"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."
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
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."
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
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."