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Chris Ballew - BIO - PUSA
photo by nathcos

Chris Ballew - Band History:

Christopher Weldon Ballew (Chris Ballew) - Born May 28, 1965

Chris Ballew grew up in Seattle and attended middle and high school at The Bush School where he met David Dededer (Dave Dederer), with whom he would later form Duke's O'Pop and The Presidents Of The United States Of America. In late 80s and early 90s Ballew live in Boston where he performed as a street musician in a duo called EGG and with Duke's O'Pop. Many of the Ballew's songs with EGG and Duke's O'pop would become well-known Presidents songs, most notably Naked and Famous, which is performed by Egg as a bonus track on a 2005 reissue of the Presidents' eponymous debut album.

While in Boston, Ballew played briefly with Mary Lou Lord, and also with Mark Sandman of Treat Her Right and Morphine in a duo called Supergroup, in which they developed the oddly-stringed instruments that would become a staple of both the Presidents' and Morphine's sound.

Ballew moved back to Seattle in early 90's, because Seattle felt to him more home than Boston. In 1991-1993 Chris Ballew & Dave Dederer played many shows in Seattle as duo under various names "The Lo-fis, Go!, Dynamic Duo, Pure Frosting". Late 1993 Jason Finn joined the band and The Presidents of The USA was fully formed.

Early 1994 Ballew joined Beck's touring band as "multi-instrumentalist", and also played multiple instruments on Beck's album "One Foot In The Grave", Chris left Beck's band, because he didn't like the tone of the band at the time. "So I quit to do The Presidents and it turned out to work out just fine. And then I see Beck playing at Bumbershoot. He’s got this entertaining, almost James Brown on psychedelics kind of show. If that were the kind of band I was in with him, I probably would not have quit and I might lead a very different life than I do right now. Luckily we weren’t on the same page, so I quit and did my own thing."

The Presidents toured continuously until 1998. They played their (then) final show at The Chicken Soup Brigade in Paramount Theatre, Seattle. After the "breakup" Ballew went solo and released his solo album Giraffes - 13 Another dimensions, and joined The Tycoons, a 3 piece "super group" featuring Phil Hurley, Gavin Guss and Chris Ballew. All three musicians took turns playing each of the instruments. The Tycoons released an official CD EP "Is It Christmas Yet?"

In 1999 The Presidents collaborated with Sir Mix-A-Lot as Subset, a short-lived rock and hip-hop band. They had a brief tour and recorded several songs, but never released an album. The band broke up because Sir Mix-A-Lot wanted to take the band in a harder, more electronic direction, but Finn and Dederer were not interested.

In 1999 Chris Ballew also collaborated with Tad Hutchison (The Young Fresh Fellows) as duo that first started as "Starter Kit", but there was already a band called Starter Kit out there. So they called themselves as "The Band Almost Known As Starter Kit", "The Chris And Tad Show" and "Woop". Chris & Tad officially released only one album Hand Me That Door. Many of the duo's songs were used on various commercials, and TV-series. Chris & Tad also toured until 2000.

The Presidents of the USA made a brief return in 2000. Whey they recorded an album "Freaked Out And Small" in Jupiter Studio (Seattle). There was no touring done to promote the album. Ballew continued to tour with The Giraffes and Chris & Tad. 2003 The Presidents finally returned with touring.

Around 2006, Chris Ballew began collaborating with Seattle-based rapper Outtasite (from Subset) as The Feelings Hijackers. They have done local shows and have a few songs on their myspace page.

In 2009, Ballew launched a project targeted toward toddlers called Caspar Babypants. Ballew uses a three-string acoustic guitar when performing Caspar Babypants songs. To date, Caspar Babypants has released three full-length albums; "Here I Am!", "More Please!" and "This is Fun!".

- Bands listed in chronological order -

Creepy Stick (aka David and the Overtones)


Chris Ballew - Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Dave Thiele - Drums

Chris Ballew's first "band" Creepy Stick (aka David and The Overtones) was formed in 1975. Featuring Chris on piano at age 10 and childhood friend Dave Thiele on Sears Drum Kit at age 6. They had one song.... "David and the Overtones". One line up was electrified 3 string acoustic guitar and drums and sax. One line up was 4 string bass and drums. One line up was 2 string guitar and 3 string guitar. They played loft parties until dawn and on the street for change. It took 30 years before first album "Creepy Stick" saw the light of day. Song "David and The Overtones" still remains unreleased.

Chris played an acoustic version of the song David And The Overtones on Modern Rock Live 1996-11-03

Main Release:

Creepy Stick


Asleep Standing


Chris Ballew - Guitar, Vocals
Dale Peyser - ?
Emily Duff - Bass

Chris Ballew's college band. On a side note: They used to play "Love Delicatessen" often live.

The Dukes O'Pop


C. Ballew - Guitar, Piano, Violin
D. Thiele - Chamer Dulcimer
D. Dederer - Guitar Hero
P. Franklin - Guitar, Drums
I. Sterling - Bass
T. Ballew - Little Baby

Band recorded a cassette "Toy Surprise" (limited to 50 copies). Some of the ideas and songs included in this cassette, were later used on various PUSA recordings.




EGG Chris Ballew from the Presidents, Dale Peyser and Phil Franklin

EGG 1989  - Upper photo by Nico Accardi

EGG (Boston) - Photo - Chris Ballew (Presidents Of The USA)
photo from left to right: Dale Peyser, Chris Ballew, Phil Franklin

Chris Ballew - Vocals, Guitar
Phil Franklin - Drums
Llyod Dyson (1988-1989)
Dale Peyser - Bass (1989)

Egg first started as a street band by Phil and Chris. Egg also recorded handfull of cassettes, which are in limited circulation. Many of the EGG songs have been re-recorded by The Presidents Of The United States Of America (PUSA) since then. Cassette are now PUSA collector's items.

EGG - Songography (List of EGG songs with details)



Chris Ballew - Electric Bass, FX Pedals
Mark Brooks - Electric Bass, Voice
Greg Wildes - Detuned Electric Bass
Phil Franklin - Drums and Percussion

Jam band. Two live jam tracks ended up on a vinyl: "We Will Grow On You".



Supergroup - Mark Sandman (Morphine) - Chris Ballew (Presidents Of The USA / PUSA) - 2 String Basitar
Photo from left to right: Mark Sandman, Chris Ballew (2-string basitar) - Photo by Steven Lee

Chris Ballew - Vocals, 2-String Bass
Mark Sandman - Vocals, Tritar, Guitar

"Once upon a time in a beantown called Boston, Chris Ballew was a street busker/musician who was befriended by a tall guy named Mark Sandman. They became friends and were roommates for six months. They played once a week at the Plough and Stars. They named their weekly gig Supergroup. The whole idea behind Supergroup was that they would come up with the song names while having a beer before the gig. Then they would make up the songs onstage during their show. Occasionally Mark or Chris would call out a Super Challenge- i.e. shout out words on stage and the other one had to make up a song on the spot using those words. Sometime during my show I am going to squeeze in some Supergroup." Cecily

They also released a 7" single "Supergroup".




Chris Ballew - Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Drums, Keyboards

Chris Ballew's solo project.



Chris Ballew - Guitar, Vocals
Dave Dederer - Guitar, Vocals
Dave Thiele - Drums, Vocals (1991-1992)

Dave Thiele went to graduate school in Boston in fall 1992, and Chris and Dave continued to play as duo.

"Jason Finn saw the last Go! show, at The Crocodile Cafe, and for two years begged to be in whatever the next band Chris and I would be forming...which led to his joining PUSA in late 1993" - Dave Dederer

Go! version of Monkey River can be found from Monkey River album.

Dynamic Duo


Chris Ballew - Vocals, Basitar
Dave Dederer - Guitbass

Duo by Chris and Dave. They played live show(s) under this name in 1993.

The Lo-Fis


Chris Ballew - Vocals, Basitar
Dave Dederer - Guitbass

Duo by Chris and Dave. They played live show(s) under this name in 1993.

Pure Frosting


Chris Ballew - Vocals, Basitar
Dave Dederer - Guitbass

Duo by Chris and Dave. They played live show(s) under this name in 1993. PUSA also named their B-side collection album as "Pure Frosting".

The Presidents Of The United States Of America (PUSA)


Chris Ballew - Vocals, Basitar, Keyboard
Dave Dederer - Guitbass, Vocals (1993-2004)
Jason Finn - Drums, Vocals
Andrew McKeag - Guitbass, Vocals (2004-present)

more info: Official PUSA Website

more details: Presidents of the USA songography (PUSA songs with details)

Also known as P.U.S.A / TPOTUSOA / POTUSA / The Presidents Of The USA. Fully formed Presidents played their first show in 1993 when Jason Finn joined in.



Beck - Vocals, Guitar
Calvin Jonhson
Sam Jayne
James Bertram
Scott Plouf
Mario Prietto
Chris Ballew - Vocals, Bass, Banjo

Chris played bass on Beck's album "One Foot in the Grave" and was also member of Beck's touring band in 1994. Chris joined Beck's band as "multi-instrumentalist".

Main release:

One Foot In The Grave


Caspar And Mollüsk


Chris Ballew (Caspar) - Guitar, Vocals
Beck (Mollüsk) - Noise, Vocals

Prior to the Mellow Gold tour, Chris Ballew was staying at Beck's house in East LA and they would spend time recording on Beck's 4 track. On one of these occasions, Chris was recording a song about Beck being a "twig in the wind", when Beck came out of his bedroom, grabbed the mic and started making some noise. This is the end-product. Chris later re-recorded "Twig" formally with his next band The Presidents of the United States of America.

Main Releases:


Chris and Tad


Chris & Tad - Chris And Tad Show - Starter Kit - Promo

Chris Ballew - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboard
Tad Hutchison - Drums

Duo that first started as "Starter Kit", but there was already a band called Starter Kit out there. So they called themselves as "The Band Almost Known As Starter Kit", "The Chris And Tad Show" and "Woop". Chris & Tad officially released only one album Hand Me That Door. Many of the duo's songs were used on various commercials, and TV-series. 1999 there was a competition to give a new name to Chris & Tad band thing.

Listen clips from The Chris & Tad - Hand Me That Door album.

List of Chris and Tad songs with details


The Giraffes


Chris Ballew - Various Instruments
Mike Musburger - Drums
Jason Staczek - Organ, Clarinet

The Giraffes started as a one man band, but later turned into a full-time band including drummer Mike Musburger (Fastbacks, Posies, Uptights), and multi-instrumentalist Jason Staczek.

"Founded by Chris Ballew, the former lead singer and songwriter for the multi-platinum artists The Presidents of the United States of America, The Giraffes' first album, 13 Other Dimensions, was released in February 1998 and featured a made-up band of hand puppets invented by Chris. The group consists of Chris on acoustic guitar, Mike Musburger on drums and Jason Staczek on organ and clarinet." - Written by Chris Ballew © 2000 Raw Poo Music (ASCAP)"

Listen clips from The Giraffes - Days Are Filled With Years album.

List of the Giraffes songs

The Giraffes - Main releases:

13 Other Dimensions

The Days Are Filled With Years




Subset (The Presidents Of The United States Of America + Sir Mix-A-Lot + Outtasite)

Sir Mix-A-Lot - Vocals
Chris Ballew - Vocals, Bass, Keyboard
Dave Dederer - Guitar, Bass
Jason Finn - Drums
Mike "Outtasite" Singleton - Vocals

"SUbSET was a much-anticipated collaboration between Seattle rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot and grunge jokesters the Presidents of the United States of America, albeit one that never quite got off the ground. The seeds of SUbSET were first planted circa 1997, with a collaborative Jimi Hendrix cover the original purpose. Instead, Mix and the Presidents -- guitarist Dave Dederer, bassist Chris Ballew, and drummer Jason Finn -- eventually worked on a bit of original material, drawing from their collective disillusionment with the music industry. Mix brought the Presidents on-stage to perform the result, "Addicted to the Fame," at a live gig in Seattle in 1998. The crowd went wild, and the quartet decided to pursue their unlikely new direction further, eventually christening themselves SUbSET. They played several showcase gigs in Seattle, and also recorded approximately one album's worth of material over 1999, provoking intense curiosity even beyond their own respective fan bases. SUbSET mounted a small-scale tour of the West Coast in early 2000, but unfortunately split up in its wake. Part of the reason was a lack of enthusiasm for the process of putting out and supporting a record, and musical differences also played a part (Mix wanted to experiment with alternative metal and industrial sounds). To date, none of the band's recordings have been officially released, though many have been leaked on the Internet." Steve Huey, All Music Guide

Chris Ballew & Outtsite from Subset later formed The Feelings Hijackers

Subset - Songography (list of all known Subset tracks)

The Tycoons


The Tycoons (Seattle) - Chris Ballew (Presidents Of the USA / PUSA)

Chris Ballew - Vocals, Bass, Drums, Keyboard
Gavin Guss - Vocals, Piano, Drums
Phil Hurley - Vocals, Guitar, Drums, Tambourine

The Tycoons, a 3 piece "super group" featuring Phil Hurley, Gavin Guss and Chris Ballew. All three musicians took turns playing each of the instruments. Released an official CD EP "Is It Christmas Yet?"

Official Promo Letter:

"When one first hears about this new Seattle band called The Tycoons, one may picture a group of wealthy, powerful and famous personages. One would not be wrong. The Tycoons are indeed three musicians whose riches lie in their tuneful songs; their power eviden in reucoues performances; and they also happen to get along famously. In fact, The Tycoons are equal parts aristocrasy and democracy, all three singing and playing guitar, piano, bass and drums in ever-revolving combinations.

To paint a sound-portrait of The Tycoons is to imagine the wit and infectious rhythm of Chris Ballew, fresh from a four-year term of office with sensational Presidents of the United States of America (and zoo-keeper of The Giraffes). Now add the smooth musicality and sly charm of Phil Hurley, late of the lively pop-rock outfit known as Gigolo Aunts. Finally, blend these elents with the swirling melodic grooves Of Gavin Guss, formerly linked to the bouncy popsters of TubeTop.

When these three tycoons aren't sipping a cool martini, smoking a long cigar, or lounging by pool, one can bet one's last dollar they are rocking out with style, class, and just a hint of amusement visible above their silken white ascots.

Indeed, The Tycoons have arrived."

Listen clips from The Tycoons - Is It Chrismas Yet?

The Tycoons - Songography - Song & Recording details:

The Quitters


Chris Ballew - Vocals, Bass, Keyboard
Dave Dederer - Guitar
Jason Finn - Drums

Name Quitters appeared first time on Jason Finn's drum kit on the "Video Killed The Radio Star" video back in 1998. It was a reference about the Presidents quitting, but on 24th January 2000, mysterious song: "The Quitters - Jupiter" appeared on Musicblitz website. It was meant to be an one-off reunion to make a favor to an old friend that worked on Musicblitz, but later on it lead to a whole new PUSA album.

"They quickly found out they couldn't use that name (The Quitters) and have reverted back to using The Presidents. "I liked the Quitters but apparently there's some band in Syracuse New York called The Quitters and they are extremely fond of their name. They found out we were using it and told us in no uncertain terms to stop. We liked the names The Quitters and if they hadn't of called us on it we would have kept using it" Dave said."

When the full album was done, the band wanted a new label in Australia, and they would really liked it to be Sony. Things might have gone wrong in the US, but the Presidents always liked the way how Sony Australia worked. Dave even wanted the band to tour Australia, but Chris wasn't interested. Back in 2002 Presidents started to tour again.





Chris Ballew - Vocals, Computer, All Instruments

Chris was very interested about computer music stuff, and whole Sampladelic turned into a solo project and two CDs got released "Chris Ballew - My First Computer" and "Chris Ballew - Like To Boogie", and later transformed into The Feelings Hijackers

The Feelings Hijackers (aka T.F.H)


The Feelings Hijackers - TFH

Chris Ballew - Vocals
Outtasite - Vocals

Acoustadelic campfire rap-along by Chris Ballew (PUSA) & Outtasite (Subset).

"The Feelings Hijackers are a side project of Chris Ballew, lead singer & songwriter for The Presidents of The United States of America. TFH also features Sir Mix-A-Lot protégé Outtasite. Both were members of Subset, an all-star band that was a collaboration between The Presidents & Mix-A-Lot. As Chris tells it, ""This is the sound that I have had brewing for a few years now, the logical next step: Acoustadelic campfire rap-along." The TFH sound combines the flawless hooks Chris is known for with The Presidents with the smooth introspective rhymes of Outtasite, forming a potent blend reminiscent of The Gorillaz or early Beck.

The Feelings Hijackers - Official Website

The Feelings Hijackers - MySpace page

The Feelings Hijackers - Lyrics

Main releases:

T.F.H (2005)

Skeletal Remains (2007)

SupeRecord (2011)



The Iconics


The Iconics - Seattle All-Star Band
photo by nnlove

Chris Ballew - Vocals (PUSA)
Dave Dederer - Guitar (PUSA)
Andrew McKeag - Guitar (PUSA)
Mike Musburger - Drums (Posies / Fastbacks)
Jeff Fielder - Bass (Sera Cahoone)
Ty Bailie - Keyboard (Department Of Energy)

Seattle all-star band the Iconics

Lightbulb Fantastic


Chris Ballew
Josie Ballew
Augie Ballew

Home band with Chris Ballew and his kids, Augie and Josie.

Some songs are available on presidentsrock's youtube channel

Caspar Babypants


Caspar Babypants - Chris Ballew - Promo

Caspar Babypants (Chris Ballew) - Vocals, Guitar, Other Instruments
Fredrick Babyshirt (Fred Northup Jr.) - Vocals, Other Instruments
Ronald Babyshoes (Ron Hippe) - Keyboard, Vocals

"Caspar Babypants makes simple sing along music for baby brains and parent ears. Caspar Babypants is also known as Chris Ballew, lead singer of the rock and roll band The Presidents of the United States of America." - Caspar Babypants

Caspar Babypants main releases:

HERE I AM! (2009)


THIS IS FUN! (2010)

SING ALONG! (2011)

More info:

Caspar Babypants - Songography - Details about Caspar Babypants songs.