Caspar Babypants aka Grammy nominated Chris Ballew (The Presidents of the United States of America) is quintessential Kindie rock. From his success with The Presidents of the United States of America (e.g. “Lump”, “Peaches”, etc) in the 1990s, Chris recorded his first Caspar Babypants album in 1999. With his characteristic plinks, plunks, and thunks, Caspar Babypants music is existential acoustic innocence. His 11th album, Away We Go, was released in August and is filled with joyous tunes like “Wide Bright Eyes”.
On November 18th, 2016, Caspar Babypants released his newest album, Winter Party. Winter Party is a collection of holiday classics and original songs that celebrate the peace and joy of the season. To celebrate the releases of Away We Go and Winter Party, we asked Chris (aka Caspar Babypants) to join us for an #8isEnoughQuestions interview.
For this #8isEnoughQuestions interview, each question was written and asked by one of our Full Van Fun family members and answered directly by Chris Ballew aka Caspar Babypants. Enjoy!
1. Which song are you most proud of, and why, from your new album “Away We Go”?
My favorite song on the new album is definitely “Pop Goes the Weasel”. I must have rewritten it three times trying to get it to be a narrative and have every line and with a word that rhymes with ‘weasel”. It was super duper hard and in the end I pulled it off so I am HAPPY whenever I play or hear that song. I DID IT!
2. How would your music be different if you had no bones, like Jellyfish Jones?
I actually already make music as if I had no bones! I make ambient music for meditation and give it away for free at chrisballew.org. So if you people out there want to hear what I sound like without bones you totally can! It is super duper relaxing and TOTALLY BONELESS!
3. What type of cloud do you think is the coolest?
Well technically the coldest type of cloud is polar stratospheric. But if you mean cool like awesome then I like the big puffy dense fast-moving happy clouds! I really do love to sit back and watch clouds for a long time. I see very vivid faces and animals and characters in them. HELLO CLOUDS!
4. What were your favorite bands when you were a little kid?
There was one band that I was completely in love with as a kid. That would be the Beatles. I was amazed by how visual some of their songs could be. I felt like I was seeing what they were singing about as I listened to the records. That’s where I learned how to be a visual songwriter. I will forever love the Beatles for that gift. THANKS BEATLES!
5. My favorite butterfly is purple, what is your favorite?
My favorite butterfly is black with iridescent bits of blue and purple on the wings. I believe they’re called the Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly. I totally love how the colors on their wings come and go depending on the angle of the light. They seem kind of mysterious to me. SPOOKY BUTTERFLY!
6. Where did you get the idea for Stump Hotel?
Many years ago my niece had gone to Europe and had stayed in a hotel called the Hotel Dum. I loved that name and wrote a song about the hotel called the Hotel Dumb with a B on the end of the word Dum. The song had a great melody and cool chords but as the song it wasn’t quite right. Many years later when I was making music for kids I started listening to some of the songs that I had written in the past that didn’t work or were never released. I started to rewrite them and make them work for Casper Babypants. So I resurrected that old song and it became the Stump Hotel. I LOVE THAT SONG!
7. Do you know someone that bought a bear for $9.99?
I don’t actually. That song fell out of the sky completely formed. I had come in from my studio to get a drink of water and when I opened the refrigerator I started singing the song. It just came out in one big bundle. I ran back to the studio and recorded the song right away. I never did get that glass of water. I AM SO THIRSTY!
8. Do you fight bad guys?
No. I play happy songs for the bad guys. I figure that if I do that then maybe they wouldn’t feel so bad. And if they didn’t feel so bad they wouldn’t be so bad. I’m like a songwriting superhero. LA LA LA LA LA!
Thank you Caspar Babypants for a festively frolicking #8isEnoughQuestions interview! Don’t forget to take a look at some of our other #8isEnoughQuestions interviews with authors like Daniel Pinkwater and artists like Justin Roberts, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Emily Arrow, Mista Cookie Jar, The Not Its, Mike Phirman, Danny Weinkauf of They Might Be Giants, Turkey Andersen, Lucky Diaz and Alisha Gaddis, Bryan Vander Ark of The Verve Pipe, Play Date, Recess Monkey, Andrew and Polly, Greg Page (Original Yellow Wiggle), Rissi Palmer, Jim Cosgrove, and Tim Kubart.