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Marco Mendoza interview 

Marco Mendoza
Submitted by Arie van der Graaf on 2018-04-06
Marco Mendoza is very well respected as a musician and currently bass player with The Dead Daisies, who will release their new album Burn It Down on April 6, 2018.

Next to The Dead Daisies, Mendoza has also recently released his fantastic new solo album Viva La Rock.

Melodic asked Mendoza about both albums and about his longtime career as a bass player for some of the biggest names in rock such as Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake and Ted Nugent.

Hi Marco, how are you doing today?

Doing Great Thanx !!

 

At what age did you start playing Bass and can you tell us something about your first bass guitar?

i think i was 15 or so  I started Playing bass after Playing Guitar  for a while , one of the Local bands that were pretty well known , had lost their Bass Player and approached me to maybe audition , they needed somebody that could sing as well , so i Learned the 5 songs and got the Gig , my first Bass was a Bass that my father and i got at a Local Pawn shop for 8 dlls or so …. no Brand 

 

Can you tell us something about your roots musically. Who did you listen to when you were young?

i grew up in a very Musical environment , My Grandmother was a Piano teacher and Mom was a Pro Singer with a career  as a singer , My father played Clarinet etc , so i heard anything from Musicals to Big Band to Classical music , But the first  album my dad got for my brother and me was ABBEY ROAD  and that was it !!!!

 

If i am correct you started your journey as a professional  musician was on former Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward's solo album “Along the Way”. Do you recall how you got that job? 

well i like to say thats when i started because that was the beginning of my sobriety, but i had been working as a pro Musician for quite a few years before that .

 I met Bill ward at a 12 step meeting , we were getting sober and that was the connection ……

One time after the end of a meeting he approached me and said he was working on a Solo album of his and wanted to see if i would be interested in coming into the studio to record , and of course i said yes !!!!!

 

You were part of Alias and afterwards Blue Murder as well. Then one day you were asked to join a reformed version of Thin Lizzy , in fact you joined them quite a few times in different formations.

What was it like to be part of this band and fill Lynott's empty bass spot?

it was quite a Ride to say the least . to be able to play those songs and catalog was amazing !!! 22 years or so up until 2014-15 or something like that ?

you could never fill Those shoes but i did do my Homework on Phils Bass Playing style and approached and learned so much in the process ………

 

Looking back in time your resume is quite impressive with also Whitesnake and Ted Nugent included.

You must be very proud of yourself having achieved this all.

What can you tell us about working with Coverdale and Nugent? 

Definitely Highlights in My Career …… learning  so much and getting inspired by them , and at the same time getting some insights on their careers  , And the endless amounts of stories that would be considered  part of Rock & roll  History these days …… an overview of what it used to be like back in the day !!!

 

Can you tell us something about the gear you used back then? 

Mostly Fender Basses , later on Rickenbacker Gibson , Fernandes ,Peavey and Yamaha  and many other Bases after that Now i Have a Signature E S P  bass the MM4  and really happy with it , Amps started with Fender , went on to Acoustic , and Sun Amps, Trace Elliot , Peavey and AMPEG ……  and thats what i play NOW

 

Recently you released your third solo album Viva La Rock, which you recorded in Denmark with the talented guitar player and producer Sören Andersen, who also produced the last Glenn Hughes solo album and albums with ex White Lion singer Mike Tramp.

What made you ask him if he would produce and play guitar on Viva La Rock? 

i met Soren and hired him to play in My solo band a few years back , and we just hit it off so well that for quite a while we spoke about Getting in the studio etc.  and  finally our schedules lined up and there you go.

 

The song “Rocketman” is about the Danish inventor who apparently killed a reporter in his self made submarine in Copenhagen. How did you come up with the idea to make a song about this? 

well we were in the writing process in the studio, and the word everyone was talking about on All T V channels was about this Scientist that was under suspicion, and investigation for the disappearance of this Journalist from Sweden ….. and i just started with The lyrics and the Melody , and then Soren Jumped in …….

i do want to say that life is full of mysteries and inspiration can come from different directions , sometimes it comes from the darkest places ……. and its a good way to document things that surround us in LIFE.

the more i Listen to it the more i Like what we did whit that song.

 

Also on this album which to me is a real highlight in 2018 so far, there are two covers.

The first one is Thin Lizzy's “Chinatown”.

On this song there are two guest appearances, first Guns n Roses guitar player Richard Fortus, who does a fine job by the way, but also this is a duet with ex White Lion singer Mike Tramp who is from Denmark and known for being a longtime Lizzy fan. 

Can you tell me more about working together with Richard and Mike? 

well , again without having a master plan  ( witch is how i Like the Recordings to go )  Mike stopped by to say hello , and the next day we started on CHINATOWN , and Soren reminded me what a big fan of THIN LIZZY Mike was then we gave him a Call and he said he would dig it and so we did ,I really Love His performance on it !!

Richard and I had been talking about doing something together since our time with THIN LIZZY and THE DEAD DAISIES  , so i also gave him a call to let him know i was in the studio working on my next Solo Album and so i asked and  he said  yes ………  and  thats how it works sometimes , Spontaneous and last minute things sometimes get good results.

 I THANK YOU MIKE and THANK YOU RICHARD  !!

 

The second cover is Ted Nugent's “Hey Baby”, why did you choose this particular Nugent song?

this is a Song that i Sang on Stage and recorded on a Live album with TED  and later on Became part of my set when i would do my own shows here and there , so i really enjoyed singing it and being a big fan of  TED’s and the DEREK ST  HOLMES ( the original singer ) i wanted to tip my hat and pay tribute to them ……..  THE BEST of CLASSIC ROCK  in my opinion ……..

 

How do you compare Viva La Rock to your previous solo releases?

I think the writing has become better and stronger , the whole experience was such a blast and creative  that you can hear it in the songs , Im really appreciating the whole process more and more , VIVA LA ROCK  is definitely a More Focused Collection of songs and it Documents were I’m at Musically today , Cant wait when the time comes to get in the studio Again !!!

 

What is your favorite song on Viva La Rock and why? 

top 3  ?  VIVA LA ROCK (  because it was the first song we wrote )  and its  a BLASST !!  SWEETEST EMOTIONS  , SUE IS ON THE RUN , LOVE 2 U , ROCKET MAN , LEAH ……  and LET IT FLOW ……..  Oh wow !!  i guess they are all My Favorites !!  SORRY !

 

Talking about busy times, you must also be very exited about releasing “Burn It Down” which is set on April 6 with The Dead Daisies .

Having listened to the album i have to say it sounds rawer and heavier compared to previous Daisies releases.

Was this something planned or did this just happen naturally while writing and jamming? 

I remember talking About it in New York while we were Writing , how it would be cool to lean a bit Heavier album etc ….  but One day we came in and i  had a Riff  with a Pedal that was introduced to me and then Marty Said  YES !!  lets go with that and Doug and John Just Took it to the next level , thats how it is sometimes you just need a spark , and the Direction can change just like that , and it Did , BURN IT DOWN  Is Just on FIRE !!!  we are very Proud of it !

 

On Burn It Down The Daisies worked with Marty Frederiksen as producer (Aerosmith / Loving Mary Band).

He is known for creating great stadium rock anthems.

I've heard he likes to have full control in making decisions.

How is it like working with him and did the band have any decisive input in how it should sound? 

this would be the second time working with Marty and he’s  is Great in how he works , Theres a Trust element that needs to be there and there is with Marty , he really lets everybody get their  input in then he gets a Bigger view of the Direction and the sound and he runs with it , He’s  really a Great Player, singer and Musician himself so he Communicates  in a very Clear way , and the Bottom Line he always gets great results and isn’t that whats important at the end of the Day ? I would work with Marty anytime , anywhere  !!

 

The song “Bitch” on Burn It Down is a Rolling Stones cover and has a more powerful approach compared to the original.

Who came up with the idea of covering this Stones song and what can you tell us about the result? 

Its Usually John and we have a bit on input , but since John is the singer i think its important that it comes from him first you know ?  but i can say that we had lots of choices snd ideas , but this one just came out KILLER !!

 

What kind of gear did you use on Viva La Rock and Burn It Down? 

i am Using AMPEG  S V T  CLASSIC and or an S V T PRO 4  Killer Tone , Been a Huge fan of it For YEARS NOW , Used a few Overdrive Pedals but not Much  and My Signature E S P ( L T D )  MM4 and a Vintage Basses …….

 

Can you describe a typical studio recording day with The Dead Daisies? 

The Usual we  get in and first things first we wait around for the Drums to be Miked  , then we  plug in and get Our Headphone levels together ,make sure we can all Hear each other, then we start talking the song  and arrangement down get a few passes in and then we Record Live , we try to get as much Live recording that we can , then we listen back , and do it again if needed or move on to the next song , Reload and do it again and again …….  Until Marty tells its good …..  after a few hours take a break and repeat sometimes until very late …..

 

Which song on Burn It Down are you most looking forward to to preform live on stage? 

RESURRECTED , BURN IT DOWN  and RISE UP  they are JUST MONSTERS LIVE  !! 

 

Are there any other projects besides your solo career and The Dead Daisies you are currently working on? 

Im always getting invited to participate here and there ,im very Lucky , Most recently i Got a call from My friend NEAL SCHON  to Participate on this One off show in San Francisco to raise funds  for The Fire Victims with GREGG ROLLIE , DEAN CASTRONOVO ……  and it  JOURNEY INTO THE FUTURE , revisiting  the CATALOG from  early  JOURNEY   into the resent ones and a few from SANTANA  and so the response was so good that he is talking about maybe doing some more shows next year , schedule allowing …..  also  at the end of last year i recorded a full album for  this Great Guitar Player from Japan NOZOMU WAKAI  with RONNIE ROMERO  on Vocals and TOMMY ALDRIGE  on Drums ,Its GREAT  !!  is Called DESTINIA that album is scheduled to come out at the end of May ,or something like that ……..  

How would you describe your Daisies bandmates? Are there any unique or even strange habits your band members have? 

Nothing really we are pretty Normal , we are all a bit relaxed now and pretty together , we are all Married and some of us are Parents  with Little ones at Hoe  and so having been in the bis for quite a while i Think we have Mellowed out and we are all more focused but relaxed at the same time , we just all LOve MUSIC !!!

 

How important are lyrics for you, and do you wish to give life lessons thru your lyrics? 

sometimes its important the Content in the story that is told , but bat the same time sometimes you just want to have fun and CELEBRATE what ever it is that you feeling at that MOMENT you know ?

 

Can you tell us the funniest or strangest thing that ever happened to you or a band member while performing on stage? 

so many things can go wrong sometimes everything goes wrong , for me Splitting if my pants on stage exposing the Family jewels  , to Trowing my bass up in the air  so high that i cant see it coming down and getting cracked in the head etc …..

 

So what is next, touring the world? 

YEP !!  we will be In EUROPE , JAPAN ,  the U S , SOUTH AMERICA , MEXICO  and then BACK to EUROPE  …..  i will also be doing some dates  for my VIVA LA ROCK  album in MAY and JUNE in EUROPE

 

I always end an interview with this question:

Is there any music related question that was never asked during an interview before which you are still waiting for to be asked?

Now is your chance to share this. Share the question and your answer. 

The Question would be How Important is Sobriety to you?

and the Answer would be  its EVERYTHING  !!  i wouldn’t have the life and or the Career i have if i wasn’t sober !!

 

Thanks Marco for your time and this interview!!!

Good luck with both your solo album “Viva La rock” and with The Dead Daisies release “Burn It Down”.

Peace..!

 THANK YOU !!!


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