San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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October 9th, 2009
Pandas attack San Marcos stages

Sarah Ripley on (left to right) Dalton Hamilton, Carl Gonzales, and Wesley Riddle. Photo by Sarah Stevens.

By SARAH STEVENS
Scene Reporter

When Pandas Attack may sound like the title to a Japanese reality show gone wrong, or a headline that nobody want to see, but it is actually the name of a band based out of San Marcos.

“We think that a band name should tell a story about your band,” said guitarist Dalton Hamilton. “We went through a billion different names, and one day we were just throwing names around. We were trying to make each other laugh, and we thought about the most ridiculous animal that we could, attacking somebody. What we came up with was pandas, little did we know that pandas actually are responsible for deaths.”

Originally formed around Hamilton, Wesley Riddle and Carl Gonzales, When Pandas Attack has performed with current singer Sarah Ripley since June.

“I met Carl at a poker game,” said Riddle, “He played guitar and we had to talk him into being our bassist. His style jived really well with ours.”

Said Hamilton, “We had auditions for a singer and we found a girl named Nicole. She added a very unique texture to our music. She was a musical theatre major. Her life got really busy and she decided to cut out, and we were left with no singer and no words to our songs. So we went back to auditioning … We eventually found Sarah. She came along and blew everyone out of the water.”

When Pandas Attack is most decidedly an Alternative band, in the pop-grunge 1990s sense of the genre that included bands like Silverchair and Garbage.

“Our number one influence would have to be the Red Hot Chili Peppers,” Hamilton said. “Basically, the others would be any ’90s punk or rock. The Chili Pepper’s ‘Under the Bridge’ has been my life’s anthem.”

Gonzales and Ripley share a background and training in theatre, while their nucleic band mates Hamilton and Riddle bring more of a rock and roll vibe to the table.

“It’s crazy, with how big our differences are, how well we’ve compromised and meshed together,” Ripley said. “We’ve made some new music. I like where we are now.”

The band is hoping to record around Christmas and issue a recording sometime in February.

For information about the band’s upcoming shows or to listen to a few of its songs, visit www.myspace.com/whenpandasattackjamacans.

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