There are musicians who reach the legend status and are unreachable for the fans. Then there are some that got to that level and could be reached anywhere on tour. One of the most positive among the second group is MARCO MENDOZA who we´ve interviewed just days before releasing new single “Shoot for the Stars”. Topics varied from upcoming album and why name of the album has to be changed to possible biography and when it could become reality and much more. And we are bringing it all to you in upcoming lines.
New album is coming pretty soon ...
Yeah, in September. I am waiting for the label to decide. I´ll tell you how it is – after the pandemic, everything was upside down. Everything was disorganized and postponed and so everybody is trying to … including the labels … they are trying to figure out what to do. I am glad that they released first single “Take It to the Limit” that is getting a lot of attention. Next up is “Shoot to the Stars” that´s coming out on Friday 3rd June and another one should be released by the end of the July or beginning of August and that one is called “New Direction”. Then it´s the new album which right now is gonna be released in September – it´s scheduled for the first week of September but it could be later.
With every musician that is releasing new album, there comes some kind of evolution in music. What is new when it comes to “Take It to the Limit” album?
Also, the name of the album is not gonna be “Take It to the Limit”. It´s gonna be “New Direction”. We decided to that because “Take It to the Limit” has been already used so much. The album was supposed to be released in 2020 so we did Take It to the Limit Tour that is happening right now and since it has been used so much that when the album comes out it will be New Direction and it will be the title we will be supporting. So New Direction – I honestly feel that writing was much more focused in the songs. A lot of the songs are related and they will make you think as they are related to what is going on in the world right now. It´s relevant to our time that is constantly changing. The titles Take It to the Limit, New Direction and Shoot for the Stars – there is a lot of great songs, you know. I hate to blow mine own whistle but this is really good album and it´s much more focused, there are some good songs and great playing. So Søren and I – we did really great so I am excited for the fans to hear it and to see their response.
So, it´s literally days until we get a new single – can you tell us behind the “Shoot to the Stars” song in terms of idea?
The idea is to never give up on your hopes and dreams, that you got to keep trying whatever that it is you are trying to accomplish in your life. The human nature is – we want something bad and we try it once, twice and we give up. So, the concept for the song “Shoot to the Stars” is that you got to keep trying and trying no matter how hard it is because it will work before you know it. You´ll get to your destination. You´ll accomplish what you want to accomplish, you know? It all about those ideas. It´s a good song, man!
With all those years playing music and all those bands you´ve been in – all of that somehow affect your point of view. How hard is it to find your own way and stay true to it, not to get lost in all the different playstyles or even genres?
I think what it is, Sam, when you are real musician, you´re always trying to find voices and trying to find you own expression, you know. I´ve been very lucky that I´ve been part of all those amazing bands and worked with all those amazing artists so I´ve been inspired along the way and I´ve learned so much from working with everybody but when the time came for me to write my own music, to find my own voice, it was easy. It takes a little bit of courage and you gotta be willing to take chances. You gotta wanted that enough and I definitely did and still do. Back in the days when I worked with all those big bands, I´ve always had that side thing that I did to express myself as a musician, as a bass player and as a singer. I´ve always did something on the side because that was important for me. In other words, I always had my own little canvas and my own little paintings that I was doing even when I was collaborating with pretty amazing artists and bands or projects, I´ve always had my own little things, you know. I think if you really are a musician and you love music like I do, it comes natural for you to want to do that, to write your own songs and sing your own lyrics – to tell your own stories. I just wish I did it earlier to be honest but no complains for me. It´s been a great career, great journey – amazing actually – I am happy to be doing it now. And it´s been well received. There´s been a few bumps along the way, you know, because of the pandemic, people are still recovering from that – promoters and club owners and venues – there is still resemblance of that remaining. People are coming of that way of thinking. Right now – we have to test today and test tomorrow to get on this ship – the Full Metal Cruise that we are doing. I think it´s gonna take a while till we get back to what we consider normal. Maybe we never will get back to what we remember as “normal” but we´ll get close to that. The fact that I am here playing as many gigs as I am doing is the sign of that. Everybody is on tour right now; everybody is coming out so things are getting better.
But back to your question – finding my own voice was very easy. I think I´ve always had that thing – how to express myself in my own way.
Does all those times when you were musician in someone´s band or even hired gun, does those times somehow affected you in a way of music?
No. I actually learned a lot from those situations. I was inspired a lot and I also learned how to be and how not to be as there´ve been some bad experiences on the road as well. You understand how things work when they work and so you applied them to your own expression.
You are touring a lot with various musicians – mostly with young guys who are not doing this sobriety thing you do – is it hard to stay in the line with everybody getting drinks every single night?
Well, to be honest, the guys that I work with – I try to hire musicians that aren´t really partiers – they are not doing heavy drugs, most of the guys I tour with will have a couple of beers and glass of wine at the dinner but they are not alcoholics by any sense of the word. They are responsible guys who love music and they are with me for the right reason. They are in it for music. They are young and they are great – sometimes when one of my guys smoke cigarettes and he´s aware that I am still sensitive to that, he stays away when he lights up so it´s not that hard, Sam. I am sober regardless of my environment. I will not take a chance to have a drink because I lost that privilege and I not need to drink or take drugs. I did it and it was hell. I ended up in nowhere so no. It´s very simple for me – I don’t need it and I lost the privilege. I mean maybe – it´s been 34 years since I did that – maybe I could have a drink and not go bananas but I got to the point when I don´t need that and I am fine. I am fine without it. I also see what it does to people around me when they drink. They struggle. But people don’t understand it – when you are on tour, physically it´s very draining and very demanding so for me to start drinking and do the things that will hurt my body – it would be counter-productive so I try not to. I did not have a drink or a pill or a drugs in 34 years and I am not gonna start any time soon regardless of what people do around me. But you know what? You are right! I am in that environment. For example, two nights ago, we went on the dinner and then they started drinking and my guys included and two hours later they were drinking and they just moved on to another place and I was not comfortable so I left. It´s that simple. They stayed, been drinking and had a late night. People have to do what they have to do. Everybody has his own journey and everybody have to learn their own lessons in their own time. But I am not even … this doesn´t even look good to me … I am not even miss it at all. I don´t need it, I don’t want it. I´ve learned to deal with it like that.
Your tours and your shows, they are well known for really strong positive vibes – that´s what you do – you bring joy and happiness to the venue.
Still there are sometimes people who are not on the same wavelength and they do have some negative approach. How do you handle those situations?
Oh, for example that gig in Slovakia – the one you were at. You know, it was really obvious that this girl had a drinking problem or a drug problem or she was not together. I felt bad at the end because I saw her and joined her in dancing and I wanted everybody else to feel that energy, that fun but I didn’t realize that she was really buzzed – I think that might been alcohol with some other stuff together. I felt bad that security had to come in and take her out. But that’s part of environment – you´re gonna come across stuff like that. After the show, I actually went to talk to her and she was fine, she apologized but things had to come to that point when they get her out of the place. It comes with environment. Especially at this level because at smaller venues you are available so approachable and so close to the good and bad energy. But I just looked at you or the other way and that´s the part of the world we live in – the part of the entertainment world.
But I am glad that you mentioned that because I try to be as positive and uplifting and optimistic as possible. That´s my job to put smile on my audience´s face. To have them forget about the world for a couple of hours. So, when I hear that, I really appreciate it as it says I am doing my job. People do come saying “Hey, thank you so much, I was having a hard time and you put the joy in my heart” and that´s exactly what keeps me going, to be honest.
You got new album coming which means that there is also tour coming. What should we expect from the fall? Could we expect you to tour Europe anytime soon?
Yes. Absolutely. We are booking, well we just started booking October and hopefully September as well. Maybe even September, October and November. I have some festivals; I am trying to put all the dates together so I can announce the New Direction tour which would be supporting album. We´ll be playing some music from new album and actually, we are rehearsing the song right now and I have some great friends from Croatia and the guys are on fire, man! They are great musicians and great people and we are looking forward to have a great time. Slovakia would be included, actually. We are gonna have 3-4 dates in Slovakia.
Most of the time, people who tour a lot – which also includes you – they build up their own touring habits. How does yours looks like?
For me it´s very simple. The hardest part of the tour is the travel. It´s the hardest part physically – it really drains you. Also lack of sleep – you are travelling in all those different times so your body is sometimes off rhythm. The shows never stop, they have to be done regardless of sleep or no. one thing I try to do is get soundcheck together, do my interviews, like right now, and try to unplug and turn everything off for an hour just before the show. Kinda like meditation and focusing your energy – unplug and stop, get to (usually) dark room and that seems the way that I recharge the battery. I am getting back to walking out – I recently got surgery on my knees – so I am doing this if hotel has a gym and we have a gym available. That´s important to take care of your body and be in shape – the diet is important – I am trying not to eat heavy stuff on gig days. I am actually trying to stay away from the red meat as much as I can. Every once in a while, when I feel I want that, I eat some steak or some burger and I don´t react that well so diet is the big part of it. Rest is important too. Also – I am not a young cat so I have to be aware of that and allow my body to recharge before the show. Sometimes I can´t – sometimes, the schedule is so full or we are flying at the same day of the gig for 2-3-4 hours, we get there, got soundcheck and then showtime like it happened in Slovakia and I didn´t have time for a rest but let´s be honest, the show wouldn´t stop for us. At the end of that gig, you might be tired and it´s hard to turn off. I also try not to do energy drinks, I do a coffee or Coca-Cola or if I have to, I do a Red Bull. Hot teas are great for my voice and lots of water – I mean tons of water. Which is crazy because I have to hit the bathroom a lot. But you have to stay hydrated – it´s a big thing when you travel so much. You dehydrate and that´s the beginning of you getting sick. I also take a lot of supplements – minerals and vitamins. That´s pretty much it, man. It´s very simple. I just take care of my body and mind so I can perform at my best. As a singer, you have to take really good care of your voice. We´ve been doing gigs where people were smoking – we did this gig in Belgrade and there was like 350 people and all of them were smoking. I was like “What?!” In that room, there was not ventilated or airconditioned, so the smoke was just there and I freaked out. Next morning, I was like really sensitive to that. You just have to take care of yourself. I would do the show in any environment and every environment because that´s what it is.
You as touring musician – how have you handled whole pandemic situation when you had to stay home? From as far as I know, that doesn´t happen to you for a long time.
Nobody has experienced that. We did the best we could. It was something unnatural and we had to obey the rules and law so we did the best we could. But it was hard for everybody – it took its toll. A lot of friends I know – they moved out of LA because they couldn´t financially handle that. It hit fast and it hit hard. A lot people couldn´t afford to live like they lived before. I was very happy that I still could do a lot of work, recording wise. I still had some things I was doing that was creating income. I was not playing live and I wasn´t going to studio – it was just my engineer and me who quietly did our work. We did the best we could and we came out of it and it´s fine that it´s over. It definitely was something that I hope never happens again.
You´ve released book with a lot of pictures, some stories too but, man, you got a lot to tell. Is there any thinking about writing and publishing actual biography of yours?
Yeah! That´s been actually in the words and I was talking with this writer about that but he passed away. So, everything got held back but Marc Alisson who made this book of mine – we´ve been talking a lot about that biography thing. When the time comes, I really want to open up and go a really good job and unfortunately, if I do that, it would create some waves, you know?! I would be stepping on some toes and I would be talking about people´s privacy. I don’t know how happy I would be doing that so I have to be careful there too. We are definitely in the process of doing that and it might happen in next 2-3-4 years. It would come out for the people who would be interested. I´ll do my best. So, you are right, there is definitely story there to tell, very interesting story I believe.
But as you mentioned, there is already one book with a little story line about where I came from, who I worked with and it´s pretty cool one and nice to have, I think. We´ve put it together during the pandemic and we just wanted to do something to stay in touch with the fans and we were surprised by how people loved it. We only printed few – I think a hundred first and it just keeps going and going and going so people are interested. That´s something that keeps you connected with the fans, you know?! That way, they can get a little insight on who you are and where you came from.