I managed to brighten up a miserable Sunday winter morning in England by chatting to the coolest of bass legends Marco Mendoza while he was on the road thousands of miles away. The Dead Daisies bassist is currently bringing his solo tour to Europe and I caught up with him as he travelled a scenic route from Italy to Austria.
MARCO: Tim! How are you brother?
TIM: Hey Marco, you alright?
MARCO: I’m good!
TIM: So whereabouts are you at the moment?
MARCO: We are actually in the Northern part of Italy, we played Treviso and we are on our way to Velden, Austria. We are actually driving there right now so yeah, having a great time man; it’s a lot of work but I love what I do, you know. To be going through what we go through, I go through; it’s physically testing and testing you on so many levels. I live for the performance, I live for the show time, playing music and sharing your experience, strength and hope with the audience and the people you hang out with; I’m driven to that more and more and I love it, I absolutely love it.
The weather is perfect! Couldn’t be better. There’s not a cloud in the sky, clear blue, a little bit of a haze but it’s nice. I was a little concerned coming out here from L.A, I got here last Wednesday and it was very, very cold when I left and we got snowed in, in Munich, so a lot of delays, the flights were all delayed all over the place. We were late going out, late connecting in Munich and were late arriving in Rome… but it’s all good man! No complaints.
TIM: Sounds Good! Is it cold over there?
MARCO: It’s not hot, it’s not warm, but it is very comfortable.
TIM: So how’s your show been going down with the audience?
MARCO: Amazing. I’ve been coming to Italy for a while. People show up for the gigs and they have a good time, the crowds are growing as well. Every time I come back there are more numbers showing up, there’s more interest, it’s all good man! I’m having a great time. I can’t come to Europe and not play in Italy. You owe it to the fans to show up regardless. The fans don’t know you have to travel far, they don’t know that you’ve been up and haven’t got a lot of sleep. The fans don’t know you travel 8-10 hours to get to the gig, the fans don’t know anything about that, all they know is they show up , they need a good performance and that’s what you try and do.
TIM: Last year when you were in England, with The Dead Daisies you did 3 different festivals in 3 days. You’re used to hard work then!
MARCO: Well actually; if you go back, I remember this vividly because it was a long day, we did 2 festivals in 1 day in England. Ask me how that’s possible, I can tell you we had the benefit of a private jet, so we were flying between cities. So we played the festival and then we’d get on the bus to get to the airport and we’d fly to the next gig and you’d play another festival 3, 4, 5 hours later. So it is do-able.
TIM: Yeah, the fans don’t see that part, they just see you come out and expect that you’ve took some sort of luxurious travel to get there and I don’t think they appreciate that part.
MARCO: Yeah. Exactly. But yeah, it’s all good man, I’m glad to be there whenever possible, as long as I have the energy I'll keep doing it.
TIM: Your tour continues into England in February. What can we expect?
MARCO: Well, I’ve been coming to the UK since 1993/94 with lots of different bands such as, Blue murder, Ted Nugent, Soul SirkUS, Whitesnake, with my solo project and my jazz. I have a long standing history with the fans in the UK. The thing about playing in England, is that it is so important to me, personally, I see it also in the fans, whether we fill the house out or not the fans who still show up are real fans and they’re very supportive and that’s what’s important to me. They show up and I appreciate their support from throughout the years.
There’s a lot of activity, you’re not with The Dead Daisies, getting on the map; it’s really boosting everything up a little, so the interest is there. You can expect a great rock show. I wouldn’t even say rock show, I will even go and extend on that, you could expect a different, daring, bombastic, musical experience. We go beyond rock and roll and other areas- blues, funk; I try to touch on every genre that has influenced me in a special way. That’s what we do. Come out and have a good time. I promise I will do everything in my power for you to have a good time.
TIM: I’m sure I will. I’m sure the fans will as well. Who’s in the band on tour with you?
MARCO: I have Pino Liberti on drums, Fabio Cerone on guitar, my friends from Italy, it couldn’t get any better, we love what we do and it comes from the heart and from the gut. I'm doing the singing.
TIM: Great. We mentioned The Dead Daisies and 2016 was an absolutely amazing year for them. Lots of the media and rock fans were saying ‘the best band of the year’, ‘best album of the year’. How did that feel for you?
MARCO: Well, without sounding callous or unappreciative, I’ve been very lucky Tim, my history and my journey will show I’ve been a part of some pretty amazing bands. I had a case with that before, with Whitesnake, we were getting all the accolades in the world, from all over the planet, and of course working with Thin Lizzy,Ted Nugent and with Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries.
I had this little thing with Soul SirkUS that was amazing with Neal Schon, Jeff Scott Soto and Virgil Donati. It was amazing; the reviews were over the top. All I can say is, you never get tired of it, it’s really nice , always , when you get a pat on the back and they say “Hey you guys are doing great!” because that encourages you to do more to provide the best show possible, to write the best songs possible.
TIM: From all those legendary bands you have played with over the years, do you have a favourite?
MARCO: I always like to say, my favourite is the project that I’m doing today, for a lot of reasons, I won’t get into it, that’s another whole interview, but of course, we’re having a great time with The Dead Daisies. I’m having a blast, those guys are amazing. John Corabi, well you don’t get a better front man, Doug Aldrich is an amazing guitar player, legendary. Brian Tichy, as a bass player, to have a drummer like Brian, one of the top 3, 4 drummers on the planet, to have him on board is mind-blowing. David Lowy, who is the riff master and the founder of the band, he’s a sweetheart and a thunder cat.
We are having a great time; I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we are a little older, little wiser maybe, a little more experienced. I always like to give credit to our manager, because that’s the bottom line.
Our manager David Edwards is amazing, you don’t agree with him 100% of the time but you don’t have to. He’s doing an amazing job. We have a great crew, the folks out there really take care of us, the social media team So having experienced the way not to do things, we’re trying to apply ourselves to do the right thing. We’re having a great time and to get accolades, getting voted the best band of 2016, means a lot to us.
Thank you to the fans out there, thank you to all the polls and mags who voted us in, that’s great. This year promises to be a great year and we have signed up to do the festivals, we’re doing Download, Sweden Rocks, Hellfest, so we’ll be out and about and before we do that we will have a live album that comes out in May ‘Live and louder’.
I’m also working on a solo album here and that should be out by the end of the year .
TIM: Yeah, it sounds like you have a great year coming up. I’m looking forward to seeing you at Download. Everyone gets blown away when they see The Dead Daisies, it’s easy to see. You’re doing a great job.
MARCO: Thank you. You know, I’ve got to say something about Download. I’ve got to share this experience, because 2 years ago, you play Download one year , you can’t play 2 years in a row. So I’ve been there with the headliner band , I’ve been there on the big stage and the evening you have the advantage of the light show and the audio and the big light production that the group put together, and then we get a call late in the year to play Download as The Dead Daisies and we’re like , absolutely........
......then we heard the slot. The slot was 11am on Sunday , you can imagine , we’ve all played the big main stage at one point or another in our careers. After 4 days of rain, mud, partying , hearing some of the best bands you can hear on the planet, and on the Sunday morning when everybody is hung over. It’s 11am and you’re the first band, the stage is stage 4, the smallest one, we said ‘alright, we’re up for the challenge’. We we’re there at 10.30am on stage and I gotta say, you’ve been to Download, these fields are massive right and I counted, maybe a couple hundred people, so it was a trick man, just for a few moments you doubt what’s going on, for 10 minutes you’re like wow. You try to be positive and gear yourself up for the show and then at 10;50 it was like somebody blew a horn and people started coming in like it was free. We had thousands and thousands and thousands of people there that showed up Sunday, they were all piled in, they were all fried , they were all hung over. It was amazing, so obviously we got all pumped and we delivered a good show, that’s why we got invited again. So yeah, we’re coming back this year and we’ll have a better slot, we have a better stage and we’ll be a little bit of a headliner there, so, I’m really looking forward to playing download in the UK. The rest is history and c’est la vie.
TIM: I can’t wait!
MARCO: Make sure we hook up, brother.
TIM: Yeah we will. Looking forward to seeing you.
MARCO: Alright, same here Tim. Again, thank you everyone for their support. Go to www.marcomendoza.com
My albums are; ‘Live for tomorrow’, ‘Casa Mendoza’, and also I have ‘Live in L.A’ which is a little eclectic mix of funk, jazz, rock and a little bit of gogo, polka and tango. It’s a very fun project, so, go check out my music. We are coming out with a new album and the rest is history. We hope to see you out there somewhere and please come and support the opening bands for my tour! Silent Thieves, Black Cat Bones, Kane’D, Red Hawk Rising
TIM: Absolutely amazing. It’s been great speaking to you Marco.
MARCO: Thank you sir.