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The Presidents of The United States Of America

The Presidents of the United States of America is an American alternative rock band formed in Seattle, in 1993.

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The Presidents of the United States of America is an American alternative rock band formed in Seattle, in 1993. The three-piece group currently comprises vocalist and “basitarist” Chris Ballew, drummer and vocalist Jason Finn with “guitbassist” and vocalist Andrew McKeag. “Guitbassist” and vocalist Dave Dederer was a member of the band for 11 years before leaving in 2004.

Ballew and Dederer met while attending The Bush School in Seattle. Initially a drummer-less duo, Ballew and Dederer performed a few shows in 1993 as “The Lo-Fis,” “The Dynamic Duo,” and “Pure Frosting.” Shortly after settling on their The Presidents of the United States of America name, Ballew and Dederer added drummer Jason Finn.

The Presidents recorded a 10-song cassette, “Froggystyle,” in early 1994 in one day at Laundry Room Studios. The band sold the cassette at shows in 1994. Finn also sold the cassette from behind the bar of Seattle's well-known Comet Tavern, where he bartended.

In 1994, The Presidents signed with the tiny Seattle label PopLlama Records and released their self-titled debut the following year. The band also released a limited edition blue vinyl 7" single, “Fuck California,” on C/Z Records.

Columbia Records signed the band shortly thereafter and re-released the album in late July 1995. The singles, “Lump” and “Peaches” reached the Top 10 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, with “Lump” reaching #1. The 3x platinum certified album reached #6 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and received Grammy Award nominations in 1996 and 1997.

A follow-up album, “II,” received similar praise, but did not match the commercial success that the Presidents' debut album had peaking at #31 on the Billboard 200, though it was still certified gold in the U.S. The single, “Mach 5” reached #11 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.

The Presidents also wrote the theme song for the 1998 TV movie “My Date with the President's Daughter.” They also performed a cover of the “George of the Jungle” theme song for the 1997 movie of the same name. This performance is not available on any of their albums.

The band broke up in January 1998 as Ballew quit to spend more time with his young family and to explore other musical terrain. “Pure Frosting,” a final album composed of new songs, covers, and demos, was released in 1998. The release also featured videos for “Lump,” “Peaches,” “Mach 5” and “Dune Buggy.” “Pure Frosting” featured two songs that had previously been used in a movie and as a television show theme. “Video Killed the Radio Star” was included on the soundtrack for “The Wedding Singer,” while “Cleveland Rocks,” originally recorded by Ian Hunter, was chosen as the theme song for “The Drew Carey Show.” Another song on the album, “Man (Opposable Thumb),” appeared in the Nickelodeon-produced motion picture “Good Burger.”

Following the breakup, each band member devoted time to his own solo projects. In 2000, Columbia Records released “Lump,” a discount greatest hits compilation, without the band's approval or collaboration.

The Presidents reunited in 2000 to release a new single, “Jupiter,” on MUSICBLITZ Records. Because of the single's popularity, the label convinced the band to release a new album. “Freaked Out & Small” was released that year to critical praise. On the album all of the songs were played with normal guitars and bass guitars. This is different from all of the other albums by the band, as they usually played with guitbasses and basitars, which were guitars with fewer strings that were tuned differently than usual.

Soon after the band members once again went their own ways. In 2004, the band once again reformed, releasing “Love Everybody” on their newly formed indie label PUSA Inc. As with their previous albums, it received praise from many critics.

Seattle guitarist Andrew McKeag joined the band on guitbass in late 2004, as an occasional live-performance stand-in for Dederer, who had expressed an interest in spending more time with his family. Beginning in late 2007, McKeag has toured full-time with the band, and later officially replaced Dederer.

The band's next album, “These Are the Good Times People,” was released in March 2008. It featured the single, “Mixed Up S.O.B.”

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