Wim R. : It has been seven years ago that Marco Mendoza released a solo album (‘Casa Mendoza’). Up until now the American with the Mexican/Spanish roots his time was being fully consumed as bass player in The Dead Daisies. Before that Mendoza was already known and respected as member of Ted Nugent, Thin Lizzy, Black Star Riders and Whitesnake. Besides the afore mentioned bands, this workaholic also contributed to a lot of other albums in his career. But now he found time to record an album on his own one again. Recording took place in Copenhagen, Denmark with producer Soren Henriksen at the production helm. Andersen also plays, some very nice, guitar on ‘Viva La Rock. Morten Hellborn is the drummer.
The album kicks into motion with the title track in a convincing and rocking way. This song could have been on an album by The Dead Daisies easily. There is also a touch of Thin Lizzy on this one and guitarist Andersen really shines on this song. After the smoke clears, ‘Sue Is On The Run’ is a bit more mid-tempo, but very nice. It shows Mendoza is more than capable of handling the vocal duties. The chorus of this one really sticks. With ‘Rocketman’ we have a definite live classic on our hands. In ‘Sweet Emotions’ some horns are added to this funk based song. In his biography Mendoza states that Funk influenced him as a musician and composer. If it is done in this way, it is okay by me. With ‘Chinatown’ Mendoza plays a worthy tribute to Thin Lizzy. Mike Tramp (former White Lion vocalist), can also be heard on this song. Nice, but I think Mendoza is more than capable to handle vocals on his own and more convincing. With ‘Burned’ it is once again proven that Mendoza has a big influence on the material and sound of his current outfit The Dead Daisies. A great and groovy song. Beside Thin Lizzy, Mendoza also played with the Motorcity Madman aka Nugent. His tune ‘Hey Baby’ is covered on this album and Mendoza even introduces Nugent as the biggest rocker of all time during this song. True love and respect.
In the end it is too bad that ‘Viva La Rock’ only holds eight original songs. Not that much if you take in consideration that his last solo effort has been seven years ago. The only weak song is ‘Leah’. A bit too sugar-coated ballad dedicated to his wife. But, all in all, ‘viva La Rock is a very nice and entertaining album. Mendoza will be touring this album next year, and I think this will be a party to attend. The energy this man has, it’s unbelievable.