“It’s very keyboard-driven music,” says Bart Mendoza. Possibly this explains why he was trawling about Facebook one afternoon in search of a Farfisa electric organ and an amplifier, the desire for which in turn defines the sound of his current band True Stories: “We’re influenced a lot by the Zombies, that sort of thing. I’m always looking for covers that are choice, and I write originals that I hope measure up.”
Mendoza is a local music journalist, producer/promoter, songwriter, guitarist, label co-owner, recording artist, and publisher. To call him a fixture in the local music scene would make him sound a bit crusty and relic-like. He is neither. Mendoza has remained out in front of the pack all along with respectably engaging, mod-ish pop-rock bands that sometimes tour internationally. Consider the Shambles, one of my favorites, and Manual Scan. Of True Stories, he says, “We started out backing up Wendy Bailey.” She drifted away and was replaced by David Fleminger on keys. The rest of the Stories are Danny Cress and Billy Fritz. “All four of us are having a blast. We’ve all played in a lot of bands before, and this one feels like the culmination of a lot of experience.”
You go to a Bart Mendoza show to hear stuff that’s sometimes off the chain. “We’re having fun coming up with weird covers that no one expects,” such as the Partridge Family or Todd Rundgren. “We’re all music-industry lifers. There’s no way we know less than 200 songs. But we had 18 originals ready before we played gig one,” he says.
The June show will serve as the band’s record-release show with guest artists such as Mark Decerbo and Wayne Riker sitting in. “We’ll be playing the new record all the way through in order, but in Bart-speak,” he says, “that will take about 12 minutes. The songs are very short.”
Scott Mathiasen, Static Halo, and Adam Marsland also perform.
Bart Mendoza & True Stories: Soda Bar, Thursday, June 20, 8:30 p.m. 619-255-7224. $5 advance/$7 at the door