Celebrity Party:

Prolonged sooner than he grew to change into kids’s-music troubadour Caspar Babypants, Chris Ballew lived the dream as frontman for Seattle rock ‘n’ roll heroes The Presidents of the US of The us.

Platinum records and Billboard-charting singles. World excursions and MTV movies. Movie well-known person guests and invites to all of the parties. Grammy nominations. 

And to be magnificent, it wasn’t actually his thing.

“Your complete time I modified into as soon as doing The Presidents,” Ballew said, “I had this very determined message coming from my instinct, which modified into as soon as, ‘Right here’s no longer it.’”

How to search

The 62nd annual Grammy Awards

The telecast starts at 5 p.m. PST Sunday, Jan. 26, on CBS. Grammy.com will creep the “premiere ceremony” — for awards given out sooner than the head-time expose — starting at 12: 30 p.m. PST.

It’s a funny feeling to create most of your desires and label … they weren’t the desires you have faith been intended to create.

“And it took admire 15 years, 20 years of experimenting on the aspect to land on Caspar Babypants,” Ballew said. “And when I did and regarded succor, I seen, ‘Oh, I already modified into as soon as Caspar Babypants.’

“That’s why I’ve made 16 records in 10 years, as a result of while you sight your true, magnificent self, there’s no filter to withhold you succor.”

Basically the most up-to-date, 2019’s “Flying High!,” is up for Most productive Kids’s Album on the Grammy Awards this Sunday. It’s the indispensable time he’s been up for a trophy at music’s most prestigious awards expose since his outdated band modified into as soon as nominated twice in the 1990s.

Caspar Babypants is a labor of admire, a pure ingenious pursuit. He did no longer enter “Flying High!” for Grammy consideration this twelve months; an employee at The Recording Academy did it with out his prior files. And he’s no longer planning to lend a hand the Jan. 26 ceremony, as a result of he has a conflicting dwell efficiency on the Marysville Opera Dwelling. Can’t let the kids down.

Celebrity Party: Chris Ballew, aka Caspar Babypants, is nominated for his first Grammy outside his tenure as frontman of Seattle’s Presidents of the United States of America. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)
Chris Ballew, aka Caspar Babypants, is nominated for his first Grammy open air his tenure as frontman of Seattle’s Presidents of the US of The us. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Cases)

“I’ve found my cause,” Ballew said. “I discovered a cause that transcends self-promotion and has a feature in the realm previous very most attention-grabbing asserting, ‘Peep at me, I’m ingenious, I’m artful,’ magnificent? I’ve continuously wished to be a minute bit bit more invisible in my course of, admire the Wizard of Oz, in the succor of the curtain pulling strings and no longer as a lot in the spotlight. I’m making music that’s trying to support. I actually feel unhappy with many of the things they need you to realize as an artist, too, having labored on the different aspect of it.”

To that raze, Ballew handles every feature for this project. He’s the singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, producer, designate, reserving agent and roadie. Now 54, he records all of his music in a shed he in-constructed the yard of the delightfully embellished West Seattle dwelling he shares alongside with his wife, Kate Endle, a collage artist and illustrator.

A sparkling menagerie of creatively strung guitars lines the partitions, in conjunction with the 2-string bass he aged to jot down and file runaway hits “Peaches” and “Lump” from The Presidents’ eponymous 1995 debut. Those songs have faith been a truly most attention-grabbing antidote to the relentless dourness of Seattle’s preliminary rock ‘n’ roll takeover in the early 1990s.

Celebrity Party: Caspar Babypants is a labor of love — one that earned a 2src2src Grammy nomination — for Chris Ballew, here at his home in West Seattle. He records all of his music in a shed he built in his backyard. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)
Caspar Babypants is a labor of admire — one which earned a 2020 Grammy nomination — for Chris Ballew, here at his dwelling in West Seattle. He records all of his music in a shed he in-constructed his yard. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Cases)

“Peaches” modified into as soon as a juiced-up nation idyll about working far from city lifestyles. “Lump” modified into as soon as a scalding takedown of a aged lady friend. Along the technique, he met a stray cat (“Kitty”), frolicked with strippers (“Stranger”) and took casually psychedelic avenue trips (“Dune Buggy”).

“The molten core of Planet Presidents modified into as soon as this innocent, joyous minute thing,” Ballew said. “The outer crust modified into as soon as admire loud guitars, loud drums, sexual innuendo, and all that modified into as soon as roughly draped over the core. When I in the raze found myself making music for minute kids, I removed these extra formulation, which I frankly by no manner felt that contented with anyway. I modified into as soon as continuously roughly swimming in the inappropriate pool or one thing, or underdressed for a handle celebration or one thing. It modified into as soon as that outlandish feeling, admire wearing jeans to church.”

Easy, funny and delightfully repetitive, Caspar Babypants’ songs are no longer easiest child-friendly, they’re enjoyable for all of the household. That’s a distinction most of the americans realize as a result of, actually, most kids music is made … for kids.

Kindra Mazzuca is one thing of an educated on this dwelling. A third grade trainer AND a mom of 4 (ages 4 to 15), she is aware of loads about kids’s entertainment whisper material. Her household put Caspar Babypants’ music to the final test when their replica of “Away We Lunge!” obtained caught in the household’s minivan CD player. For two years.

“Presumably it modified into as soon as longer than two years previously,” the Olympia resident said with a snicker. “We put the CD in after a dwell efficiency and it by no manner came out. My stereo made up our minds to eat it. My husband tried every part … wanting ripping the radio out of the automobile. So we made the choice: it modified into as soon as the radio or Caspar Babypants. We have faith been joking that it’s a testomony to very most attention-grabbing how inconceivable Caspar Babypants is, as a result of we have faith been caught listening to this CD for years in our automobile and we aloof admire him. Any other artist I would abominate, however no longer Caspar Babypants.”

Ballew, it looks, has multigenerational charm. He’s already won over the adults in the room, the minute ones hotfoot googly-eyed over his humor and enjoyable stage presence and, perchance most astonishingly of all, kids gain it unobjectionable. 

“He’s so personable,” Mazzuca said. “After his presentations, he’ll hold out. It’s so enjoyable for the kids to gain somebody who’s so approachable and no longer out of fluctuate. I deem that’s substantial, as a result of he’s admire a abundant well-known one who made up our minds to realize kids music. In impart that’s actually frigid for our older kids as effectively, who admire his other stuff, and for our small kids to gain music as the kind of normative thing as an different of this removed, easiest digital thing, admire music is rarely any longer actually a deepest thing.”

The mission is certainly deepest for Ballew. It’s about connection and helping americans and children expose to at least one some other, a lot in the technique he aged music alongside with his beget now-grown kids, Augie and Josie. It has nothing to realize with listener impressions or the sequence of objects moved. It’s about using music to impart and soothe in disturbing cases that hotfoot away americans and children frazzled.

The basis of a brand unique profession in kids music crystallized when Ballew met Endle. Her playful art work supplied a visual representation of the music that modified into as soon as swirling around his head.

“Seeing her art work, I very most attention-grabbing went, ‘Oh, that art work is being broadcast from the planet the put my music is coming from that I will’t determine,’” Ballew said. “And so I made music impressed by her art work. I did about a songs that felt actually innocent, folksy, animals, vivid, effectively-made, effectively-crafted. And all of the unexpected I went, ‘Oh, it’s kids music!’ And it modified into as soon as the kind of reduction, as a result of I modified into as soon as all real now free from the culture of frigid and I would by no manner prefer to have faith one other hit. It modified into as soon as the opportunity to be freed from all these trappings of grown-up music-making.”

Finding Caspar has brought balance into his lifestyles. He does qigong and meditates, undergoes talk treatment and veritably chases enlightenment.

“And piece of conducting that,” Ballew said, “is silliness is the end result. You don’t have faith it so severely. You don’t salvage sucked up in the memoir of the realm. You salvage to gain how funny it is. Like, trees are hilarious. What are they doin’? They’re waving and flying around.”


Chris Talbott

is a Seattle-essentially based totally mostly author and editor.

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