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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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robert plant LED ZEPPELIN'S ROBERT PLANT GUESTS WITH DEBORAH BONHAM AT LOCAL GIG
Plant joined Deborah Bonham to perform the Led Zeppelin classic 'When The Levee Breaks' and a cover of the Johnny Kid & The Pirates standard 'Shakin' All Over'...

status quo STATUS QUO ANNOUNCE 'DOG OF TWO HEAD' ALE AND 'DOWN DOWN' CIDER
Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt of Status Quo are delighted to announce another great double act...

sabaton SABATON TO RELEASE NEW STUDIO ALBUM 'THE LAST STAND' ON AUGUST 19th
"Did any other artist ever say 'Our new album is the best we ever made'? That's not for us to decide, that's up to our fans..."

doro DORO TO RELEASE NEW LIVE DVD/BLU-RAY 'STRONG AND PROUD - 30 YEARS OF ROCK AND METAL'
30 years of dedication, passion and love for the music and her fans all over the world...

destruction EUROPE UNDER ATTACK! DESTRUCTION, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, NERVOSA ANNOUNCE EUROPEAN TOUR
Thrash metal icons Destruction are set to fire their new missile of heavy 'Under Attack' on May 13th via Nuclear Blast Records...

grand magus GRAND MAGUS RELEASE NEW TRACK 'FORGED IN IRON - CROWNED IN STEEL'
"Metalheads! Grand Magus are back. We are proud to unleash this iron-clad anthem, we give you... VARANGIAN!"

tyler bryant TYLER BRYANT AND THE SHAKEDOWN SPECIAL UK HEADLINE WARM-UP DATE FOR AC/DC EUROPEAN TOUR CONFIRMED
Unleashing their high-proof blend of melody, muscle and psychedelic mystique to well in excess of 600,000 riff-hungry fans across 12 different countries...

klogr MUSE, TOOL, STONE SOUR, RUSH PRODUCER FOR KLOGR'S NEXT ALBUM PLUS NEW MUSIC VIDEO PREMIERE
Italian progressive metal band unveil the final music video from 'Make Your Stand'...

rage RAGE REVEAL LYRIC VIDEO FOR NEW TRACK 'SPIRITS OF THE NIGHT' PLUS NEW ALBUM TRAILERS
Iconic German metal trio Rage are set to release their new studio album 'The Devil Strikes Again' on June 10th...

bon scott LIFE-SIZED STATUE OF AC/DC LEGEND BON SCOTT UNVEILED IN KIRRIEMUIR
The bronze statue is the result of a two-year crowdfunding campaign which was supported by AC/DC and the band's former bass player Mark Evans officially unveiled it...

mikkey dee BREAKING NEWS: SAXON WITH PHIL CAMPBELL AND MIKKEY DEE TO PAY TRIBUTE TO LEMMY AT GOLDEN GODS, HAMMERSMITH ODEON
Ticket price is a very reasonable £6.66 with all proceeds going to Nordoff Robbins, Teenage Cancer Trust, and Childline...

mikkey dee BREAKING NEWS: MOTÖRHEAD'S MIKKEY DEE ANNOUNCED AS SCORPIONS DRUMMER
"We would like to continue our Return to Forever tour with James, but we have to realize that his health is priority..."

alex dickson gun BREAKING NEWS: ALEX DICKSON REJOINS GUN
As exclusively predicted by MetalTalk last week, guitarist Alex Dickson has re-joined Scottish rockers Gun...

cockney rejects WEST HAM UNITED TRIBUTE 'GOODBYE UPTON PARK' TO BE RELEASED BY COCKNEY REJECTS
"We were all born within a mile or so from the hallowed Boleyn ground and have all stood on the terraces through snow, rain and sunshine from a very early age."

ac/dc AC/DC RELEASE TICKET REFUND DETAILS FOR MOST EUROPEAN COUNTRIES
If you don't want a refund, then we'll see you at The Olympic Stadium in London as we think we're about to witness a major piece of rock history...

deep purple IAN PAICE AND DON AIREY SCHEDULE SOLO EUROPEAN DATES AS 2016 DEEP PURPLE TOUR APPROACHES
Deep Purple are kicking off their 2016 tour next month in Japan, before heading to Israel, Russia and Europe in June and July.

steve hackett STEVE HACKETT TO RELEASE 'THE TOTAL EXPERIENCE LIVE IN LIVERPOOL', HIS ACOLYTE TO 'WOLFLIGHT' WITH GENESIS REVISITED TOUR
"Besides, it's not as if Liverpool is known for having any good music – there's never been a good band from there. Ha!"

lacuna coil LACUNA COIL LAUNCH NEW ALBUM TITLE TRACK 'DELIRIUM'
Lacuna Coil will be making their much-anticipated return to North America as part of the 'Delirium Worldwide' tour starting in San Francisco on May 7th

bibeau YOUNG, PROGRESSIVE BAND BIBEAU OFFER THEIR FIRST SINGLE/VIDEO, 'MARK THIS'
"We were also hoping to convey the look, feel and flow of some of the classic, timeless rock and metal videos from the height of MTV's popularity..."

virginmarys THE VIRGINMARYS ANNOUNCE HEADLINE UK TOUR FOR JUNE 2016
"It's going to be so great to get back in front of our home fans again, and really important to us to play some of the towns we've been wanting to come back to..."

weapon uk WEAPON UK TO HEADLINE THE RETRIBUTION ALIVE ROAD TRIP IN MAY
"They toured with Motörhead in the 80s, including four sold out shows at the Hammersmith Odean and I have to say, we're pretty excited about this!"

headbangers ball ICED EARTH AND ENSIFERUM TO HEADLINE MTV HEADBANGERS BALL TOUR 2016: FULL DATES HERE
"So brace yourselves for the ultimate Metal experience of a lifetime! See you in front row!"

bloodstock BLOODSTOCK ADDS MORE BANDS, DETAILS METAL 2 THE MASSES FINALS AND ANNOUNCES FIRST NEW BLOOD STAGE WINNERS
Bloodstock HQ is readying to send Team M2TM out on the road for the finals, but in the meantime, there's a few more band additions to the August bill

dead daisies THE DEAD DAISIES ANNOUNCE UK AND EUROPEAN DATES FOR JULY/AUGUST IN SUPPORT OF NEW STUDIO ALBUM 'MAKE SOME NOISE'
The Dead Daisies, the biggest new name in Rock, have just recently announced the addition of Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Dio) as their new lead guitar player

wolf hoffmann WOLF HOFFMANN TO RELEASE SOLO ALBUM 'HEADBANGERS SYMPHONY' ON JULY 1st
"I have always incorporated classical music in my song writing with Accept, especially with 'Metal Heart', but I constantly felt there was so much more that I could do..."

jaegermeister JÄGERMEISTER RELEASE FULL DOCUMENTARY OF WORLD'S FIRST MUSIC GIG ON AIR, SEA AND LAND
"We go bigger every year and because of the nature of this world first this gig was not only a test of friendship but one of supporting each other too..."

john otway JOHN OTWAY PLANNING ON BEING FIRST ARTIST SINCE THE ROLLING STONES TO RECORD IN MONTSERRAT
"Although the old Air Studios are now derelict the studio in the basement of Sir George Martin's house is sound – it just needs rebuilding..."

fates warning FATES WARNING - NEW STUDIO ALBUM 'THEORIES OF FLIGHT' ANNOUNCED, ARTWORK UNVEILED
"There's a loose theme running through a lot of the lyrics, and this developed organically and separately..."

amon amarth RAISE YOUR HORNS AND BE IN AMON AMARTH'S NEW MUSIC VIDEO
Swedish Heavy Metal goliaths Amon Amarth are inviting their fans around the globe to be a part of their forthcoming video...

sixx am SIXX:A.M. ANNOUNCE THE "#REASONTORISE" CAMPAIGN, TOUR DATES AND 'VOL.1 PRAYERS FOR THE DAMNED' DETAILS
"It is our duty as citizens of this world to come together, communicate with one another and rise up to demand more of ourselves and our leaders."

armored saint ARMORED SAINT ANNOUNCE EUROPEAN FESTIVAL AND CLUB APPEARANCES
"For our first time in Spain, it's gonna be sick! And as if this wasn't enough - Saint is playing for the first time ever in Japan..."

black country communion BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION TO REFORM IN 2017
"Preparing BCC Rocket Ship Re-launch for 2017 - all systems go."

tarja TARJA PREMIERES OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO OF HER NEW SINGLE 'NO BITTER END'
'No Bitter End', the opening track of the prequel album 'The Brightest Void', is the first glimpse of Tarja's new work – her heaviest to date...

stratovarius STRATOVARIUS RELEASE LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'UNTIL THE END OF DAYS'
"To me it's a testament to the fact that paying attention to song writing and production was expensive, but so worth it..."

brian johnson EXCLUSIVE: PROMINENT AC/DC CREW MEMBER GIVES REMARKABLE INSIGHT INTO AXL ROSE APPOINTMENT
AC/DC are covering themselves in case Axl's poor reputation for unprofessionalism manifests itself...

brian johnson THE DARKEST DAY OF MY PROFESSIONAL LIFE: BRIAN JOHNSON ISSUES PERSONAL STATEMENT ON AC/DC DEPARTURE
"I wish to assure our fans that I am not retiring. My doctors have told me that I can continue to record in studios and I intend to do that..."

thin lizzy THIN LIZZY ANNOUNCE BASS PLAYER AND NEW DRUMMER FOR 2016/17 ANNIVERSARY SHOWS
Thin Lizzy are undisputed legends and to be a small part of their lineage is a humble honor for me...

ian gillan IAN GILLAN TO PERFORM UNIQUE SOLO SHOW OF DEEP PURPLE CLASSICS IN BULGARIA
There is a possibility that Ian will also play some material from his catalogue outside of Deep Purple...

don airey DEEP PURPLE'S DON AIREY AND FRIENDS ADDED TO CAMBRIDGE ROCK FESTIVAL PLUS ATOMIC ROOSTER
Expect to hear many classics from Airey's illustrious past which includes time spent with Rainbow, Ozzy Osbourne as well as his current job with Deep Purple...

wildfire festival WILDFIRE FESTIVAL 2016 ANNOUNCE SUNDAY NIGHT HEADLINERS AND FIVE MORE ACTS
With June creeping ever closer, Wildfire Festival's impressive main stages line-up is all but finalised...

whitesnake THE END OF WHITESNAKE: DAVID COVERDALE TO RETIRE IN 2017
Whitesnake headline the UK's Ramblin Man Festival in July in what could be their final ever UK appearance...

axl rose AXL ROSE CONFIRMED AS AC/DC SINGER FOR THE REMAINING ROCK OR BUST DATES
The worst kept secret in rock is now official...

aerosmith THE END OF AEROSMITH?: NO FAREWELL TOUR CONFIRMED AT THE MOMENT
"A farewell tour is something we've talked about doing for years, let's say roughly in the last five years..."

hrh united ALESTORM, HAMMERFALL, FINSTERFORST, NAPALM DEATH, ARMORED SAINT, VENOM INC. AND EVIL SCARECROW ANNOUNCED FOR HRH UNITED
HRH United 3 will be an exclusive upgraded Metal Edition taking over the entire site @ Camp HRH, Pwllheli, North Wales...

rolling stones PROUD GALLERIES PLAYING HOST TO FABULOUS ROLLING STONES PHOTO EXHIBITION: TERRY O'NEILL TO ATTEND SIGNING SESSION
It's a wonderful book by photographer Terry O'Neill of Rolling Stones images from 1963 to 1965, an era when the Stones were just "breaking through"...

between the buried and me BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME ANNOUNCE EUROPEAN SUMMER DATES
As well as the European tour dates, BTBAM have launched a live video for 'The Ectopic Stroll' whih you can see here...

jade vine LONDON BASED ALTERNATIVE PROG ROCKERS JADE VINE ANNOUNCE ALBUM LAUNCH SHOW
Jade Vine's music has been influenced by artists such as Pink Floyd, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Anathema and Pain Of Salvation...
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