The Cocker Spaniels began Christmas 1994, when then 13-year-old Brooklynite Sean Padilla received a Yamaha MT8X and a drum kit for Christmas after years of collecting and teaching himself how to play other instruments (guitar, bass and piano). He immediately began recording the stockpile of songs he'd been writing since age eight, with his two best friends Alex Wing and Jonathan Koza helping him out. Together, they had a Sebadoh-like arrangement in which everyone sang, wrote songs and traded instruments. This arrangement didn't last very long, though. Over the next two years, Sean's family relocated to Pennsylvania and then to Texas, where he has lived ever since.
Because of the move, Sean was forced to sing and play every instrument on almost every Cocker Spaniels song recorded from 1996 onward. He attended a predominantly black high school in Beaumont, and most of his peers there didn't know what to make of his music. They listened primarily to DJ Screw-influenced hip-hop and R&B, and Sean's experimental pop songs didn't sound anything like that. He often got booed by large crowds at local talent shows, and tables of his homemade tapes were occasionally overturned in the school lunchroom. You could say it was a case of "different strokes for different folks."
As you can probably guess, Sean spent the late '90s creating his music in a vaccum, with an audience consisting mainly of himself and his friends. This began to change when he gained Internet access in 1998. The Internet helped him network with like-minded people from around the world. Sean began to send his music to various DIY publications and trade tapes with fellow bedroom musicians. Through these methods, he received a lot of positive press and built a strong Web presence. It was comforting to know that even if few people in Beaumont liked his music, people in England and Australia were digging it.
Sean enrolled at Waco's Baylor University in 1999. A year later, he finished his first CDR (and sixth Cocker Spaniels album overall), "Little White Truths." He also began playing sporadic live shows, through which he gained a small but devoted following in cities like Lubbock, Denton, Houston and Austin. Due to various familial and financial crises, Sean was forced to start working two jobs to support himself during his junior year, while still remaining a full-time student. As if that wasn't enough, he also began participating in Baylor's Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir. With every year, his responsibilities in that choir grew bigger — from merely playing guitar to teaching Bible study and, eventually, being the choir's musical director and bandleader.
Throughout all this, Sean kept writing, recording and performing his Cocker Spaniels songs during what little spare time he had. Over a three-year time period, he finished 21 songs that would eventually constitute his first professionally mastered and pressed CD: "WITHSTAND THE WHATNOT." Ever since the album's release in March 2004, the Cocker Spaniels' fan base has been steadily growing. Every day, Sean's catchy, freewheeling and often autobiographical songs have been gaining new converts…even semi-famous ones (Sufjan Stevens, TV on the Radio, the Desert Fathers)! The CD has received mostly positive press (not everyone likes Sean's music, but everyone certainly *reacts* to it) and even sporadic radio play on college radio stations across the country. The CD is sold out now, but you can download it FOR FREE by going to the "Media" section of his website.
Sean graduated from Baylor in May 2004 with a BBA in Broadcasting. He is now 25 years old and currently lives in Austin, where he does various temp jobs to get by while saving money to record his next album, which will be entitled "Sometimes You've Got to Fight to Have a Bit of Peace." Sean toured the Southeast in the summer of 2005 and toured the Midwest and Northeast in the fall. Hell play almost anywhere he's invited to as long as he can afford it. His solo live performances — which often blur the line between rock music, stand-up comedy and church-like testimony — are not to be missed!
Sean also likes writing about himself in the third person. :-)
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