- Chris Ballew
Ballew in 2005
Background information Born April 28, 1965 Origin Seattle, Washington, U.S. Genres Alternative rock, Post-grunge, Punk rock, Grunge, Pop punk Instruments Vocals, bass guitar Years active 1986–present Associated acts The Presidents of the United States of America, Balls, EGG, Caspar and Mollusk, Supergroup, The Minus 5, The Giraffes, The Tycoons, Chris and Tad, The Feelings Hijackers
Christopher "Chris" Ballew (born May 28, 1965) is a member of the alternative rock group The Presidents of the United States of America and performs as a children's artist under the pseudonym Caspar Babypants.
Ballew grew up in Seattle and attended middle and high school at The Bush School, where he met David Dederer, with whom he would form The Presidents of the United States of America many years later. In the late 1980s and early 90s Ballew lived in Boston, where he performed as a street musician in a duo called Egg with Phil Franklin (later of Caroliner Rainbow and Sunburned Hand of the Man). Many of Ballew's songs with Egg would become well-known Presidents songs, most notably Naked and Famous, which is performed by Egg as a bonus track on a 2005 reissue of the Presidents' eponymous debut album. While in Boston, Ballew played briefly with Mary Lou Lord, and also with Mark Sandman of Treat Her Right and Morphine in a duo called Supergroup, in which they developed the oddly-stringed instruments that would become a staple of both the Presidents' and Morphine's sound.
Ballew is endorsed by Epiphone Guitars and Hartke amps, utilising an Epiphone SG-400 guitar (converted into a two-string "basitar") as well as a 3500 bass amplilfier from Hartke. No distortion pedals are used live, just the natural distortion of the amp is heard. Says Ballew, "I have a Hartke amp, a 3500 which has a really snappy, upfront, punchy sound and distorts nicely. It has a nice gain structure in it and a multi-band EQ which I love too".
Regarding his two-string "basitar", Ballew admits: "I’m technically not really a bass player, although, I play as if I’m playing bass lines, a lot of times I strum like (on a) guitar and make chords.
In 2009, Ballew launched a project targeted toward toddlers called Caspar Babypants. Ballew uses a three-string acoustic guitar when performing Caspar Babypants songs. To date, Caspar Babypants has released three full-length albums; "Here I Am!", "More Please!" and "This is Fun!".
- The Presidents of the United States of America (1995, Sony)
- II (1996, Sony)
- Rarities (1997, Import)
- Pure Frosting (1998, Sony)
- Lump (2000, Sony Special Product)
- Freaked Out and Small (2000, Music Blitz)
- Love Everybody (2004, PUSA Inc)
- These Are the Good Times People (2008, PUSA Inc)
- We Will Grow On You (1990, Elaterium Records) - only 300 LPs printed
- "Emotional Cowboy" on the compilation EP A Kinder, Gentler Genocide (Wasted Effort Records, 1990)
- Lint Cake (1991, Raw Poo Music)
- Sonic Uke (1993, Raw Poo Music)
- Caspar (1996, Raw Poo Music)
- Caspar and Mollusk (1995, Cosmic Records)
With Supergroup: (aka Chris & Mark Sandman)
- Supergroup (1995, Cosmic Records, 45 rpm single)
With The Minus 5L
With The Giraffes:
With The Tycoons:
- Is It Christmas Yet? (1998, Collective Fruit)
With Chris and Tad:
- Hand Me That Door (2000, Orange Recordings)
With SUbSET (aka PUSA & Sir Mix-A-Lot)
- Addicted To The Fame (2000, MusicBlitz.com)
With Chris Ballew and Friends:
- Program for Early Parent Support (PEPS): Sing with a Child (2002)
With Creepy Stick
- Creepy Stick (2005)
With The Feelings Hijackers:
- T.F.H. (2005)
- Skeletal Remains (2007)
As Caspar Babypants:
- Here I Am! (2009)
- More Please! (2009)
- PEPS Sing A Long! (2010) (Download only)
- This Is Fun! (2010)
- My First Computer (2003)
- Like to Boogie (2004)
- Run world, run. (2005) (A soundtrack to a short Flash advertisement for Brooks Running.)
- ^ Chris Ballew Bandography, accessed August 19, 2010. When Ballew loved in Los Angeles in the 90s he shared an apartment with alternitive artist Beck.
- ^ Presidents Of The USA: 'Digital Technology Is Genius', http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/interviews/interviews/presidents_of_the_usa_digital_technology_is_genius.html, retrieved 2010-08-06
- ^ Singing Bassist interview with Chris Ballew', http://www.singingbassist.com/chris-ballew/, retrieved 2010-08-06
- ^ Chris Ballew’s Back With Caspar Babypants, http://www.seattleweekly.com/2009-04-29/music/toddler-rock/, retrieved 2009-04-30
- Chris Ballew semi-official fan site
- Presidents of the USA official site
- Caspar Babypants official site
- Complete Chris Ballew discography
The Presidents of the United States of America Chris Ballew • Dave Dederer • Jason Finn • Andrew McKeag Studio albums Compilations Demos & EPsFroggystyle · Peaches & Live · Munky River Singles"Fuck California" · "Naked and Famous" · "Kitty" · "Lump" · "Peaches" · "Ça Plane Pour Moi" · "Dune Buggy" · "Mach 5" · "Supersonics" · "Volcano" · "Tiki God" · "Video Killed the Radio Star" · "Jupiter" · "Tiny Explosions" · "Last Girl on Earth" · "Some Postman" · "Zero Friction" · "Mixed Up S.O.B." · "Ladybug" · "Rot in the Sun" · "More Bad Times" · "Moving In" · "This is a Blitz" Related articles
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