Marco Mendoza is no doubt one of the hardest working and passionate musicians to date. He has played with the likes of THIN LIZZY, WHITESNAKE and currently THE DEAD DAISIES. He is due to appear at a brand new festival NozFest, which takes place very soon. Lotty Whittingham spoke to him about this festival appearance, his latest release Viva La Rock and his process when it comes to songwriting.
Hello Marco, thanks for joining us this evening. So, you are due to appear at the brand-new festival NozFest soon. Can you tell us more about that?
The UK are famously known for having some of the best festivals around. This one in particular is special to me because it’s been organised by a friend of mine. Jodie and I have worked together previously on other events and she have been a great support of my solo career. Jodie approached me when I was on tour with The Dead Daisies and she said she was putting a festival together. She said there isn’t a lot going on in the south of England at that time of the year. Jodie, her dad and I came to an agreement that we should move this thing forward using my name so we could get the ball rolling.
I was very clear with them that I might be busy with The Dead Daisies at that time and if I needed to pull out, I would have to. She was very cool about it and stated that she was trying to get commitments from some bands. She also said that my solo stuff would make a great fit at the festival. It turned out that The Dead Daisies weren’t doing anything until towards the end of the year and I have been putting a lot of time into promoting my latest album Viva La Rock. In order to do that, you have to do any and everything you can to promote your music. I was happy to say yes let’s do this.
I have worked alongside a lot of the bands that are on the bill for NozFest and I am happy to be participating in that. I have some great cats rocking with me; I have Micky Crystal from Tygers Of Pang Tang and Kyle Hughes who has been with me for a while and he’s a great drummer. We have done a lot of touring together when they aren’t busy with their other projects. So, it’s a great fit and I am looking forward to appearing at this festival.
I can’t quite believe how quickly it’s come around.
It has come around so quickly. This year I have been to Japan twice, Europe three times, Russia and it’s only July. So, an extremely busy this year! After August, I will be spending time with my family and do a US run that we are putting together. After that, it’s back to Europe. Unless things change, I will be staying away from the UK for a bit to work on my new album that we’re shooting for next Spring. NozFest will be a chance for me to show people who I am and what my music is about.
Will this be your first time in Southampton?
It won’t be no. I have been part of the Thin Lizzy camp since 1994 or 1995, I am almost sure we played there a few times and I have toured with my solo project there. I can’t think of the exact venues, so I have toured there and the surrounding areas such as Bournemouth. I remember playing this little club called The Anvil. It’s got a lot of history, to me it’s like the whiskey of that area.
Actually, I remember the venue in Southampton was The Talking Heads. The Talking Heads was where I met Jodie and her Dad. They came to one of my solo shows, they approached me and said they would like to do more to support my solo career. She told me she can hook me up with shows in the south of England. She’s been a bit of champion when it comes to supporting my music, they are both fans of Thin Lizzy and Whitesnake.
This tour is promoting your latest release Viva La Rock. There is a variety of different sounding songs on there. Who are your main influences?
As you can tell, I grew up in the thirties. I was born in 1935, just kidding. The first CD I got as gift at Christmas was Abbey Road by The Beatles in the early seventies. It had been around for a few years at this point so that was the first album I got and let’s just say it had the Pandora’s Box effect. It ignited something in me and from that point I knew I was going to do music for the rest of my life. Once you start growing, you start seeing music in a different way and you start digging.
Creedance Clearwater Revival were a big band in the mid-sixties to mid-seventies, they had a lot of hits on the radio so for me they were a natural fit. I used to sing and play a lot of their songs. From then I got into to The Stones, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. To this day, I believe some of the best music and songs ever written were by these bands.
I am a big on a lot of these bands. Some of these bands I have been a part of myself. What they managed to accomplish in their time in 1964 or 1965 whenever they came out, they had an influence on the planet. Creatively and musically, the music business had its doors opened to these bands and what they managed to do was history in the making. So, I have a lot of respect for these guys.
When it comes down to song writing, do you have a specific process for it?
Lyrics for me are like the frosting on the cake. I might have a hook or theme or chord progression ready, it’s only because I try to fit in as much as I can when I have the time to do so and write it down. A lot of those ideas might not go anywhere and when it comes to write the album, you have all these ideas and whatever sticks is what develops and what you develop.
At the moment, I am in a really good place where everything is positive, optimistic and uplifting. All the lyrics are about my own experiences in life, relationships and love. There’s a song on the album dedicated to my wife because I was by myself in a studio in Denmark and I was missing my family. I was just like a little kid, if I could have got on the next plane home I would have done. However, we had studio time booked and had to make the commitment, then I had two months of touring straight afterwards. I was going to be gone for a while and had already been gone for six or seven months.
So emotionally I got a little drained and a little trashed. You know how it is when you’re tired, your emotions come to the surface. At the end of the album, we literally had a few hours to finish and we had to terminate it then because we had the tour the next morning. The producer said that we didn’t have a ballad for the album. We agreed on this but we spent so much time on everything else. Long story short he said “I got this chord progression; I really love it and it reminds me of something.” As soon as he started playing it, I realised that was the one. The song was written within two hours.
I’m not embarrassed to say that it was emotional when I was singing it. It’s one thing when the music and lyrics are written, when I started singing the words, I got knots in my throat. We had to stop a few times because I was blown away. I was asked if I wanted to take a break or do it another time but I thought we don’t have another time.
It probably won’t be played at NozFest as festivals are about going crazy and we have about forty-five minutes to an hour so there won’t be time to slow down.
Thanks, Marco, for taking the time out to speak to us today and best of luck with your UK tour.
NozFest takes place on Saturday 10th August at the 1865 in Southampton.