January 31, 1998: 'Lump' Singer Signs Off in Charitable Fashion

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Don't call it a comeback: Ballew and the band perform at the 2007 South by Southwest Music Festival. (Photo: Getty Images)

If you're going to go, might as well do some good on the way out.

The rationale, perhaps, of Chris Ballew when he performed with his band, Presidents of the United States of America, at Seattle's Paramount Theater to bid a final farewell to fans.

All proceeds from the show went to the Chicken Soup Brigade, a local nonprofit offering food, work, and transportation assistance to people living with HIV/AIDS.

The band was formed in 1993 by Ballew and his middle school friend, Dave Dederer. Never taking themselves too seriously—one song is titled "We're Never Going to Make It"—the duo added a drummer and rose to stardom by the mid-nineties with catchy hits like "Peaches" and "Lump" (which Ballew wrote after a dream during a bout with pneumonia).

After marrying and becoming a father, Ballew tired of the touring life and moved on to other projects. 

“I wasn’t feeling the magic anymore,” Ballew told the Seattle Times. "I wanted a different life where I didn’t have to go out on the road to make music anymore.”

The childhood friends didn't stay apart long, reconvening in 2004 for another album and tour. 

“We just have some kind of magic when we play together,” said Dederer. “I can’t describe it, can’t define it, and I don’t think any of us can take credit for it—it’s just plain dumb luck to find that kind of synchronicity, and it shouldn’t be trifled with."

Together and continuing to perform—most recently at a Syracuse football game last fall—the presidential bromance is still going strong.


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