Capture popularity poll

The Presidents of the United States of America take an oath to have fun with their music.

With a platinum album and a Grammy nomination for best alternative music performance, the Presidents of the United States of America are becoming the commanders-in-chief of radio and video.

"Every day we do stuff that has very little to do with music and a lot to do with the business," said drummer Jason Finn in a recent telephone interview. "It's a lot to deal with, but it's exciting. It's great."

Although the three-man band carries a political title, the members make it clear that the state of their union is having fun for as long as they can.

"As individuals, we are (political), but what we are trying to do doesn't really go with talking politics," Finn said. "It's not a rock band's place to say to go out and vote or who you should vote for."

The popular consensus is that the Presidents are a hit, giving the people short and sweet little ditties about anything from spiders and boll weevils to a kitty. The band even recorded a track, "Devil in a Sleeping Bag," on Willie Nelson's "Twisted Willie" CD, a Justice label release.

"That one came about actually through (three-string guitarist) Dave (Dederer). He's the world's biggest Willie Nelson fan," Finn said. "We were in Austin and we heard that they were recording this Willie Nelson album. Dave called our agent and said, 'Get us on that record.'"

Whether it's a Willie Nelson cover or a sonata for fruits ("Peaches"), the Presidents will play anything in the pursuit of happiness.

"There's no type of music that offends us," Finn said. "As long as it sounds like us and works with what we do, we'll play it."

Although their opponents may say the Presidents promise nothing to the people beyond simplistically silly songs, that's enough for these musicians.

"It's about songs that are fun to play and fun to sing," Finn said. "We're not interested in arguing about our relevance or importance."

When the Presidents' campaign comes to Liberty Hall, 642 Mass., Tuesday night for a sold-out show, Finn said they hope to play to a democratic crowd of all ages.

"The crowds are really important to our shows. ... You try to get everyone involved," Finn said. "There's a (expletive) load of kids coming to the shows now. Before, we played to a (explitive) load of adults over 21 because we were playing in the bars. We were like, 'Man, kids aren't going to like this stuff,' but they do."

Some may question how long of a term the Presidents will serve at the top of the charts, but the Presidents will play until their constituents are content.

"I don't really see us doing this for forever," Finn said. "We want to do this as long as possible ... as long as we are still having fun. I mean, that's all that matters."

John Wake
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