On the eve of their gig in Paris, supporting KISS, we did have a listen chat with two huge rock n’roll artists!
Hello Marco Mendoza, hello John Corabi, how are you?
Marco & John: Very good, thanks for asking!
How was Download Festival?
Marco: Download was great!
John: Amazing! Marco has been there many times, I think all the guys had but it was my first. You know in America, we don’t always read the magazines but every year “Kerrang!” has a bunch of photos from Donington Festival. You know for me as a musician, as kid, I was like “this is the goal”. Unfortunately or fortunately when I was in Mötley (Crüe) that was going to be the first gig, with Aerosmith, which was huge for me because I’m a huge Aerosmith fan, and at the last minute management or somebody from the record label pulled this off and we never did it. So I was seeing the schedule here Munich and Germany, Download Festival: YES! So we went to the festival, did some press on the Saturday, and showing up for the show, it was raining, muddy and it was at 11 in the morning… on Sunday… We were the first act of the day so who would show up? It was a little bit cold but no rain, kind of sunny and all of the sudden all those people coming, showing up, it was packed, great, we did a short set but it was awesome!
M: So it was amazing!
J: I guess I can not use so much of the interview time. (laughs)
M: (laughs) It was amazing, it’s one of those festivals where you kinda gather with the English fans.
J: Well I think it gathers the European fan base, it’s a festival where everybody comes like Sweden Rock Festival.
M: You have Hellfest now in France too. That’s huge!
The band released “Revolucion” a few weeks ago, we really appreciated it by the way. How is the response to it wherever you go?
J: We almost do press every day and the record company sent the record to many people and the response is pretty freaking me out man! It has been overwhelmingly positive, everybody I talked with said that it was an amazing record from top to bottom, the diversity etc. It’s been really cool knowing that we wrote, recorded, mixed and mastered the songs in 30 days. It’s pretty impressive and amazing.
M: People are liking it everywhere, it’s positive all the way.
What about the word game with the title?
M: With the love thing? Well everything starts with some love if you want to go deep into it. Everything comes from love. Love, passion that also stands behind the word revolucion. Changing the status quo, with you and I… BAM! That was also a marketing thing, we have a great team working with us. The revolucion was inspired by our trip in Cuba where you can’t walk without thinking to “Viva la Revolucion”, which in French is “Vive la Révolution”, which in Spanish is:
J: “Viva la Revolucion”, which in America is… well (laughs)
M: (laughs)They presented us the idea of it and we felt comfortable with it and we took it. We’re definitely embracing the Latin American culture there.
What’s the musical aim of The Dead Daisies? Knowing that’s a collective, how do you establish the sound of the material?
J: Wow, well for this record I can’t really speak about it, I wasn’t here but we honestly just wanted to utilize all the modern technologies, social Medias and stuff, but also just go back to basics and just be five or six guys only thinking about music and not the business, just letting the music taking us where it was supposed to go. We all got in a room together, just jammed, throwing ideas and we didn’t try to push anything in a certain direction, we just let it develop it on the way it supposed to be developed. That innocence and pure creative, well you know what I’m talking about… Whatever… (laughs) The Cuban audience also inspired us because they were pure and they were caught off everything, no MTVs, radios, no rock bands. When I was growing up in the late 60’, early 70’; when I was buying an album, I was buying the entire experience, the record, the artwork… that’s what we wanted to get back to.
M: By the way, considering our experience, when you got the opportunity to enter the studio with no pre-conceived ideas, everybody is allowed to go creatively to their place and then you get a particular sound. When I was asked to participate with The Dead Daisies, they got a sound that I really dug. Musically it spoke to me “this is where I live!” and obviously I wanted to be a part of it.
Which feelings do you want to communicate? For example when we listened to it we were imagining ourselves at the beach drinking cocktails and chilling out. Did we get it?
M: Nice! Cool!
J: You know what’s weird for me? I don’t really have lyrically, I can’t really sit down and write, it’s hard for me until I can sit and hear all the songs, the complete and final versions I mean. Each song has its own personality, each song dictates to me what I’m going to write about like “Devil Out Of Time” to me it’s really like a punky vibe as the Stooges, MC5, so when I heard that I was just kind of thinking of angry lyrics you know. Or with a little rhythm song, I’ll close my eyes and will totally see a woman dancing to this, a very sexy song so the lyrics will be sexy. The lyrics came to me after hearing the songs, the vibes. I need to be taken into the direction by the music.
M: And the feeling should be, you know, take the journey with us. This is what we’re saying and hopefully it’ll be a good one. It put you in a beach somewhere? That’s great man! That’s excellent!
A word about “Mexico”? Why this reference and why not another city? What’s behind this opening track?
J: This is what they started, prior to me joining them. I mean the songs are great songs but lyrically we were… well Marco will explain it later. Do you know the story between Samson and Delilah in the Bible? You got Samson and then Delilah, this beautiful enticing woman but she was bad, there was a dark side to her. And I think Mexico is a very good analogy because there are so many beautiful things in Mexico, beautiful people, beaches but it can be a little bad sometimes.
M: You got to watch with whom you’re hanging out. So we were hanging out, talking about places to go and I brought up the fact that it’s only about 2 hours from California and my family used to go there twice a year. It was very affordable, tropical, gorgeous, great food, great time but in the past three, four, five years it has been a little dangerous so that’s where it came from.
So played in Cuba a few months ago. How was that experience? Was it unique? David said “one of the best musical experience of my life”? Was it also your case?
J: For me it was even more than a musical thing obviously. I like, I love, I’m always watching the history channels at home and as a kid I remember my parents watching the TV with the US Navy and the Russians well you know. And obviously politicians… so when they asked me I was like “yeah man, let’s see what it’s all about” and we got down there and again they’ve been pretty much caught off from any music. They have great music singers but other bands going there, it didn’t really happened. The whole experience to me was like they were so hungry… and I’m not only taking about kids, well I looked down into the audience and there were people about 55/60 just rocking out and they were so happy that we were there! It was a very very cool experience and meeting a lot of musicians there, it was very eye opening for us because we take so many things for granted and that’s not the case there, you know what I mean. It was an unbelievable trip there and I can’t wait to go back!
What’s your top 3 for this record and why?
J: Hmm wow! That’s hard, you go first.
M: I love “Mexico”, “With You And I” and, hard third choice but I also love “Sleep”.
J: For me, I would say, I do like “Sleep” I think that song came out very incredible and again, I like “With You And I” as well for a few reasons, but I love “Something I Said”. But that’s asking me like which finger do you want to lose? (laughs)
M: Or who’s your favourite kid? I got five. (laughs)
You also play a few covers, some really famous ones, some less famous. Why not just play original stuff?
J: That’s one funny thing because back in the 60’s, 70’s, it wasn’t that unusual for a band. You know one of my favourite bands Grand Funk Railroad, they played a lot of cover songs. They were around at the same time as the Stones and they actually did a cover of the song “Heartbreaker”. It wasn’t that unusual for a band to go, to appreciate another artist’s song and go “this is awesome I love this song”. Record it, play it live whatever. That’s something I meant when I said talking it back where it was supposed to be. At the end of the day, I just want to make the best record and when I saw them and rehearse with them, in Cuba, I never played with them till Cuba, and when we rehearsed they played me their version of “Evil” and I has like “that’s great!”, it was in a groovy manner “that’s killer”! I just appreciate good music and why not? There’s no rules, there shouldn’t be any in music so we appreciate a great song, fuck it, let’s just record it.
Before ending this interview, do you guys have any plans for a third record?
J: I hope so. I always want to move forward, it’s okay to learn from your mistakes as long as you move forward. Sometimes you take baby steps. Yes we would love to do another record in the future but right now, today, we’re focusing on this record, this tour and we’ll see where it goes.
And the last question is: we are “RockUrLife”, so what rock your lives?
M: Me? Besides my life?
J: Besides Justin Bieber.
M: Justin Bieber is number one. Well what rocks my life is the beauty of live itself. There’s always something to be learnt everywhere. Just doing this for 85 years now.
J: Actually 84. (laughs) You’re aging yourself!
M: It’s amazing, that rocks my life! It has been a great journey.
J: And it’s the same for me. I love the fact that I feel blessed with all the records I’ve done. I travelled the world, I play music, people come to see me and sing my lyrics back. But in the same time, I love my family, my wife, hanging out with my friends and watching football, just very simple. And like I said, enjoy today and we’ll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.
M: Merci beaucoup, à bientôt! (in French)