Bruno Mars’ blowout Super Bowl halftime performance certainly brought down the stadium -- a big feat for a young performer whose predecessors include big-ticket luminaries like Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones and Beyoncé. The 28-year-old “Locked Out of Heaven” singer sported a gold lamé jacket, pompadour, skinny black tie and a lot of soul. His electric stage presence was one part James Brown, one part Michael Jackson and one part Elvis with just a dash of The Four Seasons for good measure.
But did you know that the event was also a family affair? Bruno Mars, born Peter Gene Hernandez, was joined on stage by his older brother Eric Hernandez, who has drummed for Mars’ all-male band The Hooligans since 2010.
Eric Hernandez, who goes by the sobriquet “E-Panda,” was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1976, according to the drummer’s Facebook page. His father Peter Hernandez was an American musician of Puerto Rican and Jewish descent.
Eric Hernandez, along with his celebrity brother, grew up in a musical family and was involved in music at a young age. Mars has previously described their parents as having a penchant for music, including for artists like Elvis. Eric Hernandez was a kid when he began to play the drums, and is a self-described “master of all styles, be it soul, funk, reggae, rock and anything else the music demands of him.”
The biggest audience of Hernandez’s career – not to mention that of his brother’s – was certainly this year’s Super Bowl. Nearly 100 million pairs of eyes were fixed on Sunday’s big game. While the artists weren’t paid for their Super Bowl performance, the exposure has historically led to big boosts in album sales for its entertainers.
“A night I will never forget!!! #SuperBowlXLVIII We came, we saw, we conquered. #Hooligans stand UP!!!!!” Hernandez tweeted Sunday following the game. The drummer also posted photos of himself with members of Red Hot Chili Peppers.
“My drum bruddah / mentor @RHCPchad rocking my #EpandaHooligan headphones /ear warmers. BTW we Playing da SUPER BOWL!!” Hernandez tweeted Jan. 31, two days before taking the stage at the big Super Bowl halftime show.
— E-Panda (@mrEricHernandez) February 1, 2014
Mars, who won his first Grammy in 2011 for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance -- he was also nominated in several other categories, including best Rap Song for “Nothin’ on You” -- has released two albums during his career. “Doo-Wops and Hooligans” was released in 2010, followed by “Unorthodox Jukebox” in 2012.
In June 2013, Mars’ family made headlines when their mother, Bernadette Hernandez, unexpectedly died of a brain aneurysm after suffering a heart attack. Bernadette Hernandez, who was born in the Philippines, was treated at the Queens Medical Center in Honolulu. She was 55 when she passed away on June 1.