BOB MAYO’s (1951-2004) (Obituary) work was known and loved the world over for taste, style and presence as a professional keyboardist, guitarist, vocalist, producer, and songwriter with international acts including: Foreigner, Hall & Oates, The Average White Band, Ian Hunter, Robert Plant, Joe Walsh and Peter Frampton. Click HERE for Bob’s WikiPedia Page.
The following BIO was written by Bob in January 2003 about a year before his untimely passing.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….
Bob began studying classical piano at age 5 in New York, where he was born in ‘51. Various teachers in the Bronx and Brooklyn throughout the 50’s and early 60’s gave him a broad sampling of composers, and the formal classical recitals and competitions encouraged him to pursue a musical career.
The world of pop music was really exploding in New York during this time via some wonderfully varied AM radio; the singing groups, the instrumentalists, pop, rock, R&B, country; everyone from Elvis, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Ray Charles, Bobby Darin, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Smokey and the early Motown sounds, the Beach Boys, Phil Spector, The Righteous Brothers blasting out of a tiny speaker in a suburban bedroom, introducing a much wider world of musical expression, sparking the imagination of a new generation of musicians and fans.
And then the Ed Sullivan Show and the noise that shook the world…..
Suddenly everyone was in a band, and Bob was no exception. The early ones: Kingbees, Dark Side, Orphans, Gas House Kids, Sweet Release, Ramble and The Decendants, with Bob on organ and vocals, worked the clubs, schools and community centers throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, playing the best of the British and American groups, writing and recording original music whenever and wherever possible.
A serious auto accident during the summer of ‘68 sidelined Bob for a while, but provided the time for him to pick up the guitar and begin another chapter in his development.
The 70’s ….
A chance meeting in ‘71, and Doc Holliday was formed, with Frank Carillo, a singer-songwriter from Long Island, bassist Tom Arlotta and drummer Bob Liggio. A contract with Metromedia Records took the band to London and legendary Olympic Studios to record an album engineered and produced by Chris Kimsey, who was also working with Peter Frampton and the Rolling Stones at the time.
“That trip was magical in every way; Led Zeppelin tracking in Studio A, the Stones mixing down the hall, and we’re sweating out our record in Studio B.
Twenty hours a day for three weeks for recording and mixing; that was all our budget would allow, so we made the most of it. The label folded soon after we returned to the states, but we had our album.”
Back in New York, Bob joined Rat Race Choir for several years, performing throughout the Northeast while completing college in New York.
Another chance meeting occurred in December ‘74, this time with Peter Frampton, and Bob joined Peter’s band, beginning an 11 month tour of the US and Canada in January ‘75, recording the shows which resulted in “Frampton Comes Alive”. “Quite a few of those songs were written on piano, so I was able to really dig into those in performance, while supporting Peter on electric and acoustic guitar and vocals. It was a great band, often taking the studio versions of the songs to new places.”
What followed was five years of exhalation and exhaustion; non-stop touring and recording.” ‘The best of times, the worst of times’ is an accurate description of that period; the albums “I’m In You” and “Where I Should Be”, all the great shows, the wonderful audiences, the thrill of breaking attendance records at stadiums and concert halls throughout the world, the record-breaking sales figures for the album. It was quite overwhelming.”
In 1980 Bob took a break from touring and spent time in the studio, recording with Joe Walsh and Joe Vitale for their solo projects, with some badly needed r&r time with family and friends in NY. In December, a call to a recording session with Foreigner at Electric Lady Studios resulted in keyboard credits on “Waiting For A Girl Like You” and “Break It Up” for the album Foreigner 4.
1981 and ‘82 were touring years with Foreigner, supporting “4”. Tours with Aerosmith and Robert Plant came in ‘83 and ‘84, followed by another two years with Foreigner supporting “Records” and “Agent Provocateur”, and one with Dan Fogelberg in ‘87 supporting his album “Exiles.” In the spring of 88’, Bob hooked up with old friends Mark Rivera and Tom T-Bone Wolk, performing with Daryl Hall and John Oates supporting their album “Ooh Yeah”.
Several world tours and albums with Darryl Hall and John Oates followed, including “Change Of Season” in ‘91 and Daryl’s solo efforts, “Soul Alone” in ‘93-’94, and “Can’t Stop Dreaming” in ‘98.
Bob re-teamed with Peter in ‘92 for what was originally to be and 8 week tour, which turned into 7 months, and a renewed personal and professional relationship that continues to challenge and reward. ‘”Frampton Comes Alive 2” was recorded and released in ‘95, with the DVD and CD “Live In Detroit” following in ‘99. An new studio album is expected in the spring of 2003.
Bob was also a member of The Renovators, a NY based group with 4 CD’s of original material recorded and released since ‘97. The latest, “Blues Country”, contains some of his best songwriting to date.
A participant at both Rock And Roll Fantasy Camps in Florida in ‘94 and California in ’02, Bob continues to share his love for the music and gratitude for the wonderful opportunities that constantly renew his faith in friendship, in work and the future.
Peter Frampton said after his death: “Bob was like a brother to me. I have lost a close personal friend and a talented, professional and outstanding musician.”