‘We’re gonna have a blast, man!’ Marco Mendoza’s Solo Tour Is On The Road

The Mexican Bass Player Is Showing The UK His Bottom End

He’s provided the bottom-end blast for the likes of Ted Nugent and Whitesnake and is currently winding his fingers around Phil Lynott’s iconic basslines in Thin Lizzy. This month San Diego-born, Tijuana-raised bassist Marco Mendoza is in the UK for a series of dates with his solo band. Not the rock-out-with-your-cock-out extravagance of his other bands, a Marco Mendoza show is a more intimate affair, but he likes it that way. ‘I get to meet a lot of friends, my supporters, shake some hands, take some pictures and say hello,’ Mendoza says, the words rolling off his tongue through his strong Mexican accent. ‘I really dig that, I’m a people person. And because of the level of the bands I’ve been working with, you know, in these big arenas and all that it’s hard, it’s just not possible. So this is a way to connect face-to-face, hand-to-hand. It’s more challenging to play the smaller venues because you don’t have the big production,’ he continues. ‘You don’t have the big stage, you don’t have the big audience, the thousands of people, because that in itself is an experience. It comes down to intimacy; it comes down to hearing what you’re playing and how you’re playing it and what you’re singing and how you’re singing it. Sharing the lyrics and sharing a few moments, a few stories...it’s like coming to a party at somebody’s house.’

Far from being just a bass player, Mendoza is no slouch when it comes to writing his own music. Adding to the string of collaborations over the years Mendoza has written two wildly different solo albums demonstrating both his rock and roll lifestyle and his Latin American heritage: Casa Mendoza which is world music fusion; kind of funk jazz and Live For Tomorrow which is the classic rock album.’

Live For Tomorrow, the unsurprisingly funky bass-heavy album with some terrific guitar playing – not a complete shock when you consider Ted Nugent, Steve Lukather and Doug Aldridge appeared on there with Ritchie Kotzen producing – and Mendoza’s excellent, smoky voice will be the weapon of choice. It’s over five years since it was originally released but Mendoza still wants you to hear it. ‘(LFT will be) probably 80% of what we’re going to be playing live. When this came out I was touring. I think I was still touring with Whitesnake and shortly afterwards Soul SirkUS with Neal Schon from Journey and promoters started approaching me and it just logistically didn’t work. Schedule wise I was doing too many things so I put it off and then this year I had two, three weeks where I was between touring legs (with Thin Lizzy) and I decided it’s time.’

Even those unfamiliar with Mendoza’s solo work will have fun with the remaining 20%. ‘I might throw some surprises in. Maybe even some Thin Lizzy tracks that we don’t play with them this year or very seldom do and I have stuff that I recorded with Ted Nugent, with Soul SirkUS, with Whitesnake...there’s so many songs, man, so many tracks!’

Joining Mendoza on stage is Glenn Hughes’ ex-guitarist and Ian Gillan’s ex-drummer. An undeniably fearsome trio. ‘I’m especially excited about this run because I have Soren Andersen on guitar,’ Mendoza enthuses. ‘I don’t know if you know who he is but you should. Amazing cat...he’s just one of those guys that’s playing music for the right reasons. He’s very passionate about it, he loves what he does and so I’m excited about that. We’ve been trying to hook up in so many ways, we finally did it. And I have Mark Cross whose credits on drums are just too long to mention! A few cats including Ian Gillan and a few people along the way and he also is as passionate about drum playing as I am about music. So the Three Musketeers, we’re going to get together! We’re gonna have a blast, man, I’m so looking forward to it.’

All for one, and one for all!