Rock & Roll Lives! Daniel Mendez Band

Deli House Catering Hall 1220 Stellar Lane Newmarket
Recently, in the middle of a discussion I was having with some colleagues, one in the grouping being Johnny from Deli House Catering - a longtime Newmarket mainstay - suddenly blurted out,
"I want you to think about this before answering but don't you think rock & roll is dead?"

before adding, while turning to me who had also just announced entering the 2012 Collingwood Elvis Festival, "Not Elvis I don't mean" he'd said ironically, "But think about it, what rock stars exist anymore that aren't old?"

My initial reaction was to say that of course this was absurd, that there were lots of talented bands and players out there still like.. like... well besides, the old music is now becoming "in" with the younger generation it seems. Even my own daughter thinks The Beatles were the best band that ever lived. Who can argue that one? But then who can argue Johnny's point? And further, if he's right, what can be done to make sure, as they say, rock & roll never dies?
Tom Pearson's Elvis shot

I have the unique experience of having once "worked" with boy bands 'inventor" and Author of the book " Bands, Brands, and Billions", Lou Perlman. Of course that was as an Associate Producer on a musical to be, "Red Riding Hood", and Lou was a Co-Executive Producer. Prior I'd worked on Supercross the Movie, which Perlman also had a stake in and front end Executive Produced memory serves. Anyway, it was to star one of the former boy band members. It'll come to me. It wasn't Justin Timberlake, although he didn't do too badly either, and was going to be directed by Randl Kleiser, the same Director as "Grease", top grossing movie musical of all time.

It was surreal when execs from L.A. flew down at xmas to take us out for an expensive lunch and got Lou himself on the phone. At any rate, this was all before Perlman was busted and sent to jail for tax evasion or something and projects like this fell through.

So I lost out working on a dream project, saddled as a single dad with two kids & no lucrative project we thought we'd be working on for the next few years, whilst Perlman got sent to likely a cushy retirement-like residence with a golf course knowing his pull / money. Jury's out on who got the better deal! Ha! Joey Fatone! That's it! Ha! Someone else has since successfully produced a Red Riding Hood movie of course. Doh!

I did manage to learn some lessons about "branding" from him though, such as at the core the talent has to be there.The Backstreet Boys could sing and dance, there was no question, but as a group dynamic that is an area that can be underestimated in a music world in which only some cream gets to rises to the top.


"Groups have to have the 'it' factor - whether manufactured or real - just like any good movie where the characters are all well defined. Same goes with a music group." Tom Pearson

A few years back; I "discovered" a band that I thought was just unbelievable called Sean Stephens and the Chaos System. At the time I'd walked into a pool-hall / bar, with no expectation that the band playing would be anything more than a good coverband at best. What a great surprise, as the original, powerful tunes with such a unique sound intrigued and moved me. Still does when I listen to their CD's of the now disbanded band with former leader Sean now owning his own computer company. I had booked and promoted them for several years and they performed in a documentary I produced called " A Thin Pink Line". Turned out I'd interviewed the band's Producer, who's son also played bass for the band, for a tv show I'd hosted called Out & About and he'd worked with the legendary Music Producer Bob Ezzerin. No wonder they were good.

Recently I came upon a band playing at an open stage held at of all places a costume house - Myers on Main in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. Same street they recently shot the remake of Carrie. Well same street. Anyway ther was a band there that gave me that same feeling, only more so. Called Daniel Mendez Band, they are all younger and less saddled with families and kids it seems (than SSCS was making them hard to book), and in the short time I spent around them, all seemed dedicated to the band and their music, and basically just loved to play which ultimately comes out in the performances.
Daniel Mendez Band

When I initially asked the name of the band no one answered, but all looked to the obvious leader and songs' composer/vocalist/guitarist, Mendez.


"These guys have "it". You watch how confident this kid is and you can tell the band loves playing with him. These are all elements that matter in the end for bands to really make it - a healthy respect for their leader and great music". Tom Pearson

Even as individuals they work - and from a marketing perspective - most highly successful bands have well defined individual characters. Look at The Beatles for example, and if you want to look at extremes of manufacturing an image, The Monkeys. As a kid I'd watch guys in the different bands and wonder how they got into it, and what they were like offstage. That kind of "mystique" I think is what attracted our generation. It was that connection.

But this music group seems to gel naturally and doesn't need a phony, manufactured image to define them. The quiet, back-ground hugging, yet likely multi-talented lead guitarist appeals to some I'm sure, as does the almost nerdy but meticulous playing keyboardist, and girls will fawn over the long ,wild, flowing-haired  drummer who always looks like he's having fun as he rocks on in haphazard looking, but spectacularly timed fashion. The tight group's bassist does more than hold his own with background vocals too, and is maybe the 'coolest" looking of the bunch. Clean cut leader Daniel Mendez, dressed almost as if ready to attend an outdoor, Latino, church event, can sure rock though. Not only vocally, but on guitar as well, not to mention he's the composer of all these tunes.

Daniel Mendez Band have the right stuff, catchy enough to reach mainstream, complicated enough to appease the die-hards and fun enough to really enjoy.

If you'd like to hear more or book them let us know and we'll see what we can promises as a recording contract surely is inevitable, and along with that, new rock & roll stars that Canadians and the world will love!

By the way Johnny I'll be in to book another rock & roll show tonight for your DHC Hall! So who says rock & roll is dead Johnny? Ha...we shall see!! Thank-you, thank-you very much!


TP Elvis has left the building er Collingwood Festival

   Elvis has left the building! What an experience the Collingwood Elvis Festival was! I think I was able to crack the Elvis brotherhood by belting out some okay tunes, but it was not without its moments including missing the final day from a lack of an available vehicle.

  After arriving, I was dropped in Wasaga which is about 25 minutes from Collingwood the location for the event where I would stay for the duration of the festival, and from where I'd make my way into Collingwood each time I had to do a show or to pick up info.

  I arrived Thursday to sign in and pick up my schedule but it wasn't ready yet as they'd not yet changed the time to what we discussed before coming, then was told to go back to the office in an hour and it would all be straightened out as they'd have a new events sheet for me. It wasn't and they didn't, so I asked " But my first stage time is still 2pm on Fri correct ?" Yes I was told. "Okay then", I'd said, "I'll come back earlier tomorrow (Fri) & pick it up". Fine they said.Ha.

  My shuttle arrived for Fri's show at a time already pushing it, as I knew I still had to make my way to the office, but wasn't too worried until after arriving and being told my new time would be at was already 1:15 when I walked in!

  "What happened to 2pm?" I muttered to no one in particular...didn't have time to much anyway, as straight from there I had to make my way through a wall of people to the main stage  - with no time to spare!

  I'd barely let the stage manager know my name, when I was ushered to the "on deck" area where I had to struggle to stay focused as a woman bugged me to sign her program, and with me trying to get a listen to the live band I'd be singing with for the first time. As my name was called I strutted up the stairs and managed to quickly mumble to the guitarist,

   "Is that the mic?" pointing to the one left backwards on the stand from the previous Elvis before walking off.

"Yea", he nodded.

  It all seemed a bit surreal, my usual pre-stage routine of going over the song (or show) in my mind and reviewing lyrics would have to be skipped. And then there I was "naked" on a stage with back up singers using an unfamiliar key, throwing me off, and with no monitors for me to hear myself sing! Talk about being thrown to the wolves...ever tried to sing when you can't hear a word you are singing along with off tune back ground singers in your ear ...and 20,000 people watching? It's tough let me tell you, so I was glad it wasn't the competition because it just wasn't sounding right, and at the time I wasn't sure why. Then the band played beyond how the song actually goes further confusing me, and I had to think on my feet to keep it going. In the end it was good practice for the actual competition (done with c.d.) but I would not have been able to do an entire show like that, and other Elvises were communicating the same concerns with me backstage at the curling club where our actual competition songs were sung the next day. We'd hoped it'd be different there and it was luckily.

  After getting through that first fiasco I went back to the office where they finally had my schedule ready but when I got home and opened it I noticed the "free tickets" aloted me to one of the premium shows which is part of the deal when you sign up were for a time when they'd penned me in to perform and you weren't allowed to give them away! So once again on the day of my competition show, I brought this up and again was told it would be rectified if I could come back in an hour and again it wasn't as I left with the same tickets. I offered them back since I couldn't go(or give them away) but was told they'd rectify it and hold onto them. I still have them!

  In between I made my way along with my "throng" of supporters over to the location to sing "Don't be Cruel", alongside the other Elvises, for judging in front of a live crowd. It was a bit nerve wracking but not overly as I at least had time to mentally go over the song and ended up belting it out mistake free and sounding pretty good. I guess the judges didn't though as I didn't make the semi final round (I'd find out the next day), although the other Elvis backstage with me seemed to think I aced it and so did my throng. Another said maybe you have to put in your any rate I wait on baited breathe to find out what I supposedly did "wrong". Maybe the version I sang was from "newer" Elvis? Who knows I thought I covered it well and don't think I'd do it much different other than my mic was left wrapped around the stand, so when I went to remove it to walk around I couldn't, and had to then stay close to the stand onstage which may have cost me some dancing etc and eye contact. Next time Ill check that first. Even a female Elvis apparently looks and sounds more like him than I? Geez how masculine do I feel? Anyway I did my best and thank-you, thank-you very much.

  Sat morning at 8am of the Elvis weekend, I was first in a group shot of Elvii followed by the parade which is watched by thousands. This was fun allowing me to point at cameras and "thank-you very much" people along the route from my perch in a military vehicle, the highest spot in the parade! But with a youthful contingent having their way at our cabin in between shows, I was also struggling to get any rest. Hey man I'm not getting any younger and don't these 'youths" ever freakin sleep!!?

  I managed to contain my disappointment and returned to Collingwood Hyundai where I was on the bill as a performer and where I finally got an opportunity to really belt some tunes out and strut my ELVIS stuff! I also incorporated some dancing to my tunes sung and rocked out to an unrehearsed " Hound Dog", having lead in with the story of my next door neighbour's pooch in my stand-up Elvis routine...Even here I'd been told all along I needed only 3 songs, but at Hyundai they wanted 40 mins from me so I utilized some stand-up comedy into the mix to fill in my time, and felt really in my element. I know I did well with one woman telling me " you guys all have the voice pretty much but none had the expressions like you(I) did", and so I'll take that away with me as a positive!

  Still, with all the apparent screw- ups, getting no free shows to see, being shorted on my show prep , being blind-sided with 40 mins of material, and missing the final party, it was still all in all a fun time that my family (some) also got to partake in and enjoy, so Collingwood for that...Thank-you, thank-you very much!
 Tom Pearson has left the building..