Mayday Album Bio

Record company promotion for Mark Seymour’s superb new album, Mayday.

Author:  Mushroom Promotions, Liberation Records.

Date: 11 May 2015.

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Album Bio: Mark Seymour & The Undertow – Mayday [Liberation Music] (Out Friday, 29 May 2015).

Please credit label as (Liberation Music)

Home Free
Football Train
Two Dollar Punter
Irish Breakfast
Courtroom 32
Carry Me Home
Thirsty Old Men
Lucky Land
Red Flags

“I got an empty feeling … what’ve we become?” – ‘Red Flags’

The concept of home is an interesting one for a man who has spent a good portion of his adult life in a tour van, playing his songs in dark rooms with sticky carpets.

But as T.S. Eliot wrote, “Home is where one starts from”, and Mark Seymour’s ninth solo album and third with The Undertow, addresses all notions of home, from the rehearsal room to the detention centre and the pub.

Few songwriters dare to define the difficult times in which we live. But Mark Seymour is not afraid to write of an Australia filled with “celebrities and sycophants”, where he hears “the shock jocks screamin’” and it’s “one rule for the filthy rich, another one for the weak”.

For Mark, it’s simple: As he sings in ‘Asylum’, “You gotta make a stand.”

These are Australian stories. Mark sings of the ‘Two Dollar Punter’ who “shook the hand of the smuggler” for the hope of a better life. In ‘FIFO’, he documents the life of a WA miner who has spent 17 years as a fly-in, fly-out worker, “halfway between hell and nowhere”. And ‘Football Train’ tells the tragic tale of the boy who might not have a home but does have a footy team.

Mayday is Mark’s first album since Hunters & Collectors’ re-formation, which coincided with the chart-topping tribute album, Crucible, and saw the band perform at the AFL Grand Final and do shows with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and The Rolling Stones. The Hunnas fans loved seeing the old songs again, including the Aussie classics ‘Talking To A Stranger’, ‘Holy Grail’, ‘Say Goodbye’, ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’ and ‘When The River Runs Dry’, and the tour won the 2014 Helpmann Award for Best Australian Contemporary Concert.

Mark doesn’t mind revisiting the past every now and then, but he doesn’t want to live there. He also knows there’s power in the union. With The Undertow, he’s fronting another great band, with producer Cameron McKenzie (ex-Horsehead) on guitar, John Favaro (ex-Badloves) on bass, and Peter Maslen (Boom Crash Opera) on drums. “Music, I think, is about the quality of relationships,” Mark says. “There has to be some sort of fusion of ideas and beliefs. Relationships are really important to me, they are critical to my creative energy. And I put everything into my relationships with other musicians.”

Mayday is a political record. But Mark understands that the political is personal. “Songwriters will tell you, ‘I’m just telling stories, it’s not me …’ But I just think that’s bogus, it’s just a way of hiding. You can fictionalise these experiences, I get that, but you have to have had a reason to go there in the first place.”

These are songs about the heroism of everyday life. “I carry the lantern,” Mark sings in ‘Carry Me Home’. “We look for the truth.”

The longing for home is eternal; the need to feel connected. The search continues.

“A million voices screamin’, but I just keep on dreamin’ Red flags of Mayday in the sun.”

‘Mayday’ is out 29 May 2015 /

Tags: album, Bio, Liberation, Mark Seymour, Mark Seymour & The Undertow