Adam Price, the bass player for Mayflies USA, says there is "an embarrassment of riches" in Chapel Hill, N.C., when it comes to the number of quality rock bands running around the town. If this is true, the pure pop sound of the Mayflies certainly adds a load of musical gold to the vault.
The four-piece outfit's new release "The Pity List" showcases a group full of Big Star shimmer. The CD's 13 cuts rock with smart lyrics and catchy arrangements, and they boast melody and harmony to spare. Price and guitarists Matthew McMichaels and Matthew Long write the tunes, and the sound recalls not only Alex Chilton's and Chris Bell's glory days, but there's a nod to the Beatles and Badfinger as well. Price says the Chris Stamey-produced project still doesn't capture the band's live and loud sound as much as he'd like, but it's a "good compromise record." Price, McMichaels, Long and drummer David Liesegang bring their pop 'n' rock to town for a show at Alley Katz Sunday, Oct. 15.
Preparing for the current month-long run that takes the band from Florida to the Northeast and west to Nashville, Price, 24, says the band has taken its musical party to "all these different, weird places" with a vengeance since its formation in late 1996. Venturing from little Southern towns to New York, the band has built a reputation as a good time that doesn't always wait to happen. Price adds that in a time when bands don't cut the party spirit loose as heartily as rockers in the past, his band is not reluctant to be a "throwback." But at the same time, Price laughs about the band's approach to excess on this tour. "We're going to try and rein it in a bit this time," he says.
Rein it in or not, Price says the group is glad to push the van down the road wherever it leads for now. They'd all played in bands before, but this is the first time any of them has been in a group that's created this much of a buzz. In addition to the recent release and its live shows, the group has a previous CD, "Summertown," to its credit as well as a cut on a compilation of new Southeast pop music. There's also a song on a tribute recording to former Byrd Gene Clark.
Price says he and the others aren't sure about the future. For right now, they'll stick to touring, keeping an eye on the CD's popularity and "playing it as it lays." As the singer in the group's "Ballad of a Bailing Man" proclaims over swirling guitars: You "gotta get it young/get it while you can."
"I just want to keep going at this point," Price says of the immediate future and prospects of wider touring. "A bad night out of town is better than a bad night in town."
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