Interviews

Interview with Marco Mendoza and Deen Castronovo of The Dead Daisies

 

Interview by: Francijn Suermondt

Photos by: Simon Kneller

 

1) Your new album ‘Burn It Down’ has just been released and it is amazing, but ‘Make Some Noise’ still seems very new to me. You seem to record new albums every other year you work so hard!

Marco – It is a conscious effort we all talk about it and we are trying to recreate what used to happen in the 60’s or 70’s, it is important to bring The Dead Daisies to our fans. You kind of need to bring it out there and connect with your audience as quickly as you can. And it is important to come over to the UK, we have to, you guys are amazing here.

Deen – I mean the proof is in the pudding. Some of the last bands I was in, never cultivated this area, the singer never wanted to come over, just wasn’t interested and now by doing this and reaching the fans, it has all just become massive! These Dead Daisies guys work their tails off AND we all LOVE it! Yes, I couldn’t believe it, I mean these guys have only been doing this 5 years now and they work so hard!

2) As we have discussed you guys are touring constantly, what do you think the difference is in the European and UK fans compared to say those in the USA?

Deen – To me, I would say the European/ UK fans are more open-minded. For example, when I was in Journey, we were sandwiched between Korn and Slipknot, and the guys from Slipknot and Korn were all watching, it was the greatest thing in the world! And that was what changed my entire view… I thought, man, they dig it! In America, you’ve got cliques….”man we are metalheads, we only listen to this”. You could not have a metal head crowd watching Journey, they would boo and throw stuff, that is just how they are!

Marco – Journey has been influential to so many bands, I grew up in the US and they set the standard for a lot of bands to follow man, and they have had so much success and written so many great songs. So it is very cool we have this new cat, Deen, with us now!

Deen – I have never worked with someone so versatile as Marco, he can sing anything, play anything plus he has a heart of gold.

Marco – Thanks Deen, that is the most important part of me, the heart thing!

3) I have to say I reviewed your latest solo album Marco, and I gave it 9 out of 10 and I gave the latest Dead Daisies album 10 out of 10. I just think you are awesome, and my question is, to what do you attribute the constant brilliant songwriter? You’ve got a bunch of guys who are working so well together and you know, it could quite easily not work!

Marco – That has been the most asked question than any other question. How do you get along, you have all these personalities and egis, by the way, you have to have some ego, to get in front of a crowd and do what you have to do. But I think we are little older and a little wiser, all of us come from a place where we have had success and been to the top of the mountain. We have been the valleys, where projects have failed like terribly failed, we have the opportunity now to do something with the Dead Daisies which is massive … a REAL band. Fran, I have been part of projects where the writers have been just two cats, or one guy was doing all the writing, so the vision was narrower, it was great, I’m not saying it’s bad, but it was just narrow. Now, with us, the concept is that EVERYBODY writes and that is the attitude. We check our egos out at the door, we work to produce the best music possible. We throw our ideas in there, we all have a vested interest in the band and that is our formula.

4) Well, I think you are amazing, and it is a relief to feel that classic rock has been updated by you guys for the modern era.

Marco – It is flattering to have any type of classification, call us a supergroup or whatever. We LOVE soup!!! We are happy to get any compliments like that, as it means the fans are knocking on the door and it allows us to open the door and say come on in. Because this means that people are curious about who we are….and then we deliver!

5) My personal favorite tracks from ‘Burn It Down’ are Judgement Day, Dead and Gone and the cover of Bitch by the Rolling Stones. How do you decide which cover track you do and have you thought of running a competition for your fans to choose the next cover you do?

Marco – We were trying to incorporate that idea, we have to give a lot of credit to our management, we have a great team and everything about this project is working so well….Fran, you met David, right? He sees the bigger picture and he has ideas for all the competitions. The cover tracks became a sort of part of our salute and also the main reason, we had to play these is you can imagine, a bunch of guys is opening for Aerosmith and nobody knows our music, so we had to hook people in and then we realized WOW that is cool, why don’t we play covers in our set that everybody loves and to this day I get chills when we do it. It’s all about entertaining and giving the punters what they want.

6) You have covered two of my favorite ever tracks ‘Fortunate Son’ and ‘American Band’ and to be quite honest I play your versions more than the originals, which I don’t often do with covers …

Marco – But that is a sign of a good song. It can be country, metal or whatever, but if it is written well it is easy. And you can’t go wrong with the line-up of our band really and NOW it includes one of my all-time favorite drummers of all-time!!!! I have been telling Deen for years, that I am his biggest fan because he is amazing! You know me and Deen are having a blast!

Deen – You know, he looks at me and I look at him and we just laugh with joy! It’s all about getting up there and having fun you know! It’s just great for me to be in a band where we all say … let’s just have a blast!

7) ‘Burn It Down’ was your second album produced by Marti Frederiksen, why do you think working with him has gelled so well with you all?

Marco – Before we had Marti produce ‘Make Some Noise’ we had all of the strong personalities of the band members with strong vision, making decisions looking at different ways to produce the albums and all points were very valid, but we realized we needed a killer producer to manage the recording of the album as someone with knowledge from the outside looking in and managing the whole process. He is another cog in the well-greased machine! He is an incredible songwriter and drummer too and his style of producing and engineering which is very cool. So with ‘Make Some Noise’, which is when Doug came on board too, BOOM we found the direction and now with ‘Burn It Down’ is a little more refined, focused and heavier. If you look at the history, it’s a natural process you know, five cats getting together and trying to find the best direction, the perfect path and now we are finding it. Our first two Dead Daisies albums were a little scattered, but with the Make Some Noise album it all started fitting together more. Marti believes in the Dead Daisies completely and he does everything in his power to produce the best record for us … we trust him and he trusts us.

8) And didn’t Doug produce the ‘Live And Louder’ album?

Marco – Not completely, but he assisted in the engineering, in the mix. Doug has a got a side to him where he really loves to do that, I couldn’t, I wouldn’t have the patience, but Doug was Marti’s right-hand guy on ‘Live and Louder’. Doug is a great producer, I can produce, David Lowy can produce.

9) So you can all do a little bit of everything! … Can you bake cupcakes though? (I bought the band in some Dead Daisies cupcakes as a thank you)

Marco – Actually, can I say yes, my daughter and I get together when I get home (which isn’t too often these days!) and have a baking day where we make cakes, muffins etc

Deen – I do pasta and hotdogs!

10) Deen, you joined the band in November…how has it been so far for you?

Deen – As hard as the work is, it is just great to be able to work. To come back after 3 years off is great. I’m playing with great musicians, I’m traveling the world again and doing what I love!

11) I have to say that apart from the fact that you are all rock royalty, which you all are, this is not really the point. The point is that you always give fans your time, you talk to them and you run competitions for them, for example, the first 100 people through the door tonight will get to meet you. There are so many big bands that just won’t do that ….

Deen – I know this and when I saw what these guys were doing and they asked me if I was up for doing meet and greets, I said YES, I always loved doing that with Journey and interacting and stuff. But this is a far cooler thing, this is like … REALLY interacting!

Marco – Our founder, David, couldn’t have put it more eloquently, he wanted the fans to be part of the journey and that’s why social media is so cool. We bring in little bits and pieces onto our social media platforms and say come along to the show, and yes we could say pay £10 to meet us, but why? It’s not going to make a difference, what is going to make a difference is that we make friends and we make fans. And you guys in the UK, once they love you man, till death do us part! UK fans are very loyal.

Deen – At every meet and greet I have noticed this, these guys know 90% of the people that are coming through….and it’s like “Oh man great to see you again” and quite honestly, I have never seen this before. It’s very cool.

Marco – The bottom line Fran, without the fans …what? Nada, niet, nothing!

 

http://thedeaddaisies.com/

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