Presidents Of The United States Of America
The Presidents of the United States of America formed in Seattle. Chris Ballew played two-string basitar and Dave Dederer handled three-string guitbass. The band saved a fortune on strings. Jason Finn handled drums.
The Presidents had a chance to be in on the Grunge scene, starting in '91, but they went in a slightly different direction. They approached their art with a fair amount of humor and guile. In fact, they were often equated with the Knack. Namely, the Knack was to New Wave what the Presidents were to Grunge - a one-off novelty band. Easy to understand, since their biggest thing was "Lump." What people forgot was "Lump" Rocked. The insistent rhythm and vocals ("she's lump, she's lump, she's in my head") as the song bashed and crashed exquisitely. The self-titled debut also provided the eager listener with "Kitty," and "Boll Weevil."
Having done what they came to do or finding nowhere else to go, the Presidents called it quits in '97 after three CDs.
The first Presidents reunion took place in '00 when the group released the single "Jupiter." The song's popularity led to the album "Freaked Out And Small" which sold a mere 25,000 copies. In the world that would normally be a ridiculously low number for a major band but there was next to no promotion and the group didn't tour. The Presidents split again with Ballew working with Tad Hutchinson of The Young Fresh Fellows on The Chris And Tad Show.
Four years later, The Presidents tried again releasing "Love Everybody" on their own PUSA Inc. label. At this point Seattle guitarist Andrew McKeag appeared onstage playing guitbass, spelling Dederer who wanted to spend more time with his family. But McKeag's prolonged involvement and Dederer's continued absence fueled rumors that McKeag had replaced Dederer, which was discounted on occasion though McKeag appeared in band photos.
The Presidents issued "These Are the Good Times People" in March, '08. The set contained the single "Mixed Up S.O.B." Just about everybody, including the band, thought that was it.
But in '14 The Presidents used PledgeMusic to fund their sixth studio set "Kudos To You!" Many of the songs had been previously recorded by Ballew's various projects.
However, The Presidents' revival was short-lived with Ballew revealing that the band had officially "retired" after being largely inactive for more than a year. Their "creative interests" had changed.
1995 The Presidents Of The United States Of America
2000 Freaked Out And Small
2004 Love Everybody
2008 These Are The Good Times People
2014 Kudos To You!
The Presidents of the United States didn't stay long but they were fun while they were around. Their self-titled debut with "Lump," "Kitty" and "Peaches" is the CD to get. The President's reckless energy shines through. Subsequent efforts, "II" and "Pure Frosting," are good but not as witty or satisfying.
The Presidents make a spotty comeback with "Freaked Out And Small." They are a lot more fun on "Love Everybody" where they sound like a Punk band channeling vintage B-52s.