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Marco Mendoza

Interview with Marco Mendoza from Marco Mendoza
by Yiannis Zervos at 05 July 2007, 1:42 PM

When you meet one of the most wanted musicians in the business you wish you had more time to talk about all the projects he is involved with. BLUE MURDER, WHITESNAKE, TED NUGENT, SOUL SIRKUS, THIN LIZZY, DOLORES O'RIORDAN, to a name a few. A hot day in the middle of the summer, Athens is burning, but Marco Mendoza seems to enjoy it.

It isn’t too hot for you here?

No, I love it. I live in California, LA. It’s nice.

And you lived in Tijuana, Mexico.

Yeah I grew up there, San Diego.

You play Spanish guitar ?

I play a little bit.

I play guitar and I love it.

Nice. Flamengo , classical stuff, it’s beautiful.   

So you started with John Sykes.

Yes.

Do you have anything to say about him?

About John? I love him to death, I think he is a very talented guitar player and song writer.

Did he influence your new album, Live For Tomorrow, at all?



I think everybody I worked with has. You know, anybody that denies that, has not been honest with themselves. Everybody influenced, I grew up listening to Southern Rock, I think it is really obvious that this is a big influence, Southern Rock. You know: CREAM, JIMI HENDRIX, ALLMAN BROTHERS, GRAND FUNK RAILRAD, on and on and on. You know, for me everybody that I’ve worked with I ‘m sure influenced. But it’s not something you consciously say it just happens, ’cause music is like that. The reality is , and you know you’re a guitar player , it’s only seven notes and everything we do we process it and then we pull it out. My big influence I think - vocally - is Stevie Wonder; you cannot really hear it cause we wanted to stay on the Rock n’ Roll point of view.

I’m amazed from your vocal abilities and frankly I didn’t expect them to be so good.

Thank you man, efharisto! (with a nice Greek accent)

Many people do not expect bass players to be such good singers, but on the other hand we have Glenn Hughes, Phil Lynott…

…Greg Lake (KING CRIMSON, EMERSON LAKE AND PALMER), Geddy Lee (RUSH), Paul McCartney (THE BEATLES, WINGS), Jack Bruce (CREAM)…shall I keep going? Chris Squire (YES)!

We have seen you with WHITESNAKE, TED NUGENT, THIN LIZZY, doing backing vocals, but now it’s different ’cause you’re up front and we can hear you clearly; it’s very good.

Thank you man.

You wrote all the songs for Live For Tomorrow?

Yes.

And the lyrics?

Yes.

Too much love, man!

It’s about love (and he pointed one of his tattoos , a Chinese  ideogram). It’s about love and sharing my experiences about sobriety and talking to God and talking to the people that are important in my life…

And to women…

…and to women,  and to my wife and my father!

You have five children?

I have five children, yes!

How do you deal with all the women in the concerts? I‘ve seen women in the concerts you play and they are crazy! How do you deal with this?

Thank you. I love it, my male ego is satisfied and I love my wife.

How does she deals with it?

She and I dated for a long time, she is an ex-actress/model and she’s gorgeous. When she walks into a room all the guys go Huuuu!!! So, I get the same. We learned about each other and she understands the dynamics of this business and the way we talk about to each other about it. It’s like Honey, the store is going good, you have a lot of inventory in the store, you have product in the store, the store in going good , so keep walking , keep working. Because I am the store, every where I go there is a sex-appeal influence in whatever we do in the music business and, so, as soon as that changes everything changes.

It’s nice to see a guy who’s playing his ass-off, he has the looks and he likes what he is doing. I love what I do, I’m very privileged and very blessed.

I saw you with THIN LIZZY a month ago and you really respected the bass-playing style of Phil Lynott.

You have to. You just have to.

I don’t know if it was consciously or someone told you to do it.

I did my homework, I studied a lot, I learned his pick technique…As I said to a previous interviewer, I take pride in what I do; I really feel that it’s important, especially somebody like Phil Lynott…and I am a bass player, so I respect that he had a deferent approach, deferent way to play with the pick up-down stroke, up-down stroke, swing, swing, swing…and you learn from it!

You prefer pick or finger?

I prefer…both! I prefer whatever I have to do. But if I have to peak one I’d peak my fretless bass and even with the pick it sounds amazing.

It’s the bass that appears in the cover of Live For Tomorrow with a little girl on it.

She is my daughter. You like the picture?

Yeah!

It’s different. It’s a remanence of the 60’s and the 70’s. Remember an album called Blind faith from BLIND FAITH (Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton)? It really impressed me; it as a girl that had nothing to do with the band, nobody knew her, it’s like an art piece, like a statement. And when we were doing the photo shoot my daughter was with me; I picked her up from school, and the photographer said she’s beautiful, she has a great look. Let’s put the hat and the bass and sent it to the label. She is four years old.

What is the song you prefer from the album the most?

I love them all. Closer to my heart is Dance With Me; it is very emotional and I do a little fretless work, a little bit.

Ritchie Kotzen made all the arrangements and the production?

On the arrangements we were together; it was a mutual thing. He had the last word because I needed somebody to guide me. I’m an artist, I like to keep trying and change things and doing that. It’s a never ending process. The producer comes and tells you it’s good enough leave it, move on, so he was good that way.

The guitars sounded to me like BON JOVI’s from the Keep The Faith album, maybe because Ritchie Kotzen is playing a Stratocaster?

Yes, Ritchie Kotzen is a Strat guy, he is great man! And Doug Aldrich, Ted Nugent, Brian Tichy, Steve Wiengart, Tommy Aldridge; I love Tommy.

Tell me about David Coverdale. Why you left WHITESNAKE?

The bottom-line is that there was a lot of ’down time’, long periods of time and I kept getting calls from everybody, a lot of different artists, different projects, and for 3 or 4 years I let it go. I said WHITESNAKE is going to be my focus, we got a lot of things to do here. Live For Tomorrow wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t moved on; that’s a fact.

Is Live For Tomorrow a dream of yours?

Yeah, part of it.

I think the next one is gonna be better. But this is very good, the melodies, the vocals and the love that is inside this album…fantastic.

Thank you man, It’s all about love, I am a recovering alcoholic addict…don’t drink and that’s what comes. It’s about God…it’s all in there.

You asked me before what about David Coverdale. I missed working with him; I love him to death. I missed working with WHITESNAKE, it was a great experience.

Are you goning to work with him again?

You never know…

You looked very good together, in the Live…In The Still Of The Night DVD you were fantastic. You think it is the thing that most people say, that he wants the spotlight on him?

I disagree, he was always very encouraging. He would say go out and be the best, give it 110%. And I have 125%. Maybe it’s too much , I don’t know. When somebody tells me go with no limit, no boundaries, I’m gonna go. If they tell me go, take easy…OK.

I’m fine with that because you have to be a professional, it’s a people business. But I never - at any point - I feel that I was stepping on other boundaries, and David never made me feel like that. Maybe the other guys felt that, for some reason, but I can’t make excuses for what I am ,you know what I’m saying? I have to be honest with who I am. I love to be on stage, I love to perform, I love the audience, I love the lights, I love the energy and I’m not influenced by alcoholic drugs, so the audience gives you energy and you get powerful and you get more powerful, and guess what…bam!!!

And if anybody can’t deal with that it’s their problem.

Well, when I’m given the opportunity to just go I’m gonna go. And with my TRIO…

…oh yeah…What is this project ? Is it about Jazz?


Yes, Jazz, because the label doesn’t know how to label it. But it’s Jazz, because it is very improvisational and progressive sometimes, but what we did with that album (Live In LA), I encouraged everybody to get it because we did covers of songs that we all know just to bring it in our way and we interpret songs in a weird way because that’s what we do when we write our own stuff.

It’s hard to listen to Jazz, but when you play it’s very good to improvise.

There is a way of building it and bring it back so it’s palatable. And I think with the TRIO we do that. It’s got the Salsa, Brazilian influences, Funk, Latin, Jazz , Rock n’ Roll…it’s all there. If you have to break it down you say OK, this section is this and this section is that and I needed to have that freedom.

Speaking about freedom. You are working with Dolores O’Riordan now, you worked with WHITESNAKE…you played covers for METALLICA, VAN HALEN…

And THE BEATLES , QUEEN. I loved doing the QUEEN one!

Deferent types of music and that gives you freedom, and it all comes to Live For Tomorrow. There’s gonna be a video clip?

We’re talking about it. Live For Tomorrow is gonna be the single.

A tour?

Yeah a tour, I hope.

I hope you will come to Greece.

I am praying man!

…because it’s going to be different to see you in front of the stage. It’s gonna be a little bit of Glenn Hughe.

Glenn is a friend and I am a big fan of him.

I think it is Marco Mendoza because it’s an original voice.

It is influence here and there, but I have my own tone.

Marco, thank you very much for your time!

Parakalo!

(Yiannis Z.: We didn’t have much time ’cause the soundcheck for Dolores O’Riordan concert was up! We met him again the same night after a wonderful concert in Lykabettus theater, with fantastic sound, with a very emotional mood in this summer night and wonderful songs from the THE CRANBERRIES and Dolores O’Riordan’s latest album Are You Listening?. He explained to us what a wonderful experience is to play with Dolores and all these wonderful musicians…Way to go Marco! Cheers!)



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