Caspar Babypants (Chris Ballew, center), with Fred Northup (left) and Ron Hippe (right), 2011
|Origin||Seattle, Washington, USA|
|Labels||Aurora Elephant Music|
Ballew's first brush with children's music came in 2002, when he recorded and donated an album of traditional children's songs to the nonprofit Program for Early Parent Support titled "PEPS Sing A Long!" Although that was a positive experience for him, he did not consider making music for families until he met his wife, collage artist Kate Endle. Her art inspired Ballew to consider making music that "sounded like her art looked" as he has said. Ballew began writing original songs and digging up nursery rhymes and folk songs in the public domain to interpret and make his own. The first album, Here I Am!, was recorded during the summer of 2008 and released in February 2009.
Ballew began to perform solo as Caspar Babypants in the Seattle area in January 2009. Fred Northup, a Seattle-based comedy improvisor, heard the album and offered to play as his live percussionist. Northrup also suggested his frequent collaborator Ron Hippe as a keyboard player. "Frederick Babyshirt" and "Ronald Babyshoes" were the Caspar Babypants live band from May 2009 to April 2012. Both Northup and Hippe appear on some of his recordings but since April 2012 Caspar Babypants has exclusively performed solo. The reasons for the change were to include more improvisation in the show and to reduce the sound levels so that very young children and newborns could continue to attend without being overstimulated.
Ballew has made two albums of Beatles covers as Caspar Babypants. Baby Beatles! came out in September 2013 and Beatles Baby! came out in September 2015.
Ballew runs the Aurora Elephant Music record label, books shows, produces, records, and masters the albums himself. Distribution for the albums is handled by Burnside Distribution in Portland, Oregon.
Caspar Babypants has released a total of 14 albums. The 14th album, SLEEP TIGHT!, was released on January 19th 2018. All 14 of the albums feature cover art by Ballew's wife, Kate Endle.
A vinyl only collection of popular songs called FUN FAVORITES! was released on 1/19/18. This is the first of a series of vinyl only releases to come in the next few years.
- PEPS Sing A Long (released 2002, re-released as a digital download in 2010)
- Here I Am! (Released 03/17/09) Special guests: Jen Wood, Fysah Thomas
- More Please! (Released 12/15/09) Special guests: Fred Northup, Ron Hippe
- This Is Fun! (Released 11/02/10) Special guests: Fred Northup, Ron Hippe, Krist Novoselic, Charlie Hope
- Sing Along! (Released 08/16/11) Special guests: Fred Northup, Ron Hippe, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Stone Gossard, Frances England, Rachel Loshak
- Hot Dog! (Released 4/17/12) Special guests: Fred Northup, Ron Hippe, Rachel Flotard (Visqueen)
- I Found You! (Released 12/18/12)
- Baby Beatles! (released 9/15/13)
- Rise And Shine! (released 2014)
- Night Night! (released 3/17/15)
- Beatles Baby! (Released 9/18/2015)
- Away We Go! (Released 8/12/2016)
- Winter Party! (Released 11/18/16)
- Jump For Joy! (Released 08/18/17)
- Sleep Tight! (Released 01/19/18)
- Fun Favorites! (Released 01/19/18)
- Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti CD (released 2010) - Compilation of various artists
- Exclusive: Chris Ballew of The Presidents of the United States of America (aka Caspar Babypants)!, archived from the original on 2010-07-18, retrieved 2010-09-06
- Chris Ballew’s Back With Caspar Babypants, retrieved 2010-09-06