The power of rock and roll

By MIKE CHAIKEN

EDITIONS EDITOR

Marco Mendoza’s love for classic rock wasn’t instantaneous.

Mendoza, who is now playing with hard rockers The Dead Daisies, comes to Connecticut this week as his band opens for Kiss in Bridgeport.

These days, of course, Mendoza is in demand as a bass player. Mendoza also count the likes of Thin Lizzy and Whitesnake as notches on musical resume.

But growing up in Mexico, Mendoza explained he wasn’t exposed to that hard rock sound. Even moving to the states at age 10, Mendoza’s ears had not yet opened up to the classic rock sound that is the meat and potatoes for The Dead Daisies.

However, when he attended his first concert, Mendoza’s life’s direction took a musical turn for the rock.

“My first concert was Alice Cooper,” said Mendoza. “It was mind-blowing.”

After that show, Mendoza said he did a bit of musical backtracking. He picked up some of Alice Cooper’s albums in the wake of that first concert. “The production value of Alice Cooper impressed me.”

“I would love to do this,” Mendoza told himself as he listened to what Alice Cooper had accomplished.

“I felt the power of rock and roll,” said Mendoza.

The bass-player-to-be started to expand his musical tastes beyond Alice Cooper, he explained. He started listening to Grand Funk Railroad and Creedence Clearwater Revival (The Dead Daisies’ new album includes a cover of CCR’s “Fortunate Son”).

Later on, Mendoza said he bought The Beatles’ album, “Abbey Road.”

“That opened another Pandora’s Box,” said Mendoza.

Mendoza said when he was a kid, he was awkward and didn’t seem to fit in anywhere.

When he bought his first guitar that changed things.

“The guitar gave me that place where it was cool,” said Mendoza, “I became something.”

“Music became my computer, my obsession,” said Mendoza.

“It got me here,” said Mendoza, where he now gets to travel the world and play with bands such as Dead Daisies –which includes band members David Lowy (Red Phoenix, Mink), John Corabi (Mötley Crüe, Ratt), Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Dio), and Brian Tichy (Ozzy Osbourne, Foreigner)– as well as Whitesnake and artists like Neal Schon (Journey) and Ted Nugent.

Dead Daisies, which is promoting its new album, “Make Some Noise, is opening for the legendary Kiss.

For Mendoza, this isn’t the first opportunity he has had to open for Kiss. He was playing for the openers for what was the original lineup of Kiss—Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss—back in 1999-2000.

Kiss “set the bar for the rest of the bands to follow,” said Mendoza. “What they do, it’s all about the fans. That’s why they’re still going strong.”

“They reinvent themselves,” said Mendoza of Kiss.

“They’re really cool,” said Mendoza of Kiss. “Paul and Gene went of their way to say hello and make us feel comfortable. To this day, they always come out to say hello.”

Opening for Kiss this time around, said Mendoza, Dead Daisies will have the new album to spike up its set list. “We’re excited to bring new material.”

Asked what fans can expect, Mendoza said as an opener for Kiss, the Dead Daisies know there’s no way to match the production value of the headliners. Instead, he said, “The focus is on the music and let it talk for itself.”

“We just go out and have a blast,” said Mendoza. “The audiences love it when you have a good time.”

The Dead Daisies open for Kiss at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport on Wednesday, Sept. 7. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $300. For more information, go to thedeaddaisies.com

The Dead Daisies open for Kiss on Wednesday in Bridgeport.

The Dead Daisies open for Kiss on Wednesday in Bridgeport.