I was in 5th grade when I was handed the President’s of the United States of America CD. It was the first rock and roll CD I have ever owned. I was 10 years old in 1996. The record had been out for a year and I had no idea what the hell it was, I didn’t get it, but I loved it. I loved all of it. Kitty, Lump, Peaches, Bol Weevil, Dune Buggy, Kick Out The Jams, Naked and Famous to name a few are the songs the guided me toward a life of loving music. For the first time since 1996 I fulfilled a life long goal of seeing this awesome band live on stage at the House Of Blues in LA. The tour was called “The Self Titled Tour” and “POTUSA Plays the Good One”. They played my first rock and roll record… in its entirety.
‘Fuck you kitty you’re gonna spend the night’? WHAT? My virgin ears! I had never heard anything so awesome in my entire, albeit, short life. What a start! At last nights concert after playing some awesome choice cuts as ‘Mach 5′, ‘Tiki God’, ‘Volcano’, and ‘Love Everybody’ the band conveniently realized they had not played anything from their debut record. To quote the man himself, Chris Ballew said, “To make up for it. We’re going to play the whole thing. Right now.” As the expecting crowd lost their minds despite already knowing the evenings plan they ripped into ‘Kitty’ with the same energy as if it were 1996 all over again.
A true Seattle garage rock band in the 90′s the President’s represent the 90′s so perfectly. They play instruments the way they aren’t suppose to be played and they just have fun and sing about whatever they want. Chris’ bass only has two strings and Dave’s guitar only had 3 and yet they we’re able to make a big splash for being “just a little band”. In 2004 Dave Dederer left the band to spend more time with his family and the current line up carried on adding Andrew McKeag on guitar. Original members Chris Ballew and Jason Finn are still in tact and they sound as tight as you can be.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of The President’s Of The United States Of America as a band. They have toured off and on and released 5 studio albums and continue to create new music. Longevity in this music world baffles me. 20 years is just short of my life time. After seeing the guys last night I knew exactly why there still here. They were well rehearsed, tight, energetic and had smiles on their faces the whole night. They obviously love what the do and I think they also love that the crowd knew every single word to every song on their debut release. It being an LA show there are usually no shortage in surprises. When the band ripped into “Kick Out The Jams” they were joined on stage by the original and founding guitarist Dave Dederer. Seeing the original lineup pretty much blew my mind and on one of the best songs on the record made the night for me. I’m sure many members of the nearly sold out crowd left with their faces melted. They played it all even pausing during “We Are Not Going To Make It” just as they did on the record, it was perfect.
The President’s are important to rock and roll for two reasons. They wrote the songs they wanted to write. Performed them the way they wanted to play and didn’t care what anyone thought. In my mind they were a seminal band of the 90′s. As we see a resurgence in 90′s nostalgia I hope they keep touring and keep putting out albums. I for one will be the first in line to buy them and I won’t miss another show.
Please find everything you need to know about the Presidents HERE. They still have a bunch of shows left on this current “Self Titled Tour”. This band means a lot to me and when my 90′s band plays thier songs at bars I see people’s faces light up just as mine did last night. Nostalgia is awesome. Naked and Famous, an LA song rounded out the set. Perfect ending to an awesome show.