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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Presidents of the United States of America-The band, not the government

The Presidents of the United States of America, usually referred to as PUSA or The Presidents, formed in Seattle in 1993. After taking a hiatus from 1998 to 2000, a brief reformation from 2000 to 2003 and a slight lineup change, The Presidents are back to what they love: good ol’ rock and roll.

The Presidents’ newest member, gitbassist Andrew McKeag, started with the band in 2004 when they made “Love Everybody” and stuck with the band when the original gitbassist didn’t want to go on tour. McKeag talked to the Mass Media about the band’s history, their new record and “kick ass music.”

MM: Has your sound changed, from the grunge sound that many people expect from a Seattle band? How would you describe your music now as compared to the 90s?

AM: It didn’t change much at all. Chris [Ballew, basitar and lead vocalist] still writes most of the songs. Our music is still fun-time-party, rock-and-roll show that it always was.

MM: How would you describe “These are Good Times People” as compared to your older albums? What about it makes it stand out from the rest?

AM: There’s more guitar. I definitely add a lot of extra time in the studio to add more guitar and layer things a little more. Things aren’t entirely different-it doesn’t sound to me like a different band; it’s a continuation. A continuation of a good thing.

MM: Lyrically, are things different? Is there a different tone from the often humorous, sometimes self-deprecating lyrics of your 90s releases?

AM: Every song Chris writes has a little bit of humor in it, and that hasn’t changed at all. If anything, this record has good mix of all the things he’s capable of. There’s some silly songs, there’s some serious songs and sometimes you can’t tell which ones are the serious songs.

MM: What did the band do during their time apart in late 1990s to early 2000s?

AM: I wasn’t in the band then, but I know [what] they were up to-Jason was in a bunch of different bands, like one that did 70s hard rock covers. Everyone’s always been busy doing stuff. They kept playing music, but it got a little too much to deal with doing The Presidents.

MM: How long has it been since you last went on tour? Are you ready to get back on the road?

AM: Our last real tour was about a year ago. We went on and off after last album came out. Now, we’re starting all over again and we’re for sure ready-we love to rock.

MM: What bands influence your sound?

AM: I’m definitely a classic, 70-80s rock, blues kind of guy. Love all sorts of music. Mountain, Neil Young, Otis Redding, everything. Huge Peter Green, Fleetwood Mac fan. I like Queen, the Replacements. Like stuff that’s really truly heartfelt and kickass. The world can always use more of that.

MM: What do you guys have planned for the future?

AM: I think we’re going to mostly be on tour. We’re doing a bunch of U.S. dates into late March, Europe, maybe more U.S., and by end of May back to Europe, a little bit all through summer. Hopefully [the] album will come out in middle of year so [we] can play in Austraila, New Zealand, Japan.

MM: Is there anything else you’d like the students of UMass Boston to know?

AM: We love playing Boston; we’ve had some excellent shows there. We played at Middle East last time and definitely had a ball. Chris spent a lot of time in the city in his formative years, and I know he looks forward to playing there as well.