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Archive for Wednesday, March 6, 1996

SCORE ELECTORAL WIN

March 6, 1996

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The Presidents of the United States of America win fan approval.

In an election year, it didn't take a single political maneuver to get fans of The Presidents of the United States to queue up in a freezing drizzle an hour before the doors opened.

"I love The Presidents of the United States!" Olathe East High School student Jolene Mellegaard screamed Tuesday night outside of Liberty Hall.

Mellegaard said she begged a friend to bring her to the show.

"I wanted to see them because they're kinda like down to earth," she said. "They're more like us than a band like Metallica or something."

Mellegaard may be right. Backstage before the show, band members Chris Ballew, Jason Finn and Dave Dederer warmed up by munching on pizza with a few fans.

"You don't really apply for this job," Ballew said between bites.

Or the chaos, endless interviews and personal appearances that go along with it.

"I don't think about it," Ballew said. "I don't assume that we'll be popular or in fashion in six months or next week. Fame -- it's just not real. Playing good shows for good people is real."

If that's Ballew's definition of real, then he's still as down to earth as his image -- despite his claim that he lost his sanity long ago.

The Presidents came out and rocked Liberty Hall with more musical energy than a Toughman contest.

"You're very kind. You're very nice to go along and applaud our new material," Ballew told the audience.

The band played a trilogy of bug songs -- "Boll Weevil," "Dune Buggy" and "Bug City" -- but it was their MTV successes "Lump" and "Peaches" that worked the crowd into a frenzy. For most of the fans at the all-ages show, it was one of few opportunities to see a hip act since they aren't old enough to get into a bar.

Opening act Chixdiggit was just as good as The Presidents and picked up a few new fans. Like The Presidents, the Canadian band is based on big fun.

With songs like "Henry Rollins is No Fun" and "I Wanna Hump You" it's only a matter of time before they're back as headliners.

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