If you haven't heard of Caspar Babypants before it's probably because of two things:
- You don't have kids
- You don't live in the Pacific Northwest
As a proud and exhausted mother of a toddler, I was introduced to the music of Caspar Babypants (aka Chris Ballew of The Presidents of the United States of America) pretty early into my daughter's life. For years he has been making children's music that both kids and their parents can enjoy - seriously, his song "Run Baby Run" is pretty much the only music played in my house right now.
What's fascinating about Ballew isn't just his local tie to the PNW, but also his jump from alternative rock to children's music. At one point in the 90s The Presidents were topping the charts with singles like "Lump" and "Peaches".
That kind of switch can't just happen every day, right?
So when the opportunity to interview him came up, I jumped at the chance to learn more - and score some brownie points with my 15-month-old.
After spending time in his West Seattle Studio, I was even more thoroughly convinced: local parents are incredibly lucky to have Caspar Babypants. For example, did you know that no matter how big his albums get, this "kindie rocker" will only play concerts in the greater Seattle area because he's just done with the days of touring?
So why would a rockstar turn to children's music?
"Honestly, I wanted to break up the band immediately," said Ballew. "I wanted to pull a Sex Pistols and completely disband right off the bat because it was a perfect moment. I wanted to take it and run away, but we kept going. During that time, I had a little voice in my head saying this is great, but this is not it... this is not what you are supposed to be doing."
When Ballew met his second wife Kate, he found her children's artwork inspiring.
"The lightbulb went off and I knew it was kids music," he said.
Since then he's made 12 records, there's no sign of slowing down! He even has another one coming out in August.
"Now that The Presidents have officially broken up, I do get some weepy-eyed fans at Caspar shows saying 'Will you please play Peaches?'" he laughs. "[But] I'm taking a break from those songs."
But if you're a Presidents fans, not ALL hope is lost!
"There is maybe a little nugget in the back of my brain telling me to make a 'Caspar Covers The Presidents' album," teases Ballew.
From his lips to God's ears!