Pedro the Lion

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Pedro the Lion
Pedro the Lion's David Bazan in 2017
Pedro the Lion's David Bazan in 2017
Background information
OriginSeattle, Washington, U.S.
GenresIndie rock, slowcore, emo
Years active1995–2006, 2017–present
LabelsJade Tree, Suicide Squeeze, Architecture Label, Tooth & Nail, Made in Mexico, Big Scary Monsters
Past membersSee list of former members

Pedro the Lion is an American indie rock band from Seattle, Washington, United States. David Bazan formed the band in 1995 and represented its main creative force, backed by a varying rotation of collaborating musicians. In 2006 Pedro the Lion was dissolved as Bazan went solo; Bazan reformed the band and resumed performing under the Pedro the Lion moniker in late 2017. Releasing five full-length albums and five EPs over 11 years, the band is known for its first person narrative lyrics with political and religious themes.


Pedro the Lion was formed by David Bazan in 1995.[1] The name of the band comes from a character that would have been interwoven into the band's first album.[2] In 1997 they released their debut EP Whole with Bazan playing nearly every instrument, a format he continued on the band's first two full-length albums, It's Hard to Find a Friend (1998), and Winners Never Quit (2000).

Winners marked Pedro the Lion's first concept album.[3] After its completion, Bazan has claimed he initially decided not to continue writing concept albums.[3] However, in the process of writing his next full-length Control, he realized he had inadvertently created a narrative link "about 70% of the way through [the album]" and decided to finish it in the same vein.[3] The album's thematic content criticizes American capitalism, which Bazan notes was largely inspired by the sentiments surrounding the World Trade Organization protests in 1999.[3]

Control also saw Casey Foubert of Seattle-based Seldom join Pedro the Lion to play bass on the album. Additionally, Foubert co-wrote "Penetration" and "Second Best", the third and eighth tracks, respectively, on the album, which was released in 2002. Among other collaborations with music artists, Foubert has subsequently worked as a touring musician for singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens and the Portland-based indie rock band, The Shins.[4]

Achilles Heel followed, released on May 24, 2004, and marked the beginning of Bazan's partnership with TW Walsh as the band's primary writers and musicians.[5] Bazan described the tracks in the fourth full-length from Pedro the Lion as a return to the songwriting characterized by Friend and the Secure EP in the sense that there was no "pretense of anything bigger", an allusion to his previous concept albums.[3]

In early January 2006, Pedro the Lion formally announced that they had split. The split was amicable; Bazan and Walsh continue to be good friends. Bazan said that their friendship has even been strengthened by the breakup.[6] Bazan toured in support of Fewer Moving Parts, his solo debut EP. Walsh returned to his career as a Web application developer and is busy with his band, The Soft Drugs, and their debut release, In Moderation.[7] David Bazan released his debut solo LP, Curse Your Branches, on Seattle-based Barsuk Records in 2009.

The Pedro The Lion catalog was remastered for vinyl by TW Walsh and reissued in 2012.

Bazan is a member of Overseas with Will Johnson of Centro-matic and Bubba & Matt Kadane of Bedhead and The New Year. Their self-titled debut album was released on June 11, 2013.

Beginning in spring 2017, Bazan began forming a new band which he initially envisioned billing as "David Bazan Band" or something similar.[8] In October 2017, Bazan announced that Pedro the Lion would be reforming beginning with several shows in December 2017.[9] Asked if there would be new material Bazan explained that the band will initially be playing Pedro the Lion's existing catalog along with limited performances of songs from Headphones and Bazan's solo catalog, with new material to follow.[10][11]


Pedro the Lion performing in 2004, Bazan is at the far left playing guitar




  • "The Longer I Lay Here" (live) – Exploitation of Sound Vol. 1Hero Music – 1999
  • "Breadwinner You" – The Unaccompanied Voice: An A Capella CompilationSecretly Canadian – 2000
  • "Rapture", "Backwoods Nation" – Location Is Everything Vol. 1Jade Tree – 2002
  • "I Do" (live) – Location Is Everything Vol. 2Jade Tree – 2004
  • "Discretion" – "Take Action! Volume 04" – Sub City Records – 2004
  • "I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day" (new rendition) – Maybe This Christmas TreeNettwerk – 2004


The band released various 45 rpm singles in limited quantities:

Title Year      Label Pressings
"Big Trucks" 1998 Made In Mexico 1,000
"Song A" / "Song B" (Sub Pop Singles Club) 1999 Sub Pop 1,300
"Helicopter" 1999 Homemade Recordings *Not an official PTL release 1,000: 250 on red vinyl, 750 on black vinyl
"Progress" / A Guitar for Janie 2000 Suicide Squeeze 2,000: black vinyl + story book
"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" 2002 Suicide Squeeze 1,500: 500 on green vinyl, 1,000 on red vinyl
"The Poison Makes" / "Walk Slow" (Pedro the Lion / Seldom split) 2003 Bedside Recordings 500: hand-numbered
"The First Noel" 2003 Suicide Squeeze 3,000: white vinyl
"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" 2005 Suicide Squeeze 2,000: marbled vinyl


Member Contribution      Tenure Associated acts
David Bazan vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keys, percussion 1997–2006, 2017–present Headphones, The Undertow Orchestra, Unwed Sailor, Lo Tom, others
Erik Walters guitar 2017–present Silver Torches, The Globes, Perfume Genius
Terence Ankeny drums 2020–present Spirit Award
Benjamin Brubaker drums 1998–1999, 2003 Damien Jurado, Denison Witmer  
Jeremy Dybash drums 1998 Velour 100
Johnathon Ford bass 1998 Unwed Sailor, Roadside Monument
Casey Foubert drums, keyboards 2001–2004 Seldom, Crystal Skulls, Sufjan Stevens, The Shins
Josh Golden bass 1998–2000 Damien Jurado
Sean Lane drums 2017–2019 Perfume Genius, Yppah, Pickwick, Noah Gundersen, Hey Marseilles, others
Frank Lenz drums 2004–2005 Starflyer 59, Headphones, Fold Zandura, The Lassie Foundation
Ken Maiuri bass 2004–2005 The Mammals, The Soft Drugs, Mark Mulcahy
Trey Many drums, bass, guitar 1998, 2000–2001, 2005 Velour 100, Starflyer 59, His Name Is Alive, Lo Tom
Yuuki Matthews keys 2000–2001 Seldom, Crystal Skulls, Sufjan Stevens, The Shins
James McAlister keys, percussion, drums 2004 Ester Drang, Sufjan Stevens, Denison Witmer
Paul Mumaw drums 1998 Rose Blossom Punch
Brian Olson drums 1997  
Nick Peterson guitar 1997–1999 Fleet Foxes, Headphones
Tim Schiefer guitar 1997  
Travis Smith bass 1997  
Tim Walsh bass, guitar, keys, drums 2000, 2002, 2003–2006 The Soft Drugs, Headphones, Lo Tom
Christian Wargo guitar 2003 Fleet Foxes, Crystal Skulls, Scientific
Blake Wescott drums 1998 Seldom, Crystal Skulls, Damien Jurado, Denison Witmer, Bloomsday
Casey Wescott keys 2001 Fleet Foxes, The Vogue, Seldom, Crystal Skulls


  • The band is featured in the 2004 Christian music documentary Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?[12]


  1. ^ "David Bazan – Official Website". Archived from the original on 2006-12-08. Retrieved 2006-12-07.
  2. ^ "HYBRIDMAGAZINE.COM | FEATURES | PEDRO THE LION". Retrieved 2021-12-12.
  3. ^ a b c d e Josh Holden (2004-01-12). "An interview with David Bazan". The Other Journal at Mars Hill Graduate School. Archived from the original on 2007-11-15. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
  4. ^ "After stints with Sufjan Stevens, The Shins: Musician to perform debut EP in Galesburg". Galesburg Register Mail. Retrieved 2023-03-24.
  5. ^ "Pedro the Lion: Sharing the Lion's Den". Retrieved 2006-06-09.
  6. ^ Brundage, Matthew (February 11, 2006). "Interview with David Bazan". Iota Club and Cafe, Arlington, VA.
  7. ^ "A Conversation with TW Walsh". Retrieved 2007-10-27.
  8. ^ "Sasquatch! 2018 Music Festival Lineup". Sasquatch Festival. LiveNation. 2018-05-01. Archived from the original on 2018-05-08. Retrieved 2018-05-07. Last spring, after 11 years of performing and recording under his own name, Dave Bazan's growing fatigue with working alone hit a tipping point. "I missed the energy of making music with other people on stage and constantly traveling alone was starting to really sting", Bazan recalls. "I needed to be in a band again". At that point, assuming this new band would be billed as "David Bazan Band" or similar, he began to set the wheels in motion to make it happen. He rented a rehearsal space again, hired a couple buddies for upcoming tours, and started fleshing out demos for the band to cue off of. He didn't realize it at first, but by mid-summer something big started to dawn on him: he had stumbled back into the very same process that yielded the first three Pedro the Lion records. "To my surprise, it felt a bit like coming home."
  9. ^ David Bazan [@davidbazan] (2017-10-04). "Here we go" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ David Bazan [@davidbazan] (2017-10-04). "Full band playing pedro catalog to start. New material to follow" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  11. ^ David Bazan [@davidbazan] (2017-10-04). "Basically it will all happen under the Pedro brand 4 awhile (LPs/tour). We'll include Headphones/bazan songs live (tho minimally at first)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  12. ^ "DVD Review: Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on February 19, 2006. Retrieved 2006-05-04.

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