Presidents of the United States

Official Promotional Bio (rescued with

The mesmerizing musical trio that made up the multi-platinum selling group The Presidents of the United States of America has re-formed!  The band's three original members, Chris Ballew (guitar/bass/keys/vocals), Dave Dederer (guitar/bass/vocals) and Jason Finn (drums/vocals) will release a brand new album entitled Freaked Out and Small in-stores on September 12, 2000.  Fans can pre-order the album now on MUSICBLITZ () through a special promotion called Fan Edition.

The Presidents first came together as a threesome in late 1993.  Friends since junior high, Ballew and  Dederer had been writing, recording and performing together for years.  The band formed when Ballew finally returned to Seattle for good after stints in New York and Boston, where he had played in a variety of bands, including Supergroup with the late Mark Sandman.  The two started performing around town again as a duo.  Finn, then playing with Love Battery, had seen an earlier band of Ballew and Dederer's and had been begging to play with them for years.  His addition finalized the lineup that would catapult them to the top of national and international charts.  

Within months of forming, the trio was playing the Northwest club scene regularly to sold-out crowds.  They made their debut with their self-titled record that same year on the Seattle-based indie label PopLlama, while the major labels courted.  Within a year, we went from playing birthday parties for our friends and families to being chased down the street in Australia while on tour, says Dederer.  It was an unreal time.

In June 1995, the band signed a deal with Columbia records and shortly thereafter re-released their self-titled album.  It yielded three Top-40 hits (Lump, Peaches, and Kitty) and went multi-platinum that same year.  The following year, the band released II, which featured the hits Mach 5 and Volcano.  In 1997, The Presidents put out an album of B-sides and outtakes entitled Pure Frosting, which contained such fan favorites as the remake of the Buggles Video Killed the Radio Star (recorded specifically for the movie soundtrack The Wedding Singer), and a version of Ian Hunter's Cleveland Rocks still in use as the theme song for The Drew Carey Show.

With three top-selling albums, three years of playing to sold-out crowds around the world, and Grammy nominations in 1995 and 1996 under their belts, The Presidents called it quits in December 1997.  Their last show was a benefit for the Chicken Soup Brigade (a Seattle organization providing services for those with AIDS and HIV) at Seattle's Paramount theater on January 31, 1998.

In the years since the split, everybody's been busy.  Finn has been playing with a number of local bands, including The Nevada Bachelors, The Pin-Ups and The Congratulators; all three of these acts have recently recorded and released albums.  He is also an investor in the Asteroid Café, a Seattle eatery.  Dederer has done some production work and recorded solo material for release on Orange Recordings. His current obsession is road bike racing, and he has joined a team and trains daily.  Ballew has been busy with a variety of musical projects, including The Giraffes and the Chris and Tad Show (with Tad Hutchison of Young Fresh Fellows fame).  The Giraffes have a new record out on Orange Recordings, and the Chris and Tad Show will have an album out within months. 

In addition to all the work noted above, in early 1999 the three joined forces with Seattle rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot to form Subset.  The quartet released a song through MUSICBLITZ titled Addicted to the Fame, and played a 12-date West Coast tour in early 2000. It's a melting pot, Led Zeppelin meets Stax records, Otis Redding kicks John Lennon's ass musically very challenging and energizing, says Dederer of the Subset collaboration.

It was while Subset was recording a single for MUSICBLITZ that they lightheartedly recorded one of Chris's songs as The Presidents -- it sounded so good that MUSICBLITZ put together a deal, and the band signed on. We just rolled tape after a Subset session," Ballew recalls. "And it felt really good. We were all smiling.

The band has expanded their range on Freaked Out and Small, with a more raw guitar-driven sound dominating.  Described by Ballew as eclectic pop with a wink, their latest album is an exciting new path that The Presidents have traveled down together.  We wanted to avoid lazy, mid-tempo rockers, says Dederer, so we tried to make the rock songs hectic and explosive, and to make the slow songs spacious and strange.

The talents of the singing/songwriting threesome are fully explored on the new record, which was recorded in Seattle at Jupiter Studios this Spring in just 10 days.  We didn´t rehearse at all, just went in and recorded.  Lou Reed says he likes to record a song before he knows it, reading the words off the lyric sheet  I like that approach and I think it works for us. says Dederer.  

Joining The Presidents on bass for the track I'm Mad on Freaked Out and Small is Duff McKagan of Guns n' Roses fame.  That was fun, says Dederer.  Duff just dropped in, learned the song and we cut it.  Probably took about twenty minutes total.

Being back together is a good place for The Presidents, though they are taking it one project at a time. "We just have some kind of magic when we play together," says Dederer. "I can't describe it, can't define it, and I don't think any of us can take credit for it.  It's just plain dumb luck to find that kind of synchronicity, and it shouldn't be trifled with."

The new album from The Presidents is available now on MUSICBLITZ at and in-stores on September 12.  The Presidents are the first band to feature MUSICBLITZs Fan Edition, a concept that brings fans into the virtual studio to make them a part of the recording process, providing them with the opportunity to purchase Freaked Out and Small before it hits stores, as well as a video backstage pass into the making of the album, where users can watch exclusive in-studio footage of the recording process, download free MP3s from the record, and purchase limited edition signed posters, t-shirts and personalized gold CDs.  In addition, fans who pre-purchase the album will be recognized with their name printed in the CD liner notes.

The Presidents are excited about the opportunities offered to artists and fans by the Internet. "It's definitely a way the Web can be used thats a little more interactive and not just an extension of regular retail models," Dederer enthuses. "Id like to think were participating at least a little bit in the current trend of transferring power from the label to the artist."

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