Presidents learn about retail, enjoy simpler life

Band's show is part of Marlintini's 10th anniversary party

Posted: Thursday, January 27, 2005

When the Presidents of the United States of America last visited Marlintini's in May 2004, the trio had just finished engineering, producing and mixing "Love Everybody," its first album since 2000.

The album came out on their own label, Pusa Inc., in August, and since that time, they've learned some things about the retail business.

"We knew that we had always done really well with Middle America, people who would buy your record at Wal-Mart," drummer Jason Finn said. "But we learned that if you're little you really can't even play ball with those people. So we've changed our attack to smaller record stores, moms and pops, independent smaller chains."

That's not to say that "Love Everybody" hasn't been successful, only that it's selling in the thousands rather than the millions.

The Presidents - Finn, bassist Chris Ballew and guitarist Dave Dederer - sold 5 million copies of their debut record in the mid-1990s. Their songs "Lump" and "Peaches," pop songs about animals and food, were mega-smashes on radio and MTV, but eventually, all the fame led to burn-out.

Refreshed after re-forming for a New Year's Eve 2003 show, they contentedly tour on the weekends and raise families.

Presidents of the USA

Rock show: 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28. at Marlintini's.

Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 the day of the show.

Meet and greet: 4:30 p.m. Firday, Jan. 28, at Capital Records, downtown on Seward Street.

Friday's show at Marlintini's is part of their third trip to Alaska - Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau - in the past year and a half. They play at 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 the day of the show at Marlintini's and Capital Records.

The show is part of Marlintini Lounge and Hoochi's Sports Pub's 10-Year Anniversary Party. Festivities continue Saturday with a 9 p.m. show by No Drama, giveaways and drink specials.

The Presidents also will appear at Capital Records, downtown on Seward Street, for a meet and greet at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

"The excitement always seems to run high in Alaska," Finn said. "We've had a lot of fun coming, and this time, it's been way too long." The band cancelled a trip last fall due to a family illness.

"Love Everybody" was mostly recorded at The Snack Shack, Ballew's home and recording studio in Seattle. It was the band's first start-to-finish computer recording and completed mostly with Pro Tools.

"Unlike the old days, you can come in and play everything and move it around and cut and paste it," Finn said. "We had a lot of fun writing things really fast, and massaging them in Chris's shack. For a drummer, it means being able to cheat, which is nice. I don't mind cheating."

The Presidents have been busy since the release, touring almost every weekend.

"Our partners, Mike and David, have been doing the bulk of the day-to-day hassles of being a record label, and that lets us go out and do the rock," Finn said. "We've definitely got some momentum and a lot of goodwill in the world."

The first single, "Some Postman," scored playing time at about 50 radio stations across the country. The second, "Love Everybody," comes out in February.

"('Some Postman') did way better than we thought it would at radio all over the country," Finn said. "That was for a little entity without a tremendous amount of money to throw at people. It's nice to be our own boss and shoot for the middle of the pack."

• Korry Keeker can be reached at

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