Marco Mendoza is one of rock musics best bass guitar players. With a long history spanning many years, he has a wealth of experience as a writer and performer. He has played with various bands, including Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Ted Nugent and is currently playing with classic rock band The Dead Daisies. When his new album landed with Down The Front Media for review, I jumped at the chance to get an early listen to it.
Aside from his involvement with the Daisies and previous bands, Marco has an extensive career as a solo artist - touring his own projects whenever he can. I have seen him several times with the Daisies and as a solo artist. I am always struck by how different he is and how, like a chameleon he can absorb and perform different styles, even in the same set. I last saw him in Fuel, a tiny rock club in Cardiff, late last year and he was keen to tell us about the new album, but without revealing any details, other than he knew we’d love it.
Marco says “I am really excited about the release of this album. It will be my first collection of new songs in seven years! I have been extremely busy with The Dead Daisies since 2013 so when the opportunity to get some new music together came along, I jumped at it! I hope you guys have as much fun listening to it as I did recording it!”
His two previous albums, and his solo gigs tend to showcase his skill as a bassist whilst also letting his band members’ shine, in a fusion of rock, funk and jazz. As soon as the title track begins, it is clear that ‘Viva La Rock’ is very different to his previous albums. It is a fast and heavy track with some similarities to the Dead Daisies style, with its classic rock beat and heavy drumming. Soren Anderson (guitar) has searing solos and the track really will get you in the mood to party. In Marco’s words... “VIVA LA ROCK!! Is a celebration of Music, Life & Rock & Roll, Peace and Love”.
After an explosive start to the album the second track - ‘Sue is on the Run’ - brings the tempo down and shows off Marco’s fabulous voice. It is strong and powerful with a huge range to perfectly suit the emotional style of the track. Soren’s guitar work on the next track, ‘Rocketman’, again comes to the fore with the elaborate bass tones brilliantly underpinning and supporting the track. ‘Sweetest Emotion’ starts with a brass intro which flows throughout the track in this funky song of young love. As with several tracks on the album, this one has catchy lyrics and a really full sound which I love.
In the middle of the album, we have ‘Chinatown’. This is a fantastic cover and tribute to Marco’s time spent in Thin Lizzy. Featuring Mike Tramp, it is a familiar track with a comfortable feel to it. Well executed, I can see this being one of the several tracks considered for release as singles.
‘Burned’ and ‘Love 2 U’ follow and again we hear some excellent musicianship from Marco, Soren and Morten (Drums) supporting the well crafted lyrics. Marco’s vocal range is, frankly, astonishing, and needs to be heard to be believed. The guitar solos are beautiful in these songs of love and relationships.
Marco spends a lot of time on the road, and it is no surprise to hear a track dedicated to his wife, ‘Leah’. This is a beautiful song of long distance love and dedication, and a desire to go home to her.
As the album moves into its final two tracks, a second tribute to past career highlights comes in the form of ‘Hey Baby’ - a track from Marco’s Ted Nugent days. Again, Marco puts his own style on a cover, and incorporates a jazz/funk feel to it. Soren, again, compliments and leads with his style and Marco’s vocals keep you hooked.
The album draws to a close with ‘Let it Flow’. The ten tracks offer rock and funk, with a hint of jazz and is well put together. There are many influences -from many years in the music industry, he has learned what works for him and this is a great demonstration of what he is capable of. Having the freedom to write and perform his own music is a passion that comes through loud and clear. It is easy to listen to - both at full volume through the headphones, and quietly in the background.
Viva La Rock is to be released on 2nd March 2018. The title track is available as a single and music video. Marco will support the album with a European tour.
Viva La Rock
Sue is on the Run
Chinatown (feat. Mike Tramp)
Love 2 U
Let it Flow
Marco Mendoza - Vocals, Bass
Soren Anderson - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Morten Hellborn - Drums
For dates of Marco’s European tour, visit www.marcomendoza.com