We recently had the chance to sit and chat with Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake), bassist of hard rock supper group The Dead Daises. Super-busy as they tear up the road supporting legendary rockers KISS, we were lucky to score a few moments with the band. A discussion about writing, recording, their new album Make Some Noise and future material ensued.
Make Some Noise was released the first week of August. Now that it is complete, how do you feel about it and are you satisfied with the outcome?
Mendoza: To be honest, the response has been overwhelming. I think after a few years and working on so many projects, you don’t get jaded but the level of your expectations is minimal, especially the way the music industry is today. So with that being said we are jazzed that the response has been over-the-top and much more than we expected.
So, even a few weeks out, when you sit and listen to it again, do you wish you could have changed anything?
Mendoza: Yesterday we were in New York shooting a video for “Make Some Noise”, in the studio and I got to hear the track again; it’s an amazing track. The is some good music going on there and I still get lit, I get excited by it.
I know you guys are spread out geographically, so I am wondering how you go about writing and recording your music?
Mendoza: I remember sitting down on the KISS Cruise last year with Dizzy Reed, (he was still in the band then) and talking about what our plans were for 2016. We would get together backstage and record, just like you are here, and it would be like, “Oh wow, that’s is a good idea, let’s get it on tape.” Then we would store it. Every day on tour there is stuff going on like that. So when the time comes to put together a record it is overwhelming because we have so many ideas. It is a collaboration, this is a real band, this is the way a real band should work. I have been on both sides of the story.
Some bands write and it is just the singer and the guitarist that do it all and then the rest of the band follows their vision. This is cool, and as you know I have been part of a few amazing bands that did this and I am not complaining. But to get a bigger perspective and a wider picture of what a “real” band is you can look at us, we have five pistons running together and everybody is throwing in their own color, taste, and style. We have all been around for 30 years or more and we bring what we bring to the table. There is never a shortage of ideas and writing here in this band. One of the things that was talked about before we even started this record was to record as a band in the studio like bands did back in the ’70s and ’80s. There is a bit of magic that happens when you have everyone in the room.
A lot of bands email parts back and forth and are never really together when they write and I think, at the end of the day, you can feel the difference.
Mendoza: Yeah, you can feel it. I am not going to lie I have done many sessions like that and I am not opposed to it, I am a pro. I am a session guy and a studio musician and whatever you need me to do I will do it. There is something to be said though when you have 4 or 5 guys playing with no net, there is a sense of urgency, It is organic with a lot of anticipation and you can hear it, the way it is played. My favorite bands that I love from way back have a lot of things going on and it makes it real, it is not tangible but it is the spirit of the moment. That is something that we talked about with the guys in the band and I think we are pushing some buttons and people are open to it. That is how things used to be way back then.
Check out the song “Long Way To Go”
How did you select the two covers you did on this record from The Who and Creedence Clearwater Revival?
Mendoza: That story will probably be different depending on which band member you speak with. I remember with “Fortunate Son”, 2 or 3 of us were doing acoustic stuff at various radio stations and we are big CCR fans. They had great sounds, great lyrics, and great melodies; John Fogerty is one of those cats that is just abundant with talent. So in one of those jams we played that song and our manager came in and asked us why we weren’t doing that live, full blown electric and Bam! It was just like that.
We try to cover songs that are in touch with the pulse of the fan base. “Fortunate Son” really makes a lot of sense with what is going on in the world today. As far as The Who, we were chatting one day and the song “Join Together” came up and we figured we could really put a good treatment on that as well. There have been talks about possibly doing an album full of covers celebrating the era that we all came from. I think that would be great ’cause John Corabi has that raspy, ragged voice that fits really well with that kind of music. We are flying that flag for the new generation!
You have had quite a few top-caliber musicians in this band over the years and, I think in the end, all of their experience definitely has shaped The Dead Daises’ sound, right?
Mendoza: Absolutely! Richard Fortus, Dizzy Reed and Frank Ferrer are amazing, Frank came in last minute at the studio because the cat we had flaked out and didn’t show up. He had just gotten off a plane from Germany and we called him up and he came right over and laid down the tracks. So, of course we get the essence of all the players that we have had. The lineup on this album is the lineup for The Dead Daises moving forward from today. Having been in the music business and being a realist, in the music business things change but I am hoping we stay around for another album and maybe more.
Any closing words?
Mendoza: This thing can only grow; we are all very happy. The results have been great musically, we are very proud of what we have done and we are excited about the over-the-top response from fans and the industry. We have been talking to ESPN, the NFL and really anyone that will listen to us. We are knocking on every door so we can play some of this music and move forward.