What? You thought we would run the video of the classical quartet faking their way through the inauguration performance? Or maybe the Arcade Fire video from the party for Obama staffers? Why would we when we can take a look back at a time when The Presidents Of The United States Of America brought their 2-string, minimalist pop rock ‘n’ roll into our living rooms? How’s that for change? Is it as good as an intro made up entirely of questions instead of statements?
Yeah, we’re being way too campy and literal with this week’s Flashback installment, but how could we resist? It’s what the Presidents were all about. The Seattle band was formed in late 1993 by Chris Ballew (basitar and lead vocals) and Dave Dederer (guitbass and backup vocals) and initially played out as a drummerless duo called “The Lo-Fis” or “The Dynamic Duo” or “Pure Frosting” before eventually settling for the name The Presidents of the United States of America. Shortly after they added drummer Jason Finn, who was also the drummer in the Sub Pop band Love Battery at the time.
Aside from the Sub Pop connections and being a pop band in the grungy Seattle scene, we give The Presidents kudos for getting signed from a cassette recording (sure it was common back then, but since cassettes are the vintage du jour thing these days, we figured we’d try to make this post cooler by mentioning it). In 1994, the Presidents signed with the tiny Seattle label PopLlama Records and released their self-titled debut in the following year. Driven by the singles “Lump”, “Peaches”, and “Kitty”, Columbia Records signed the band shortly thereafter and re-released the album in late July, 1995.
Since we couldn’t decide which song to post (a quick poll found most people split between “Peaches” and “Lump”) — and figuring we won’t be doing many more Presidents posts — we chose to run both videos. Though “Peaches” met the most critical success, the band credits “Lump” as their favorite single. Besides, who can argue with a song “Weird Al” Yankovic created a parody of?
The Presidents Of The United States Of America – “Lump”
The Presidents Of The United States Of America – “Peaches”