- Kyle Sullivan
- Primo Mendoza
When I first spoke to Primo Mendoza on Monday he couldn’t wait to get out of the hospital. Monday evening the local singer-songwriter, who played in recently defunct duo Desert Soap, was recovering from an angioplasty. Doctors at Mount Sinai inserted a stent in his heart and cleaned out an artery Monday afternoon, and now Mendoza has three stents in his main artery. He was hospitalized January 4 after an accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, and he finally left Thursday afternoon after a follow-up procedure on Wednesday.
His departure from the hospital seems a tad early, but Mendoza plays the Burlington on Saturday and he doesn’t want to miss the show. “Two days is kind of fast, but I’m gonna do it,” he told me on Monday. “I have my guitar here, I’ve been practicing all along.”
The 44-year-old musician speaks with a calm warmth while discussing his serious health issues and his desire to get onstage Saturday. Mendoza’s 70s-influenced folk rock reflects his personality and relaxed composure, and though the emotions and longing in his songs are intense he nonetheless plays with a beguiling, featherweight touch. On the handful of songs I’ve heard from the unreleased The Primo Mendoza Songbook he pushes his coy, delicate voice to its upper register and holds it; he’s earnest, and his suntanned tunes benefit from all that heart.
Mendoza’s heart has sustained some bumps and bruises. “I have a history that runs in the family,” he says. “My diet is not that good.” He had his first heart attack in January 2007, and he suffered his second in April 2013. Doctors told Mendoza he had another heart attack as he suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning, but, “I didn’t feel anything.” Mendoza’s heart was partially blocked and pumping blood at about 10-to-15 percent, a low enough rate that doctors couldn’t perform a bypass.
Now Mendoza is back on his feet, though he does have to return to the hospital for another follow-up procedure. He could have stayed, but he didn’t want to miss his set at the Burlington. In addition to the material he’s got from The Primo Mendoza Songbook he’s going to debut three new songs. Mendoza says he’s been listening to a lot of Joni Mitchell and James Taylor lately, so there’s a chance you’ll hear something familiar in those new songs. Whatever Mendoza plays I imagine it’ll be euphoric. Constantyne and Bones & Vomit also perform; the show starts at 9 PM.