An Interview with
Bassist of The Dead Daisies, Frontman of EL Trio
and also amazing solo artist in his own right with a brand new album due on March 2nd on Target Records - 'Viva La Rock'
It took place on 13th January, 2018.
Interviewed By Glenn Milligan.
Glenn: Hi it's Glenn from Metalliville.
Marco: How are you Glenn?
Glenn: I'm good! How did the 'Viva La Rock' album come to be? Did you have an idea for the album for quite a while?
Marco: In my world, I've learned to just cruise with things in my career and life because it's always changing. I'm always writing ideas and songs. I'm involved with so many different projects. Some of the ideas are not accepted so I move forward but I store them. I always have ideas. There are hooks, choruses, verses and melodies. You can store them anywhere and everywhere. I did three albums before. One of them was a latin jazz-funk. That was considered a project from the bands that we know. It was a solo project -'Live For Tomorrow'. 'Live In L.A.' which is a latin funk jazz project that I did at the Namm show. Did you see that?
Glenn: Yeah I was at the NAMM show. The Ampeg show – it was great. I enjoyed that.
Marco: Well we played that on a bigger stage for the Sabian Party. I played with some heavy cats. Dave Weckl came in and played. That was the first album that came out. At the time I was working with Whitesnake, Blue Murder and Ted Nugent. So this was my project. Then Frontiers approached me to do that first solo album in a rock genre which is 'Live For Tomorrow'.
Next I did 'Casa Mendoza' which is also another eclectic jazz-wise album. This album came about because the label started calling me about it a few years ago. I was in conversation but I was extremely busy with The Dead Daisies and I was working with Dolores (O' Riordan) who rests in peace, then (worked with) Neal Schon. I'm always juggling a lot of stuff. I really didn't have the time to jump on anything but let's just say the conversation was there.
All of a sudden I found myself with a little bit of time. I had scheduled a tour last year in September to go and do some dates of my own. The label got in touch with me – Marten Andersson at Target. He said all the right things. He was really cool. He was really interested about the artist. He was really focussed on making sure that everything was cool, that he was supportive on his hand and it wasn't just a one-sided thing. I said, “Okay, I think I have two weeks open here. Let's talk about it”. We signed a contract. I said, “Everything's great”.
Then before you know it I was in Copenhagen. I had two weeks before the tour started in September. We went in there really focussed. I hooked up with Søren Andersen. He's a talented cat in so many ways and a dear friend. Him and I have great chemistry. Without exaggerating, we wrote a song every day. We had it down in 12 days. That's how fast and focussed it was. I'm really happy with the album.
In just a moment in time, you always go back and say, “Well, I wish I had another week, I wish I had another month or whatever...” It's a picture or snapshot of where I'm at right now in the given circumstances in the time I had available. We wrote some songs and it sounded great. He did a great job. Søren is a great Producer, songwriter and guitar player. He is some talented cat. I'm lucky to have him.
Glenn: How did you originally meet him?
Marco: Well actually, the CD Release Party for 'Live For Tomorrow' at Frontiers a few years back. I wanted to do a party here and my wife said, “Let's do a party and celebrate”. It was at one of the NAMM shows as well. I had a place where I had two days for me to play. I was looking for a guitar player. I had a bunch of cats – a bunch of names coming in and playing but I didn't have the house band guitar player.
I had seen him at Frankfurt, Germany at Frankfurt Music Mafia – then I saw him at the NAMM Show. He was always great. I gave him a call. A mutual friend of mine brought him up and said he is coming for NAMM Show – he's going to be here already from Denmark.” Let's just say from the moment we connected on the phone it was really good – good vibes. He was very accommodating and really happy to be playing.
It was his first gig in L.A. I introduced him to my circle of people – a few people because I have lived here forever. Along the lines I introduced him to Glenn Hughes. Glenn was asking me, “What do you do when you go out with your solo thing? I'm considering changing my way of doing business; considering other folks in the band.” I said, “I have a team – I have a couple of people that I work with out of England; I have a couple of people I work with out of Denmark, Italy etc. etc.
And this is true... Søren comes walking because it was at the NAMM Show. I said to Glenn, “This is the guy I was talking to you about. He's from Copenhagen and he's a kick arse guitar player, sweetheart...”. That was it. They've had a long lasting relationship. He's pretty much Glenn Hughes' guitar player. From thereon, he hooked up with quite a few other things. He's a talented cat. You'll see him on the scene now that he's here.
Marco: From the moment we started working I said, “We have to get into a studio together”. So fast forward six or seven years and there we were. We had two weeks to do the whole thing.
Glenn: It's incredible isn't it?
Glenn: You listen to it and the songs are so well-structured. They really flow. You can tell that you had such a blast making the album.
Marco: Thanks Man!
Glenn: Such as on songs like 'Let It Flow' or on the covers like Ted Nugent's 'Hey Baby!' or 'Chinatown' by Thin Lizzy. They sound great.
Marco: Thank you. I've been around playing with some pretty amazing bands. A lot of highlights. I wanted to tip the hat and say 'Thank You' for the time and allowing me to be part of that project, that band and that history. That really became part of Rock 'N' Roll History. Cats like Nugent, Thin Lizzy and Whitesnake, Soul Sirkus and working. (Also) Dolores, Neal Schon and John Sykes – there's so many. I always like to say thanks. That's where it came from. That was my way.
Glenn: There's a song on there called 'Rocket Man'. Who is 'Rocket Man'?
Marco: This is something on the dark side but I just wanted to document what was going on. When I first got to Copenhagen, a few days later, all around the news, all you could hear was about this scientist. It's pretty morbid but music comes from where it comes from. Inspiration comes from where it comes from. Sometimes it's from great energy and it's positive. Sometimes it's to talk about human nature. The reality is, is that there's a dark side to the humanity. A long story short, it was this scientist that had built a submarine. That was his claim to fame. He was ahead of himself. He had a lot of money. One of those cats that wants to do something, that does it because he has the means and the brains to do it.
A long story short, this journalist came out from Sweden to interview him and he disappeared. Later they found the submarine at the bottom of the ocean. Then they found a dead body. It was pretty dark, but you know what? Everywhere I went, I'm not kidding you it's like the whole country became obsessed with him. Then they started digging in and possibly finding out that he was a serial killer. The song is along the lines of Alice Cooper who I'm a big fan of. 'You better watch out. The rocket man – he's got the money, he's got the mood to take you for a ride if he can that you'll never forget' We will never hear or see from you again kind of thing.
Marco: I thought about it and I told Søren. I said, “It's a little dark. I wish I could be positive and uplifting”. He said, “No man, that's a good song, it's a good topic". It's what it is. It's a moment in time and that could be a part to anything and anybody. The reality is, is that there's a dark side to humanity. That's it.
We came into the studio. All around the city, everywhere you look every media was talking. Even social media was talking about this dude and what happened. I couldn't get away from it and 'Boom' – we started writing. We locked in, we had the riffs, started writing the lyrics and within a couple of hours we got the song. It was a trip. The same thing goes with my song to my wife, 'Leah'. It's the same thing. I've been travelling a lot away from my family. I totally adore my wife – she's amazing in every way as well as my kids. I'm missing home and it was a moment of missing them terribly. It came out how it came out. 'Sweet home, I want to go home' – like a little kid.
I get emotional like that. If you could have life go your way things would be different of course. She understands. Beautiful things like my family, my wife and my kids – they understand what I do for a living. It's a good thing when Pops travels because we all benefit from it. We support ourselves and my wife has got an amazing job too. We are Producers. We like to move forward. We are very motivated and we're very lucky.
Glenn: It's almost like your version of 'Beth' (by Kiss).
Marco: Exactly. And how many songs have been written about missing somebody? It was more directed to my wife, my family and my kids. I want be home because I love being home. Right now I'm a kid in a candy store. I'm just digging it. Of course I have to leave tomorrow. But it's all due to the career that's finally turning busier and busier and busier. I'm really grateful. I'm impressed in what's going on in my career. I raise it and I go with it. You know?
Glenn: Yeah one thing leads to another. What certain songs mean the most to you?
Marco: 'Viva La Rock' was the first song that we came in with. That's a phrase that I've had with me. Being of Hispanic heritage, viva means long live. It's a phrase I've had and I've been telling all my friends when I say goodbye, “Viva La Rock Man – See Ya!”. Last year or the year before on a tour I started thinking about it, thinking 'Wow – this'd be cool'. You write the idea, you write a few lyrics and you do other things – but you store it in the back.
'I had another idea on the phone'. We came in, we got together and the vibe was so happening. That song too – within the hour without exaggerating was done. Let's just celebrate 'Rock 'N' Roll. Let's say thank you. Say boohoo to the nations – the people who talk and say 'Rock is dead'. It was my way of saying 'Long Live Rock 'N' Roll'. That's it.
That song when we sent it to the label, the label said, “We love the song. We have the title song, we have the first single. This is what we are going to call the album.” I said, Alright, whatever you think.' They have a little more experience in what works in marketing. I just do the music. Let's just go with the flow. Speaking of flow, that's another thing. We came in, walked into the studio and started talking about life. Whether it be good energy or bad. Hopefully it's good. We take the good energy and let it flow. Let things unfold where they may unfold and be accepting and tolerant. Be open-minded about where life takes you. That's what it is. Philosophically, it's talking about where you're at in life at the moment. So on and so forth..
'Leah' was a moment of 'Gosh I wish I could be home'. Waking up in the middle of Copenhagen and it was freezing. It was really cold. I always stay in nice hotels but it doesn't matter. You travel a lot so you know what it's like to wake up in different cities every night. The love soon wears off – the excitement. The first two weeks are cool but then you say, “Alright, I've had enough”. But the pay-off is that we get to do what we love doing. We get on stage and we play songs, write songs and have an audience.
Hopefully you have and audience (laughs) to play to. That's the pay-off. For me personally, there's nothing that can provide that anywhere in life. Being a performing artist – a singer and a bass man – it's quite a privilege. That's what keeps me going man! I hate to sound so positive but.. (we laugh) let's go, here's some positive vibes..
Glenn: I mean, when we were at NAMM and you were on that stage in the Ampeg Room, you were just having an absolute blast. You were saying something like, “Come on people, come on, just forget where you are, just enjoy yourselves – be cool and get into it.”
Marco: I tell you, NAMM Shows and trade shows like that as you well know, it can be an overload – a sense of overload in every way. You go in there. A lot of people are in there for the first time and your senses are just overloaded. Your ears are overloaded, the eyes, the energy because you are walking around, going from booth to booth. The energy is spent and then you stop, you go and hear somebody.
You are thinking, 'Alright, let me rest here for a minute'. You are playing and you are trying to entertain, trying to have people get loose for a minute and re-energise. I'm really sensitive to that because I do it all the time. I've been doing the NAMM Show for years now. I understand the whole psychi behind it.
Glenn: It was fun.
Marco: Yeah! When I go and see bands, I want to be entertained. I want to forget about the laundry the next morning – that I have to get up early and do my chores, errands – I've got to pay this, do that and pick up my kids. Allow yourself to escape...
Glenn: For the moment. Totally!
Marco: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think that's what music is. It's very healing if you let it be in so many ways.
Glenn: Natalie and I had a great time.
Marco: I'm really flattered you are doing this interview. I appreciate it.
Glenn: Not a problem. The album is amazing.
Marco: Thanks Man!
Glenn: I had it on and I absolutely loved it if I'm honest.
Marco: There's a little bit of everything.
Glenn: Yeah! That's what I liked about it. The harmonies are incredible. They all flow well into everything.
Marco: It's good to hear that. You can hear my Beatles influence. They are an inspiration.
Glenn: I was about to say that as well.
Marco: I'm a big fan of that stuff. With Søren, I got chills when we were doing that stuff. I said, “I want to do something. Just turn the mic on. I want to do this before the song starts. I've always been a big fan of vocal acappella. Some of the projects that are going out there – the young kids - are just absolutely insane. So good! Harmony and melody is beautiful. We played around with it. We didn't want to get too deep. We threw it on the bridge. We had fun but it was quick.
In retrospect you always say, “Well if I had had one more week to review everything and change this, tweak that and make this better, maybe work on the riffs a little better. But you have to learn to just let it go. It's a moment – it's a picture – it's a photo of 12 days where I was at in Copenhagen with Soren Anderson.
Glenn: I guess because you are creative and you are thinking all the time about what can you do? What could you not have done or changed in the future? These things are always going to be in your head aren't they?
Marco: Yeah. It's the same for journalists right? Once you write it and let it go, it's over. Then you go back and you say, “Man, I should have talked about this, I should have talked about that...”
Glenn: (I laugh) It's so true.
Marco: That's how it is. It's over, it's released, it's done and you can't touch it again and that's that.
Glenn: Yeah! Going back to the NAMM Show in the Ampeg Room, what I really liked in it was when you did that chant. The 'Naaaaa Na-Na Na-Na' and you were trying to get people into it. I was having a blast and I must have been the loudest person in there. It was great.
Marco: You know what Bro, that's old-school Motown – Sly And The Family Stone or Marvin Gaye. That comes from Motown – the Motown Years. People get it. The bands that used to get up there and go – back in the 60's. People used to have fun. James Brown you know? Or Rick James. It's all about having fun. Even The Temptations. I'm heavily influenced and inspired by the Motown music and the Motown years. I'm trying to get my daughter into it. She's starting to sing – 14. It's a gift from God. When I say Motown, she says, “What?”
Glenn: Yeah. Well when you say R'N'B they don't know what you are talking about. They think it's some rapper or something.
Marco: Yes! But the chanting is a way to get the audience inspired and lose. Get them to forget their troubles and be happy. Enjoy the show and become part of the show. As a matter of fat, when I got live, I play in the little clubs that I'm getting ready to do. I tell everybody, “Listen, just for a moment let everything go. Let's have fun here and share a few hours of a good time. I guarantee tomorrow you will wake up and you're going to feel better. It's a way to release stress. Everyday life can be a drag, I understand. But right now, Viva La Rock – Let's Go! Everybody sing.
Glenn: Exactly. It was a tough crowd to crack at NAMM but you got there in the end. It was amazing.
Marco: It's been done before and I've done it in front of the masters. It's for you. “Come On Guys, It's going to be fun. I know I'm tired, so are you. But let's just get some energy going”. I use the sun. Let the sun come down and catch it right between the eyes. Let's just go and have fun man!
Marco: It seems to work. My best compliment that I get at the meet and greet after every show that I do. I like to show appreciation and get their pictures signed. But the best compliment is when people come up and say, “Thank you so much, I've had a terrible week or a terrible month. You've made me feel happy now and positive.” That's the best compliment.
Glenn: Yeah. That you've done your job properly.
Marco: You're taking care of it and being entertaining.
Glenn: How did the 'Journey Through Time' with Deen Castronovo and Neal Schon come up?
Marco: Well I don't know if you're aware but I've done three albums with Neal Schon. We've done some really nice pieces of work. It would be worth going and checking it out. I've always been the 'Go To Guy' for bass stuff. He's a dear friend. He keeps me in mind when he needs bass work. He's always calling me.
We stay in touch. Last October or November we were talking about possibly getting when we all have some time off, playing, maybe recording and looking at the future. Then the fires happened if you remember. Neal and his wife are really into giving back. It's beautiful to see people like that, including myself. I try to give back whenever I can because we tend to be very self-seeking, self-centred and it's all about me, me and give me more of that. I want more – I need more money. I can't live without more... It's true – you get into that groove.
So it's nice to see people – celebrities and big cats like Neal live in the real world. They wanted to make a difference. It was pretty devastating to a lot of people. Southern California is one of the most expensive places to live. The price of living here is pretty intense. You work your whole life, you buy the home of your dreams, you build it and you pay it, you work for 40 or 50 years and it's paid off or almost paid off – then all of a sudden – boom! It's gone.
Now you don't have a place to live. It's pretty heavy what happened with the fires. It was really nice that they touched some hearts and said, “Let's got and make a difference”. I was the guy he called up about bass. Deen and I were doing the 'Burn It Down' album in Nashville.
When we started talking about it, they said “Yeah Man! Let's do it – February right after the NAMM show”. That would be perfect because I leave on 14th. The wheels started turning and he called Gregg Rolie – The voice of Santana. All those hits and the Hammond B3. A cat! I'm a big fan of his. I told him, “I have the whole back (catalogue) from being a little fan. Crazed! Going can you sign this, can you sign that, can I get a picture. He was the first concert I ever went to – Gregg was Santana. A lot of people don't know the history but Journey came out of the Santana band.
Glenn: Yeah because Neal Schon was in Santana wasn't he?
Marco: Yes. There was Gregg Rolie, there was Neal, Ross (Valory) and a few other cats. It was a great bunch of cats and the music that they wrote on the albums that they did were pretty historical. For a few years they were in and out of Santana – so on. Then Journey went on to blow up like it did with Jonathan Cain and Steve Perry. It was a chance to relive those three or four albums, play some of the music that was a big part of the beginning of Journey. The show we put together to raise funds for the 'Fire Relief Fund'. The tickets sold out when they announced. When the tickets went on sale they sold out in five minutes.
Marco: The proof was there that there was a lot of interest. We all got lit and excited. We went in and rehearsed for a few days. We got two sets together, went and played in San Francisco and made a difference. The main thing Glenn is that it was for a good cause. There's some funds that were raised in a small or big way. The music was quite amazing. It was very cool. That meant we're moving. We decided, 'Well maybe the next chance we get while available is try and think about taking this on the road.
Marco: Yeah! We're going to start talking about it in a few months. Journey is going out with Def Leppard right now. I'm doing my solo thing then I'm out with The Dead Daisies. Deen is part of that now.
Glenn: I know. It's great.
Marco: Gregg of course, he's got a little gig with a new guy on the scene, Ringo Starr..
Glenn: (I laugh) Never heard of him! (I joke)
Marco: Yeah! He's a new boy on the scene. Oh man to have that gig! Imagine having that gig! Oh wow!
Glenn: I know! Exactly. I've not seen it yet.
Marco: It's a beautiful gig. He's so happy. Gregg's having a blast. Ringo has great players and the show is amazing. I want to get to see it myself.
Glenn: I always seem to miss it. It's either just after I have been in the Los Angeles area or just before.
Marco: Oh no!
Glenn: Anyway, how is The Dead Daisies stuff coming on? Can you talk much about the album?
Marco: The album sounds amazing man! We had in mind to go a little bit heavier. Martin is an amazing producer. It sounds amazing. A great band, A great album. I think we are going to go out there and make a difference. The fan thing is going (well) the momentum is going. I'm really happy I have a chance to work with those cats in that band. It's a dream team. Great management. They have a great bunch of social media folks.
They are very instrumental in the success of being out there and staying on the radar. In that regards, it can't get any better. Doug Aldrich; David Lowy who is still the founder. Now Deen Castronovo is awesome. It's a dream to have him there.
Glenn: I was talking to Deen not long before the second 'Revolution Saints' album was due to come out. He's such a cool guy and a laugh a minute as well.
Marco: He is.
Glenn: He is deep as well.
Marco: I love him to death. He is an amazing singer. He's just one of those cats that's so well gifted. He's on the right track now and we were happy and lucky to get him on board with The Dead Daisies. What else can I say? The Dead Daisies are here to make a difference and play the best music and the best shows possible. Again, I get to do my side thing. A little solo stuff which is okay with them. I love it. It's a perfect scenario in every way.
Glenn: What more could you ask for? It's perfect!
Marco: Exactly. If you had the ultimate gig to write for the ultimate gig. They sign you up, you're down and you say, “Well I want to write about these other topics”. Most entities would say, “Well we have an agreement, I think it's going to have to wait and just write for us exclusively”. Then you're chomping at the bit, wanting to write about other topics – other things in the world.
It's like that. It's to be able to be who you are as an artist, as a songwriter, as a bass player, as a singer and then go out there and hang out with the ultimate band. So it's great. I'm having the time of my life. It's a lot of work. I don't mind telling you. I sometimes... like that song, 'Please I want to go home' (we laugh) I've had enough!
Marco: It's a lot of work and I can just sum it up. When I was 13 and 14 years old at home with an acoustic guitar, spinning vinyl and learning songs. All my hopes and dreams to be where I'm at today or even close to where I'm at today, I exceeded my expectations a hundred times over. I try to stay in touch with that. I'm learning the way, all the way out to the beach. I'm having the time of my life.
Marco: All my dreams as a kid when I was a musician or being a musician came through and more – even more. Every year that goes by there's more stuff going on. Getting calls from all the cats. I'm going to take it as far as I can. If I stay healthy man! By the way, 31 years of sobriety! My life did not start until I got sober. I have a birthday. I got sober in 1987, September 20th at 3 O' Clock in the afternoon. So, 30 years, if I make it to this year in September 20th, it will be 31 years.
At the other times, I've just learned not to medicate myself at all. I don't even have a drink. I don't need to have a drink. As you can imagine in our business it's a big problem. Drinking is part of... we are the party. We bring the music, we bring the party on stage, we get off stage and we are still the party, we are whatever... the court jesters. Then what comes with that? Drink, alcohol, drugs, smoke, weed – all that stuff. It's part of our culture.
I can say that I'm tempted from time to time but I rethink the whole thing. I think, 'No, it's very real where I was 30 years ago in my mind and in my heart'. As a person as a human being and I come to the end of my existence – physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually – there was nothing there.
Glenn: It shut you down?
Marco: Yeah. I had a bit of an awakening. I kept hitting walls. I got really, really sick physically and I was dying. A progression of things happened in my life allowed me to be sober for a little bit and have a little bit of clarity inside. Then surrender to the fact I was a drug addict and an alcoholic. Then my life changed. I turned it over.
I got on my knees and call it whatever you want to call it, I turned my life over to God. Yes I know God – a greater power than myself. I think what it is, is inside of your heart, you virtually decide, 'I'm done – I don't want to live like this any more and I'm wanting to do whatever it takes to change my life around'.
I did that within a year. I hadn't played music in a few years after doing a lot of work. I got away from it and after a year of sobriety I started getting calls. People started remembering and knowing that I was together now – sober and I was going to show up on time. I was going to prepare myself and deliver. That was the beginning of my career too. The second beginning.
Marco: Then the rest is history. I've had a great journey in sobriety. The fun thing is that I'm awake, I'm alert. I've experienced every moment, every hour, every day. I met my wife in sobriety. I couldn't ask for a better person to share life with. She's incredible and amazing. We have our little spills. We bump heads here and there but the love is greater than anything else. We're still here after 16 years, two beautiful kids, a beautiful home, my career is jumping – nothing to complain about. As long as we stay healthy you know?
Glenn: Excellent. Yeah – you are on the good side of it – 31 years nearly which is a credit to you.
Marco: I am. Having said that, everything we go through in life, we are getting deeper now but it makes us the person we are today. I'm grateful for everything I've gone through. It makes me appreciate where I'm at today so much more. Without sobriety, I wouldn't be the person I am and I wouldn't be here. My career wouldn't be here. It wouldn't be where it is – that's the reality.
Glenn: When it comes to vocals, is it the Motown thing that really grabs you vocally? When you were singing, doing El Trio, it was like watching a male Cleo Laine with a bass guitar. It was pretty phenomenal.
Marco: Oh thank you man!
Glenn: There was so much coming through.
Marco: Yeah. The Beatles were my first influence. I always wanted to emulate and learn. They inspired me in such a big way. It was 'Abbey Road' – the album. As I started growing musically, getting more comfortable and listening more, the Motown thing was definitely a big influence – a big inspiration. I went through my progressive rock thing – the great Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Greg Lake was an inspiration. Jon Anderson from Yes and Chris Squire, Geddy Lee from Rush etc. etc. King Crimson – I went through that.
But singing-wise, I'm a big fan. It's a big compliment coming from you and I really appreciate it. I would say I sing because I love to sing. I don't want to be scrutinised and classified as a singer because I want to do it for fun. I don' t want to fall under that category of “Well he's flat here and he's sharp there – he's not hitting the right notes here.. his texture and his sound” because the business tends to do that.
I tell everybody, “Listen, I'm going to sing as much as I can, when I want, how I want – that's it. Take it or leave it – you do or you don't. When I get invited to sing on albums... I've got invited to sing on an album with a symphony.. I can't say what it is but it's just fun. I just want to go out there and have fun and do the best job I can. I prepare myself of course.
On the singing side, I try not to take myself too serious and just have fun. When you have that in mind there's no boundaries. In El Trio, I put that thing together for that reason. No boundaries – just listen to each other, have fun. Joey the drummer – it's like having Dave Weckl playing with that man. He wants to solo in any section, let me go and do it.
No boundaries and that's when you get to find some cool things. Vocally, it's the same thing. If I feel like having a percussion section or get up chanting and get the audience involved, it's all spur of the moment, on the spot. Whatever possesses you, you go with. That's why El Trio is a lot of fun.
Glenn: It's funny you should mention 'Abbey Road' because I was going to say earlier, when we were talking about harmonies and you mentioned 'The Beatles', I was thinking of the track 'Because' because the acapella harmonies on that are amazing. Then you mentioned 'Abbey Road', I thought, 'There you go!'
Marco: Yeah! 'Abbey Road'; 'The White Album'; 'Revolver'; 'Magical Mystery Tour' – all kinds of stuff – 'Let It Be'. Those guys, what they accomplished.. it's historical. They inspired and set the standards so high for everybody else in the music business to follow. It's so funny, I have friends working with Paul. I've worked with the guitar player. I've worked with Abraham – his drummer. I know he cats. We all know each other but I'm yet to meet Paul.
Glenn: One Day!
Marco: I'm afraid I'll fall to the ground and want to kiss his hand (we laugh). Only kidding. I would find it really hard to contain myself and not want to say, “Hey bro, thank you for the inspiration”. If I had the opportunity I would just say that because him and John and George and Ringo were amazing. They got this kid inspired. Almost 40 years later I'm here. It's a trip.
Marco: But yeah, the harmonies – I'm a big fan of that. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. There's an album that they did 'Deja Vu' with some amazing harmonies; Poco. Manhattan Transfer. I'm a big fan. I actually worked where people have to do almost like barbershop.
Glenn: I used to sing some of that sort of stuff as well.
Marco: Yeah it's amazing. Oh and Gentle Giant! They are from the 60's and 70's. I learned from them ten years after that which is when I started playing and working on music seriously. But at the core of the whole thing I would say The Beatles and anything that's Motown. That's where I came from. That's at the root of what's in my heart and my core. That's where inspiration comes from. Of course all the bands that were influenced by that like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. It's all blues based stuff.
Glenn: Proper meat and potato stuff as they call it here.
Marco: Yes! (We laugh) It's great man! I embrace every day of my career. I'm really excited to come out and play some new songs from the new album. (In the UK) we are doing Edinburgh, Chesterfield and London this time.
Glenn: I was surprised to see Chesterfield.
Marco: Well I only had five days open. I got in touch with my agent there in the UK. I said, “Listen, I'm going to Europe, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Denmark... I have these five dates. I would to at least come and say hello to the UK because I have fans and friends there. Even if it's just one or two shows it doesn't matter.” I just want to announce the release of my album. It's as simple as that. To wave the flag and say, “Check it out!”. I don't need to. I have a new album with The Dead Daisies coming out in April on the 6th. But March 2nd I have a solo album if you're interested. “So come out! Check it out!”. He came back with London and Edinburgh.
Then we had a day off and Real Time Live in Chesterfield. It's a little club. It's a family – a husband and wife. I love them to death. They have a music store downstairs and the venue is upstairs. They are great supporters. They are big fans from Thin Lizzy and Whitesnake. Every time I go they really take care of me and they really appreciate the whole situation. They inspire me and let it continue. They said, “Please come!”. I said, “Absolutely”. So that's what it is. I have good relationships. I have fans and friends around the world that really make it a joy for me to continue what I'm doing. Besides, there is business to the whole thing. You try and take care of that as well.
I have a lot of work right now. I wish I could stay home. I could stay home and enjoy my time. But I have a yearning to do as much music as I can for as long as I can. It fuels me. It's a big part of who I am. Chesterfield came in and I said yes! Instead of a day off, lets do that. Then we're going to do London – The Underworld where I have played quite a few times. Not headlining but supporting. I'm going to be supporting Little Caesar.
Glenn: Cool. I get to see them on Saturday January 24th at The Corporation. I actually saw Loren Molinare on the last day at NAMM too! Here's one for you - I actually met your drummer Kyle (Hughes) through Lisa Morton-Woodard, the PR for the Ultimate Jam Night in Hollywood. She introduced us after the Ultimate Jam Night at The Hilton, Anaheim. We got talking away as he is from Newcastle and I am from just outside Sheffield. It turned out he likes drinking in Doncaster where I like to go to.
Marco: Yeah! I met him as he came to my show. I was playing The Underworld last October. I love that place. I love Camden. I love London – the whole thing. He came and he was a friend of Michael McCrystal – my Guitar player. His energy was just amazing. He said to me, “If you ever need a drummer, I work, I play any style. I'll work with you with a budget. He said all the right things. I figured he was a new kid in the business that's hungry and that's beautiful. I love the energy but nothing is going to become of it.
Before we left I said, “Yeah, let's stay in touch. We're on he same journey, we're all doing music – you never know”. Within a week he got in touch and said, “Just to let you know man, this is me”. He sent me some YouTube stuff. He said he had done a run with Bumblefoot (Ron Thal). Ron's a friend of mine. We were talking about other cats and he said, “Yeah Marco, you are going to love this cat. He's really good He comes highly recommended and I love his energy.
Glenn: Yeah. He's such a nice kid isn't he?
Marco: Yeah. He's a young kid. I found out a little bit of history. His dad is also a player and has been around. He grew up in that environment. I said, “Let's give it a try”. I think it's going to be good. I love that energy. As a bass player and a drummer the relationship is very good. I really appreciate the fact that he's learning vocal parts. He can sing some lead vocals. So if I need him to, he can do all kinds of stuff. I leave tomorrow. I see him on Thursday. We rehearse for a little bit and do the show. Hopefully it will be good. Yeah! Energy-wise he's got it all! He's a good guy.
Glenn: That's cool. Is there anything you'd like to mention before we bring the interview to a close that we haven't talked about yet?
Marco: Like always. Thanks for all the support. It's been quite a few years. All the love through the years from the fans. All over the planet and the UK. I have fond memories of the UK with all these bands that I've been working with. So every time I have a chance to go there I will. It's very special. Through the fans and friends I've had over the years, I've been very lucky. I've had some great relationships. Just thank you for the support. Keep it coming. Remember that the music is changing and the biz. We need the support. We need to get out there and go to shows. Support your local talent.
A big thanks to you guy, the journalists, who are the connection between us and the fans. Keep it coming. I don't know if you hear it a lot but be real. You guys are a big part of today's music industry. You keep us relevant, you keep us connected in social media. It's king right now so thank you for your efforts and your interest in being part of my journey and everybody else's in the music business.
Glenn: I won't ask you what's in the set list either as I don't want to spoil it either.
Marco: Yeah, It's good. I like to keep surprises. I always take a lot of detours on stage. That's something I love to do. Surprise the audience. When we start a song here and then we go there and play a piece of the other song here. I just like to play around with the set and keep the focus – their attention.
Glenn: Yeah because if you keep it rigid it gets boring.
Glenn: You are keeping it artistic and creative all the time which makes a big difference.
Marco: I try.
Marco: That's my goal. One thing I will say and I insist on is keep making the audience part of the show. It's a definite for me. This is Motown at its best. You have to come out expecting to have to sing, dance, clap your hands and be part of the show because that's what you'll remember.
Marco: I want you to come to my show and forget everything for a few hours – that's all. It's all about love and celebrating life and music and being entertained at the same time. That's my focus.
Glenn: Awesome! Right I'll let you get off and I'll wish you a safe flight as well. It's a long flight and you're going to be tired. Don't get too cold.
Marco: No. I'll be ready for that. I'm actually looking forward to it and I'm excited Bro! Thank you so much. Thanks. Have a good one.
Glenn: You too. Thanks mate. Take care Marco. Bye Bye.
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Also, be sure to go and see Marco Mendoza on Tour and of course later on with The Dead Daisies!