You know Marco Mendoza. He’s an everyman of hard rock, turning up wielding the four string motherfucker ((c) B. Lawless, sometime in the mid eighties), for Ted Nugent, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, The Dead Daisies and now, rather resplendently, for himself.
The world and his wife seem to be heading to Denmark’s Mighty Music to do business at the minute, and Marco is no different – he certainly does the business here. And whilst our hero might be less heavy than the likes of new label mates Tygers of Pan Tang, Trespass or Blitzkrieg, certainly he gives them nothing in terms of sheer rock n’roll slickness and smarts…
And the man can sing, too, giving a bravura performance on tracks like the euphoric Sue is on the Run, a funky rocker of gargantuan proportions that had me hunting around for my old Stevie Salas elpees. He’s similarly solid on the strutting Rocketman, which has more than a whiff of Lynch Mob‘s superb Smoke and Mirrors album from a few years back, whilst the insistent, horn-driven soulfulness of Sweetest Emotions won’t fail to elicit silly grins and sillier dancing from anyone who comes into contact with it.
Of course, a man with an address book as bulging as Marco isn’t going to be doing this stuff on his own, and former White Lion man Mike Tramp is enlisted to give a helping hand on a superb reading of the Thin Lizzy classic Chinatown; some fine guitar work (from, I think, producer Soren Andersen but I might be wrong) rounds out the trrack.
The second half of the album is less rocking, despite the presence of a balls-to-the-wall tribute to former boss Nugent and sidekick Derek St Holmes in the shape of Hey Baby – which absolutely steams, by the way – but that doesn’t mean that the quality is any less. Fans of Lenny Kravitz will find themselves double taking the liquid groove of Love 2 U to make sure it isn’t the dreadlocked diva himself, and if the ballad Leah isn’t quite at the level of the other tracks here in terms of sheer, blistering funk, it at least isn’t a bad song of it’s type.
All in all then, a riotously enjoyable look inside Marco’s world, and a nice trip of musical discovery to see what makes the great man tick. Highly recommended!
Viva La Rock will be released by Mighty Music on March 2nd.