisner, and Kennedy have worked tirelessly developing their sound while building a loyal following of rabid fans. They''ve added touring guitarist Alessandro Cortini to replace original guitarist Craig Johnson. "Alessandro brings such a refreshing attitude to the band," says Kennedy. "I''ve become pretty attached to the kid."

Kennedy uses a 1202-VLZ PRO to control his in-ear monitor system. "I used to use ‘another brand'' of mixer, but I found the preamps in the Mackie to be much, much cleaner."

The band recently headlined a sold-out benefit concert for the American Red Cross at The Met Theater in Spokane. All proceeds went to help the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. "That was the best hour and a half of my life," recalls Kennedy. "The crowd was so amazing. At certain points in the set we would just stop the song because they were singing so loud." Kennedy adds, "That kind of rekindled my fire. There was a time when we got off the road when I was so burned out from the business and kind of heartbroken. Then we played that show, and I realized that when people do get a chance to hear us, they seem to respond so well. It really seems to work."

 

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