Marco takes some time to sit with NRR during a bass clinic to talk new release, the band’s historic trip to Cuba, solo projects, and what will be next for this charismatic bass-man.
Using ESP Basses and Hartke bass amps, Marco Mendoza will have bass clinics while on tour, as time allows, where he talks shop, touring the world, his influences, the music of The Dead Daisies as well as his own material from 2 albums, previously released, and about his family, whom he loves dearly. He says he enjoys settings such as this, small with maybe 50-100 people and says he could play to them for hours, talk, laugh, and meet everyone one-on-one. He is very open and is a phenomenally talented singer in his own right. He credits being a bass player who can also sing for getting him some of the gigs he’s gotten and encourages anyone planning to play bass in the band scene to explore that, as more doors may open for you. He also adds a bit of humor to it all. This particular bass clinic took place at Z Music Store in Flagler Beach, FL and was a great, intimate setting for Marco.
During the clinic he played songs from his debut solo album, Live for Tomorrow, which he says was written mostly about him becoming and staying sober, which he has been for almost 30 years and credits that for much of his success over the years.
“You make the right choices and it works…” he says, “In the beginning, I lost a lot of gigs because of it; A LOT! (his being sober). People thought ‘there must be something wrong with this guy…no, man, I don’t wanna die. It’s as simple as that. And we’ve lost too many, so many…” His family, as well as his musical projects, has a huge influence over this as he has a wife and 2 little ones at home. He says that can be a balancing act at times but the tour allows for an extended few weeks out on the road and a couple weeks home at a time so it all works out.
In his early years, he would take any and all gigs offered as he also had a family to support at that time and says that it was “…the best schooling I ever had…” as far as helping him grow musically exposing him to many genres of music. To the budding artist, he will say that,
“…Los Angeles is still the ‘Mecca’ of the music industry…still the place to be to make it happen for you.”
Saying to get involved in many different scenes; meet the people you need to and create the foundation on which to grow musically.
Sitting down after the clinic for a little one-on-one, we got into some more areas of what he’s doing now and what’s to come for him as well as the dynamic Dead Daisies.
Karen Romano Adams: Thank you so much for taking the time out of your schedule to sit with National Rock Review as your band, The Dead Daisies, crisscross the state of Florida for a few days. Given the current lineup of the band; yourself, John Corabi, Dizzy Reed, Richard Fortus, Brian Tichy, and David Lowy, who all come from some of the biggest bands out there including Motley Crue, Guns N Roses, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne, to name a few…. what can you tell the new fans out there about the band?
Marco Mendoza: Just to take the time to check the music out. It’s extraordinary and it’s very special in the fact that we all got together to re-create the wheel, if you will, all of our influences came from the 70’s & 80’s and during the writing process we’d say ‘let’s sing about Deep Purple, lets sing about Grand Funk Railroad and Zeppelin’ and I think what we managed to do was kinda capture that spirit, that moment in time in history because of… the players… we have such talent in the band, everyone brings something great… and it’s FUN. I will say the music is great, it’s insanely great but you will see that we are having fun and it’s contagious!
Karen Romano Adams: Which brings me to the fun side of the band. We notice on the website, video after video and galleries of photos showing almost everything that band is doing on tour. Is that a conscious effort to keep the fans informed?
Marco Mendoza: We are all at a point where we want to enjoy and have fun and it shows, hopefully it’ll get noticed. We are really blown away by the response all over the planet… like wow! It’s because we are having fun. That’s all it is, bottom line.
Karen Romano Adams: Speaking of touring all over the world. The trip to Cuba; I watched Revolucion-The Documentary, which was the first documentary to ever premier on Twitter… it looks like you took the place by storm and had a great time. How was all of that and what do you think it means to the musical world for bands to be able to tour there now? (they also visited a children’s music school while there).
Marco Mendoza: I honestly think the world is gonna benefit from the talent there because judging what I saw at the school and the passion they have for it (the music), and working with some of the Cuban artists back in the day, they have something very special that they are going to bring to the table. The fire, the passion… they are going to be very ‘hungry’ and very focused, and the kids, they’re ready. When we walked in, there was a quartet playing and these kids are 10 and 12 at the most. They played a Metallica thing; it was… wow… surreal. I think we took it for granted because we’ve been in this business for so long, didn’t realize the importance of it… we said wow, did that really just happen? We were covered in some pretty insane magazines and you think, yeah, this (trip) meant something… this is something to talk about. I’m so happy it got documented. Kudos and credit to the video production co, a lot of work goes into this, the social media cats… they know what a band like this needs… do all of that and do an awesome job; we just go and play, and all the work that goes into that is like…wow… kudos to them. These guys document everything we do.
Karen Romano Adams: The music from your solo album, Live for Tomorrow, which you played a few from for us today.
: Yes I have 2 albums out, Live for Tomorrow
and Casa Mendoza
. Live for Tomorrow
has been out about 6 or 7 years and Casa
about 3. Casa
is a fusion of Latin, jazz, soul, funk, rock… it’s eclectic because it’s what I wanted to do at the time and no one told me not to so I did. The label said they wanted me to be myself so I did.
Karen Romano Adams: That second song you played was my favorite of the clinic because it WAS so funky – I listen to everything from Celtic to Metallica… etc.
Marco Mendoza: And that second song was called “Lettin’ Go.” So you liked the music of Thin Lizzy then?
Karen Romano Adams: Oh yeah, very much so!
Marco Mendoza: I love that music, with a passion.
Karen Romano Adams: Being that you were IN Whitesnake for so many years and are now touring WITH them in your own project; any thoughts or feeling about that?
Marco Mendoza: Any feelings…? Well, I’ll tell you, initially when we decided to part ways, it was fine, it was amicable with both parties, I just wanted to experience other things that were being offered to me and Whitesnake was taking a hiatus; taking a break…..and at the time, David wanted everyone to be exclusive to the Whitesnake camp and I can be a little impetuous and… *ssshhhhesh*
Karen Romano Adams: Like “what’s next!”
Marco Mendoza: YES! When it comes to the creative thing and the artistic thing… you know, I can’t sit still I need to be… so Neal Schon called me and wanted me to do this Soul SirkUS band and when he brought to the table that it’ll be a full partnership, you can do this, you can sing, you can co-write, you can (etc). I said OK! I’m gonna be off for the next year to year and a half. So long story short, it became obvious to me that I’m compromising the gig with Whitesnake and David Coverdale, but I think it’s time for me to take that step, so yeah! They got a replacement. And do I miss it, that was my point… oh WOW… yeah I miss it, being close to David… I think he is a quintessential rock and roll singer of all time and what and artist. I was gonna miss Doug, Tommy, Reb, and Timothy, all of a sudden my family is gone… then I saw Uriah there, well they’re moving on. It’s ok… I worked with Soul Circus, then Thin Lizzy, and again with Ted Nugent so it got really busy. So my point is, no regrets because there’s been so much music and so many projects that happened since then, that had I stayed I would have missed, missed this beautiful journey. It’s how life is, you make decisions and sometimes you make… you want to make the right decision. I did 2 solo albums, I did 2 albums with Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries, Soul SirkUS, 2 albums with Neal Schon, some on Lynch Mob, Ted Nugent, John Sykes.
Karen Romano Adams: On that same subject, anyone that you are wanting to tour/jam/create with that you haven’t, and who knows, they may read this and reach out, never know (laugh).
Marco Mendoza: Yeah,well the first ones to come to mind are Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. I’d LOVE to do that gig! John Paul Jones is there…I would run to do that. When Neal Schon calls, I’m there. He’s a gentleman, he’s a friend; everything I do with him creatively is exciting, bass… it’s off the wall artistic and I DIG IT! When I’m recording, hanging out with him, I always walk away, yes… YES! And Dolores, when she calls, but that I haven’t done (jammed with), The WHO…if Pino Palladino…. Wow I would LOVE to play those slots….you know what? You never say “never.” I have been surprised so many times at the people that would call me and just maybe ‘To the moon, Alice,’ to the moon.
Karen Romano Adams: Hey, they recognize talent, ya know?
MM – Thank you.
Karen Romano Adams: So during the clinic, you mentioned you will be touring with your own band.
Marco Mendoza: In Europe. I’ll be revisiting some of the stuff I’ve recorded in the past. It’s got a little bit of a history of where I’ve been, I’ve been so privileged to be so blessed in recording with Ted Nugent, Neal Schon, and so on and so forth; I’m gonna talk about the journey and make it fun. That would be in Europe starting in Germany, Poland, Austria, and then I fly back to Sydney to start the Kiss tour with The Dead Daisies.
Karen Romano Adams: Yea, with all of that coming up, and the Kiss Kruise again, and Whitesnake again, and your solo stuff.of all of that, and it’s all probably on the same level, I know, but what are you looking forward to most?
Marco Mendoza: I always look forward to… I mean The Dead Daisies, we have so much fun and they are a favorite, that’s a favorite right there, right now. But my solo thing, it’s just a different level; I do smaller clubs and all that. But challenging myself, I’m gonna be singing my own songs, I’m playing my songs, I pick and choose that players I want… yea, so every time I have a run with my solo stuff, I walk away being reminded why I started playing music. Because by no means is it at the level of The Dead Daisies is, or Whitesnake, or Nugent or whatever… but the satisfaction I get, I walk away fulfilled.
Karen Romano Adams: How about your new release, Revolucion, do you have a favorite cut from that?
Marco Mendoza: Oh wow! “And You and I,” it came out the last few days of recording. John came up with some brilliant lyrics, but we all throw stuff in. This album was done by everyone collectively, but the lyrics are really relevant to what’s going on today. Everywhere we look it’s so negative. I don’t watch the news anymore. I tell my wife, my family, my kids, I tell them not to go there, its all….even the social media. Who wants to see (these things) on your tv, please, please! I just don’t need to see it constantly. So, yeah, “And You and I” is such a great song that touches on that topic. It has to start with “you,” “we” make a difference, look at the mess. I love “Mexico,” I know it’s the single, and I love it for a lot of reasons. I’m from Mexico, I grew up down there and I love the way the song was written. Again, we were talking, like you and I are talking, “isn’t it sad… cause a lot of us used to go down there…. Isn’t it sad that this beautiful paradise, you can’t go down there, and go party and have a hang because it’s dangerous…” My wife, she doesn’t want to go, she says she’s gonna be afraid, gonna be looking after the kids. And she’s right. So Jon Stevens, Dizzy, and I were talking about this, the music was done, ‘…wow…wouldn’t that make a cool song?’
Karen Romano Adams: I heard the song played a couple of times yesterday on a local rock station and recognized it immediately after only hearing it twice on the website.
Marco Mendoza: That’s what I’m sayin’, it’s a good song, it’s a good hook, and it’s simple. It also talks about, you know I love my country, I embrace it, I respect it, and I’ll fight for it but things have gotten a lil’ shitty and all the Hell we’ve gone through in southern California, and, well don’t get me started (laughs)! But you work your whole life, man, to get to a certain place, you know, so you can retire and have some future and it’s taken away from you… like WOW, ok.
Karen Romano Adams: I know we are pressed for time but let’s have ONE more question…..I know someone recently asked you how you wanted to be remembered and you said “as a good person, period” but I’d like to know…
Marco Mendoza: Ok (waves a hand like putting a name in lights). “Here lies Marco Mendoza, a musician who made a difference, father, husband, person.” Just to make a difference, a difference for the best. That kinda covers the whole thing.
Karen Romano Adams:I think so, but in your musical career that you’ve had so far, and you’re gone say sooner than later, you’re happy with what you have made musically.
Marco Mendoza: I am so, I don’t know if you get that from me, but I’m so overwhelmed, if that’s the word, of my journey so far. Even when I’m doing the clinic and I start talkin’ about… I catch myself, and think ‘is that ME talking?’ ‘Did you do that?’ You don’t have a crystal ball when you’re 13 or 14 thinkin’… then you know this cat and you end up getting a call from them “Hey Marco, we want you to be a part of this?” And you think/say “Get outta here!” It’s mind blowing. So many situations happened like thart. Once I got sober and I got my life together. It’s almost like those first early years in the music biz barely existing. Doin’ gigs and makin’ the big bucks and finally get sober and things start flying. They want someone who is, responsible, to be creative, deliver what needs to be delivered, and have FUN. I like to crack up, I like to make people laugh.
Karen Romano Adams: You must be easy to work with, I know there are so many that are hard to work with. You walk in the room and see who it is you are to work with and… (grimace). But you must be a great person to work with… easy going… etc
Marco Mendoza: You feel the vibe. I try to make ‘light’ of any situation. Sure, yeah, there’s a business side to it, there’s a creative process, there’re egos, and you figure it out. So, at the end of it, that’s why being in a band is so important, I can’t stress, enough. When everyone puts their input in, there will be benefits from the writing, etc. We’re all gonna go on the road, we’re a family. What’s this ‘two guys get all the writing and so on? 9 out of 10 times when bands have trouble, that’s the issue right there. I want to participate in my own future. We are all here (in the band) flyin’ the flag. We should all benefit accordingly, and evenly. Try to explain that to a few cats I know. But if you want me to get in the trenches with you, go on the road, be away from my family, and sweat, and bleed, cry, and everything you go through, then there are so many out there who don’t get it. I’ve walked away from projects because of that.
Karen Romano Adams: Well we look forward to more from The Dead Daisies and to the concert with Whitesnake tomorrow night.
Marco Mendoza: Great, cool! We’ll see you there!
In closing and just for the written part of the interview I will say to him, “You know what blesses us/me, Marco? Getting to meet truly amazing, talented, and down to Earth people such as you!”
Be sure to catch this awesome band, The Dead Daisies, on tour this year in a city near you as well as Marco out solo with his own band, The Marco Mendoza Band, later this year.
Interview and photos by Karen Romano Adams
The Dead Daisies
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Marco Mendoza Official Website
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Z Music Store
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