Hovick: Death of a Concert Artist, Danny Mayo

My friend in the concert business Daniel “Danny” Mayo died of a sudden heart attack in his sleep this past weekend. 

I’ve talked to quite a few mutual friends and the surprise of losing Danny, his passion, his art and his sense of humor is a loss to many in the Kansas City entertainment industry.

Danny painted on a big canvas. 

He created stage and lighting designs for private events for many years.  And he had a long list of loyal clients. Charity organizations could count on Danny to light a mountain on a molehill budget. Danny was a welcome sight in every venue hosting an event in Kansas City. 

The set up would be organized and Danny was always there to make the subtle changes and assure the client that the show would be beautiful

Danny hired me as the stage manager for Sandstone in 1985.  He would do the phone work in advance with the artist coming to perform at the then two year-old amphitheatre and it was my job to make sure their show was set up in time for the audience to see them perform. 

Back in the 80’s, loud colored shorts were in style but Danny, with his sense of fashion, added a button down dress shirt to the mix that set him apart from the band of hooligans in silly shorts working for him in those early summers at Sandstone. 

When the show was over, and the last truck was loaded, the shot glasses came out and Danny and I would toss one back and head home.  Only one shot, since two shots of Tequila made Danny smile bigger and stay too late.

Danny was always working.  He had roots in Kansas City, but he left for a few years to be Tour Manager for his Wichita friends, John and Martina McBride.  When Danny tired of the road, he came home and focused on stage and lighting design here. 

Danny took over the Creative Desk at Digital Sound Systems in December 2002.  He would take something that was supposed to stand up straight and set it on it’s side, or he’d take a column and fly it over your head to give things a new, fresh look and dimension.  Why not, Danny would ask as he walked through the shop of Digital Sound Systems tilting his head to look at something in a different perspective. 

There are no rules in design, and Danny created something fantastic and of course unique for each client.

His skill and passion became very well known to Kansas City charity organizations working hard to raise funds. Danny was their design quarterback.  He could scramble and make things happen.  Danny designed many events in the past few years at the Midland by AMC.  He and I designed the lighting system for the new Midland.  Of course, our first Midland lighting system hit a few budget barriers since we wanted all of the toys including the sun, moon and stars. But our final result has enough lights to finesse a private event and we can punch out a kickass rock show. 

Through his art, Danny touched many lives in Kansas City.  And so on Tuesday, March 22 at 6 pm we will do our best to honor and celebrate his life at the Midland by AMC.

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3 Responses to Hovick: Death of a Concert Artist, Danny Mayo

  1. John Altevogt says:

    “Just make sure the pallbearers HOLD THE MAYO!”


  2. smartman says:

    Fade to Black
    Good one Altevogt! Maybe it’s Hell-Mans? Danny probably critiqued the “white light” as he headed toward it. Not to be critical that’s just how he rolled. Always wanted to make things better. Let’s do the guy some justice though. He was an OG in the KC and Midwest production business. His body of work was far more than Sandstone, DSS and Martina McBride. The Cowtown Ballroom and Cowtown Productions, working with Stan Plesser and Mike Waggoner, The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Brewer and Shipley,The Uptown, SECT, XS Lighting, countless one nighters and mini tours as a crew chief, electrician or just a lighting puke. He was the Master of the Liquid Light Show. Danny was good people who took pride in what he did. He made everybody around him better. He could be a prick, but always in a good way. And way back in the day he had long,long beautiful hair that made him look like Jesus. God Bless you Danny. Good Show!

  3. Jim McClellan - Director of Production/AEGLive Events says:

    The patiance of a Saint
    Dan and I go way back. I first started working with him in the 80’s when he was a SECT. I was freelancing for my god friend//mentor Robin Tate and one of the venues I worked was the delightful Cottilion Ballroom in Whicita. The was where I got to know Dan and John McBride was our sound company. Then as often is the case we went our different ways, but production being the small business it is, to my good fortune we reconnected. In the mid to late 90’s I turned a majority of my focus to corporate entertainment production and Dan became one of my favorite partners in crime. He and the DSS crews were always a great group to have on site. Willing, ready and able to take on any task needed for the good of the event. Dan and I throw on mean table linen. The best part of it all is Da “got it” . He was great at sharing my visions. His low key, dry, mellow attitude was a saving grace on many a day. I don’t know what else to say except he will truly-truly be missed. He was a true gentleman.

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