I’ve seen bass player Marco Mendoza performing with a few bands over the years – Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Black Star Riders and most recently The Dead Daisies – and he never fails to impress. I arranged to speak to Marco via Skype on 3rd January to talk about his new solo album “Viva La Rock” which is released through Mighty Music on 2nd March, and the tour that is planned to coincide with the album launch. The tour includes a date in Voodoo, Belfast on Sunday 18th February.  We chatted for almost an hour, about the new solo album, the upcoming tour, working with Ted Nugent, Neal Schon and others, the new Dead Daisies album and more. We could have talked for even longer to be honest!

 

The interview can be heard on the Friday NI Rocks Show uploaded on 8th January along with tracks from his solo album, The Dead Daisies, Black Star Riders and his collaboration with Neal Schon. That Show is now available via our MixCloud page. It has also been transcribed and posted below.

https://www.mixcloud.com/NIRocks/interview-with-marco-mendoza-on-the-friday-ni-rocks-show-12th-jan-2018/

 

Check out Marco’s website - http://www.marcomendoza.com/ - for all tour dates, news and the links to his social media pages; including https://www.facebook.com/marcomendozaofficial/

https://twitter.com/CasaMendoza2012 and

https://www.instagram.com/marcomendozaofficial/

 

Playlist for the Friday NI Rocks Show 12th January 2018

(Uploaded 8th Jan)

GASOLINE OUTLAWS – Breathe Again

BLACK STAR RIDERS – All Hell Breaks Loose

THE DEAD DAISIES – Song And A Prayer

Interview with MARCO MENDOZA Part 1 (19 Min)

MARCO MENDOZA – Viva La Rock

Interview with MARCO MENDOZA Part 2 (20 Min)

MARCO MENDOZA – Sue Is On The Run

Interview with MARCO MENDOZA Part 3 (13 Min)

MARCO MENDOZA – Sweetest Emotions

THE DEAD DAISIES – Make Some Noise

NEAL SCHON – What You Want

WILD HEAT – Don’t Even Know Your Name

FALON – Girls on Fire

MAGNUM – Without Love

TESLA – Song & Emotion

 

 

NI ROCKS – Hi Marco, thanks for taking the time to talk to Rock Radio NI. I was wanting to chat initially about your excellent new solo album which is being released on 2nd March via Mighty Music. How did the connection with Mighty Music come about?

MARCO – I spend a lot of time in Scandinavia. I’ve been going there for years – since ’92 / ’93. Along the way I’ve made a lot of friends and also ended up meeting a lot of great musicians, producers and all that. When I did my first album “Live for Tomorrow”; my first rock solo album (2007); I didn’t really have the chance to promote or tour behind it for a few years. The album came out and I decided to do a CD release party here in L.A., just to announce it to my local friends and all that. Along the way I had seen this guy Soren Anderson play guitar and he was brilliant; a great player, but I had never approached him. A mutual friend suggested that I gave him a call as he was coming over - it was during the NAMM time. They said he was a nice cat and that he was dying to work with me. So I called him and we just hit it off over the phone. He was the sweetest cat and very supportive, happy and full of positive energy. I tend to gravitate towards positive energy; or I least I try to – my life is about that. So we hit it off and he played here in L.A. for the release party. There were a lot of big names – I won’t start telling you, but a bunch of people in the business – big name celebrities.  I was very happy with him and that started our relationship. Through the years I have introduced him to a few other folk. Now he’s in big demand. He’s a busy cat – he’s very talented and he deserves to be busy.

So through him; he started talking to me a few years ago about this label out of Denmark. I was in the process of talking to a few other labels that I had worked with previously. I was just waiting for the time to be able to do a new album, because it had been a few years. He introduced me to Michael Anderson who is the owner, CEO and brains behind Mighty Music and Target. Again, from the first conversation we had via e-mail and then on the phone it was really positive – I got a positive energy vibe from it. One thing led to another; it’s a long process, but to make a long story short he said Marco you need to do an album and you need to do it with us. He put in the proposal and he sent all the guidelines and all the info. I was just waiting to have the time and the time came. I had a tour booked last year in Europe – my run with The Dead Daisies was finishing on September 2nd or 3rd and I came home for a day then flew to Copenhagen to have the final meeting with Michael. We had dinner, we signed the papers and the next day we started working. It was just like that and so far, so good. I look at Michael as one of those cats that is making a difference out there for artists like me and a lot of others. He does it for the right reasons. He loves what he does; he loves to be supportive, he loves good music and appreciates people and artists. That means a lot to me in a world where it is all about the dollar, profit and accountability financially; it’s nice to come across somebody like that. We signed a two record deal and I’m really, really happy.

I flew in and of course chose Soren Anderson to work with and produce. He’s extremely talented and so sensitive in the studio to tap into who you are, what you want to say and how you want to say it creatively and musically. He and I had a great chemistry – we just got along. He’s a busy cat now and you can’t pin him down, so I was lucky to have him. Twelve days – we went in there, wrote everything and there you go! I had brought some songs or ideas that were going in that direction and the chemistry was so strong and so fast. The first song that we wrote was “Viva La Rock”.  I had that phrase in my head for a few years now. Let’s celebrate music – Viva La Rock – rock ‘n’ roll and life and love and passion. We got in there and started grabbing guitars and getting into it. I’m not exaggerating, within an hour and a half the song was there. It’s a little party song to have fun – to celebrate life and music.


NI ROCKS – It was recorded in Soren’s studio presumably. You provide vocals and bass obviously, but who else plays on the album?

MARCO - I had Morten Hellborn, who is another favourite drummer of mine. He’s unbelievable; he’s got heart and does everything with a lot of heart and passion. He’s got everything – he knows what to play and how to play it; and how much to play it, depending on the song. The three of us just worked really fast. Soren brought someone in to play keyboards, but I’ve forgotten his name to be honest – he did a brilliant job, but you’ll have to look it up! I apologise – like I said, it was a fast project . It’s someone Soren works with – one of the top studio musicians there in Denmark.


NI ROCKS – The album also includes guest appearances from Richard Fortus who you had worked with in The Dead Daisies previously and from Mike Tramp. Had you worked with Mike before?

MARCO – No, I’d been a fan and we’ve known each other for a few years. We come from the same place; we’re on the same path – the creative solo artist thing. He does his band thing and he’s got a lot of history; he’s pretty well known. My connection to him was through Soren. We’d met before years ago, but in this business you meet so many people and the fact that he lives in another country and I live on the other side of the planet, we really don’t come across each other that much. Until I started working with Soren and he connected us up. I love Mike and what he does – his song-writing and his singing. He’s a great cat and a good human being – he’s got a big heart and a lot of passion. Again, anybody that walks like that, I dig and gravitate towards people like that.

With Richard of course, we had a history – with The Dead Daisies and with Thin Lizzy. I just remember him being so passionate and so into playing Thin Lizzy stuff. That’s a story in itself – how we all connected with Thin Lizzy. They’re one of the ultimate guitar players music. You’re going to be influenced and inspired by Thin Lizzy if you’re passionate about guitar playing. I saw him recently – he came to one of our Dead Daisies shows after he’d left the band. I think it was Switzerland. They were coming in and playing the next night and we were playing the night before, so we connected. I mentioned to him that I was looking to do another solo album and would love him to play on it. He said ‘yeah, absolutely’. I said I’d be in touch, but a year went by. He’s just a guy that I dig very much. An extremely talented guitar player and a sweetheart, a dad, a husband. He is a talent to be reckoned  with and he’s very passionate about what he does – again I gravitate towards people like that. It was so easy – I called him and texted him and said Richard I going to be doing an album and I’m flying to Copenhagen in the next week or so, are you around? Within seconds, yeah buddy. I’m around, I leave for South America on whatever date.

When we got into the studio I thought I really wanted to pay tribute to Thin Lizzy, which has been a big part of my career, being involved there for years and also with Ted Nugent. I thought Thin Lizzy would be great for Richard to play on. We sent him a track (“Chinatown”) and he played on it and we got it back and he was on fire; he’s great. He’s really happy with it – he got to hear it. Then Mike Tramp – he’s been a big fan of Thin Lizzy. If you’re from Scandinavia, you’re a big fan of Thin Lizzy – they used to go there a lot. He was really happy to come and sing a verse and be part of that song to pay tribute to one of the greatest bands of all time.

I’m still a big fan of rock ‘n’ roll. I’m a big fan of the bands that I grew up listening to and who inspired me and that I later on ended up being a part of.


NI ROCKS – Your last solo album was back in 2010. Has this been something you’ve been wanting to allocate time to for a while now and have just been too busy to get to?

MARCO – It’s been that long? 2010, oh my gosh! That was “Casa Mendoza”. A lot of things come into play. I’ve done so much work since 2010; God I haven’t stopped. With Thin Lizzy and everything else. The Daisies started in 2013 and I’d done the first album with Black Star Riders and two albums with Neal Schon. I worked with Dolores O’Riordan on her last album (note - this was recorded before her death) and there has been so much going on. When you ask me something like that, I’m going back and thinking what was going on? The years are going by so quickly!

I was touring a lot and (the way that I did) “Casa Mendoza” was just one of those things that I would never do again. I was on the run and I never really stopped. There’s some good stuff on that album, but you can hear that it was done quickly and in a hurry. It was done for Mascot and one thing that I’m a little disappointed with is that Mascot approached me and said they wanted me to....they’d heard my Latin Jazz Funk trio that I work with(Mendoza Heredia Neto) and the CEO said I love what you do with the trio and I think there is a market for it. Get away from rock ‘n’ roll a little bit like I’d done for my first album and be eclectic, be artistic and play what is in your heart.

We had a great producer, Fabrizio Grossi; but I would come into town, work for a few hours or half a day, run out of town, then come back and it was a little, what’s the word, out-jointed. It’s not coming together and I have a hard time hearing it to this day. There’s some good songs and good covers and the players were amazing. I used Steve Winegard on keyboards and Rafael Moreira on guitar who has played with Christina Aguilera, Pink, Paul Stanley to name a few and every TV show you can imagine; he is one of the top studio cats here in L.A. Then we had Joey Heredia on drums, who is one of my favourite drummers too.

It was great, but I think what happened; that experience, it made me think that the next thing I do, I have to put soe time aside and be a little focused. Having said that, twelve days or fourteen days was not enough! But it was either do it now or another year and a half or two years are going to go by. I didn’t know if the label would still have the deal on the table or if they’d still be interested in me doing that, so I said if the opportunity comes and you’re ready, you go – boom! But this album is a little more focused in the song-writing and the direction and we had a blast Soren and I. I could work with Soren forever. I told him we should think about working on some projects together in the future. We had a blast and it was really productive and really rewarding. We walked away thinking “Wow”.


NI ROCKS – The first single from the album is going to be the title track which gets released on 19th January.  We’ll play that song now, but first of all, tell us something about that track.

MARCO – Like I was saying earlier, that was a catch phrase that I’d had. Everyone has little catch phrases – rock on and so on. Having the Latin influences – I grew up in Mexico though I’m a US citizen. For the first thirteen or fourteen years I lived in Mexico so my first language is Spanish and viva is just viva good food, viva life, viva rock, whatever. It’s like saying let’s celebrate. That became a little catch phrase of mine. I would use it in e-mails and on social media, signing off viva la rock. As I was touring I started writing a couple of lines and thought this is cool – it’s catchy, simple, to the point and focuses on the fact that I’m Mexican Spanish American by heritage. So why not celebrate that! So that was the first song that we wrote, and I’m not kidding you, we sent it to the label and they said they loved it and that it should be the single. It was like that – boom, boom, boom! I think Soren and I captured the vibe, which was to have fun – Viva La Rock, long live rock ‘n’ roll. We’re hoping that people dig it. Ultimately you’re wanting that to happen to every song – that’s the idea. That you push a button in people’s hearts where they say ‘wow, this is cool’.

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NI ROCKS – You’re supporting the release of the new album with a tour starting next month. Some details are still being finalised I believe, but the tour will include a show in Belfast on Sunday 18th February. Will that be a solo acoustic tour or will you be supported by a full band?

MARCO – No, I will be announcing a band soon. It will be solo, but with a band. I don’t go out there on my own unless I’m doing a clinic tour or a masterclass or ‘An Evening with Marco Mendoza’ where I play a little bit of guitar and talk about where I’ve been and what I’m doing then play different styles of music – jazz, fusion whatever. But I prefer to play with a band, especially with an album like this. I will be announcing the players here shortly. It all becomes a process again – who is available, who can do all the dates and rehearsals and all that. I’m very lucky in that there are a lot of people who are very interested and who want to participate. They’re just checking their schedules and I’m waiting for the full list of dates to come in so that we can have a full commitment. It’ll be a trio at least – I’m trying to maybe come up with a quartet. I’ve been very lucky, every time I go out there I have some of the best cats available – the best drummers and guitar players.


NI ROCKS - There are confirmed dates in Germany and Denmark and I know you’re coming to Belfast. How long do you think you’ll be out on tour – a few weeks anyway?

MARCO – I think it’ll be close to a month – four weeks, maybe five. It looks like I’m going to be starting with The Dead Daisies in New York on the 19th of March, so that means we could work through to the 18th in the evening! This time it has been a little awkward with the holidays – you’re the exception, you’re working shortly after the New Year, but most promoters, agents, club owners, musicians etc shut down. I’m actually supposed to start confirming things after January 4th which is tomorrow. There will be quite a few dates. We’re starting on the 15th February and we’ll go all the way through to the 17th or 18th March – so a good month. There’s dates coming in from Belgium, Holland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Italy and Austria. So it’s going to be busy!


NI ROCKS – You’ve played Belfast quite a few times with different bands in recent years. Any particular highlights from previous visits to Belfast?

MARCO – Oh wow! There’s a big arena there – I’ve done that quite a few times with Thin Lizzy, with Whitesnake and The Daisies. Then the Waterfront  is a venue I love. And I have great memories of The Limelight (with The Dead Daisies and Black Star Riders) – that used to be...(prompt).. Spring & Airbrake! I have a lot of fond memories of Belfast. I’m not just saying this – I love the people in Ireland. They love their music; they’re passionate about the arts and when they love you, they love you, they never forget you. They’re very supportive so I’m really looking forward to getting back to Ireland. I was really surprised that I hadn’t been back since (as a solo artist). I believe the first time I went there it was poorly promoted and it was last minute; and it was a Monday. It was just the wrong thing to do. I’m starting to look at that carefully now. I think we’re going to Voodoo (on Sunday 18th February) so I’m hoping I’ll see a lot of my friends there. If folks come up and hang out we’ll have a great time guaranteed – it’s been a while; five or six years since I did my solo thing there, maybe longer. I have a long history with Ireland and Belfast. You can’t play in a band called Thin Lizzy and not have a relationship with Ireland. I’m looking forward to that one absolutely! It’s going to be one of the first dates and I’ll make sure I come in there full blown, well rehearsed and put on the best show we possibly can. I will say this – you’ll remember the performance, because I really focus on having an uplifting, positive attitude in my show. It means so much to me when people come up to me and say hello at the meet and greets and say ‘you made me smile’ or ‘you made me happy’ or ‘I will remember this’ – it’s cool. It’s the best compliment you can get. Besides all the technical stuff – ‘you shred’ or ‘you’re amazing’ whatever; when you really touch another human being in an emotional or spiritual way that’s what really matters to me.

NI ROCKS – You’ve a great stage presence. I’ve stood in front of you a few times, particularly in The Limelight, and you must be one of the best guitar pick flickers there is around!

MARCO – (Laughs) Thank- you man. I do that for fun. I try to have a real relaxed good time. I learnt early in my career to make that transparent wall disappear – between the audience - and the people who inspire me are the people who do that immediately as soon as they get on stage. They know how to break that wall and to connect. So I aspire to do that and hopefully I do. It’s so much fun.


NI ROCKS – Before you head off on your tour of Europe you’re playing the ‘Journey Through Time’ benefit show on 9th February in aid of the California fire victims. Can you tell us something about that and who else is involved?

MARCO – I’ve had a long lasting relationship with Neal Schon. We’re friends, we’re buddies and I’m a big fan of his. I think it’s mutual – we stay in touch. We did a lot of work there for a little bit and then he got really busy with Journey again.  We did two or three albums now I think – I’ve lost track! To me Neal is one of the quintessential legendary guitar players of all time. He’s unbelievable, his talent on the guitar and he’s just a great cat, a great human being. He’s down to earth with friends and we stay in touch and I support his projects and whatever he wants to accomplish musically or otherwise. He’s a good guy with a good heart. We’d been talking about organising and doing something when he wasn’t busy with Journey; but both of us have been extremely busy. You’ll have noticed that we called Dean Castonova to come in to take over from Brian Tichy in the drummer gig here with The Dead Daisies, and I think that created more of a connection. Both Dean and Neal have so much history – they’re both at the top of their game; some of the best musicians out there that I’ve had the opportunity to work with. We started talking and he was happy for Dean to come into the fold.

Then he called me and said what do you think if we do something  - you’ve have heard about the fires here in California? They were pretty devastating and this is just one way for us to give back and to try to help to make a difference, however big or small. Since we play music that is what we can donate – our time and our effort and lead our names to try and raise a little bit of money to help some of the victims. When he called, I said absolutely! For me personally and musically, it’s great. Anytime I do something with Neal it’s a lot of fun and very challenging. It’s some highlights in my career. So when he called, he’s one of those cats that when they call, if I can be available, I make myself available. So we’re doing this. He’s pairing up with Gregg Rolie and its historical what they have done in the music business since they started touring together. Then with Dean being there, I’m just happy to be on the same stage as those cats. It’s going to be fun. We’ll hopefully raise some funds and make a difference out there – that’s all we can do. I keep myself available for things like that.

NI ROCKS – I think it has sold out – the show on 9th February.

MARCO – Yeah, it’s something that doesn’t happen that often; so people want to see those cats together – Gregg, Neal and Dean. I’m just excited to be there – we’ll have a blast. I think they’re thinking about adding another show – I just heard that, but they’ll have to check it out. So we could have more of an impact hopefully. If that happens that’s great and maybe in the future if we’re all available and we can, we’ll maybe get together and do some more shows. Always planting seeds everywhere and cultivating later!


NI ROCKS – We’ll get back to the album now. There are two cover versions on the new album. One of those is the Ted Nugent track “Hey Baby”. At the start of that track you refer to him as the greatest rocker of the century. What made working with Ted such a special experience?

MARCO – I remember watching Ted Nugent when I started playing music in my teens, just goofing around with a guitar. He has been one of those cats who have been on the scene forever and he has done it all. He’s a great guitar player and he has definitely made a big impact on rock ‘n’ roll history; in the US and worldwide. Legendary! Period! So when I had a chance to work with him – I got the call from Tommy Aldridge who I’d been working with and he said Ted might be looking for a bass player who can sing – would you be interested? I said absolutely. He said he might be calling you, can I give him your number? A few weeks went by and I took a listen to some of his catalogue and got acquainted with some of the songs – both vocally and bass player wise. They’re just great songs; they’re timeless and classics and he’s been there. I was lucky enough to get the gig and we went off and right off the bat we were on stage with Kiss; touring 1999-2000-2001 and having  a great time. Hanging out with Ted Nugent is like going to rock ‘n’ roll school for me – the things he has done, the people he has experience of playing with; he has seen it all.

On top of that, not only is he the legendary guitar player and rocker of all time in the US and worldwide; he did it all being sober. If you know anything about me, I’m all about sobriety now because I went out there and got my ass kicked really hard and made some bad decisions, and ended up in the gutter with nothing to my name. Hopeless and helpless – spiritually, psychologically and emotionally bankrupt. I was lucky enough to get sober in ’87 – September 20th of 1987 – and that has been my path and my mantra. My life is about sobriety, about doing what you have to do in life, without the help of anything that is mind-altering. It’s been quite a journey, let me tell you; but that’s another interview. So the fact that when I got to know him; the misconception is that he is crazy, out of his skull, a freakazoid and that he indulges in everything you can imagine; and it’s the contrary, he is into being sober and being 100% in control of all of your facilities. That inspired me even more and I found some new respect for him. He’s one of those cats – he goes out there and gets on stage and he’s 150% - period! He’s full-on, full-throttle, take-no-prisoners (laughs).  For me, it was a great time in my career, a great inspirational time of learning. I’ll never forget that. These are the things that you take with you – they run your career and they keep reverberating in your brain. I’d say the same thing about David Coverdale and Whitesnake and my time there. That was amazing.

I started doing some of the songs that I did with him in my set, throwing in a couple of songs. Even in Europe I was surprised at the response. The people loved Ted. Yeah they think he’s a little whatever. He’s too honest, which I think we need a lot more these days. His music is appreciated around the world. The response was good and I thought I would pay tribute to one of the cats that I have a lot of respect for. Of course Derek St Holmes, the singer from all those classis Ted Nugent stuff, he’s another great cat. Nobody sings like him; he’s one of a kind. He’s a great talent and he’s out there too, touring again. We actually did the Kiss Kruise with him last year and it was a great hang.  A good guy – I’m a big fan of his.  Like I was saying earlier, I’m still a fan of rock ‘n’ roll. There are so many bands and so many artists that inspired me on my way as I was getting into the business and I’ll never forget that. Like The Beatles – there are so many songs that you could do from The Beatles. The Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, Zeppelin, Grand Funk Railroad – you could keep going on. But those tracks on the album were just my tip of the hat to Ted Nugent and Thin Lizzy. Maybe on the next album I’ll do some other cats – I don’t know.


NI ROCKS – We’ll going to play another track from the new album now. Which track do you want to play – one of those two, or another one?

MARCO – I kinda dig “Sue Is On The Run”. I’m digging all the songs, but “Sue Is On The Run” is special to me because it touches on what is going on with teenage girls these days – at least where I live here in California and in the US. It’s out of control. I have a teenage girl and I think that is where it came from – bringing light to what is going on with the kids out there. It’s a point of conversation, if you know what I mean. So “Sue Is On The Run” is one that I’m digging right now.


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NI ROCKS – Over the last few years The Dead Daisies has been your main focus musically. The band went back into the studio towards the end of last year. Where are things as far as a new album goes?

MARCO – I’ll tell you man, with The Dead Daisies again I’m surrounded by the cream of the crop. The best of the best. It’s a well oiled machine. We all really work well together and the common denominator throughout everyone in the band is to come out with the best music and best songs and put on the best shows. There is very little BS that happens between us – of course there are a few bumps and grinds because we’re all individual and we all have different opinions; but in that regard we have a great manager who is very honest about coming down and saying guys, follow me, we’re going this way. I give him a lot of credit because I’ve been in a lot of situations where that was lacking and I can’t tell you how long it would take to do anything. (Laughs). I’m serious. I’m a big supporter of great management. And in the studio to have a great producer like Marti is so important. Again, I’ve been in a situation where you have five producers, or six or four, and just to get through a song is like pulling teeth or nails out – it becomes a harder process. Marti did a brilliant job, focused on the end result – the song. He has earned everybody’s trust – we appreciate him, support him and respect him because he did a brilliant job with “Make Some Noise”. We were looking forward to getting into the studio with him. It’s a brilliant album; what can I tell you – it’s very strong and it’s going to turn some heads out there. I’m really excited and I’m also charged up because I’ve got to plant a few seeds of my own with my solo album as well and to collaborate with a bunch of cats like that band is just amazing. What can I say – I’m the happiest cat on the planet right now. Creatively it’s good and we’re touring a lot and we’re going to be promoting “Burn It Down” (note - we bleeped out the album name during the broadcast as it hadn’t officially been announced then), the new Daisies album around the globe and I’m excited about that.  That’s why I took the opportunity to get out a do a few gigs on my solo album, because I don’t see me being able to do that again until the end of the year or even next year. This is my way of saying hey guys I have a new album out, check it out. Then I’ll be focusing on The Dead Daisies. I’m really happy man. On both fronts it’s going to be really, really cool.


NI ROCKS – The Dead Daisies European tour I think starts in Glasgow on 8th April so you’ll just be finished your own tour and then straight into the Dead Daisies?

MARCO – Yes, I actually finish on the 17th or 18th March, then I fly to New York to be with The Daisies for a week, then over to London. Boom!


NI ROCKS – When is the album actually released?

MARCO – April sometime? You got me there! I think they’re announcing the date shortly. (Note - announced later as April 6th) Like I said there are a lot of things that are on hold right now because of the holidays, but I think within the week a date will be announced. Go the Daisies website and all the information will be there. It’s a great album – it’s amazing. Working with cats like John Corabi, Doug Aldrich, David Lowy and now Dean Castronovo is great. Everybody knows their gig and what they need to do and it’s a great team. Coupled with the fact that you have great management and a great social media team that is really making a difference out there. It’s going to be a busy year and possibly two years. I’m glad I’m only 39 you know (laughs).


NI ROCKS – I actually noticed when I was researching this interview that we share a birthday and we’re not too far apart in age.

MARCO – Oh my God, I stopped having birthdays a few years ago Nigel. For a lot of reasons!

NI ROCKS – That brings me on to the next question. What bands were influencing you when you first started playing?

MARCO – When I started playing guitar I only knew a few chords. “Gloria” was one of the first songs that I learnt. The bands that were out there that were huge in the pop scene... because when you start playing that’s what you’re listening to! Back in the day I listened to the radio; because it was easier – everyone had a radio. The radio stations were prominent and really successful. Creedence Clearwater Revival was one of the big bands so I learnt to play that. On the heavier side there was Black Sabbath. There was Grand Funk Railroad, Ted Nugent and Lynyrd Skynyrd. But what really made a difference for me when I started growing musically, at least in the way I listened to music, was The Beatles. My first album was “Abbey Road” and for me that was Pandora’s Box – it was like somebody unlocking that door and opening it to the rest of my life. I had no idea that this was going to be a career move or anything. Now it’s 2018 and I’m playing music for a living and I’ve had the best journey ever and experienced hanging out with some of the best artists around. My biggest influences I’d say were Creedence Clearwater Revival, some Deep Purple, The Beatles, Bread and Grand Funk Railroad. Those were easy enough songs for me to play. I started playing rhythm guitar and a few leads – playing rhythm allows you to be a little more free with the vocal end of it all. So it allowed me to develop a few more skills with the singing. Then I had a chance to switch to the bass because one of the further along bands that was in the neighbourhood had lost their bass player and they needed a bass player that sang. They approached me and asked me if I was interested in auditioning and I said yeah. I learnt five songs they gave me – talk about a lot of work all of a sudden. My rhythm guitar became bass playing and I had to sing at the same time. I remember outing in a lot of hours.


NI ROCKS – What do you think of the new talent these days?

MARCO – I live in the city of L.A. and I travel extensively around the world and I know there is so much talent out there. Just go on social media at any given moment on YouTube and you see talent. I was just watching something earlier before you called; mind-blowing stuff. But the reality is that there is another side to being artistic; you got to have the business sense. You have to have someone looking after the business, the logistics of it all, because it is a lot of work and takes a lot of focus. I’ve gone through periods when I’ve just felt like throwing in the towel and saying I can’t do this, I’ve got to get a manager! Then all of a sudden I start doing it and it becomes easier. You surround yourself with people that believe in you and help you; then things will run smoothly. So, there’s another side to having talent and I’m very fortunate right now that I have a great team of people who help me out.

The reason why I’m saying that is, how many times have I told myself wow, if I could grab this kid and package him and connect him from point A to B God only knows where he could go, what they could realise. It’s like that; you’ve got to have that sense of business in you and you have to have the desire and the drive to want to take it out there to the masses. That’s the issue I have, and I’m being positive when I say this, with social media. It exposes you in a big way but it’s not really completing the process. You’ve got to get out there – you’ve got to play in clubs, tour and play in front of audiences all over the world. Until you do that....yeah, there are people who are very popular and famous on YouTube and have careers with that, but then you never hear from them...boom! They disappear and it’s over. My message to people out there is if you have something to offer, make a point of getting out there to perform. Don’t worry about the size of venue, that comes later. Your talent will bring the numbers in – start small, get into the process of it, because that’s another thing to perform live in front of an audience. It’s another language, another skill and another process.

NI ROCKS – I know we’re short for time now (note - there was another caller waiting or we could have chatted for longer than the hour we did). We’ll finish off by getting you to pick another track from your new album to play and also something from The Dead Daisies previous albums to play on the Show as well.

MARCO – I’m a big “Make Some Noise” fan from The Dead Daisies “Make Some Noise” album. From my new album, “Sweetest Emotions” or you decide, you’ve probably heard it more than I have (laughs). I’m telling you Nigel, things are moving so fast – I’m being totally honest with you.  A few years ago you used to go into the studio and chop away and work on tracks, sometimes for two, three or four months. You’d get the album all together and make sure you listen to it back, then you’d start mixing and it was a longer process. Now I did everything in twelve days – you record the material, write the songs, they come from a good place and all that; then you leave them.

NI ROCKS – Thanks very much for taking the time to talk to us. It’s been really good talking with you.

 

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Last Updated (Friday, 16 March 2018 01:09)