If it's too loud, you're too young
August 22, 2007 3:34 PM   Subscribe

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists[NPR segment]. Ted is a soon to be 37 years young punk singer/songwriter who draws his influences from artists like Billy Bragg, Curtis Mayfield and Clash singer Joe Strummer, Ted Leo mixes punk rock with soul, folk and pop melodies. Here is Ted with and without the Pharmacists doing a few tunes: Me and Mia, Kelly Clarkson's Since you Been Gone, Bomb. Repeat. Bomb, Where have all the Rudeboys Gone?, Little Dawn, the Pogues's Dirty Old Town, Bruce Springsteen's Dancing in the Dark and Sons of Cain. As he's touring nearly 365 days per year, you can rest assured that he's coming to a venue near you.
posted by psmealey (46 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Awesome. Going to see Ted at the college club in October. We'll feel really old, but damn it'll be good to get the rawk out.

Twice since I've bought it, my copy of Ted's latest has been absconded with by friends who've been in my truck. It's that good.
posted by notsnot at 3:42 PM on August 22, 2007

I sure do like me some Ted Leo. I'm sure, however, someone will be along soon enough to explain why I'm an idiot for liking him. I suspect the word "sucks" will be liberally applied.
posted by dersins at 3:42 PM on August 22, 2007

I like Ted. Shame his wife/gf is really sick, apparently.

Ya know who I really liked though? His brother's defunct band, The Lapse.
posted by bardic at 3:45 PM on August 22, 2007

Your favorite prediction about ensuing negative commentary sucks.
posted by cortex at 3:45 PM on August 22, 2007

the Pogues's Dirty Old Town

I think you mean Ewan McColl's Dirty Old Town, though Shane did do a great job with it.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:48 PM on August 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Your favorite mod sucks at commenting on suckiness.
posted by Poolio at 3:49 PM on August 22, 2007

point for PeterMcDermott... should have realized.
posted by psmealey at 3:50 PM on August 22, 2007

There aren't many songs written in 1946 that sound as though they could have been written yesterday though.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:55 PM on August 22, 2007

Good songs, great person and a friend of Tom. What's not to love?
posted by basicchannel at 3:57 PM on August 22, 2007

Saw him a few years ago in DC. A great concert and an entertaining fellow in between-songs banter.
posted by ibmcginty at 3:59 PM on August 22, 2007

I was in a band that opened for Chisel years ago and Ted is a super nice guy. I remember them doing a great version of "Don't Let Me Down". I'm really glad that he's doing so well. I haven't gotten around to listening to the new album yet so I'll have to check it out. Thanks, psmealey, for the post.

Also, psmealey, I used to think your user name was psmeasley and called you that several times in comments. If I haven't apologized before, I apologize now. Sorry.
posted by sleepy pete at 4:05 PM on August 22, 2007

Years young? What are you, Williard Scott?
posted by Eideteker at 4:10 PM on August 22, 2007

i've seen ted leo 6 times and i love him oh so very much. he's such a relentless tour-er. thanks for spreading the word.
posted by timory at 4:13 PM on August 22, 2007

Years young? What are you, Williard Scott?

That euphemism drives me nuts, too. Like when Apple announces that its laptops are 1 inch "thin." Marketing! Blech.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:15 PM on August 22, 2007

I grew up around Washington in the 1990's and saw Ted's previous band Chisel many times. There was one show at the Black Cat where he did one of the most ridiculous stage moves I've ever seen. While playing he lobbed his telecaster up in the air and head butted it with enough force to cause the guitar to ring and feed back. He caught it and just kept playing. He did it a couple of times. Head butting a solid body electric guitar has got to hurt. Ted's shows are about the most lively ones I've ever seen.
posted by trbrts at 4:22 PM on August 22, 2007

Ted Leo does a great live show, but this post cannot be complete without props to his best album, The Tyranny of Distance. Still the best, after all these years, in my opinion.
posted by chlorus at 4:33 PM on August 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Ted & the Rx are one of the few bands I would never miss anytime they played within reasonable driving distance from me. Seen them three times so far, each blew me away. They are rock.
posted by Ike_Arumba at 4:46 PM on August 22, 2007

Ted Leo likes to hit his head against objects.

kind of like this toned down a ted.
posted by 3.2.3 at 4:48 PM on August 22, 2007

I saw Ted Leo at the Touch & Go bash last year. They did a killer job on a Radio Birdman song.
posted by NoMich at 4:56 PM on August 22, 2007

Years young? What are you, Williard Scott?

Yeah. I'm Willard Scott. You fucking punks did it, you found me out. God damn it, now I need to get jacked another 5 bones for a new sockpuppet account.

Np and thanks Sleepy Pete. Just leave off the last s for savings.
posted by psmealey at 5:16 PM on August 22, 2007

I was at the live show at 9:30 Club in DC that's linked in the NPR article. It's an understatement to say the audio feed doesn't do it justice.

I'm apparently in the strange minority of his fans who think Shake The Sheets is his best album- I literally listened to Walking To Do four times in a row walking home from the Metro just now.

I discovered Ted Leo when I worked at Campus Progress and we did an interview with him on his music and his general awesome political comments. He also spoke on a panel at CP's first national conference on art and progressivism with David Rees of Get Your War On. (Third set of links down)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:20 PM on August 22, 2007

Also, obligatory link to "Who Do You Love," easily my favorite song off the new album.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:22 PM on August 22, 2007

Ted Leo is who all us interweb nerds wish we could be.
posted by cerulgalactus at 5:27 PM on August 22, 2007

FWIW, I put Tyranny of Distance and Shake the Sheets about neck and neck. Sheets has a few truly excellent tracks, but Tyranny is more consistent.

Anyway, great post.
posted by Rangeboy at 5:46 PM on August 22, 2007

Ted Leo is the reason I started using the word "lurve." As in "I lurve Ted Leo."
posted by abulafa at 5:50 PM on August 22, 2007

He played at South Street Seaport last year and played so many songs I was worn out.
posted by smackfu at 6:02 PM on August 22, 2007

A big perk of living in NYC is being able to see Ted Leo at various free concerts throughout the summer. I've seen him five times in the last two years and, besides the incredible music, have really enjoyed seeing his backing band grow crazier and crazier facial hair. At a show in Brooklyn last week it was like Ted Leo and Two Sasquatch.
posted by otolith at 6:08 PM on August 22, 2007

Ted Leo is the closest I have to a hero, and Shake the Sheets is my most favorite album.

posted by weatherworn at 6:23 PM on August 22, 2007

Phew! I've been avoiding this thread all day because I couldn't handle someone shitting on Ted Leo. Glad to see the love-fest.
posted by mullacc at 7:41 PM on August 22, 2007

Ted Leo/Rx is love.

I've seen them twice, and both were great sets. The first time in particular. Leo and co. just kind of wandered on stage, and flipped out. I've never seen/heard them play those songs that much faster than their recorded versions, and Leo's guitar solos were all extra, over-the-top awesome. At one point, he even kinda stopped and commented on it before continuing bringing the Rock Power.

Someone beat me to linking the awesome picture(s) of what happened between his forehead and a microphone.
posted by sparkletone at 7:55 PM on August 22, 2007

I saw Ted solo at this tinnnnny venue in Easthampton, MA (The Flywheel). It was a fundraiser for the venue, and the room was absolutely packed full of sweaty, dancing, clapping fans. He asked us for requests and someone shouted "Ballad of the Sin Eater." Ted laughed and said "Well uhh, that's not even a guitar song! It's on the bass but ... let's see what I can do??" He then handed out maracas and shaker bells to everyone in the front, indicated they should shake them like hell, and damn if that song didn't sound perrrrrrrrrfect.
posted by haveanicesummer at 8:25 PM on August 22, 2007

"37 years young"? You use this construction when you're extolling somebody REALLY old. 37 IS NOT OLD. If you're trying to make a point about 37 being "old" to be a "punk," first, this guy is WAY younger than Jello Biafra, Thurston Moore, Henry Rollins, or anybody else in the whole fucking punk world. This guy is a baby. Oh, and how, exactly, is he "punk"? I'm sure he's magnificent, but how, exactly, is he "punk"?

When somebody starts saying "X years young!" for somebody who is seven years younger than ME, I get very pissed off.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 8:34 PM on August 22, 2007

Any post about Ted Leo gets my vote. Good post.
posted by spiderskull at 8:42 PM on August 22, 2007

Ted Leo does a great live show, but this post cannot be complete without props to his best album, The Tyranny of Distance. Still the best, after all these years, in my opinion.

Quoted for truth. I got to see Ted & the Rx live twice just after Hearts of Oak came out. The first was an in-store show before a big night gig somewhere near Chicago. Packed little store, and the band packed into a corner. We moved as one and sang along. (Picked up my most prized possession that afternoon too—Mick Turner's 7 Angels tour ep on cd.) Then I saw him play a show in a real venue a few days later in Tucson. That was a great winter.

Thanks for the post psmealey!
posted by carsonb at 9:45 PM on August 22, 2007

It's weird -- I love a lot of Ted Leo's stuff with an unfettered rocknroll passion, but the songs I don't like, I really don't like.

Plus, trying to sing along for more than a few of his songs in a row makes my throat hurt like a bastard. I'm more down in the Tom Waits registers.

Still: yay Ted!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:47 PM on August 22, 2007

ethonomthodologist, really. Someone of your age and temperament should really be sticking to the decaf. ;-) Honestly, to get that pissed off about something that was totally meant tongue in cheek is a little over the top, don't you think?

My point, if I had one, was more to poke fun at my own ilk than than anything. I am three years older than Ted. When my life role model, Robert Pollard, retired from touring a couple of years ago, that nearly ended the last bit of encouragement that someone older than I was was still living the life and making passionate and great rock 'n' roll music (as opposed to the mellow singer songwriter thing, which you can do until you 70s), it hit me hard. All of those other guys you mention are great, but their years of great songwriting are long since past. Ted is not old in real terms, obviously, but in terms of peak rock 'n' roll songwriting output and touring energy, he is somewhat unique.

As for what's "punk". It's in the ear of the belistener. Or else go ask jonmc what it really is.
posted by psmealey at 2:37 AM on August 23, 2007

Thanks, this really energized me! Actually, the link you have as [Ewan McColl's] 'Dirty Old Town', is the song '2nd ave, 11am' from the DVD Dirty Old Town.
posted by dorkwad at 4:19 AM on August 23, 2007

bardic: "Shame his wife/gf is really sick, apparently."

Sorry for the minor derail, but did I dream that Ted came out as being gay some time ago or did that really happen?
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 5:12 AM on August 23, 2007

Learning that Ted Leo (and his band, apparently) went to Notre Dame completely blows away the mental image/stereotype that I had of that place. I really just thought it was the place of blandly gregarious, athletic, and slightly conservative conformists where everyone was president of their student council in high school. Huh. /another minor derail
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 5:29 AM on August 23, 2007

Mitch Clem on Ted Leo.

I miss the img tag.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:50 AM on August 23, 2007

I love TL/RX, but I have to say that first love is always the strongest, and Chisel is/was his best band. 8am All Day is a little sliver of perfection, like candy coated frozen sperm on a mod-punk popsicle stick. Every time I think I'm done listening to that album (and I've listened to it thousands of times), I realize how wrong I am and go back to it again.

(I'm not sure what TL's sexuality is, although I always thought the Chisel guys were gay, witness "One in Ten". I do think, though, that having heard him talk at concerts, that the woman referred to on his site is not necessarily a romantic friend. If I had to guess on no concrete knowledge I'd say it's his friend Jody (namechecked on Timorous Me), who I don't think he's romantically involved with. I could be wrong about it all, though.)
posted by OmieWise at 7:58 AM on August 23, 2007

I'm almost 100% sure he's married to a woman. I have no idea who she is, but I've heard/ read several interviews where he's talked about being recently married and referred to his spouse as "she." Here for instance:
I've been together with the person I got married to for, at this point, over 10 years. We got married two and a half years ago, so it was pushing a decade when we got married. She had also been a touring musician and probably will be again at some point, so there was a lot that was just understood between us.
[God, I hate being one of those people who is obsessed with whether celebrities are gay. Will shut up now.]

I am slightly obsessed with Ted Leo. I think it's getting a little out of control.
posted by craichead at 11:36 AM on August 23, 2007

...I always thought the Chisel guys were gay...

They're straight. The drummer from Chisel plays in my band and he's happily married, to a pharmacist oddly enough.
posted by thatswherebatslive at 4:59 PM on August 23, 2007

Fair enough. As I said, it was a circumstancial opinion.
posted by OmieWise at 9:26 AM on August 24, 2007

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