Ping Pong Mafia

Battle of the bands winner Ping Pong Mafia will bring their folk-country flavored rock to this year’s Sun God Festival. Although front man Satish and guitarist Dan Ornduff first met at the University of Arizona about 10 years ago, the current lineup — which includes bassist Sean Rose and drummer Brendan Concannon — has only been together for about five months.

Unlike many bands that play immediately after forming, Ping Pong Mafia waited until the right time to debut their music.

“”All of us are sort of obsessive about perfectionism,”” Satish said. “”We kind of didn’t want to start playing out until we had everything down to a science.””

Now the band is ready to open for Face to Face, Xzibit and Naughty by Nature.

With a name such as Ping Pong Mafia, one might expect a typical Limp Bizkit-esque, hip-hop flavored, aggressive rock band. This is not the case. As many band names were, Ping Pong Mafia was chosen on a whim.

“”Probably the biggest problem we’ve had is that we just couldn’t agree on a name,”” Satish said. “”So finally I got to the point where I said, ‘I’m just going to pick the next thing that comes out of somebody’s mouth in this room,’ and Brendan, just as a joke, said, ‘Ping Pong Mafia.'””

Musically, Satish, who is the band’s primary songwriter and a UCSD student (he’s working on his Ph.D. in Biology), draws upon everything from Bob Dylan to punk to influence his music. “”[The music is] kind of a 50/50 mix between classic rock, some folk stuff and also, I guess, a smattering of ’80s punk stuff,”” Satish said.

Out of that wide spectrum emerges a sound that is both a throwback to classic rock and a new sound entirely. Satish describes the group as an “”all-original rock `n’ roll band … there’s kind of a slight folky edge, a lot of it is pretty blues-based … somewhere between country rock, blues, folk and just original rock `n’ roll.””

In the short time that it has been together, the band became good enough to win UCSD’s battle of the bands, a feat that even surprised Satish.

“”Even when it came to battle of the bands, I was like, ‘Oh, I’m sure we’re going to get blown out of the water,'”” he said. “”I’m just psyched that somebody liked us and gave us a chance.””

Although Ping Pong Mafia would not mind becoming as successful as the bands for which they will be opening at Sun God, they play music because they love it.

“”I’d like to get to the point where I could really just comfortably support myself, and have a steady flow of gigs, and maybe get on the radio,”” Satish said.

With his band’s spot at Friday’s Sun God Festival, it looks like Satish and his band are well on his way.

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