Posted on Leave a comment

Bob Mayo 2/2004

Bobby_MayoFeb 23, 2004 – Bob “Bobby” Mayo (Peter Frampton) was born on August 25, 1951 in New York City, and grew up in Westchester County. He began studying music at the age of five, focusing on classical piano. During the 1960s, Mayo’s interest in music grew due to the rock explosion. His first band was Ramble and the Descendants, where he played organ and sang. Mayo played with several other local bands and had plans to attend Juilliard School in New York City. His career took a detour when he suffered injuries in a serious car accident at the age of seventeen, but Bob was determined and he was able to move on.

In 1971, Mayo formed Doc Holliday with Frank Carillo, Tom Arlotta, and Bob Liggio. He then joined Rat Race Choir (73-74) one of the Tri-State area’s best bands, playing guitar. He then left RRC, was replaced with Mark Hitt and teamed up with Peter Frampton and joined his touring band. Because of this, he appeared on Peter Frampton’s album Frampton Comes Alive!. It was on this recording that Peter Frampton introduced Mayo with the words “Bob Mayo on the keyboards… Bob Mayo,” which has since become something of a legend among Peter Frampton fans. Mayo also appeared on the Peter Frampton albums I’m in You and Where I Should Be.

In 1980, Mayo left Peter Frampton’s band to focus on recording. During this time, he recorded with Joe Walsh and Joe Vitale. Later he joined the touring band for Foreigner and played keyboards on “Waiting for a Girl Like You” and “Break It Up”. He spent the next two years touring with Foreigner, and also toured with Dan Fogelberg and Hall & Oates in the late 1980s. He continued to tour with Hall & Oates until 1998.

In 1981, Mayo was asked by Joey Kramer of Aerosmith to play keyboards in his band Renegade fronted by vocalist Marge Raymond. In 1983, Mayo played keyboards live with Aerosmith. Also in 1983, Mayo played in Robert Plant’s touring band for The Principle of Moments world tour. The 2007 Rhino re-issue of the The Principle of Moments contains three live tracks from that tour.

In 1992, Mayo returned to work with Peter Frampton. The resulting tour turned into the recording of the album Frampton Comes Alive! II. He also appeared on the Live in Detroit CD & DVD as well as Peter Frampton’s 2003 recording Now.

On February 23, 2004, Mayo was touring with Peter Frampton in Basel, Switzerland, when he had a heart attack and died at age 52. Frampton said regarding him, “Bob was like a brother to me. I have lost a close personal friend and a talented professional and outstanding musician.”

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.

The 1960’s

And then came 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”.

The 90’s

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.


Leave a Reply