Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Presidents of the United States of America

No. This post is NOT about the recent election. This is NOT a political blog. This is a blog about music and artists and the stories behind them. These guys just happen to call themselves The Presidents of the United States of America. They are sometimes referred to as PUSA, The Presidents, or PotUSA.

Formed in 1993 by Chris Ballew and Dave Dederer in Seattle, they have released six studio albums. They have been twice nominated for a Grammy, and they play alternative rock. Their lineup also includes Jason Finn on drums, and for about 10 years included Andrew McKeag on vocals.

They are probably most known for their song, Lump.

So how does a band end up with a name such as The Presidents of the Unites States of America?

To answer that question, we have to go back to 1993 when Chris Ballew and Dave Dederer were attending a private K-12 school in Seattle called 'The Bush School'.  Ballew had previously been in a punk band called Egg, and wrote many of the songs that would later become PUSA songs.  Ballew and Dederer performed as a drummerless duo under the band names 'The Lo-Fis', 'The Dynamic Duo', and 'Pure Frosting'.  It was Ballew who eventually came upon the name of 'The Presidents of the United States of America'.  After they settled on this name, they added Jason Finn as their drummer.

Instead of being signed right away, they recorded a 10 song cassette, called 'Froggystyle'. They sold this cassette at their shows and Finn also sold them from the bar where he was a bartender. It wasn't until 1994 that they caught the the attention of a tiny Seattle label and released their self-titled debut album.  In 1995, they signed with Columbia Records and re-released their album. It went triple-platinum.

Another of the songs from that first album, 'Peaches'

So, with a name such as theirs, you must be wondering if they are involved in politics.

According to wikipedia, they did perform for President Bill Clinton at a 1994 Democratic Party fundraiser in Seattle. They also supported John Kerry in the 2004 US Presidential election.  On Jan 17, 2009, they released a single on National Public Radio called 'Moving In', detailing the journey of Barack Obama in celebration of his inauguration as president.  The former Governor of Washington State, Gary Locke, is featured on the backing vocals of 'Volcano', and the band endorsed Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election.

I tried to locate a video of 'Moving In', but was unsuccessful.

Have you heard of these guys before?  If you have, which of their songs do you like?

What does tomorrow bring?

Tune in to find out...

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