It is not even past noon and yet the hot sun is already torturing the hundreds of cars parked outside of the Warped Tour gates in Denver. The seemingly endless line is just about inside which means only one thing for the Tallahassee, Florida based quintet known as Mayday Parade: about ten hours of absolutely nothing to do but wait. They already spent the last few hours walking up and down the line of kids at the entrance making new friends, and more importantly new fans. When the show finally ends later that evening the boys will once again strap on their book bags full of cds and talk to anyone and everyone they can find. "The hardest part was the waiting. Most of the time our van would be blocked in and there was nowhere to go," says guitarist Brooks Betts. "It was too hot to sleep and except for a couple of times, we couldn't even get into the show." Their patience was certainly rewarded. By the conclusion of the 2006 Vans Warped Tour Mayday Parade made 10,000 new fans without playing a single show.
The band formed in the winter of 2005 when two local Tallahassee bands, Defining Moment and Kid Named Chicago, decided to merge. The still unnamed collection of Derek Sanders, Alex Garcia, Jake Bundrick, Jeremy Lenzo, and Brooks Betts entered the studio with producer Lee Dyess and took under a week to finish their debut EP, "Tales Told by Dead Friends." While in the studio the band settled on the name Mayday Parade. As a band they would spend a lot of time climbing onto the rooftops in Tallahassee, especially when the winter parade was going on downtown. Alex, who was a fan of the word Mayday, made the suggestion that they name the band Mayday Parade in an effort to remember their time spent watching the hometown parades together from the rooftops. Everyone loved the idea and the name stuck.
It became clear that more touring was on the horizon for Mayday Parade after finishing the EP and selling over 10,000 copies while following the 2006 Vans Warped Tour. "Following Warped taught us so much about touring," says singer Derek Sanders, "and now we are traveling to places we have never even played and there are kids singing songs that we wrote. It’s a pretty great feeling." In September 2006, Mayday Parade embarked on their first full U.S. tour with Brandston and Melee, followed by a second U.S. tour with Plain White T's. This summer they will be co-headlining with Bedlight For Blue Eyes and appearing at the 2007 Vans Warped Tour; this time on stage.
Their hard work and dedication was finally rewarded in the fall of 2006 when Mayday Parade signed with California based Fearless Records. "The dream had finally come true," remembers Brooks. "It was like reaching the final step at the top of a very long set of stairs. And Fearless believed in us and admired what we had accomplished on our own."
Now at the point of selling over 20,000 copies of the EP, Mayday was ready to get back into the studio. In January and February of 2007 the band entered the studio with producers Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount (Cartel, All Time Low) and the tracks were mixed by Mark Needham (My Chemical Romance, The Academy Is). The new record, entitled "A Lesson in Romantics," showcases the bands maturity and growth. The songs are much deeper and more powerful than those on the EP but still have that irresistible catchiness that made thousands of people fall in love with the band to begin with. Look for the record on its release date July 10, 2007 and also keep an eye out for some of their songs on the new Hot Topic / MySpace sampler and Punk Goes Acoustic 2.
When meeting Mayday Parade for the first time there is one undeniable truth: the band does everything for each other. "My favorite part of being in Mayday Parade is the people I'm playing music with," says bassist Jeremy Lenzo. “The dedication is always there.” The boys are always having fun, never taking anything too seriously and this positive energy shines in their live show. One finds it nearly impossible not to smile while watching Mayday Parade perform their always flawless set.
Mayday Parade will not leave your stereo. Once the honesty of their lyrics and the power of their music enters your head, not only will it be stuck there for days, but you will find yourself making strides to keep it there intentionally.
"It was Brooks' birthday the night that we flipped our brand new trailer heading from Wisconsin to Minnesota," remembers drummer Jake Bundrick. "The girl who was driving for us almost a hit a deer and lost control. All I remember is looking out the window and seeing the trailer next to the van instead of behind it. Our cds were all over the highway...but that didn't stop us." If countless hours in the boiling sun, sleeping in the van, overnight drives, and five day camping stints on the side of the highway could not stop them, it seems pretty easy to see why the deer had no better luck.
Let Mayday Parade’s hard work and dedication ring true in an industry where so many bands expect to have everything handed to them.