28 October 2012
MG: Hi it’s an honour to meet you.
Marco: Thank you, great to meet you too.
MG: The whole experience with Thin Lizzy seems to be phenomenal, and Ricky Warwick has done an outstanding job, what would you say personally stands out for yourself in the two years you have been working with Ricky Warwick?
Marco: Well it’s been an on-going thing as soon as we get up on stage, you know getting to know each other and I would say from our third show it’s been a feeling of winning every time we come of stage. So we have a bunch of highlights I would say Download is a big one, but myself personally I think Slane in Dublin was a big one, the whole vibe, it was a big festival, Kings of Leon where there and a lot of our friends and it was a big highlight. Going back we started with Vivian Campbell in the band and he brought so much heart and soul and is such pro guy. Then Richard Fortus joined the band took his place and brought another sort of energy to the band, so we have had three different players. But finally we had Damon Johnson coming in and he has brought so much to the table as well. So for me going through the whole rollercoaster ride of different players, and kind of like what Phil and the boys went through with Snowy White, Robbo, Skye’s, and Gary Moore and all of that . So really there are so many highlights to many to name to be honest with you, but yeah I do have to say Download, Slane, High Voltage, and so many in Europe.
As for Ricky I can’t think of anyone else who would do such a great job, he’s just in it heart and soul and so passionate about everything he does. Ricky Warwick is a great frontman, great songwriter he’s got it all. I mean that was the pressure mark people were asking, Can he do it? And the result is he is just totally amazing! He took the ball and ran with it and we are the team behind him and I am very proud to be part of the legacy of Thin Lizzy.
MG: Moving away from Lizzy, and onto your solo work, how did yourself, Soren Anderson and Mark Cross actually first get together to form the band, was it just spontaneous?
Marco: Well I have known Mark a number of years; we have done a few projects in the past and have a lot of mutual friends. We had always been talking about doing something more substantial, he’s a lovely guy, a great player and a total pro and whenever the opportunity comes up we take it. This opportunity came up; I had dates offered to me in England Ireland, Holland, Poland and Belgium. But because of the time between Thin Lizzys next tour I grabbed the chance to get out on the road with my solo work, and sing my songs.
My main objective is to try and play my solo work every four or five months, be in the area and show people my other side away from Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake and all that other stuff. We drove six hours today from Ipswich to be here in Workington, and then we drive to Southampton tonight after this show, we love it though it’s what we do. I am always in touch with a lot of musicians, Soren who is now working with Glenn Hughes and Mark happened to be the guys that were available, we were all talking about working together, which we love doing and it’s all fitted together, mean there is other cats that will also come out to play it’s all about the music.
The point is to let people hear the music and to know that I am writing, singing, I have a real blast fronting my own band I really do enjoy it.
MG: I was watching some footage on You Tube and there seem to be a lot of salsa influences, is that going back to your roots growing up?
Marco: Yes, definitely!
MG: How has the tour been so far?
Marco: This is date number five and they have so far been brilliant, we played a gig in Ipswich last night, and it was electric, I mean we are playing small venues, most people don’t know my music away from the Lizzy etc. and 60-70% don’t even know I have album out, so yeah I have to throw in a couple of things that I have done with Neil Schon and Ted Nugent and sometimes some Thin Lizzy songs in as well.
I am glad The Mayfair Mall Zine is going to hang out and watch the show. Some of the interviews I have done recently, the interviewers don’t even stay to watch our show and review it; they just come for the interview! I would love the Zine to do a review of the show as the smaller independent labels can only do so much, you know we tour play and do what we do.
MG: How important were your formative years, and what bands influenced you growing up?
Marco: Before I got introduced to rock n roll my first album was the Beatles 'Abbey Road' which came via Santa Claus! You know I was brought up in a musical family my grandmother was a piano teacher, and was really into music be it Classical. My father was into big bands and a clarinet player, my mums a singer as well, she loved the musicals and all of that kind of thing, and I was surrounded by music constantly then I got the 'Abbey Road' album and it was like somebody pushed a button and it was like “POW” it opened my mind, my ears and my heart and I started to play air guitar, man I was really young.
My father brought me a guitar and amps and saw how much I was into the whole thing. We started a garage band my brother and I, playing school parties etc., then there was another band who were playing the bigger gigs, they had a good reputation and came to me as they had heard me sing and play guitar and said they needed a bass player, we have some gigs coming up and would you be interested in playing in our band. So my dad was cool and went and got me a bass and the next thing you know am in the band having never played bass guitar before, it took a bit of work to learn.
They were playing some cool music like Bread, Grand Funk Rail Road, just all of the music I really loved. That’s when I realised I wanted to do this, then a major band picked me up and I was touring, traveling and the rest is history. I have gotten to the point where I love everything about touring etc. that it’s totally addictive, you know the lifestyle, even doing the smaller tours like this one, it is harder, but once I arrive at the venue and I am on stage it’s all worth the 6-7 hour drives you know.
MG: Yes I was very surprised to see you play the smaller venues as you are a big Rock star like Ricky Warwick, who also plays smaller venues with his solo work, and you have gone back to your roots in many ways as well?
Marco: Yes Ricky and I had this conversation, we love to do our own thing and we need to be creative. I need to let people know I am writing my own songs and if I can pick up some new fans along the way that’s beautiful!
MG: You have collaborated with many bands and musicians, for instance Right Said Fred which is a bit different from the Rock / Metal genre?
Marco: I didn’t collaborate with them and I am not sure why the press say this. I was actually in the UK on tour and their producer Richard Niles was working with them in the studio and I had a day off in London and he asked if I would mind coming down to the studio and working with Right Said Fred, so I showed up with my bass to find out they needed a vocalist. So that’s what I did, I can’t quite remember which song I featured on but it was a major hit and I remember hearing it on the radio. Buy yeah I wish I had actually collaborated with them as that would have been really cool, they were amazing.
MG: What would you regard as the highlight of your career?
Marco: Oh there has been so many, what I would like to say to that question is: There are many more highlights to come! Which I am not at liberty to talk about at the moment. But having said that a major highlight I guess was when I worked with David Coverdale “The Voice” I used to call him, he’s another guy, when I heard him on the radio just took me places and inspired me. Glenn Hughes I have never worked with him, but he’s a good friend and I am a big fan, what Coverdale and Hughes did with Deep Purple was like “Wow”!
Going to Japan for the first time with Thin Lizzy in 94, learning the material, John Gorham, John Sykes, Brian Downey, we did eight shows and that’s where the Thin Lizzy thing started again, like a snow ball effect. It was just going to be a one off thing like seven eight shows and that would have been it. But months later it was like yeah lets continue. Another thing is the show in Dublin in 96 for Phil Lynott and Philomena was there and it was really special. Ted Nugent, I did a lot of work with Ted and we went out on the road with KISS and Skid Row opened up and we were in the middle I can’t tell you how amazing that was.
With Whitesnake I have this memory of Sofia Bulgaria, it was just enormous, the power of the audience, it was huge, I don’t know how many thousands of people were there. I remember we got driven to the soccer field where it was being held in limos and there were spotlights on us and we had to walk half of the field to the stage and the roar man! AMAZING! It took us 5-6 minutes to get to the stage and it was a major highlight. Working with Dolores O`Riordan from The Cranberries is another highlight. Working with Neil Schon and not to forget John Sykes we did a lot of great work together. So there’s a lot! I would really have to think about it...
MG: Yeah I guessed that when I thought about asking you the question. You have had a stunning career so far and long may it continue!
Marco: Yeah there is stuff constantly going on, you know playing a club in LA and Chaka Khan joining us on stage. There is just so much you know. Doing my album 'Live for Tomorrow' with Steve Lukather and Ritchie Kotzen producing, Doug Aldridge, Tommy Aldridge and Brian Tichy playing on the album, Ted Nugent also played as well, so all pretty wild you know. It’s hard to separate.
MG: On your recent album, any tracks that you would recommend to a first time listener?
Marco: Well they are all varied they are not just Metal / rock you know when I am writing music I try and move away from one genre /style . There are some Metal tracks, a lot of great guitar stuff, and when you have people like Tommy Aldridge on the drums you can’t go wrong. 'Look out for the Boys' is really heavy for the guys that like the tougher stuff. Then there is 'Live for Tomorrow' which is reminiscent of my roots, its Southern Rock, and then I have the ballads the bluesy 'Still in Me', 'Letting Go' and 'I Want You' so it’s a little varied. 'Live for Tomorrow' is the title track and seems to get a lot of attention as do the ballads. At the end I have an acoustic piece which I did on my own and dedicated it to my father, so yeah it’s a variety of stuff.
MG: So what is your take on the current music scene?
Marco: I could give you a bit of sarcasm.. ”What music scene”!! Well the industry has kind of shot itself in the foot. That’s why I am here its coming back to artists going out and playing the little clubs and pubs, letting people know what you do and hopefully you make some friends / fans along the way and do it again.
I was talking to Brian Downey and Scott Gorham and they used to go out and do the circuit for years over and over again and that’s how they built up a fan base. So it’s coming back to the grass roots again, being out there and showing people what you can do. We all kind of got spoilt with the big budgets, big tours, big arenas, the tour buses.
I am so honoured and blessed to be part of that, but for me I like to be creative, traveling about with the guitar. Is kind of sharing my message, being positive and to have hope and faith those things happening for a reason? We are going to go through some valleys, but there are peaks... It’s a joke with my friends I am the ultimate optimist! I really try and have the attitude of gratitude.
So the music business is tough there are still some independent labels that are keeping the industry going but even they are constricted, so it’s up to the artist to go out and promote their work, market it and sell it. In the old days they used to have 2-3 million in their marketing / promotion budget but its not like that anymore.
MG: Any words you would like to give to your fans and our readers?
Marco: I just want to say thank you for the interest and go to Marco Mendoza .com check out my album and in 2013 I am going to be doing so much , check my work out and come and see a show!
MG: Thanks for your time.
Marco: Thank you.
Interview by: Seb Di Gatto