The Presidents run for re-election with new album

After a four-year hiatus, The Presidents of the United States of America have resurfaced with new music, to the delight of their long-term fans. The trio just finished working on their fifth studio album, “These Are the Good Times People,” and will be returning to Anchorage to play at Chilkoot Charlie’s on Feb. 28.

“Anchorage is really fun,” said The Presidents guitarist Andrew McKeag. “The clubs are just ballistic, the people are fun and it’s just a really unique place.”

The last time the Seattle-based rock band played at ‘Koots was in 2005. The band will tour Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks before heading to Seattle in an effort to reach fans across the country. In April they’ll take off for Europe.

Aside from a couple of gigs in the past few years, The Presidents have been fairly inactive. After their smash single “Peaches” was released in 1995, the band was thrust into center stage. The pressure that came along with the fame proved to be too much.

“The band got really successful really fast, and that freaked them out,” McKeag said. “As a result, they put out a second record way too fast.”

McKeag said the second record didn’t go over as well as anticipated, so the band decided to end it while they were still on good terms. They got back together after playing a show on New Year’s in 2002 and produced the record “Love Everybody.” Because former guitarist Dave Dederer didn’t want to go on tour, the group picked up McKeag. The upcoming album is the first Presidents album that features McKeag as a member of the band. After playing with The Presidents for four years, McKeag brings his own flavor to the familiar sound.

“Dave and I are really different guitar players,” McKeag said. “Dave comes from the country-pickin’ kind of world, and I’m more of the rock ‘n’ roll kind of guy.”

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For their new single, “Mixed Up S.O.B.,” the band opted for the zany “Weird Al” Yankovic to direct the music video. The video is simply based on the band playing, but the visual presentation was made unique by using 45 flipbooks. The video is expected to release on Feb. 28, the same day the band plays in Anchorage.

Despite the short-lived mainstream popularity of the band, The Presidents continue to produce unique and quirky hits. After the release of their hit “Peaches,” McKeag said that during shows, people like to throw peaches on stage and some even ask to get a can of peaches signed.

“When you have music like that, it inspires people to do things that are just as silly as the songs themselves,” McKeag said.

McKeag said that lead singer and bassist Chris Ballew inspires most of the song lyrics.

“I don’t know if Chris knows where his songs come from either,” said McKeag. “He’s kind of like ‘Weird Al’ – he’s just a really unique, smart person.”

Ballew, McKeag and drummer Jason Finn have a good reason for staying in the music scene for such a long time: the fans. McKeag said the greatest thing about playing with The Presidents is that they have fans everywhere, including Alaska.

“After the record is released, we’re going to tour,” said McKeag. “After that, hopefully another album. The future is bright!”

To learn more about The Presidents of the United States of America, visit the band’s website at www.presidentsrock.com