"Thirsty Thursday" Featuring Ricky Mendoza
Thank you for chatting with us Ricky! For newer fans, how did your passion for music and career come about? I’m a late bloomer and started to learn music at 36. I bought a guitar and learned to play cover songs via ultimate guitar. At 36, I was having a really rough time in my life and I was writing a lot of poetry at the time. Once I got the hang of the guitar and singing, I started making songs and two years later made my first album “ANGST.” It’s incredibly amateurish (as a musician), but my main focus has always been as a storyteller, and when hearing the record, you could almost smell the raw emotions of those times. It’s heart breaking but also beautiful. Every album is almost like diary entries of my life and it’s fun to share that. What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about pursuing a career in music? Work with what you have. I was very inspired by the story of film director Robert Rodriguez and his DIY approach to making movies. The main point is work with what you have and make your dreams happen. I love that and that’s been my approach as a musician and filmmaker. What’s your advice for young artists trying to establish a name for themselves? Keep making work and share it with the world. I try to not judge myself too harshly and share my work. At the beginning I didn’t have the best gear and it was far from perfect, but it was a start. And starts are usually like that. Perfection is for suckers; growth is what you want. You want to constantly be growing and improving with every new thing you create. Keep at it, be smart and time will reward you. It’s a law of life. Did you always want to be a musician or was there a specific moment that something happened that made you think "this is what I want to do with my life." If so, what was it?
When I was 36, I was broke and divorced and decided to learn to play music. Something clicked when I got the hang of being a musician (performing, writing, recording, everything!). It was so goddamn fulfilling; I decided that this is how I want to spend this era in my life. Who have been some of your biggest musical influences growing up and do the same artists currently continue to influence you now? Bad Religion influenced me greatly when I was a teenager. The marriage of irreverent punk rock and insightful lyrics was mind blowing to me. I was and still am a book nerd, so listening to Bad Religion was a huge inspiration and still is. To have a “F*** you” attitude and to be so damn smart about their lyrics, that’s what I aspire to, but in my own weird way.
Did you have a musical mentor? If so, who was it and how did they influence you? I have the privilege of having several incredible musicians as my mentors and best friends. The musical artist LBASi, who has built his following throughout 20 plus years and is one of the best singer-songwriters from Mexico. His DIY approach has been incredibly inspiring and we frequently collaborate on a bunch of projects. Another mentor is the amazing singer-songwriter Chacho Saldaña from Eagle Pass, Texas. He lives in San Antonio and if you ever get to see his band Chacho and Brance…holy crap! They’re insanely skilled and talented! What’s the story behind your album’s title? The album is called “The New Hurt” and it’s about a new love of my life at the time. When she arrived into my life, it was a great source for love and inspiration, but it’s also a source for pain and hurt. Because whenever you love someone, whether it be a child, a parent or a girlfriend, if something bad happens to them, you feel that hurt, and sometimes that hurt is massive. That’s why it is so damn scary to love and for those that are willing to go through that adventure, the rewards are endless. Where do you draw inspiration from when writing? I love to write about all the shit that happens to me (good and bad). I write about how the experience made me feel and how I learned and how it’s changed me. That’s my favorite theme. Sometimes it can be silly, sometimes it’s deep and sometimes it’s just awkward but I find it very fulfilling.
What do you think is the most important meal of the day is and why? The main reason that I eat is so I can have fuel for the day. I need to stay sharp, creative and plentiful, so I eat plant-based foods that’ll provide all the nutrients necessary to do just that.
Having said that, I enjoy breakfast the most, but it’s not the most important. My wife is an incredible food maker and she makes the most delicious things, everything from tofu scramble to Mexican enfrijoladas to chilaquiles…she does it all. The best place to eat in Texas is our own kitchen. Made with a lot of love and nutrients. I am extremely lucky. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? A bowl of beans with avocado (with rice) is always my go to meal, for something super quick and full of nutrients. And delicious too! If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be? These would have to be separate dinner dates! Haha Here they are:
George Carlin: Would love to talk to him about his creative process. Steve Jobs: He’s a jerk, but I’d show him my album so he could say it still isn’t ready and I’d have to go back and work on it. Vincent Van Gogh: I’d just tell him I’m a time traveler from the future and tell him that his work is very loved and appreciated. Neil DeGrasse Tyson: We’d chat about the universe. What should every kitchen be stocked with? Beer and whiskey! To soothe the soul, you know?
Thank you so damn much for listening to my music and for taking the time and space writing about it, it is greatly appreciated and it is a privilege to spend this time with you. Thank you.