An Interview with Marco Mendoza of Iconic and formerly of The Dead Daisies

All images courtesy of From the Vaults PR


By Andrew Daly
andrew@vinylwriter.com

Throughout an over thirty-years-song career, bassist Marco Mendoza has worked with a proverbial who’s who of name-brand musicians, making any project the bringer of four-stringed thunder becomes involved in an immediate must-listen.

For the uninitiated, Mendoza has lent his talents to Blue Murder, John Sykes, Whitesnake, The Dead Daisies, and most recently, Iconic.

On the flip side of that coin, Mendoza also has a teeming solo career, and a new record out, the aptly titled, New Direction, “This album was written mostly around September and December of 2019, to be finished by February 2020. COVID shit us down, so it was finally finished in June of ’21. The reason for this album happening was that we had such a great response with Viva La Rock, which was released in 2018. We knew we had to follow up with a new one, and I think we’ve done that.”

Mendoza recently joined me for an interview regarding his latest music, the formation of Iocnic, working with John Sykes, The Dead Daisies, and more.

Andrew:
What sort of progression in songwriting does the album feature after the success of Viva La Rock?

Marco:
There’s no progression. I didn’t have a direction or goal other than wanting to write some good songs. We just get together and start writing about relevant topics and what ever comes to mind, record, and document what we do. After that, before you know it, we have fifteen or twenty ideas and go from there.

Andrew:
Soren Anderson played a huge role here. Tell us more about his affect on the record musically, and sonically.

Marco:
Well, I can’t say enough about Soren and the work we do together. To me, he is a pivotal and extremely important factor in my work. We have this chemistry that’s just very special, and I think he understands who I am as a singer and as a musician. He supports the direction I want to take, and he’s one of the most talented cats I know. It’s a privilege to work with him and to have him as my partner in the writing, and producer of my last two albums.

All images courtesy of From the Vaults PR

Andrew:
You’re also a member of Iconic. Walk me through the formation of the band.

Marco:
Well, it just kind of came together organically. We have tons of talented cats starting with Michael Sweet as a producer, guitar player, songwriter, and an amazing singer who has seen running Stryper for years. Of course, he is followed by Joel Hoekstra, an amazing guitar player, who is now with Whitesnake. We’ve also got Nathan James, who as far as the new generation of singers goes, I would say that he is one of the best there is; he’s killer, man. Lastly, on drums is my friend Tommy Aldridge, whose body of work speaks loudly of his talents as a drummer, and can only be considered one of the best drummers ever. It’s always a pleasure working with him and me on bass.

Andrew:
The group’s debut is stout. With so much talent in the room, how did the songs shake out? Did you come in with tracks, or write in studio?

Marco:
To be honest, I was not part of the writing process. I came in when the racks were already put together, so I just laid my bass tracks on them.

Andrew:
Going all the way back, walk me through how you first met John Sykes?
 

Marco:
Wow! John came in to hear me play at a Local Club in Studio City. He introduced himself and said he was looking for a replacement bass player for Tony Franklin. After the initial introduction, he invited me to listen to the tracks he was working on for Nothing But Trouble, and so I plugged in, and away we went. It’s always a blast working with John. I’d say he is one of the most talented guitar players around, and a great singer, songwriter, producer, etc. John opened the door for me and introduced me to another world, and I’ll always beg grateful for that.

Andrew:
The word is John has had an album in the can for years. Did you feature on it?

Marco:
No, I didn’t. He did call, but I was touring on the other side of the planet and couldn’t make it. I wait for the day when we can get together and start working again in the studio and live.

All images courtesy of From the Vaults PR

Andrew:
I wanted to hit on The Dead Daisies as well. How did you enter the fold?

Marco:
I was on tour with Thin Lizzy in Australia on the Mötley Crüe/KISS package tour. Well, on this tour, the opening support band was David Lowy’s band, The Dead Daisies. I noticed they had great songs and a great singer, so I would go out and listen to them here and there. So, before the tour ended, I was approached by David Edwards (The Dead Daisies‘ manager) and he mentioned that the band would like to have a quick meeting with me. So, we did and they offered to have me aboard playing to support the first album they had. As I said, I had heard the music and it spoke very loud to me as something I would really dig being part of. The next thing I know, I’m in Australia touring in support of Aerosmith. [Laughs].

Andrew:
Make Some Noise and Burn It Down are two of the better rock records of the last decade, in my opinion. Give me the fly on the wall’s view of the sessions?

Marco:
Well, it was just five guys getting around a table, knocking out some ideas with one killer producer, and coming up with the music you heard. I’ve got to say, to me, it’s the most creative way of writing songs. I feel that way simply because you have five different directions where the ideas are coming from, so you end up with a wider and more colorful piece of music that will not be repeated unless you had the same guys getting together. I really dig that. The opposite would be one or two writers bringing their finished songs, so you just color the music, if that makes any sense.

Andrew:
Your chemistry with the Daisies was undeniable, Marco. What led to your departure?

Marco:
My departure was simply because John Corabi decided to leave the band. There were quite a few singers that were approached, but nobody could give us 100% commitment. Then Glenn Hughes got on the radar, and to me, it wasn’t the way to go, so I simply moved on. The Important thing to me was for the project to move forward regardless of the lineup changes, etc. There had been to much work invested, and that meant the most to me.

All images courtesy of From the Vaults PR

Andrew:
How would you best describe your approach to the bass? How has it evolved over the years?

Marco:
I really can’t explain it aside from saying that it’s mostly done by instinct, and trial and error. After playing for so many years, you develop skills you’re not aware of until you apply them. So, I really don’t think about it so much. Instead, I just know that if im digging the music, or the song I’m recording on, then the playing that I come up with reflects that feeling.

Andrew Daly (@vwmusicrocks) is the Editor-in-Chief for www.vwmusicrocks.com and may be reached at andrew@vinylwriter.com

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