Chris Ballew Interview by Mike Lyon

The fabled interview is finally here! Chris is a hell of a nice guy, and it was great talking with him. Anyway, what you care about is what Chris has to say, so here it is!

    Regarding The Giraffes:

Mike: So, how long have you been working on the recordings for The Giraffes disc?

    Chris: I have been working on the Giraffes for over a year.

Mike: How many albums do you hope to do with the Giraffes characters?

    Chris: There are 6 total Giraffes albums to be "re-released"

Mike: Any other projects on the side?

    Chris: Yea, I have this 4-track tape circle going on where I fill up the first track of a 4-track tape and send it to someone and they react on track 2 to my sounds and send it back and I do track 3 and then we get together and do track 4 and mix the songs.

Mike: There's a big question all your fans have: will you be touring anymore? I realize the logistics are nigh-impossible since you play all the instruments on 13 Other Dimensions, but are you considering getting some backup musicians and hitting the road again?

    Chris: I am NOT into touring AT ALL. It basically sucks the creative juice right out of me and most all other musicians I have talked to. But we do it for the fans and that IS important. The purpose of The Giraffes is to be productive and creative and NOT have to repeat the same songs over and over. I want to do that for a while then see what happens. If I meet the right musicians and I get a renewed excitement about playing live then I will go out and tour.

Mike: Care to just make some general comments about the record? Which songs are you most proud of? What kind of a "feel" do you hope the album has?

    Chris: Well, I have no idea who will like this record. I guess it could be called a "headphone" record in that I put a lot of little sounds in there that people may not hear at first. I hope it's the kind of record that isn't just a flimsy, one-dimensional punchline, but one that grows on you as you listen to it more and more. Those are my favorite types of records. I am trying to make really ENTERTAINING songs that people can walk away singing after one listen and get into over and over again for the lucious sounds and production.

Mike: It [the album] also seems very Beatles influenced. Did the Beatles or any other bands really inspire you on this record?

    Chris: HELL YES THE BEATLES INSPIRED ME! I just wish I was a Beatle every day, but I got no hairs.

Mike: When can we expect to see the next album?

    Chris: I hope the next album will be out yesterday and today, but tomorrow never knows. Soon.

To the Presidents for bit, since that's the only big base of knowledge I have to draw on in this interview ^_^. Just some general questions:

Mike: I suppose the big question on everbody's mind is if you'll be teaming up with Jason and Dave in the future for some fun little things? I'm not talking reunion, but do you guys still feel you can get together and jam out some tunes?

    Chris: Well, we will see. I am definitly into moving on at the moment and collaborating with others and also NOT collaborating for a while and developing the unique sound I have in my head that I have always had to comprimise for the sake of collaboration. The short answer is maybe.

Mike: What, to you, are the most satisfying moments you spent with The Presidents? Any favorite songs or little moments that made the whole PUSA endeavor shine?

    Chris: There were many many satisfying times.... One time in Europe somewhere we played one of the best shows where all the songs were done perfectly and we had a repore with the audience, and I remember getting off the stage and yelling "Damn I love being in this BAND!!!"

Mike: Would you say that the INTENSIVE touring you guys did, especially in 95, was a point of tension? I mean, you guys did 100s of shows to promote the first album; was the stress of just doing the same thing every night a factor in wanting to do something different like The Giraffes?

    Chris: Yes, in fact more than anything else touring is a creativity killer. It also forces you to spend way too much time with each other and even the best of friends can get old after a while. Touring is an evil activity that has nothing to do, for me, with why I like to make music. I like to conquer a songs inner riddle and move on and I had to replay some songs so many times that I hated them...but we would not have sold as many records or reached as many people if we had not toured.

Mike: Everybody knows that you and Dave played together for years; how did you guys meet? Were you ever in any other bands?

    Chris: Yea, we were, but I am so bored with answering this question..... Pure Frosting, which is the title of our final record, was an early band name...

Mike: Could you say a few words about the production of "Pure Frosting"? Was it a good time for you and the guys?

    Chris: Well, we did the songs over a long stretch of time so there wasn't a cohesive feeling 'bout making it, but in general goodtimes were had by all.

Mike: Rumors are rampant that a video of the final show might surface on pay-per-view or in stores; any truth to that? I know that finding a bootleg of the final show is tops on everyone's priority list right now; was an official recording of it made?

    Chris: No. It got to be a HUGE pain in the ass with all the contracts and proposals for taping the last show and all we wanted to do was get drunk and not worry about being all perfect. There is an added pressure when you know the show is being taped that can make it suck. So we bagged it.

And just some random stuff:

Mike: It's a less well known fact that you did a record with Beck ["Caspar & Mollusk"] and one with Mark Sandman ["Supergroup"]. Do you ever get together with those guys and rok out anymore?

    Chris: Mark and I will do some stuff in May of this year. I haven't spoken to Beck for a while, but I am gettin' ready to give him a call.

Mike: How long have you been married, and what does your wife do? And just who the heck is Tony Ballew?

    Chris: I have been married for 2 and a half years, my wife is a clothing designer and Tony Ballew is my nephew. He was 6 years old when we recorded Basketball Dream, now he is 17.

Mike: So, what do you do for fun?

    Chris: Write....record...and make albums by puppet bands.

Mike: What's the first album you ever bought? Your favorite album?

    Chris: Yellow Submarine and my favorite is Revolver....Beatles of course.

Mike: What kind of beer do you like?

    Chris: I like Ranier and Grolsch....and I like to drink them everyday!

Mike: Thanks once again very much for the interview!

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