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INTERVIEW: MARCO MENDOZA of THE DEAD DAISIES – August 2018

| 27 August 2018 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “THE DEAD DAISIES’ new single and music video for “DEAD AND GONE” – OUT NOW!! The video for one of the crowd favorites off their latest, chart-topping album Burn It Down combines classic performance elements intertwined with appearances from the Undead, which were created, filmed and edited by legendary horror visionary Tony Valenzuela (Black Box TV, Villisca). During the last run of shows in Europe and when in Berlin, the band filmed the performance sequences at Black Box Music (Rammstein, 30 Seconds To Mars, Linkin Park, Marilyn Manson) with the zombie footage being shot, so to speak, in Los Angeles at the mythical Daisyland studios. This also marks the official kick-off to the band’s new “Daisyland” platform, which invites everyone from around the world to be a part of the band’s journey. From day one, The Dead Daisies wanted to provide all lovers of rock music with a place to hang out, have a blast and enjoy the vibe without being ripped off for the experience. “Daisyland” is that place!!! Singer John Corabi about “Dead And Gone”: “Dead And Gone is one of those tracks that must be played LOUD!!! It’s got a great groove, and it’s basically about living life, (responsibly) having fun, and not letting ANYBODY judge you for wanting to have a great time!!!!” We get bassist Marco Mendoza to discuss new Dead Daisies music, touring, his solo career, and much more…

Toddstar: Marco, how’s everything going?

Marco: Good. How are you, man?

Toddstar: I am really good. Thanks for the chat the other night.

Marco: Yeah, I know we spoke and I apologize, man. I talked to a lot of people. You see how we’re moving? We come in, we hang out, we do our thing, we do the radio, we do the Guitar Center, we do a gig, and then boom, we’re out. We’ve been doing that for a long time, so I have a lot of conversations and I apologize, it gets a little blurry to say the least sometimes.

Toddstar: You and I talked a couple of years ago when you guys were dropping a new album and it’s how you and I kind of connected originally. Whenever you’ve been in town like last year when you played The Shelter, we talked about how you were putting together Viva La Rock, at the time. You were starting to put those wheels in motion.

Marco: Did you hear it?

Toddstar: I went out and bought a copy. Forget hear it, I bought it, man.

Marco: That’s cool. Did you bring it over?

Toddstar: I did not bring it. I had you guys all sign my copy of Burn it Down, which we’ll talk about. You and I had this conversation year and I know you guys all had your side gig and your solo stuff, but when you guys are promoting The Dead Daises, I feel weird bringing a Marco Mendoza CD to be signed. You know what I mean?

Marco: Yeah, yeah. I hear you. That’s great. I mean, it’s great that you’re sensitive to that, but we’re cool. To be honest, The Dead Daises camp is supporting my solo thing in a big way and you’ll see it when we’re going to announce the dates coming up soon. I wanted The Dead Daisies thing to start working and then get that out of the way. Once we start getting away from the East Coast it should be another week, 10 days. I’ll start promoting Europe because I’m going to Europe. What I try to do is so not to step on any toes, so it’s more effective, if we’re coming to the US with The Dead Daisies, I’ll go to Europe. You know what I mean? If we’re coming to Europe, then I leave it alone until a few months later. I said to them, “That’s how I do it.” Now I’m getting invited to go to Japan and getting invited to South America, the US, all that. When you said something about talking about this, I’m going, “Great” because next year, The Daisies are taking a break, as of now. We’re taking a break from January to May, so I’m going to get busy filling some dates for my solo stuff and there’s some other stuff that we can talk about. I mean, real cool stuff. So that’s going to be the period where I need support for my solo stuff because we can talk about it. That’s how it happens. So I appreciate your support, bro.

Toddstar: If us rock brothers can’t stand together, there’s no point.

Marco: I know, and that’s the other reality. We’re all in this together, however big or small you guys or we are, it doesn’t matter. We’re all building it together, it’s what we do. I’m aware of the importance of supporting each other, it’s very important.

Toddstar: Definitely. Well, let’s save the good stuff for last. Let’s talk about Burn it Down, the latest from The Dead Daisies. Another monster, I think it’s the third or fourth release in a row that I’ve given a 10 out of 10.

Marco: Oh, thanks. It is a great album, but look at the lineup. You have a lot of years of experience. You have a lot of talent there. I’m not talking about me, I’m talking about the other guys. The years of experience speak for themselves.

Toddstar: As far as the new album, what was your take on some of the material when you heard it or when you guys started fleshing it out? Sonically, it’s still The Daisies, it sounds like The Daisies, got the heavy bottom end from you, It’s got Crabbies voice on it, it’s got Doug’s solos, it’s got David throwing his pieces in there. It sounds like The Daisies, but it still has a different groove to it compared to the last couple of releases. What’s your take on that?

Marco: I’ll tell you exactly what happened because we were very conscientious of this., this conscious effort to get a little bit on the heavier side of it. We’re all fans of songs. We love melodic rock, whatever, if you have to put a label on it. Melodic rock is where we all come from. Meaning we love songs, we love lyrics, we love long, big hooks. We come from Aerosmith, we come from the Beatles and Stones, Deep Purple, etc., etc. Grand Funk Railroad. When we got into the writing for Burn It Down, we started talking together with management, and we were talking, “It’d be nice to get a little heavier if we could make an effort to get a little heavier.” So this is exactly what happened, Todd. It was the second day in the studio, and we already brought a lot of ideas, a lot of sketches. We all write, on their own time. We write when we get together backstage. I mean, right now we’re writing, we have three or four killer ideas already for the next album, whenever that’s going to be. We came in on the second day, the first day we were there and the engineer. Not to drop any names, but we were in Alicia keys studio, to write, writing session and Marti Frederiksen flew in from Nashville and we were all there, minus Brian Tichy because Brian decided to go in a different direction, whatever. We already spoke it to Deen. Deen was going to come see us in a few days to meet up with us, but we were there and the assistant engineer came to me and said, “Marco, man, I’m a big fan. I had this pedal that you have to check out. It’s good.” This is verbatim. This is literally verbatim, he said, “Marco, this pedal is going to change your life.” I said, “Oh, cool, let’s check it out.” So he came in the second day, right? This is after having that conversation about maybe trying to get heavier, and maybe lean a little bit more on the heavier side of music. We are in the studio, and he’s plugging the pedal in, and I started playing, and the riff, the sound got heavy and Marti came in from the other room, ran in, literally ran in and said, “Marco, that’s the shit. Go with that.” I had this riff, if I remember correctly, which ended up being “What Goes Around.” Then Doug comes in and John comes in, and David, and all of sudden, we went boom. It’s almost like we opened Pandora’s box and just within two or three hours we had four, five, six, seven ideas. So in life, things happen for a reason and if you just get yourself available and open to anything, if you open your eyes, and you’re aware, things happen and tap into them. It was like that. So then we bring these ideas that are already on the heavier side into the studio in Nashville. Now we had found a new direction for The Dead Daisies that was a little heavier. It was one of those things. Life is full of surprises, man, if you keep your eyes open and you pay attention. It’s really cool what you can find along the way. So that’s exactly what happened to us. It’s a trip, man.

Toddstar: That’s awesome. You mentioned two bands in there and you guys featured both of them with covers time with The Stones “Bitch” and The Beatles’ “Revolution.” You guys have played some of the coolest covers. One of my favorite is when you guys covered The Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s “Midnight Moses,” you guys still have that in the lineup every night, which I dig. But what is it about “Bitch” and “Revolution” that you guys kind of gravitate to those two songs this time around?

Marco: Well, the cover thing is a delicate thing in that, we are, again, John talks about it on stage and we all talk about because it’s true, we’re all big fans of music still. I’m a big fan of music period and I’m a big Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Nugent, Deep Purple. Grand Funk. I always have to throw in Grand Funk Railroad because the first bands that I covered, we’re those fans as I started playing. So it’s a delicate thing. The Stones can be really good, really strong, but covers sometimes won’t live up to the original arrangement or your original impact of the song. So we have to pick songs that John wants to sing, right? That he can deliver as a lead singer. And that we could do justice with the arrangement with the music of it, and back it up. The last thing we want to do is cover a song that’s going to be weaker than the original. Covering songs, it goes back to the first time I got together with The Dead Daisies, which is a different lineup altogether. But what it was, it came out of the first time we got together, we went out. You can imagine we were supporting Aerosmith in Australia. So, The Dead Daisies had a bunch of songs, they had recorded one album. There was a bunch of great songs, but nobody knew them. After the first, we decided let’s just do to do a couple of covers that people can identify with and tap into, and then throw the original songs in there. It’s a process. You have to play for the audience. So that became a bit of a tradition now with The Dead Daisies because we see that it works, especially in live situations. You get the party going with playing familiar music, and you know what it is as well I know, Todd, right now, the record industry is so bad right now that you definitely need to introduce your songs live. That’s where it came from and it seems to work. So we’re all good with that. We could cover songs, we’ve even had conversations about possibly, not that it’s going to happen, but about possibility, to do an album of covers like many people have done, like many bands in the past. Because we can and because we’re fans. Just to do something cool and different. Look at what Cheap Trick did with Sgt. Peppers, right? It’s amazing, man. So if you come at a bit of a tradition and it seems to work, so as long as it works and we’ll keep doing it.

Toddstar: Cool. Well, you guys are all pushing the vial every night, making sure people are hearing the new tunes. You guys kick-off with a new tune, “Resurrected” kicks the set off. As you know, the other night I had the extreme pleasure of being in the crowd and I will take a few photos on the first couple of tracks. I don’t think you guys had ever been to The Machine Shop in Flint. What was it like for you guys to play that joint?

Marco: Well, you know what? You want to hear something funny, man? I’m not certain, I should look back if I can, but haven’t had the time. I think played there before and I’m talking about the early 90’s or late ‘0’s with Blue Murder. I’m not certain. There’s a few people that said, “Yes, I caught you there.” This is years ago with Blue Murder and possibly it was under a different name. I don’t know how long it’s been The Machine Shop, but, I’ll tell you man, and this is very true, these little clubs that you play out of the mainstream of the big cities and where everybody seems to play, they’re always a blast, they’re always fun. The audiences are just a little bit more appreciative that you take the time to come play for them in their local town. Nine out of 10 times when we do these little, out of the way cities, it’s always good, man. It’s always good. We had a blast. The staff there were really supportive, really hospitable. It was great. It was a blast. I had a blast. I will say this, when we have time, I’m the guy that, when you have a few moments, I’ll start walking around and I went out and it was really weird, man, because it was a Sunday, right? But it was like a ghost town. It was, “Wow, what a trip, man.” I kept walking and I saw very little cars, very little people. It was so quiet. It was like, all right, enough of this. I was waiting to see life. I’ve been to Flint before, and I don’t know if you know this, but I worked for a long time with Ted Nugent. So I’ve been to every possible city in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. That whole area, that’s Nugent territory. So I’ve had some great experiences in Flint and Jackson, Ann Arbor, and Detroit. Just a blast, man. It was really fun for me to be back there. Again, the short answer would be it was a great night of rock and roll, man, in the sense where we appreciate it. So we really had a good time. Absolutely.

Toddstar: I agree. It was a fun show to watch and to be honest, in this day and age, it’s fun to see a band actually pour blood, sweat and tears into a 90 minute set instead of 60, 65 minute set. As a fan, that was fun.

Marco: You want to hear something? This is true. We cut our set down to 90 minutes, we’ve been doing two hours. And we did that Guitar Center gig before. It’s a trip, man. We are out there just flying the flag high for rock and roll. Flying the flag high for what we believe in and what we love doing. We can’t get enough of a it. Our management is like, “Guys, let’s cut the set down here. We have a schedule to keep. We have to fly in the morning.” But we could very easily, and now I’m not exaggerating, we could very easily play a two or three hour set every night. Not a problem because we love it. We love it. We love doing what we do.

Toddstar: And I know time for you is tight. I know today you said you got some stuff going on. So I want to move on to something that’s really important because you’ve played on some of my favorite albums like Soul SirkUS album, some stuff with Blue Murder and John Sykes. But one of my favorite new albums is Viva La Rock, man. This album you released back in March.

Marco: Yeah, yeah, yeah. March 2nd, If I remember it.

Toddstar: Killer tracks on this, where have you been hiding this music?

Marco: Well, like I said, we’re all writers. We all write songs, we all write music, and we love what we do. Me in particular, when I’m given an opportunity to get some of my own efforts out there, I will take it. Back in ’16 and ’17, I’ve been getting courted by a few labels to do my next solo album because I don’t know if you know, but I’ve had a few, Live For Tomorrow, which I had Nugent and Steve Lukather, Richie Kotzen, and Doug Aldridge and Tommy Aldridge, and Brian Tichy, and my son. Then I had Casa Mendoza, which I had some killer players on that too. So this is my third one and the labels, there was three or four that I was talking to for a few years, and I was just simply extremely busy doing a bunch of stuff and I wanted to have the time to do it. Target from Denmark approached me and let’s just say they said all the right things, they put a good proposal on the table that was artist friendly, which I appreciate these days more and more. There was literally two weeks of an opening before I started my European thing. And so I found that to be an opportunity. My producer, Søren Andersen, who’s got a studio in Denmark, in Copenhagen, great studio, Medley Studios. We’ve been talking about working together too. So I got in touch with him. He got in touch with me. The label knew him, they work with him, and let’s just say, all the stars are aligned, the Dutch got an order. We found the opportunity to go there before I started my European run in September of last year. And I remember exactly the dates because I was booking all this. We finished September 3rd with The Dead Daisies in the US. We were doing the Harley Davidson Rally Festival. September 4th I came home. September fifth, I flew out to Copenhagen. On the 6th, I landed in Copenhagen, through my bag in the hotel room and went straight to the studio. September 6th, we got into the studio with Søren, I had this “Viva La Rock” thing in my head. It’s a phrase that I’ve been using for a long time. It’s like saying, “Long live rock and roll.” But because I’m Spanish and Mexican and all that, I speak Spanish, so it’s a little twist of French and Spanish and it’s like, “Let’s celebrate rock.” It’s like saying goodbye. When you say goodbye, “Viva la Rock, brother. See you soon.” So I’ve had this idea in my head for a few years. I had sketched some ideas, but Søren is such an amazing producer and guitar player and musician, that we got in there, I started playing the riff and he just jumped on board and, I’m not exaggerating, within two hours the song was done. That’s the title track. So we sent it to the labels to see what they’re thinking because we always do that to get their feedback. Their reply was, “This is great. This is it. This is going to be the title track. Let’s call the album Viva La Rock.” From that point on, we got together for 12 days and we came up with the album and we finished. Again, going back to what I said earlier in life, if let life happen, man. It’s amazing. If you’re aware and your eyes are wide open and your mind’s alert, which I try to think that I am, you just tap into these beautiful moments. And Søren is just one of those guys, him and I click so well together. We have all this energy. We’re like couple of kids, man, with new toys. So Viva La Rock happened. This is funny, the ideas that we had brought to the table to maybe develop and maybe have some of these ideas be part of the album, ended up being songs to the album. We just put them aside because we ended up with so much, so much material, the music and songs. That’s how it happens, though. It’s one of those things. I can’t wait to jump on the second album because I’m writing some stuff. I’m really excited right now. I think I’ve gotten to a plateau, if you want to use that word, a plateau where it’s just the door’s wide open creatively, if you know what I mean. I’m working so much more now than ever. I’m traveling more than ever. I’m involved in some killer projects. I’m going to be working with Neal Schon. I’ve got this thing with Neal Schon and Greg Raleigh and Deen Castronovo next year. That’s going to be amazing. We’re getting that together. I’ve got my solo stuff that’s jumping all over the place, and I’m working with this brilliant Japanese guitar player, Nozomu Wakai. It’s a brilliant album with Ronny Romero singing and Tommy Aldridge on drums, one of my favorite drummers and my brother. So there’s so much going on, brother. So much. I have a daughter that’s doing some music and I want to start maybe working with her next year on a song or two and see what we can do in the studio. So tons going on brother. Extremely busy. I love it. I love it. Bring it on.

Toddstar: I started smiling when you said you’re already writing because it means that I don’t have to wait eight years for the next solo album.

Marco: No, no, no. Right now, this is the other thing that happened, which I really liked the idea when the labels spoke to me. They said, “We want to have the option for the second album after a year and a half to two years” and I went, “Perfect” because it just showed me commitment on their end. Most of the labels these days, if we could say being really honest, let’s just be really honest. Most of the labels are in it to tap the money, the possibilities to have a business side, that’s all it is. They’re not supporting the creative side, they’re not supporting the artists. They want to go in there and make a few bucks and then get another artist and do the same thing over. Unfortunately that’s the reality. So when you get a label that stands behind you, and wants you to develop your creative juices and recording, I’m all for that, bottom line. I have options today. I can pass on things that I don’t believe in because I’m working a lot. That’s one of the benefits. When you work so much, you have options, you have alternatives, and I take them, man. I want to do things that are productive, that are positive, and that are right in every possible way.

Toddstar: That’s awesome. You talk about touring Europe, but I mean there’s got to be some wants, and I know there’s some need for a Marco Mendoza solo tour in the US. What are the odds that’ll ever happen?

Marco: Well, I got to say, I’ve been signing a lot. I’ve been signing a lot of Viva La Rock CDs, enough for to be aware of the fans. Every time I sign, they say, “When are you coming up? When are you coming out?” Just hopefully it’ll be enough to create interest for me to come out. It’s really hard these days, Todd, to put tours together for a lot of reasons. The main factor that gets in the way is the financial side because it’s never been more expensive to get out and tour. It’s really expensive these days. You can’t really go out there and take your bets financially and get beat up because I live off of this here as well. Not to say that that’s my number one priority to make money because it’s not. If that were my case, I’d be rich today, but I’m not. I live comfortably and I work a lot. It’s just got to make sense. It boils down to this. If I can get 10 to 15 dates, let’s say across the US. 15 would be better. 20 would be excellent. If I can do that, then I broke it down to that would make sense. We could go out there and so we’re looking at it. I just signed up with manager right now, and they’re looking at all and every possibility for me to come next year actually. In October, I’m possibly going to be doing three dates, maybe four in the New York area. But I’ll tell you this, man. Without sounding pretentious, you come to one of my shows, I will make sure that you walk away with a smile on your face, having had a good time, and maybe a message or two of optimism and sunshine in your heart, man. Because that’s what I set out to do. It’s very important that I deliver that. I want to be a positive entity wherever I play music because music I believe can have the opposite effect. I want it to be positive. I want it to be uplifting, optimistic, a ray of frickin’ sunshine. And that’s what I do when I do my shows, I try to do that.

Toddstar: Oh, you do it whenever I run across you Marco, even in the parking lot before the show up in The Machine Shop. You guys got out of the car, when you got there, you saw me, you came over, you shook my hand, you guys went and did your little bit of thing. The meet and greet you had to do with the radio and then you went and did your thing. But then you’re wandering around doing your vocal warm-ups, but you’re so happy, you’re talking to everybody that wanted your attention. And that’s cool.

Marco: It’s very cool, but this band, this is another thing that seems to be really cool about this band, this group of cats is that we’re all conscientious and very aware of the importance of that the fans have in any project like this. We are solely here because of the fans. That’s the bottom line. I don’t understand when people out there forget that. They lose that connection. We are very much aware that we are here because of our fans and we’ve done it, all of us individually, separately, and as a group. We’ve been doing this for a long time. So, yeah. Personalities like John – he goes out of his way to talk to people and he hangs, he actually has conversations. He knows a lot of people know him. He takes the time and sometimes he wants to take a break and he does. And the same for me and for Doug, everybody knows Doug, and Deen, and David. David’s getting to be familiar with a lot of the fans. We have that in us. We are a people guys. We really appreciate the connection between the fans and the artistic endeavor, which is why we do everything and anything we can do to show appreciation. If it’s stopping by to shake a hand and say hello, that’s enough sometimes. We do a signing every show and that’s something we spoke about years ago and we’re still doing it. We’ve just had to taper down. We used to do a show and 90% of the audience would meet us after. So you can imagine, we’re there for three hours signing and greeting. So we would have some times, two, 300 people, man. So we got our heads together with management and management said, “Guys, why don’t we do this? When we open the doors for the gigs, whoever the first 100 people are, they get a wristband and they get to hang after the show?” And we’re all like, “Yes” because it shows effort on the fans side, it shows effort on our side and it works. But even that got to be a little long since we’d be there all sweaty and stinking from the show for two hours, so we brought it down. We broke it down to 50 now. So for those of your readers that are going to read this, if you can be to any of our shows and be one of the first 50 folks, you get the hang after the show, which is great. So it’s working and we’re always trying to find ways and ties and to play our music in front of an audience. The Guitar Center acoustic thing is working brilliantly. It’s just people are really digging it, so we’re going to continue doing that and we’ll do as much TV and radio as possible. We’re going to do a few TV shows coming up here, so stay tuned, man. Stay tuned to the journey of The Dead Daisies, which is ever changing, ever moving and lots of surprises along the way.

Toddstar: I know you’re busy so I’m going to cut you loose so you can go do what you got to do for the day and I’ll get your links and I can’t wait till you wind up back in the Detroit area. If the only Marco Mendoza shows next year are in New York, I guess I’ll have to drag my ass to New York.

Marco: Yep. That’s coming up possibly in October. We have a few agents, a few promoters working on it now and if it’s going to happen, I’ll make an announcement in the next week or so, next 10 days. That will be in October, two or three shows. But if possible, if that creates a buzz and the flags are up for other promoters and/or agents. I would love to come play in Michigan and Wisconsin and Indiana. We played at Pierre’s man. Wow. That brought back a lot of memories. Pierre’s is in Fort Wayne. I know we have a lot of music fans here, so I can’t wait to come out with my music and say hello.

Toddstar: Awesome. Well, thank again, Marco, and we’ll talk to you soon, brother.

Marco: Yes sir. Take care brother.

THE DEAD DAISIES LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

MARCO MENDOZA LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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