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Cherry Pop

'70s - Thin Lizzy   (2011) '70s - Thin Lizzy (2011)

'Kingdom Of Paradise: The Marco Mendoza Story'

Marco Mendoza comes from a very musical family and started playing the guitar at an early age.

Marco is perhaps mostly known for his work with a number of rock bands and artists such as Thin Lizzy, Blue Murder, Whitesnake , Ted Nugent, Neal Schon and Soul SirkUS . Marco has currently been working with Dolores O’Riordan from the Cranberries project, the Lynch Mob and touring with his solo project and Thin Lizzy.

Marco is living in Los Angeles. When he´s not touring he can often be found playing local jazz clubs with Joey Heredia and Renato Neto.

On the personal side, Marco has three sons, Marco, Aaron and Max, and two daughters Eva and Faith.

And so, luckily for us, guitarist MARCO MENDOZA recently sat down with Exclusive Magazine to chat about Thin Lizzy, their music, eye liner, and, of course, ... Penguins!

Taking it from the top and you have been a member of Thin Lizzy three (3) times now: 1996-2000, 2005-2007, 2009-Present Day! So what is it about Thin Lizzy and the music that keeps dragging you back in?! "For me Thin Lizzy represents classic rock music at its best! It's a legendary band that got into Rock and Roll history. So any time I get a call and I'm available I will always go out of my way to be a part of it. The music is really strong and it's a priviledge to be a part of that."

When you got the call to come back this latest time, they phrased it to you as 'We'd like to revisit Thin Lizzy and we'd like you to be a part of it.' Did you ever question what they meant by the word 'revisit' though? "No I didn't because having been on the inside, I understood what had been going on. The reason why I took a break in some ways was due to the fact that at one point I felt it was being mismanaged - any project like that needs to be well organised from the inside out and it wasn't!"

"So I had the opportunity to do other things, which I did for a while, but then I got the call from Adam Parsons (Thin Lizzy's current Manager) and it sounded like it was going to be well rounded and represented in the right way. So for me it was like 'Let's GO!' And the proof is in the pudding you know. The bottom line is it's doing much better than expected!"

Indeed, I saw you play here in Detroit, MI last night (03/31) at the Sound Board (inside the Motor City Casino) ... [ Gig Review Link] ... an incredible, powerful show. With this new line-up is it sounding (to you, personally) musically better than ever up there on stage? Does tweaking-the-sets still come into play, perhaps? "Absolutely! There's no doubt in my mind that this is the best line-up. We are approaching classic Thin Lizzy as it was originally, and I think we're doing a good job. Everyone's heart is in the right place! We were all willing to compromise in order to do it justice."

"Interviews have been over the top, the reviews are great, and we're getting invited to participate all over the globe. So there's no doubt in my mind that this is the best line-up, for sure! Having Brian and Darren back was a big factor for me. Everything's cool!"

But what it is like backstage? Before or after a show, and even though you've known each other for years, are there still ego's to feed?! "NO! Egos are being checked at the door and everyone is there to do their job well and be focused and ultimately deliver on stage. There are no primadonnas, no big egos - we're all very flexible to what needs to happen. There have been times - like Detroit - where we couldn't bring on the full production, so it comes down the the music. It's great music, great songs, and we're there to get on stage and deliver that consistently!"

Sadly, it's been said, although I am NOT on board with it, that as this is the latest reincarnation of (the) Thin Lizzy (Band) that it is yet another revamping of the band purely for monetary/sales reasons. Thoughts? "You know thats a question that keeps coming up, and if you're not in the business then it's hard to understand how the whole machine works. This thing could not exist if there wasn't a business side to it all - you have to take that into consideration, always. But I will say this - from the beginning we all accepted the challenge to compromise the monetary rewards so that we could represent the music the right way, and deliver to the audience a good production. And that's been our main focus."

"There's always a business side to things at this level - we need to promote the back catalog! Thin Lizzy, like I said earlier, is a historical band who got on the map in a big way, and this is the best thing for it! But nobody is getting filthy rich, and nobody will given todays market - that's just how it is!"

"The goal isn't the monetary reward, it's ultimately to deliver a good show and to represent the songs and the history, and legacy of Thin Lizzy and Phil Lynott."

Do you have a favorite Thin Lizzy song to play whilst up on stage - and, at the same time, is there one that (for whatever reason) you just don't look forward to each night? "I've got to say that consistantly all the songs are really well written - the lyric content, the melodies, the whole thing is happening! But I do have favourites in the set that we're doing now like 'Black Rose,' 'The Boys Are Back In Town,' 'The Cowboy Song,' 'The Rocker' - I love 'The Rocker'."

There are so many! This list could go on and on and on! We're talking about adding some B-Sides"to the set too. 'Bad Reputation' is a favourite song of mine, always has been, but if you talk to me next week I'll probably have different favourites!"

Noting that you have a slew of tattoos, and as we're not called Exclusive Magazine for nothing, what is the very last one you got - and where is it located?! "It's a Dragon on my right arm. It's a whole sleeve that's been done by Danny Pullman who has a shop in Vienna - he's originally from Limerick in Ireland. We met quite a few years back and he's been working on my stuff, so it's a work in progress. I'm not out there that often! I'll keep adding more pieces. If you're into ink and tattoos then you'll understand that it might never be finished!"

Your time spent in other bands in highly impressive: Whitesnake, Blue Murder, Ted Nugent, Lynch Mob, Soul SirkUS, etc. but you are also a solo artist too. Please tell us more about your latest solo album, 'Casa Mendoza' and how it musically differs from music performed by any of those bands just mentioned! "The last release was Casa Mendoza, yes. The label, Mascot gave me some room to be a little more creative and so I came back to my roots; which is the latin grooves, brazilian grooves, which I'm very passionate about. I believe it's very rich music!"

"So my goal was to incorporate that style of music into what I was doing, which has been an issue because people really want to keep you in that rock vein, you know. But being a musician and wanting to stay creative I will always challenge myself. The reviews have been good though and I've toured behind it a little bit - looking forward to do more."

"Whenever I have an opportunity I'm going to do that. We incorporate some Live For Tomorrow songs too - that album is doing really well, people totally dig that."

"If you've ever experienced one of my solo shows you'll understand that what I try to do is get out of the box a little bit whenever I can. So I can stretch myself as a bass player and as a singer. It's good to get out of the comfort zone. I think that's very dangerous for all of us - when we get too comfortable - it's really time to put yourself back in the learning mode! Come to a show!"

I will, thank you! And talking of you live on stage, can you please tell us more about your gear - and who you are currently promoting? "I'm using Hartke bass amplifiers. I'm really really impressed with that gear! I've been using TC Electronics pedals, EBS pedals, and of course Yamaha basses. They are building some beautiful instruments for me - 4, 5 and 6 string - so I'll be there for a while yet. And I work with D'Addario strings."

"I have nothing but the best! I always tend to go where the best gear is and I think I've landed in a good place here!"

And talking about making the most out of onstage promotions, do you have some promoters behind your hair products and eyeliner, perhaps?! "NO!," he laughs, "I should! It's something we could talk about! Actually, I've been chatting to management and we've been considering every possible angle and you know we got luggage endorsement, and we're going to go for some kind of Designer Clothing!"

"I mean, the more we work behind these projects, the more people approach you. It's not something that you set out to do, it's something that either happens or it doesn't. But I've been approached by a few companies and I need to start looking at that some more. Hair products would be great though, you know those are hard ones to land. Maybe some wigs huh?," he laughs again, "Keep it simple!"

Sounds good to me! Is it true that you go hunting with Ted Nugent?! If so, who is the better hunter and what is your weapon of choice to shoot with? "Ooooooooooooooh, this is going to get me in trouble! I live in California! I haven't gone hunting with Ted in quite a few years because of schedules, but we're always talking to each other. Every year when it comes to his birthday he has a hunting camp going, but I missed out on it last year."

"He's definitely on the top - he's the main guy! I can't put it into words - he's amazing. He's devoted himself to hunting his whole life, so he's definitely an expert ... PLUS! So any of us that come along, we're students of it. I'm pretty good I gotta say! I choose to hunt with a rifle - a Mag 8 that was inherited by my Dad."

Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine love penguins ... do you, perhaps? "Penguins?! Yeah! The Sandiego Zoo has the biggest exhibition of Penguins so we had a chance to take the kids down there to see them - and they love the Penguins! I can't say that I'm fanatical about them, but Penguins are cool! They're very different and they are community driven, have a tight family structure; they take care of each other. So I dig that."

Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk