By February 26, 2008Bios

PandaA negative connotation tends to follow when you lose the flip of a coin. But in this case, losing the flip of a coin landed Pepe Madera the front man spot of Grammy-nominated alternative rock band Panda. After numerous award nominations and consecutive hit albums, Panda has marked its territory as one of Mexico’s most successful emo rock bands.

The story as to how Panda came to be is that of the typical hopeful teenager empowered by nothing more than a youthful, wishful heart and an electric guitar. Although the band played mostly cover songs, it was enough to motivate José “Pepe” Madero, Ricky Treviño, Jorge “Ongi” Garza and David Castillo to begin writing their own music. Most of their lyrics dealt with heartbreak, good times and suicidal tendencies and it was with that style of writing that the band created a following and began to participate in local ‘battle of the bands’ type of contests. It was through one of their first battle of the bands contests that the band began to receive notice. After coming in at first place in a contest that promised them loads of cash and recording time in a professional Studio, Panda soon realized that with fame also came misfortune. Although the first prize was rightfully theirs, event promoters failed to keep their end of the bargain leaving Panda without the money and without the recording time.

{sidebar id=25}The band’s first album was released in 2002 under the Movic records label. “Arroz con Leche” was not pleasantly received nor was it picked up by any radio or television station. The punk rock sound that made up “Arroz con Leche” was perfect for the underground scene that Panda was used to playing in, but achieving mainstream broadcast would seem almost impossible with that specific punk sound.

Emo pays off

After softening the sound and leaning more towards emo rock than punk rock, Panda continued to enter battle of the bands competitions in search of musical exposure. Having learned the ropes after dealing with event promoters, Panda entered a contest by a television station where some of Monterrey’s best bands duked it out for the chance to open up for none other than Jaguares. To the surprise of the band, they placed first in the competition and were the opening band for Jaguares at the Auditorio Luis Elizondo in Monterrey Nuevo León.

Soon after their grand performance at the Auditorio Luis Elizondo, Panda went shopping for a major record deal. It was during that time that their drummer left the band due to personal reasons. Enter Jorge “Kross” Vázquez who had also just recently split from his previous band, “Super Azfalto”. Joining the current line up, Vasquez embarked on the journey that would lead Panda to happy punk stardom. They were soon performing before large audiences and in major cities like Guadalajara, Chihuaha, and Cancún.

Such was their sudden success that the band was the only opening act performing before an unprecedented 14,000 raging fans for Blink 182. Although their performance received both negative and positive reviews, the negative reviews were not new to them. Panda has been known to have just as equally a strong following as it does a strong anti-panda crowd. Nonetheless, the band has released successful albums and has numerous award nominations under its belt.

In 2001, the album “Arroz con Leche” was released but with very little appreciation. “Muñeca” was one of the singles on that album and although it didn’t receive much play then, it is one of the most requested songs from fans today. With their 2005 release of “Para ti con Desprecio”, the band received mainstream success and the album is, to date, the band’s most popular album. The album contained the singles “Cita en el Quirófano”, “Cuando no es como deberia Ser” and “Disculpa los malos Pensamientos”. The álbum ranked #1 album of the year in Mexico.

From: reyleonverdenaruto3

Immediately following “Para ti con desprecio”, Panda released “Amantes Sunt Amentes”. The album also ranked #1 in Mexico and went platinum. The album was certified gold within weeks and has sold well over 150,000 copies. Its first single “Narcisista por Excelencia” reached the top 40 charts in Latin America. Their second single “Los Malaventurados no Lloran” also received great reviews and received heavy notation on the MTV network.

After their huge success, a great scandal took the band and many of its fans by surprise. Anti-Panda Web sites began to arise accusing Panda of plagiarizing lyrics from rock band "My Chemical Romance", among others. The frenzy that followed the accusations resulted in even more anti-Panda sites and ingnited protests at some of the band's concerts.

Nonetheless, in August 2007, Panda was nominated for a Latin Grammy award for Best Song by A Rock group for “Narcisita por Excelencia” and Best Album by A Rock Group for “Amantes Suntamentes”. The year 2007 also saw the release of “Sinfonía de Soledad”, which contained a song that was dedicated to the fans. The song “Nunca Nadie nos Podrá Parar” was the band’s way of letting their fans know that their support throughout the years was very much appreciated. The song was available as a free download through the band’s web site as well as in the album.

To read the exclusive Al Borde interview with Panda, search "Panda" on