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  STEVE GOLDBY'S METAL CHRONICLES
AN IN-DEPTH CONVERSATION WITH MARCO MENDOZA


steve goldby


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marco mendoza

Marco Mendoza's passion for what he does shines through in a massive way, not just when he is performing his works of art on the stage but when you are lucky enough to be able to spend some time alone with him talking about what he loves most.

We could have talked all night and probably would have done if the drum soundcheck hadn't cut our conversation slightly short just before Marco's London performance on Sunday night. And what a performance that was. You can read all about it when we publish our review later this week but in the meantime, here's a unique insight into the great man himself.

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"Four shows down and everything is good. All of them have had a great response and they're already talking about inviting us back. We're thinking next time we'll probably do the UK, Ireland and maybe Holland, anything that makes sense really. This time if you look at the schedule it's pretty insane because we're doing five in a row coming straight from Italy so I would like to take my time, do it right and promote it right. The opportunity was there this time and we took it and I'm glad I took it and we're going to have a blast tonight, have some fun, you'll see."

We most certainly did have a blast and a lot of fun and you will be able to read all about that when the MetalTalk.net gig review is published later this week. In the meantime, I was interested to know how the tour came about, especially as Marco was deep into and full-time Thin Lizzy when it was announced.

"The album 'Live For Tomorrow' has been out for three and a half years, 'Casa Mendoza', the second album came out in October/November 2012 and the reality is that I was so busy with Thin Lizzy and I'd been working with Lynch Mob on the 'Smoke And Mirros' album and we toured that, then I spent a lot of time with Dolores O'Riordan of The Cranberries on her solo stuff and I did two albums with her, 'Are You Listening' and 'No Baggage', and I've been on a rock n' roll refresh course with Ted Nugent and we did four or five dates and I've done Daniel Carter's album as well.

"You know, living in LA, I'm one of those guys who gets calls to go here, there and everywhere and that's really cool. It's good to be busy, especially in our business and especially when, like me, you love what you do.

Speaking of Ted Nugent, this was an opportune time to bring up the 'spot of bother' that he currently finds himself in. If you are not aware of this here's our news report from last week.

"Ted has no reservations and I think he's speaking for a lot of us and he's representing a lot of us who are so diluted and pre-occupied with being politically correct and maintaining the status quo that we won't open our mouths and we'll keep it to ourselves. He's reflecting the majority of the people in the US who are very unhappy.

"I don't want to get into politics - I have my opinions and that's what it is but Ted, he feels, he has the courage and the morals to get out there and say. He knows things are messed up so he spoke and it was misconstrued - I understand that but the funny thing is the Secret Service and the FBI, they're all friends of his and they're going to get together, have a beer, have a few laughs and it's going to be fine you know.

"Yes, we're all unhappy about what's going on and you guys in the UK are getting a taste of it here now. Europe is going insane - what's going on here happened to us in 08 and we're just about starting to feel the recovery now. I think President Obama is doing an amazing job. It was a hard job for him and if you ask my opinion, he needed a little more time. I don't know all the ins and out like Ted does - and he really does - and he said what he thought and I admire that."

marco mendoza

We decided to leave politics there as we would have needed another three or four hours and we wouldn't have solved anything so we agreed that the world needs people like Ted Nugent. Knowing that Marco was born in Tijuana, I enquired as to whether he was actually a US citizen?

"Oh yes, I was born in San Diego which is a Californian border town and here's a little history for you. California, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico all used to belong to Mexico. It was all Mexican land and it became the US. I won't get into it but Mexico was inundated and there was a lot of politics and the residents of Mexico overnight became US citizens and you have two or three generations of bi-cultural and bi-lingual people. So I come from that line and we spoke 'Spanglish' which is a slang mixture of English and Spanish.

"So I am a US citizen and proudly so and I still believe that its the best country on the planet and as I get older, the more appreciative I am of living in the US."

Tijuana brought back evocative memories of the brass sound that originated from that area and the mention of the name Herb Alpert brought back memories for Marco.

"He was the founder of A&M Records and he had a band, Herb Alpert And The Tijuana Brass, and they were a band who had pop songs on the radio way back in the 60s/70s and they had one hit after another and it was some beautiful stuff and very trippy. The first concert I ever went to was his at Tijuana Bullring when they were shooting a TV show and they invited the whole school because they wanted an audience and it was such an amazing experience."

Which begged the question, how did Marco gravitate from the Tijuana sound into Heavy Rock?

"I grew up in a home where music was constantly being played. My Grandmother, who came to raise us because my parents divorced, was a piano teacher. My Mother had a little run with her singing career with her sisters. They had singles, 45's, in Mexico and on my Father's side, we had a clarinet player and then his brother Alejandro Mendosa was a piano player and so was his sister, my aunt, so my Grandmother really exposed everyone in the family to music and I tell everybody that I owe her for my appreciation of music.

"When I was a kid she would play all these concertos, heavy stuff, so she opened that Pandora's box for me and I loved it. The only fear I had about classical music was that it was so technical and so strict. My sister became a really advanced concert pianist but me, they bought a guitar for my brother and I identified more with that than the piano. The guitar had a book that taught me all the chords, or most of them, and I could be alone and learn the chords at my own pace and once you learn the chords you start applying them and you can play songs and it becomes fun and I started doing it more and more."

And the rest, as they say, is history. But some parts of that history were not necessarily as well publicised as they should have been, namely Marco's stint with Neil Schon and the 'Soul SirkUS' album.

"Neil is always doing something. He's a real musician and he really digs playing music and when he goes out with Journey, they'll work for a year, a year and a half, and then they have down time. And he's like me, he's always looking for the next project - let's do some music together. Music lives in his heart and it's a big part of who he is as a human being so him and I got together a while back and it was Deen Castronovo on drums and Jeff Scott Soto who is amazing.

"I totally fell in love with the guy [Neil]. He's such a great guy in every possible way and we had fun and we got to know each other really well and spent a lot of time together. Let's just say that he doesn't have the need to go out on the road like he does but he does it because he loves it.

"So we hooked up right away in the Bay Area and he said he asked where he could hear me play and I just happened to be going onstage in twenty minutes and I played with my trio and it was fire man. We played an hour of in-your-face funk and Latin grooves and rock n' roll and I got offstage and he called me up. I was still sweating and he said 'Marco - you've got to come up. You're the guy, man. Can you fly up next week?'

"So the next week I flew up, on the Thursday, and we all threw our ideas in the melting pot and came up with six tracks on the Friday and then I went up there again the next week and we did another six tracks and that was it - the album was done.

"We made a video and did some interviews and there was a lot of interest so we thought we should take it on the road. We got a tour booked, twenty-five dates I think it was, and the press just ate it up. We did four days in rehearsals and on the fifth day Deen got sick and couldn't do it. We almost cancelled but we put our heads together and we ended up with Virgil Donati. He came in and nailed it so we did go out on the road and did a run.

"And let's just say that Neil decided to pull the plug on it and not continue with that project, without going into details. He called me again later for another tour and we did another run so it's all good man but it's a project that I wish had got a bit more exposure.

"Neil and I have done some other stuff in the studio. I'm not sure what's going to happen with that project. I think there's a plan but right now he's real busy with Journey but I have a feeling I will be hearing from him real soon and then I'll find out what's going on with that album. It was a blast! Every day we looked forward to going in and that's how it should be and that will be reflected in the music."

Talking of Journey, they got their new singer Arnel Pineda from a YouTube video which is a classic demonstration of how the way things work in the music business has changed. I always ask my interviewees how modern technology has affected their careers and Marco gave me one of the most positive answers to this question I have ever had.

"For me personally I think it has helped me a lot. I'm really into writing music at the moment and on this run I am especially plugging 'Living For Tomorrow' so the YouTube thing, well how many iPhones will be in the audience tonight? We'll be all over YouTube tomorrow and that's a cool thing. So I appreciate it and I embrace it.

"Yes, it does affect album sales but listen, when someone buys a CD of mine, I tell them 'I want you to burn it!' And you know, a few people have come up to me and said they really like the music but don't have the money for a CD so I just give them it. You have to move on with the times."

Marco is big into connecting with his audience and one of his main aims on this tour is to do just that. He told me that the artists who had made the biggest impression on him were those who made an effort to make that connection with their audience so we went deeper into those influences. He's played with a whole host of amazing names and they have all had an influence on him.

"I've had a great journey and it's only just beginning. I've learned from all of those influences and they've all inspired me in so many ways but going right back to the beginning and that first album I had, 'Abbey Road', I learnt every word, every lyric, every lick and looked at how they evolved from album to album, what they represented and how they changed the world. I'm a big, huge Beatles fan and I really think they were the major influence in our industry, on how people write music and were the major model for how bands are today.

"I think they were so successful because they were so deep. I could go back and listen to 'Abbey Road' ten times. When I was doing things I wasn't supposed to be doing and experimenting here and there, 'The White Album' was my mantra - oh yeah! So influences, I have to say that one.

"Then shortly after that the southern rock thing came around, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Grand Funk Railroad and even Ted Nugent way back then and then the English envision, Deep Purple - David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes - and it's all cool because I got to work with them and I consider these guys friends. We just did some shows last year [with Whitesnake] and he's a very affectionate guy and so am I and it was very cool.

"I did miss that first year, not being there, but no regrets because the body of work I have done since has been amazing and that's what happens in life - you make decisions that take you to... you come to forks in life and I'm glad the DVD is there to document what we did. It's amazing - the band is slamming and David is on top, top form."

Marco is truly appreciative of being part of the legacy of one classic band but as you are almost certainly aware, Whitesnake are not the only classic band that he's a part of. One hot topic at the moment is whether Thin Lizzy will record a new album and this interview would not have been complete without touching on that. In the bginning of the reformation, people were sceptical of Lizzy with no Phil but Marco agrees that Ricky Warwick is now starting to be appreciated the way he deserves to be.

"Ricky - it's in his DNA. He was such a fan since he was a kid so he lived it. From the outside looking in he knew the phenomena of Phil Lynott, Scott, Brian, Darren, Snowy and Robbo and Gary Moore (may he rest in peace)... he grew up with Lizzy and so when he got the call, he was amazed.

"I really believe in this line-up and we're here for the right reasons and we're here for the long term as well. It's going to take us to the studio and we're going to come out with the best songs we possibly can to carry the flag on to the next phase so I'm really excited about it. I'm part of something fantastic and that has influenced me so much."

Marco was incredibly enthusiastic about how Thin Lizzy had come together and the part he played in that and especially about what the future holds for the iconic group, so as he had stated earlier that his journey was only just beginning, I had to ask what the future held for him personally?

"I'm involved in a couple of projects that I'm not obliged to talk about right now and I got the call to go work on Daniel Carter's album. Those songs are amazing and they are going to hit the charts. When you live in a place like LA, these things pop up but right now, I'm writing...

"I would like to come to England to do my jazz thing at Ronnie Scott's.

"It's a clear canvas and there are more pictures to be painted."

The gig was truly outstanding and there were a couple of surprises in there too which you can read all about when we publish our review later this week. In the meantime, 'Living For Tomorrow' is crying out to be listened to and you should not leave this page until you have done exactly that.

Here - I've made it very easy for you so no excuses - just hit play, turn it up and enjoy!!







24.4.2012


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michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER ANNOUNCES DECEMBER UK TOUR
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johnny thunders LOOKING FOR JOHNNY: THE LEGEND OF JOHNNY THUNDERS MOVIE TO BE RELEASED NEXT MONTH
When Johnny Thunders died in New Orleans on April 23rd 1991, he left behind a mystery...

metallica METALLICA TO RELEASE 27 LIVE ALBUMS BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR AND APPEAR IN THE GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS
To commemorate the anniversary of the LiveMetallica.com site, the band are offering CDs and LPs of every gig they played in 2014...

kobra and the lotus KOBRA AND THE LOTUS AND THE TREATMENT ANNOUNCE UK TOURS
Kobra And The Lotus will be kicking off their Headline Tour on 24th September in support of their latest record 'High Priestess'...

rival sons RIVAL SONS RETURN TO UK FOR DECEMBER TOUR
The band appear on Letterman in the US on October 9th, and will have an exciting UK TV appearance to announce soon...

linkin park LINKIN PARK PLAY TWO NIGHTS AT LONDON'S 02 ARENA IN NOVEMBER
Following their exhilarating headline sets at the European summer festivals, Linkin Park return for their own headline tour in November...

evil scraecrow AT LAST! A NEW VIDEO FROM EVIL SCARECROW
"It's an emotional thing for us to watch back. We hope that translates to everyone that watches it too!"

sabctuary SANCTUARY POSTS LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'EXITIUM (ANTHEM OF THE LIVING)'
Sanctuary continue that legacy that they started decades ago, delivering yet another fresh take on "classic-sounding" Metal...

electric mary ELECTRIC MARY ANNOUNCE MINI ALBUM AND UK TOUR
Australian five piece Electric Mary are back to spread Rock n' Roll's genuine flavour to Europe...

accept ACCEPT REVEAL LIVE CLIP OF 'PANDEMIC' FILMED IN FRONT OF 750,000 PEOPLE AT WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL 2014
UK fans can catch the band live at The Forum in London on the 27th November 2014...

hornet HORNET ANNOUNCE NEW EP AND SINGLE
"We really wanted to just expand the sound we already had by incorporating more of our influences to make our sound more modern and diverse..."

jimmy barnes JIMMY BARNES ANNOUNCES NEW 30th ANNIVERSARY ALBUM 'HINDSIGHT'
2014 marks the 30th anniversary of Jimmy Barnes' debut as Scottish born Australian rock singer-songwriter...

dragonforce DRAGONFORCE SUPPORTS ANNOUNCED FOR FORTHCOMING TOUR
London based hard rockers Neonfly will support in the UK mainland, with Northern Irish Metalheads Conjuring Fate doing the honours at the Belfast and Dublin shows...

within temptation WITHIN TEMPTATION TO HEADLINE BLOODSTOCK 2015
Within Temptation appear as a UK exclusive. Prog Metal titans Opeth will also appear on the bill...

emigrate EMIGRATE CONFIRM NEW ALBUM FOR UK RELEASE VIA SPINEFARM RECORDS
'Silent So Long' is the second album from the band formed by Rammstein's Richard Kruspe...

highway to hell WINNERS OF HIGHWAY TO HELL 5 ANNOUNCED
Texas Flood are the overall winners from an outstanding field, winning a contract and an appearance at Hard Rock Hell...

grim reaper THE LEGENDARY GRIM REAPER RETURN TO LONDON
Get down to the Boston Music Room on 27th September for Grim Reaper with Amulet and Dark Forest...

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS ANNOUNCE UK TOUR FOR NOVEMBER 2014
The 30th anniversary celebrations continue with a world tour including a trip to North America and a nine date UK leg...

eric martin MR. BIG SINGER ANNOUNCES UK SOLO ACOUSTIC TOUR
Eric Martin will play nine unplugged dates in December 2014 with a mix of solo and Mr Big material...

absolva ABSOLVA ANNOUNCE NEW BASSIST
British classic Metallers Absolva are delighted to announce the appointment of new bassist Karl Schramm...

manowar MANOWAR ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM PLANS AND UPDATED TOURING SCHEDULE
Manowar will headline Loud Park Festival in Tokyo on October 18th 2014 and will then resume the 'Kings Of Metal MMXIV' World Tour...

skyscraper SKYSCRAPER RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'MONDAY MORNING'
This dynamic band has been taking critics by storm with their inimitable brand of melodic hard rock...

the more i see THE MORE I SEE ANNOUNCE OCT/NOV TOUR WITH SAVAGE MESSIAH AND BULL RIFF STAMPEDE
Featuring world renowned guitarist Gizz Butt, the band always deliver incredible live shows that combine passion, energy and breathtaking musicianship...

devin townsend DEVIN TOWNSEND REVEALS Zē DETAILS AND ANNOUNCES SPECIAL ROYAL ALBERT HALL PERFORMANCE
Devin Townsend is extremely pleased to announce the release of long-awaited new double-album...

blastfest AT THE GATES, DARK FUNERAL, ROTTING CHRIST AND MORE ANNOUNCED FOR BLASTFEST 2015
Bergen, Norway, former home of the legendary Hole In The Sky Festival and considered thee black metal capital of the world...

exodus EXODUS REVEAL SPECIAL GUESTS ON NEW ALBUM 'BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT'
Bay Area thrash Metal provocateurs Exodus proudly announce the special guests appearing on their latest showcase of unrefined rage...

panzer PANZER STREAMING LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'THE LAST MAN ON EARTH'
Brazilian thrash/stoner act Panzer have just released a new lyric video on for the second track of the album 'Honor'...

bush BUSH ANNOUNCE OCTOBER 20th RELEASE FOR 'MAN ON THE RUN'
Multi-platinum alt-rock band Bush have announced an October 20th release date for their highly anticipated new album...

absolva ABSOLVA RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'LIVE FOR THE FIGHT'
The video features Luke Appleton (Iced Earth) who is playing bass for the band on the forthcoming European Tour...

giants of rock GIANTS OF ROCK FESTIVAL: FIRST BANDS ANNOUNCED
The reformed Family and pomp rockers Magnum will headline the event...

weapon uk ESTRELLA TO SUPPORT GILBY CLARKE ON TOUR AND ANNOUNCE A NEW SINGLE
The band are currently gearing up for a thirteen date trek with Clarke that includes dates in Wakefield, London and Edinburgh...

weapon uk WEAPON UK ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES FOR NOVEMBER
Weapon UK have tour dates confirmed in support of their critically acclaimed album 'Rising From The Ashes'...

amulet AMULET DEBUT ALBUM 'THE FIRST' RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER: FIRST TRACK NOW ONLINE
The album track 'Mark Of Evil' has just been uploaded to Soundcloud. Raise your fists and bang your heads on this one...

michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER'S GUITARS STOLEN FROM GERMAN RECORDING STUDIO
German police are examining evidence and the studio for fingerprints and DNA evidence to help catch the criminals...

jimi jamison JIMI JAMISON OF SURVIVOR PASSES AWAY AGED 63
Jimi Jamison, lead singer of Survivor, very sadly passed away on Sunday night...

distorted harmony DISTORTED HARMONY UNLEASH FOOTAGE FROM 'CHAIN REACTION LIVE!'
The Tel Aviv quintet are looking forward to bringing their show to Europe this November...

ensiferum ENSIFERUM TO BEGIN RECORDING SIXTH STUDIO ALBUM NEXT MONTH
"We are convinced that this will be a ground breaking album for us and the whole genre. Modesty? What's that?"...

les-fest wildfire LES-FEST WILDFIRE ANNOUNCES FURTHER ACTS FOR SUMMER 2015
Max Raptor, Anihilated and more join the stellar array of main stage bands...

mystery deeexpus THE HOUSE OF PROGRESSION & THE MERCH DESK PROUDLY PRESENT MYSTERY & DeeEXPUS LIVE
It's a night of Prog at The Borderline on Tuesday 9th September, one of three chances to see this unique pairing...

butcher babies BUTCHER BABIES ANNOUNCE DETAILS FOR UPCOMING 'UNCOVERED' EP
The breakthrough Metal act have chosen five of their favourite tracks to get a makeover...

avenged sevenfold AVENGED SEVENFOLD RELEASE NEVER BEFORE SEEN ORIGINAL VIDEO FOR 'UNHOLY CONFESSIONS'
Take a fresh look at the 2004 track taken from the essential 'Waking The Fallen: Resurrected'...

reckless ambition RECKLESS AMBITION AND DIRTY LIONS TO PLAY THE ROCK PATCH THIS SATURDAY
Anyone who hasn't seen Reckless Ambition, then you are in for a real treat...

meshuggah MESHUGGAH ANNOUNCE 25TH ANNIVERSARY SHOWS IN EUROPE
Celebrate 25 years of musical deviance on this tour which includes a date a London's Roundhouse...

mr big MR. BIG CHANGE RELEASE DATE FOR NEW ALBUM "...THE STORIES WE COULD TELL"
The original line-up are back with some of their most powerful material to date and their signature hard rock sound...

well eavy 'WELL 'EAVY - VOL. 1' COMPILATION TO BE RELEASED BY HANGMAN - AMULET'S OWN LABEL
Get down to the free entry release party in Camden on 29th August...

slipknot DEF LEPPARD TO PERFORM NFL PRE-GAME SHOW AT FIRST LONDON NFL GAME OF 2014
Joe Elliott: "I know what the atmosphere in the ground is like for 'our' football so I'm really looking forward to performing there before the NFL game..."

slipknot SLIPKNOT REVEAL NEW ALBUM AND TOUR INFORMATION
'.5: The Gray Chapter' will be released on October 21 followed by US dates with Korn...

hard rock hell HARD ROCK HELL 8 ANNOUNCES MORE ACTS
The Vintage Caravan, Blue Pills, Horisont, Spiders and Santa Cruz have been added to the line up for November...

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