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INTERVIEW: MARCO MENDOZA of THE DEAD DAISIES – August 2017

According to a recent press release: “Influenced by 70’s and early 80’s rock, The Dead Daisies sound is soulful and accessible – equal parts of Aerosmith, Bad Company and Foreigner: muscular vocals, bluesy riffs, big choruses, powerful melodies and strong hooks. With stellar musicianship and pulverizing live shows, fans worldwide are discovering the band that is bringing back Rock & Roll! The band features in their ranks some of the finest Rockers on the planet, among them one of the premier lead guitarists of this day and age, Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Dio). He completes a powerhouse line-up consisting of charismatic singer John Corabi (Mötley Crüe, The Scream), bassist extraordinaire Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake), drummer to the stars Brian Tichy (Ozzy Osbourne, Foreigner) and bringing the thunder from down under, Australian rhythm guitarist and founder David Lowy (Red Phoenix, Mink).”  As the band prepares to bring their live show to the fans, as well as making more, bassist Marco Mendoza took time out to give us a call and discuss the latest release, the tour, and much more!!!

Toddstar: Still with me, Marco?

Marco: Yeah, I’m here. [Pronounces my last name] Jolicoeur.  Awesome.

Toddstar: You like that, eh?

Marco: I dig it.

Toddstar: Cool. Marco, I appreciate you taking time out for us today. This is truly an honor for me.

Marco: Thank you, man. We’re doing a lot of this, and we appreciate you guys being interested and helping us along this little journey – this little Dead Daisies journey which has been amazing. We’re having a blast, so thank you. It’s a mutual thing.

Toddstar: You call this a little journey, but you guys are three discs, and now a live disc in. It’s more than a little journey.

Marco: Okay, this fantabulous, bombastic, most awesome, biggest ever journey.

Toddstar: There you go, brother. Let’s talk about what’s newest with you guys, and that’s Live and Louder. What was it like for you guys to come down in an era when singles, and iTunes, and downloads, and all that shit is so big, for you guys to say, “Let’s do a live album and put this out on CD and DVD, and just bombard our fans?”

Marco: Yeah, well, that’s exactly what we’re doing, bro. We’ve experienced the industry. We’ve seen the change. We’ve been part of it, unfortunately – the good and the bad. So, when the Dead Daisies began, I got recruited by David Lowie and his management. I remember having countless conversations about the industry. What’s going on, and what’s wrong with it. If we could, what would we change to make it better? That’s been part of our journey, to kind of go against the status quo, and go against the current here. We’re going up river, and breaking some rules along the way. The cool thing is that people are receptive to it, and sensitive, and it’s happening. People are digging it. I don’t want to get into numbers and all that, but let’s just say our sales way exceeded our expectations on this box set. We’re on the second and considering a third printing. Make Some Noise it came out last year. The label, everybody is really happy. So, what that tells us is that there is an audience out there that digs what people used to do in the 70’s and the 80’s. You know where you used to have the vinyl, and open the vinyl, and the posters, and the whole thing. I still dig that time. I’ll tell you. I have a daughter that’s 14. I live in Southern California, in Orange County, the most trendy place on the planet. For my daughter to want a turn table two years ago when she was 12… a turn table and some vinyl for Christmas. So, she gets together with her friends, and they wear Zeppelin shirts, and Deep Purple shirts, and Aerosmith shirts, and they know very little of the bands and who they are. There’s still resurgence of what’s going on. The classic rock thing is coming to the forefront, and hopefully we can participate in that revival, you know? We’re doing things against the grain here, but we’re getting results. So, there you go. You get encouraged and validated, and you keep moving forward. Because you’re doing something that people are digging. You know?

Toddstar: Well, it’s definitely being dug, man. Last year he wanted his turn table, and vinyl. He couldn’t wait to get his hands on Kiss Alive!, and open that vinyl.

Marco: Exactly. Like we used to do. I don’t know how old you are, but I am 85 next week. Back in 1935, we loved vinyl. I remember being my daughter’s age 13-14, a teenager and my first album I ever got at 12 or 13 was Abbey Road. Because I was living in Mexico, which is where I grew up, we got it like 10 years later. So, I remember, man, taking the wrap off and opening and seeing them walking on Abbey Road. The picture and the sensation that I got, “Wow! Look at that. That’s all the cats, but Paul he’s wearing no shoes. Is it true that he died, and that’s a double?” I don’t know if you remember. I stayed there for a minute, but do you remember that. It was like, “Wow.” Then I would pick the poster up, I put the album on the turn table, and for hours top to bottom… A-side and B-side. I started going, “Wow. This is amazing. This is very cool.” You know?

Toddstar: I am still the same way.

Marco: Yeah. You drop the needle, and you hear the needle grind a little bit. That grind that we all love. I think it represents a real cool time in our lives. There’s still a lot of innocence left. The digital industry hadn’t started. It started back then, but it never blew up like it did in the past 10-20 years. The Cold War was there. The politics were jumping. You know, all that stuff. There was a lot of great stuff going down. Then we got bombarded by the English invasion. The bands that came out of England. Great times. I was a fan of Southern Rock. CCR was the band of choice, after The Beatles. The Beatles were a little too advanced for me. So, CCR, they spoke to me in a very loud way. Ted Nugent, you know. Little Miss Dangerous. Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers, Grand Funk Railroad, and on, and on. The Southern Rock thing grabbed me. Really took me away. I could identify with it. That’s why I started playing music. It was very cool, man. Cool times. So, the short answer, is, “Yeah. We’re going against the grain. We’re trying to recreate what was happening in the 70’s-80’s.”

Toddstar: There’s definitely a need for it. When it comes to albums like these like Make Some Noise and Live and Louder, we want to make sure everybody goes out and gets their copy of that. So, you’re doing four and five printings of this thing. What is it about the way the band is clicking now? You guys have Crabby (John Corabi). You, other than David Lowie, you’re one of the, if not the longest tenured guy in the band as far as time there. I remember seeing the band opening on your first full US tour, opening on the Kiss tour. What’s it about this band and the way that you guys are firing now with John on vocals, and Doug over on leads…

Marco: And Brian Tichy on drums kicking it. Well, I’ll be totally honest. When I met David Lowy and David Edwards his manager, who is our manager now, I met them in Australia. I was out there on tour with Kiss and Motley Crue. I was playing with Thin Lizzy. It was a great tour. David Lowy was in the local band that would open up the whole thing. So, I started noticing that he had some good songs. He had a great band. The singer, this girl, a friend of ours playing bass and singing and her wife, who was a guitar player. It was a great band with great songs. They started getting my attention and curiosity. Then, we started talking. Before the tour ended, they said, “Listen. We have some songs that we recorded. We have this project called The Dead Daisies, and we want you to consider and if you’re up for it, collaborate. We would love to have you on board. Would you check it out?” I said, “Yes, of course.” So, I came home, and a few weeks later, the music got sent to me. Two, three songs. And it just… and I am being totally honest, what I heard was really speaking to me in a very loud voice. It was like, ” Whoa! This is very cool.” So, immediately, when you’re a real musician, when your heart is in the right place, and your soul is in the right place, you want to be a part of something that is good. Your initial instinct is, “Oh, let’s find out.” So, I went digging a little more, like you do on the internet, and everything I saw was very cool. So, I called back and said, “Yeah. What’s the deal? What’s going on?” “Well, we’re trying to build this band. We have the music, but we don’t have a band, but we are talking to your friend, Richard Fortus from Guns ‘N Roses, and Dizzy Reed, who is also from Guns ‘N Roses, and we’re talking to Charlie Drayton.” I am like, “Whoa! Okay. Let me make some phone calls. Let me call you back.” So, I called my friends and they said, “Yeah, Marco, we’re in it. It would be great if you came on board.” So, I called back I managed to change my schedule. I was working with Neil Schon from Journey. We were doing our second album with him or the third, and then I was also flying to New York working with Delores O’Riordan from the Cranberries, and her solo album. So, I call my friends and I say, “Guys, I’ve got an opportunity here to go and tour for two weeks. Do you mind if I move the dates around?” “Yeah! Go ahead. There’s no hurry.” Then I find out it was to open up for Aerosmith. So, that was the clincher for me. It was like, “I gotta do this. I have to do this.” I am a big fan. You know. Aerosmith is wow. Is amazing, man. Everything about them, man. The players, Brad, and Kramer, and Hamilton, and Perry, and freaking Tyler. They’re amazing. The whole band. They’re just amazing. So, we ended up in Australia, and after the first rehearsal again, it was like, “Wow, this is very cool. I am really digging this.” So that’s what happened. You get enthralled into the whole thing, because you dig it. Everything about it. Then, as we started moving forward, we realized that we could possibly have a chance to maybe take it further. Then, the talks started happening, and all that. Along the ways you can imagine with names like that people are busy, and might have prior commitments. I had to finish my commitment with Thin Lizzy, and we called Darryl Jones from The Rolling Stones to come and fill in on the bass for eight shows in the U.K. Richard and Dizzy obviously got the call from Axel and Slash, and they’re out there doing the GNR thing, and Charlie is all over the place. So, what happened, we sat down and said, “Listen. We need to find some cats that really can give us 100 percent commitment here. So that we can solidify the lineup, and start rolling forward.” Well, along the way, John Stevens also had some issues. Something was happening. I called John Corabi and we were able to talk to his management, and he jumped up and got on board. I was very happy. We’re all happy about that. Then, the same thing with Doug, and Brian. So, you know, we have a bunch of cats that love what they do. They’re at the top of their game, and it’s a very special band, man. If you could put a band together of the best cats, this would be it. You know? Be one of them at least. You know? There’s so many cats. We’re having a blast. We’re enjoying the ride.

Toddstar: I’d agree. But with all of you guys, you have quite the pedigree of who’s who in rock. Like you said, everybody is on top of their game in my opinion, especially live. There’s no better rhythm section than you and Tichy right now.

Marco: Oh, thank you, man! Wow. Thank you.

Toddstar: You know you get Corabi up on vocals, and Doug and David complement each other really well live. You guys are built for the stage. That’s the best thing about your sound. 

Marco: We are. We are. We have fun. We do the rehearsal, we’ve got the songs together. We have a lot of help from management. We got the sets together. We do this. We do that, and then we get up on stage and we forget about it, and have fun with the audience. Which is what everybody is so sensitive and reactive to it. Because at the end of the day, man, you can be the most technical player, you can have the best songs, if you’re not connecting with the audience, I am sorry, I’ve seen it. I’ve been there. I have been to shows where the music is amazing, great lighting, great technical ability, the whole thing, but there’s a big wall between the performers, and the audience. I am sorry. I say this with all the love and respect, again you can’t do that. It’s about the audience. It’s the about the time that you connect with your audience. That’s what matters at the end of the day. Which is why, look at Kiss. There you go. Boom. They’ve set the standard for all of us to follow, because that’s what they do. That’s everything they do is about the fans.

Toddstar: It’s so true. You guys are really devoted to your fans. With this live disc, how did you guys cultivate a list of what songs you wanted to put on this? Because you pulled these tracks from a bunch of live shows. How did you guys decide what you were going to put on here?

Marco: I remember having this conversation, and again a lot of credit to management, because at the end of the day he makes the best decision he can make based on what information he’s got. He’s great. I give him a lot of credit. We put our input in, and all that. We have our favorites for whatever the reason. The bottom line it’s about the songs that have content that is relevant to the message we are trying to get out there. “We’re An American Band” the Grand Funk Railroad cover; “Join Together With The Band” from The Who. “Midnight Moses.” So on and so forth. We had a big catalog of songs. We have a lot of songs that are great. But we wanted to focus more on Make Some Noise with just a lineup that is representing today. Which is Doug, and Brian, and David, and John, and myself. Not to say that we a lot of other songs from Revolución and Face I Love were just some amazing songs. But we wanted to kind of cultivate that line up, that writing, and maybe include some of the songs from previous recordings, and we did. That was the criteria. Songs that had a content that was relevant to what’s going on today. You and I we have to do that. The state of the planet right now, politically, religiously speaking, and all the crap that’s going on. I don’t even want to talk about it. It’s not worthy of time. It’s so negative, but you have to touch on that a little bit, and hopefully, bring some light, and be positive at the end of the day. Because, that’s all we can do, right? You can’t let these punks ruin the way you live. You can’t let the bad energies in the world drag you down. You got to be stronger. You gotta be wiser. So, that was the criteria. At the end of the day management makes that decision. You know, “Song and a Prayer.” That’s a song that we all know. It has been written so many times. It’s about the kid that gets drafted, and goes out there and starts shooting people, he doesn’t know why, comes back and he has a terrible time coming back to society, and not dealing with it. This is a song and a prayer for the dying. Wherever you go, whatever you do, you gotta be strong. You gotta be wiser. There you go. It’s about life. It’s a lot of good songs, man. A lot of great songs if they’re given the opportunity. These songs came out 10-15 years ago when the industry was still hanging out,  and all that would just be spinning the crap out of this stuff. But we’re doing it. We’re doing what we can on in our own little way, and it seems to be working. We can’t wait, man. Detroit definitely.

Toddstar: I know – August 11th.

Marco:  August 11th. The Shelter in Detroit. One of the quintessential cities of rock and roll. Motown Music Industries, period. We can’t wait to how up and leave our little mark, and we will. Without sounding pretentious. I just know, bro. I don’t speak for myself, I speak for the team that I am with, because it’s a really well-oiled machine. We love music. We love to perform. We’re doing everything possible to get on the map, and stay on the radar. Why not feel confident about that? You know? It’s like, “Let’s go, man. We need to be positive about this. Proactive.”

Toddstar: Well, you guys and all your other projects that you have done, and we’ll call those other things projects, because this is the band you guys are in now. With all the stuff that you guys have done, and with everything else going on, you know how important it is to keep moving forward. So, while you’re out promoting Live and Louder – the new live CD and DVD – are you guys still putting new music together? I mean is there lots of music still to come from The Dead Daisies?

Marco: Well, like I said earlier, and I say this, I don’t hesitate, and I am being totally honest and sincere, we’ve only just hit the top of the iceberg. This is the beginning of this band. There is so much water in the well. From every angle. Everybody in this band could write three or four albums, and produce, and sing, and perform. Everybody in the band is very talented. I would say out of all the cats, I am the least talented, and that’s very bad. But no, we won’t compare. Everybody is an amazing artist and musician. Everybody loves what they do, so they are constantly creating and coming up with ideas. So, we collected. I don’t have a number of ideas, which how you sketch ideas. Some of us got together with Marti Fredrickson, our producer, who we’re going to meet in November in Nashville. We get together at the end of October to kind of go through all these ideas, and sift through all the ideas, and decide where we want to go. Marti will be part of that process. A lot of credit to Marti, man, he’s been doing a great job. He came in on Make Some Noise and just killed it. I can’t give him enough credit. Really, he did a great job. He’s like the sixth member. He comes in. He’s amazing. He’s talented. He sings. He writes. He plays. He’s got the whole thing. He’s a great listener, and he’s got a great instinct into guide the machine where it needs to go. So, that’s the sign of a good producer. He brings the best out of the whole thing. Out of everybody, and focuses. Focuses it into something that’s cool. Something that’s tangible. They’re sending a bunch of ideas. I got together with Marti, and just in the matter of half an hour, 40 minutes there’s a bunch of ideas. I have stuff on my phone. Stuff on my laptop, and we all do. We are constantly working, and writing, and creating. Which is another thing that is very cool about this band. It’s constantly moving forward. I love that. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy that. Because I’ve experienced the opposite. I’ve experienced where I have been a part of pre-establish bands, right? That pretty much, and I say again with all due respect, whether they deserve and validate this or not, they’re just living off their laurels. There’s just no forward movement whatsoever. Maybe because the fans in the industry don’t allow it. They want to hear, what they want to hear. The classic stuff. So, after a while when you’ve been doing that, you get stifled. It’s a very thin line that becomes very monotonous and predictable. You still have to get up there and deliver it like it’s the first time you ever played it. It’s a trip. With this band, we’re constantly on our toes. We’re constantly changing the set. We’ll change the set half an hour before we go on stage. I love that. I say, “All right. Here we go. Let’s concentrate. Let’s pull this one off.” “But we haven’t played this song in a month!” “That’s okay. Put you’re thinking cap on, and go out there and deliver and have a good time.” I love that. Honestly. That’s a sign of a good musician. That’s the sign of focused band. That’s the sign of talent. When we do it, we pull it off, and the audience goes bananas. We look at each other going, “Yeah.”

Toddstar: You guys always tear it up live. I mean there is no doubt it. The last time i saw you guys, it was a shortened set only because it was in Toledo and a tornado shut you down.

Marco: Oh, the tornado! Oh, my God! There was two or three tornadoes. I remember. We felt so bad, and we were so psyched up to get up there. We were pumped. We were ready to go. Then, I think we played two or three songs. Right? Something like that. But we come out game busters, man. We know what we gotta do, and we go out there and fly the flag. High and mighty.

Toddstar: That’s true, and anyone that’s smart is going to grab a ticket to see you guys at The Shelter, because they are going to get their asses handed to them.

Marco: I’m hoping, man. I’m hoping. So, yes please, come out. I am doing a bunch of interviews today, and I’ve said it before it’s true. If you like no nonsense, bombastic, classic rock at its best form, and have fun doing it, come out. See the Dead Daisies. That’s what we do.

Toddstar: That’s all that can be said, Marco.

Marco: That’s it, bro.

Toddstar: Well, listen man. I know you’re a busy man. I personally can’t wait – August 11th at The Shelter in Detroit.

Marco: Yes. I would love to say hello, bro. Please do. All right, I really get a kick out of saying hello to the people I talk to over the phone. So, all right, Todd.

Toddstar: Awesome, brother.

Marco: Okay, brother. Peace!

THE DEAD DAISIES LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

Live photos: Todd Jolicoeur – www.toddstarphotography.com

INTERVIEW: MARCO MENDOZA of THE DEAD DAISIES - August 2017

Filed Under: 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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