By Rod Whitfield
Australian/American band The Dead Daisies very much have that ‘supergroup’ vibe going on. Formed relatively recently (2012), the band has seen a number of very high profile American and Australian rock musicians roll through its ranks in quite a short period of time. For example, former Noiseworks and briefly INXS frontman Jon Stevens has come and gone, drummer John Tempesta, who has played with Rob Zombie, Exodus, Testament and several other, had a brief stint. All up, the band has already seen no less than 13 members.
Bassist Marco Mendoza, who has been with the band since 2013, and played with the likes of Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Ted Nugent and more, says he can understand why it might come across that the band is simply a revolving door for members but that it was never actually intended to be this way, it is just the way it has worked out with the busy schedules of in-demand musicians the way they are.
“I can see that from the outside looking in you can come to that conclusion. I would be thinking the same thing” he admits. “I can only speak for what happened to me. I was in Australia with Thin Lizzy, on the Motley Crue and Kiss tour and before the tour I got approached by management, David Edwards, to say ‘we have this band, we have some songs and an album, and we have an opportunity to open up for Aerosmith.’
“Because of the way it all happened, it just started growing beyond everybody’s control, and people have prior commitments that they have to fulfil,” he continues the story, “and in this business it’s so important to be a man of your word and if you say you’re going to do something you have to finish off. So that’s how people get the impression that it’s a revolving door.”
He feels however, that the current line-up, which includes former Motley Crue frontman John Corabi, and Dizzy Reed, previously with Guns N’ Roses, is about as good as it gets and may be more of a long term concern.
“The intention was to find the right people for this band, and I think we’re there,” he states with some conviction. “You can’t get anything better, I mean come on, as guitar players go, Richard Fortus is right up there. Dizzy Reed, keyboard player with Guns N’ Roses, these guys are great songwriters, they do everything so well. And Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol) on the drums, he’s gotta be one of the best cats on the planet.
“And of course (Australian founding member) David Lowy brings his writing abilities and his playing abilities. And now we have John Corabi, he’s a great frontman, great singer, great songwriter. So the team is full and complete in my eyes.”
The band have a brand new album about to be released called Revolucion. If you dig classic, old school rock ‘n’ roll from the ‘70s and ‘80s, then this album is for you. Mendoza is very excited about and proud of the album, and is also very happy about the vibe in the band at the moment and where they are heading into the future.
“The whole journey of The Dead Daisies, the time has just been right,” he enthuses, “everything’s just been grooving along nicely. We had a great year last year, and the year before, which was the time I met the guys in Australia. It just seemed to be a logical thing to do, to go into the studio and dig a little deeper.
“So that’s what we did. We found the time, we recorded everything in Sydney. We were there for 32 days from beginning to end. We were on a mission. So I’m very excited, the response to the album has been over the top, so it’s like ‘to the moon, to the moon!’”
“If you could see me now, you’d see me jumping up and down!” He laughs.
The band are touring Australia in early October with KISS on their 40th anniversary tour, but The Dead Daisies made history in February this year when they became the first western rock act to play in Cuba since President Obama re-opened trade ties with the small communist island nation. Mendoza remembers the experience with great affection, and very much hopes they can make a return visit in the not too distant future.
“Initially, and I can only speak for myself, I haven’t really shared this with the other guys, when we heard we were going to Cuba after a long period of touring, I kinda put it in the back of my head,” he recalls, “I didn’t realise the importance of it until the night before when we were in Miami, and we were like ‘holy crap, Cuba! This is actually a bit of history going on here!’
“From the moment we got out of the plane, it was nothing but hospitality and appreciation for us being there. The people were just wide open and hungry for what we were bringing, and we left the country with much more than what we brought. They’re dying to connect with the rest of the world, they have a lot to offer as a country. We might not agree with the thinking, politically, but as a nation they have so much to offer to the rest of the world.
“It was definitely a bucket-list thing. And I can’t wait to go back, there’s talk of doing that next year.”
He also has high hopes that their trip into Cuba might pave the way for more rock and other acts to tour that country. “Yeah, that’s what we’re hoping,” he agrees. “We were cracking the door open for other people to consider it.”
Revolución is out now via Spitfire Music.
Australian Tour Dates With KISS
Saturday, 3 October – PERTH Arena
Tuesday, 6 October – ADELAIDE Entertainment Centre
Thursday, 8 October – MELBOURNE Rod Laver Arena
Saturday, 10 October – SYDNEY Allphones Arena
Monday, 12 October – NEWCASTLE Entertainment Centre
Tuesday, 13 October – BRISBANE Entertainment Centre