The legendary bass player has a new solo album out – the first new material in seven years, and we took it for a spin.
i: Release: 02. March 2018
Label: Mighty Music
With the equally-as-legendary Danish guitarist Søren Andersen (Electric Guitars, Mike Tramp) on guitars and behind the mixer, Mendoza’s new tracks can’t be anything other than great sounding. The Los Angeles native who has a proud Spanish/Mexican heritage is usually found holding down the bass rock foundation with artists like Neal Schon (Journey), Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Ted Nugent and can currently be found with new classic cock champions The Dead Daisies.
With a hard working ethic that sees him constantly out on the road either with The Dead Daisies or as a solo artist, he was delighted when Mighty Music offered him the opportunity to release an album that could propel his own brand of music to a wider public.
“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!” says Marco.
Recorded in Copenhagen, “Viva La Rock” encompasses both blues, funk and R’n’B, and for good measure there a little of his past thrown in – Chinatown from Thin Lizzy, complete with a guest appearance by Guns’n Roses guitarist Richard Fortus and Danish star Mike Tramp on additional vocals, as well as the Ted Nugent cover ”Hey Baby”.
It’s not often you get the title track as the first track on an album, and it’s a very bold move too, but it works out pretty good for Mendoza. The “Viva La Rock” is best described with Marco’s own words: “…a phrase that I had floating around in my mind and psyche for quite a long time. I use it to celebrate the business that we are in, so it was waiting around in my mind to become this song to celebrate music and Rock n’ Roll!” And, yes, this is actually a very accurate description. The raunchy guitars from Søren and the tight drums from Morten Hellborn complements Mendoza’s warm and exciting vocals extremely well.
“Sue Is On The Run” continues where the title track left off, but was definitely written with more thought behind it than “just” and ode to rock’n’roll (which is by no means a bad thing, but it’s an over played theme that Mendoza luckily gets away with). There’s a kind of Slash’ Snakepit vibe over it, but with the cheekiness of Steven Tyler, all well interpreted by Mendoza. “Rocketman” introduces a lot more swag and boogie, and has an almost metal-vibe to its beats and low-end, but is being pulled in the other direction by Mendoza’s careful vocals. “Sweetest Emotions” is straight out of a classic rock magazine – a song about love and excitement, and “Chinatown” with Mike Tramp on additional vocals pays tribute to Thin Lizzy, one of the many acts that has been graced by Mendoza’s company, as well as another tribute “Hey Baby”, a Ted Nugent song, with whom Mendoza has also played.
“Burned” – Yeah! This one in particular is something I can relate to. Making mistakes. Not learning from them. Why the fuck not? I guess I can ask myself this when I get old. But Marco seems to have this down… “Love 2 U” blues-swag and sexy funk rhythms, and the slow-one “Leah” about Mendoza’s lost soul-mate. Lastly, the outlier “Let It Flow” is, lyric-wise, an extension to “Burned”, with its messages about self belief. Something I can relate to on a personal level. Don’t we all have out demons?
All in all, “Viva La Rock” is a very solid album. Ten songs isn’t too many songs, and not too few. The production is top-notch, and the mix of bluesy semi-hardrock plus funk and very subtle latin elements, is actually being pulled off in a very slick way here, tying all the songs together in a well-thoughtout story, instead of just being ten different songs with different expressions. Do yourself a favour though: If you happen to be anywhere near one of Mendoza’s tour-locations, go and check it out. Being at a Mendoza show is like saying “Hi” to your cool uncle at a family reunion. He’s just a huggy-bear to be around.
This album gets a solid 4/5. It’s awesome, it’s cohesive, it may not be the album that swept my feet away so far, but many of the tracks and lyrics won’t leave my mind, and my days are filled with Viva La Rock’s and “Sweetest Emotions” addictive chords, rhythms and vocals. GET IT HERE: http://targetshop.dk/marcomendoza
Release is on the 2nd of March worldwide through Mighty Music on LP, CD and digital (ex. Japan by Ward). Mendoza is currently on tour in Europe with Micky Crystal from Tygers Of Pan Tang and drummer-excellence Kyle Hughes Danish hard rock act Blended Brew – who is also very good live – will support except for UK, where female fronted rockers Nitroville will take care of the support duties.
16.2. GER-Zülpich, Live Proberaum
17.2. GER-Schwerin, Speicher
18.2. NI-Belfast, Vodoo
19.2. SCO-Edinburgh, Bannermans
20.2 GB-Real Live, Chesterfield
21.2 GB-Underworld, London
23.2. GER- Reichenbach, Die Halle
24.2. DK-Copenhagen, Halmtorvet 9
25.2. CZ-Broumov, Klub Eden
26.2. CZ-Prague, Klub Vagon
27.2. CZ-Olomouc, Bounty Rock Cafe
28.2. SK-Vrutky, Rock Club Mlyn
01.3. RO-Bukarest, Rock Club Quantic
02.3. RO-Sibiu, Club Vintage
03.3. RO-Timisoara, The Note Pub
04.3. HU-Budapest, Backstage
09.3. GER-Bückeburg, Schraub-Bar
10.3. GER-Isernhagen, Bluesgarage
13.3 GER-Hamburg, Hardrock Café
14.3. GER-Düsseldorf, Pitcher
16.3. GER-Viersen, Rockschicht