Mark Mendoza of Twisted Sister Talks G&L
Mark "The Animal" Mendoza is bassist for the American heavy metal band, Twisted Sister. He joined the band in December of 1978 and played bass on all of Twisted Sister's major label releases. After dominating early MTV with albums like Under the Blade and Stay Hungry, the band took an extended hiatus when Mendoza joined southern rock outfit Blackfoot. Twisted Sister has since returned to touring and have headlined major metal festivals around the world including the Hell & Heaven Metal Fest in Mexico City, Sommar Rock in Sweden, Bang Your Head in Germany, See Rock in Austria and more. The band has also released a Christmas album called Twisted Christmas that should be in every metal fans CD collection. G&L spoke with Mark just before another headline Twisted Sister show in Sweden.
G&L: Hi Mark. Tell us when you started playing G&L instruments.
Mark: Back in 2001, a good friend of mine had purchased a brand new L-2000™ bass. He lent it to me and that was it for me! I've been playing G&L basses since.
G&L: Was it the tone that grabbed you initially?
Mark: Yes. In fact, I would describe the tone as "multi-toned." The responsive tone controls combined with where and how you attack the strings make the possibilities virtually endless.
G&L: And the build quality meets your standards?
Mark: The build quality is excellent! My Twisted Sister stage basses take a beating. Very rough treatment. If they can survive being abused by me on a Twisted Sister tour, you know the build quality is excellent!
G&L: So you started with the L-2000™ but I know you have several G&L basses in your rack.
Mark: Yes, I started with the L-2000™ and I have six G&L basses now, but I have three that are favorites. An L-2000™ that I play on non-Twisted Sister gigs, an L-1000™ with custom pickup position and a five string L-2500™.
G&L: What are you playing them through?
Mark: My Twisted Sister bass rig was built by me. It's a rack system. I have a couple of BBE preamps, a compressor, a crossover, a Line Six Pod and four power amps. I have two 4x15 and one 4x12 speaker cabinets. It's massive tone with endless gain. When Twisted Sister plays overseas, I can't take my own rig, so I use Hartke Kilo amps and 8x10 cabinets, also a massive sound. For all of the other live gigs, I use a variety of Hartke gear.
G&L: Twisted Sister certainly dictates a certain style, but how would you characterize your overall style?
Mark: On-stage with Twisted Sister it's brute force. But on my other gigs, I try to play whatever the situation needs. I am constantly playing. Twisted Sister plays ten to twenty shows a year, and when I'm not playing those dates, I play in a variety of other bands that cover a lot of styles including blues, country and even some jazz and acoustic.
G&L: Tell me about Twisted Sister in today's market. How do you keep things fresh?
Mark: Twisted Sister is sort of an oldies act. We recorded the Christmas CD, and one new song since we reunited in 2003, but we believe people want to hear what they remember from the 80s. When an act like Twisted Sister announces that they are about to play a new song at a live show, a good part of the audience gets up an goes to the bathroom! That's just the way it is. That being said though, I won't say that Twisted Sister will never record new music.
G&L: It would be a shame if you didn't, Twisted Sister must live on!
Mark: We will keep playing until the prescription drugs, prosthetics and handicap devices aren't enough to get us on the stage.