…that we’re playing with ZOUNDS in London this Thursday!? (I’m crapping myself with excitement…)

This better not be like when the Sin Eaters thought we were playing with The MOB in Bradford 13 years ago, only to find out is was another band that had “MOB” as an anagram for their actual name (good band, but… not the Mob; and really, what kind of band name could possibly have “ZOUNDS” as an anagram for its actual name?)… (Don’t answer that.)



Directed with incredible effort, skill, and love by the great Jack Ferry and crew – thanks, gang!


Ted Leo “Bottled In Cork” from Matthew Perpetua on Vimeo.

1st time I ever attempted this – thanks to @Scharpling for providing the venue and the support, and @Perpetua for filming it!

BONNAROO ’09 comp video!

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists @ Bonnaroo 2009 from Palestra Creative on Vimeo.

HYBRID MOMENTS @Matador CMJ show, NYC ’09

Ted Leo- “Hybrid Moments” from the great pumpkin on Vimeo.


Have you ever wondered what myself and the Rx look and sound like around midday, on a day about half-way through a tour? Don’t answer yet, because what if I told you I was talking about the day after I completely lost my voice on stage at the Paul F. Tompkins 6th or 8th Anniversary show at Largo w/all these people (YES, that’s Weird Al):

Don’t answer yet, because what if I told you I was super depressed at having botched an appearance I was more excited for than anything in recent memory?
BUT WAIT – STILL DON’T ANSWER YET, because what if I told you what I had to show you was at a venue IN AN OFFICE (admittedly, an office full of exceptionally nice people with some really awesome dogs of extreme size, both big and small – but an office nonetheless) in “Industry City, California,” AND that later that night we would play a room way too big for our fan base in Pomona (another caveat, though – Glass House – great people, great staff, great crowd who made the place seem full enough, right!?)!?
Well if you said, “Sounds good – embed me some video of it” to any of those things, then this blog post is for YOU!
We woke up crusty, played crusty, played crusty again, and went to bed wet. Here, in all its noontime glory, is us playing a few songs for online distro Shockhound, and a heavily edited interview bit afterward, in which I look every one of my 65 years, and about which I should say, there were questions asked (and it’s a shame they edited them out, because the interviewer was really good), but they’ve taken just a few of the things I said and put them together here. And it’s totally fine, but as in any case like this, there’s a little bit that’s obviously gonna be lost or sound a little “off” without the context of the larger point that we were talking about. What jumps out, even at ME, here, is the “German thing” I mention at the end. I think we were just talking about traveling and finding some sort of global community in the world of “punk,” and I was using this encounter I had with a really nice German guy to illustrate one way in which we need to remain open to the openness of others and not shut ourselves down with things including (but not limited to) something like… our own stereotypes – those that we carry about others, and even those that we carry about ourselves – about who we are and who we’re supposed to be.
If you’re unfamiliar with the old chestnut about Germans in the music world, it goes something like this:
GERMAN: Hey – you ahh Ted Lheeo, ja?
YOU (being me): Ja – ich heiße Ted. Wie ghet es?
GERMAN: Yeah, leesen – youah fursht album vass greeat, but youah nieuw wahn? Eet iss schitt.
YOU (me): Um… ??
This exchange is almost universally known among those who travel overseas to play music. The only problem is, I’ve actually found the OPPOSITE to be true in Germany, and I have so many examples of this sort of conversation going on right here in the U. Suck. A., that in recent years, I’ve begun to question whether this German stereotype has any basis in fact at ALL.
Here, for example, is an exchange I actually DID have with a Swede in Gothenburg on our first tour over there on “Shake the Sheets”:
SWEDISH LADY: Hej – är du Ted Leijo?
ME (actually me): Ja – jag heter Ted. Hur är läget?
SWEDE: Ja, lissten – I lieek most uff yaw stuff, but yaw noo recawhd is FAHCKing mediohcuh.
ME: …??
SWEDE: Yoo must ahdmit – it’s FAHCKing mediocuh.
ME: What? No! I’m not gonna admit that – why the hell “MUST” I admit that? I happen to be somewhat PROUD of this record!
SWEDE: It’s fachking mediocuh.
ME: Whatever – you’re entitled to your “fucking” opinion, but what on earth makes you think it’s o.k. to come up to me and talk to me that way?
The conversation went nowhere from there. I wouldn’t back down and neither would she. We both walked away angry. They also made our dinner out of Quorn, which is a fake meat I won’t eat, ’cause it ain’t vegan. Oh well.
Here’s an actual exchange I had on that same tour with a kid in London, England:
BRIT KID (DECKED out head to toe in the sharpest newest mod gear – bowl cut, Fred Perry, parka, fancy straight leg trousers, super expensive trendy trainers): Oi – yuh Ted Leo, roight?
ME (sweaty and bloody, having quite literally just walked off stage – haven’t even packed my gear up yet): Yeah – what’s up, China? (“China plate” = “mate” Also, I didn’t actually say that – I’m just saying it here to illustrate my horribly cursory knowledge of rhyming slang, and because I think it’s funny)
BRIT: Yeh – moy friends sedd Oi shuld check you owt – fought Oi moight loike ya.
ME: Oh yeah? What’d you think?
BRIT: Ah fought it wuz SHITTE – generic pop punk!
ME: (Mind you, we’d just ended our set with “Stove by a Whale,” which by anyone’s standards is anything but generic pop punk) …?? Why do I bother… Oh – but I’m sure you’ve got a great fucking band, right, kid?
BRIT: Yess Oi do – much bettah than you, mayte.
ME: Yeah? Well good luck with that. (I start walking away)
BRIT: Yeh – fuck you.
Incidentally, it was after this exchange that I did an interview with an English journalist who was going on and on about the recent success of “indie” vis-a-vis the Kaiser Chiefs (who you’d be hard pressed to call “indie” in my world, but, then again, look where “my world” has gotten me…), and then paused in the middle of her soliloquy on them to ask me, condescendingly, and utterly perplexingly to this day, “Oh, I’m sohrry, do you have that term, ‘indie,’ in the States?”
ME: …??!??!!?
Or how about this one in LA a long long time ago, when we were on tour with Q and not U and “The Tyranny of Distance” had only just come out:
GUY: (He picks up the recent 7″ split I did with The One AM Radio and my first solo LP on Gern Blandsten, and says, referring to the 7″…) I’ll take this. (and then says, referring to the Gern LP…) THIS, though – this is a fucking TRAIN WRECK!
ME: What?
GUY: Oh, come on – you gaaaaaaatta admit this is a fucking train wreck!
ME: What? No I don’t! Gimme that fucking 7″ back.
GUY: No – I wanna buy this!
ME: Well I don’t wanna sell it to you, so give it back!
GUY: DUDE – I’m trying to give you MONEY!!
ME: I don’t WANT your shitty money – you’re a rude jerk and I’d rather you didn’t own any of my records!
GUY: Why, ’cause I said this is a train wreck!?
ME: Yes! EXACTLY because you said that’s a train wreck!
GUY: Dude – come one – you gotta admit – it’s a total MESS!
ME: (taking the 7″ back from him and walking away from the merch table…) Goodbye.
Blah blah blah – it goes on and on and on – I’ve got a million of ‘em; but interestingly, and running counter to the established narrative of how the world is, NONE of them involve Germans! The Germans have been nothing but lovely over the years, and that was just a little part of the point I was trying to make in the below interview: my own hang-ups about who I am and who I’m supposed to be, butting up against fears and expectations about who everyone else is and who THEY’RE supposed to be, almost got in the way of a rather comforting, affirming, and inspiring exchange about… wait for it… OUR COMMON HUMANITY! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
The “session”:

The “interview”:

Oh – and I got to indulge my post-Shorty Awards high cockolorum and do this:


People buying a limited edition Record Store Day 7″ and trying to flip it on eBay immediately for $15.00.
You know what’s also lame? Complaining about Record Store Day. Of course it’s token, placebo, guilt-reduction therapy for everyone who helped drive record stores into the ground to begin with, but can’t you just let ‘em have this one day to try and drum up awareness and business and do something fun with it? Of course it should be “RECORD STORE DAY EVERY DAY!” But it’s not, and it’s probably never going to be again. So why not complain about the forces that conspired to create a situation in which poor record stores feel they NEED to HAVE Record Store Day, or the forces that have conspired to create the need to have National Poetry Month, Black History Month, etc., etc., etc.?
If one is inclined to hate on something, lord knows there’re plenty of truly deserving places toward which one can direct that hate…