She originally studied classical guitar, before becoming more interested in rock music, punk, and no wave. Soon, she was abusing electric guitars. “I played in rock bands – punk bands that had free sections and were into improvising,” she says. “I think that was part of how I learned to play on electric. Plus, I was always still studying Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler, trying to figure out how they constructed their lines.”
Later, Mendoza settled in Oakland, California where she was pivotal to the local music scene. Along with former Flying Luttenbachers chief Weasel Walter, she helped shepherd Oakland’s free-improvisation and noise scene, as well as collaborating with Nels Cline, Henry Kaiser and Fred Frith.
Mendoza has toured throughout the US and Europe, recording or performing with musicians that include Carla Bozulich, Fred Frith, Mick Barr, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Mike Watt, Matana Roberts, Ikue Mori, Matt Mitchell, Adele Bertei, William Hooker, Jon Irabagon, and the Violent Femmes.