(HALF-) REAL ANSWERS TO COMMENTS SECTION COMMENTS #1

I think I’m actually gonna post this on New York Magazine’s site (regarding a short food diary I did for them):
Hi. My name is Ted Leo. I am less than two months away from being 40 years old. I went vegetarian in 1988 and vegan in 1998. I am a pretty accomplished cook, and I generally treat my body well.
I was approached (again: I was approached – I did not go seeking this forum) by New York magazine to participate in this ongoing series by cataloguing my food and beverage intake from July 9 to July 14, inclusive. Knowing full well what a topsy-turvy few days this would be for me, I agreed to do it, thinking it might actually be interesting (not “BORING!!!!!!!,” DNICHE on 7/16/2010 at 12:31pm) to see just how crappy my eating was going to be, and thinking that, for those unfamiliar with the rigors, schedules, and limitations of touring the way that I do, this particular weekend, would offer an extreme example.
I rushed from Rhode Island to New Jersey on Thursday, July 8th, to take part in the wake and funeral ceremonies of my last grandparent. I woke on Friday morning and rushed to Manhattan to do a photo shoot for the Voice, then rushed back in time to shower, change, and make it to the afternoon wake service. I only had time for coffee. In between the afternoon and evening wake services, I rushed to Newark airport to pick up my sister and her family, who had flown in from overseas. By the time I got back to the house with them, I only had time for the one piece of pizza before the evening wake services. By the time I got back from that (and please understand that as the oldest child in my family, I was not just there to hob nob with relatives, but was required to be active in making sure that things went smoothly and others had what they needed, making it just a little bit harder to nourish myself during this time) I wasn’t really all that hungry, so I had a few drinks and went to bed.
The next day, I went to the funeral in the morning, before which, I wasn’t hungry, and then rushed straight from the cemetery, back to the airport to fly to Columbus, Oh., where I was meeting the rest of my band to perform that night. As I said, I ate a pretty decent veggie burger made with some actually wholesome ingredients in the evening. I guess I shouldn’t have been as honest as I was about the extra drinking, but I thought you might find it a little bit funny – sorry!
The next day, in Louisville, shocked me – it wasn’t for lack of trying that I didn’t have a decent meal that night, and on the way out in the morning (FLOURESCENTGREY on 7/20/2010 at 4:12pm), there happened to be a Whole Foods right next to the juncture of two highways we needed to travel on, so it was the convenient choice, and needing to leave before 10 AM, it seemed like the safest choice for being open.
As I mentioned, if you actually read the article, as soon as I got home, I made myself a pretty decent meal that involved more than just throwing some pasta in some boiling water.
It was a crazy weekend – that was the point – the point was not “Hey – look at me – I’m an idiot who doesn’t eat well and drinks too much!” The point was, “Well, these are the days you gave me, these are the days you get – sometimes we all go off the rails on our regimens a bit – here’s what one of those times looks like for me.”
I hope that some of this clarification allows you to look a little more kindly on my poor poor lost vegan soul.
I am, for the time being, once again at your anonymous mercy.
Now here’s where I bite back:
1. In general, you’ve got to be some kind of idiot to not understand that I wasn’t happy or proud of this diet over these few days, and though I was looking at it with humor, I was actually well aware of and calling attention to the crappiness of it, partly to make a point of what an anomalous horror show it was.
2. Again – it was 5 days – 5 weird stressful demanding days. Don’t extrapolate to make it seem like this is my life – I was explicit with a couple of caveats to that effect in the article itself.
3. To the people trying to school me on the proper etiquette for receiving communion at MY family’s funeral mass, HOW DARE YOU? Do not presume to tell me how I should engage with my history and family and culture and customs. In the moment, I took the symbol of “communion” at its face value, and I joined my family community, and partook in the ritual with them. If that bothers you, it’s your problem.
4. To KAFKASK – you’re right – I didn’t use the best words in describing my feelings on religion and my complete lack of belief, but where do you find the “better-than-thou attitude?” Seriously – where? It’s how I feel. I’d think the very fact that I chose to engage in the communion ritual with my family might go some way to dispelling that ridiculous bit of self-serving defensiveness of yours, if the complete lack of evidence for your assessment of me hadn’t already. And apparently it hadn’t, as your acolyte, ANNANIKITA, felt compelled to agree with you… TWICE!
5. To THEGREEKONE – we can meet if you want, and then you can do what you apparently have to do: “hurt me….badly.” You and your friend NYMONEY are real tough guys on the internet.

One thing I am sorry for is assuming that people wouldn’t resort to knee-jerk reactions to the word “vegan,” because let’s be honest – that’s what this is about. If Jamie Oliver or some fantabulous CSA admin or field to table advocate had had a weekend as rough as mine, I now have to assume that a lot of people here would be falling all over themselves to laugh at the alcohol he or she consumed and commiserate with him or her on what a crappy weekend of food he or she had.
“Better-than-thou” much?
xo – Ted Leo
Feel free to e-mail me at info@tedleo.com
I probably won’t respond.
G’night!

TWITTIQUETTE

Fall tour dates were announced today. Today is the second of two days I have at home this week. This coming Sunday will mark the beginning of 6 weeks without a touring date scheduled. It will also be the end of almost 6 MONTHS of almost constant touring since this past winter. I checked my Twitter this afternoon to find about 100 tweets from places we aren’t hitting this coming fall asking “Why not?” I started listing off many of the other cities in the world we’re not going to be visiting this fall in a hyperbolic list that I was sure would be understood as somewhat snarky, and certainly humorous. Some people took offense, and to most of them, I say, I am sorry – it was all meant in good fun, and maybe the “Calendar + map” thing was a little much, and maybe I put too much stake in the notion that if you follow me on Twitter, or you’ve been to our shows, you’d understand a bit of my sense of humor regarding being put upon and exasperated and etc. (maybe it’s a Jersey thing). …But regardless, I do apologize if I hurt anyone’s feelings.
HOWEVER (you knew that was comin’…), your Twitter feed is not my Twitter feed, and when, on my second of only two days at home this week, I checked MY Twitter feed, what I was met with was not kind-hearted wishes that people not in our touring loop could have another chance to see us this fall, but angry, sometimes aggressive tweet after tweet after tweet asking “WHY!?” (Literally in all caps, I’d say, 80% of the time).
So I’m calling “foul” on the double standard of people feeling entitled to yell at me – at ME – I’m not a rock star, and I’ve spent every ounce of energy that I have to keep this going and to go to as many places as I can as often as I can, etc., without me being entitled to bite back every now and then! Not one single person tweeted something kind at me. Some of the unkind was also humorous and snarky and I respect and even enjoy that, but not one person just said, “Man – wish I could see you in _____ on this tour. Maybe next time?”
And if you weren’t one of the people who was a little jerky to me, then please don’t take anything that I say as being jerky back to you. I honestly thought the 5 tweet catalog of far flung cities would have indicated that I was just poking fun, but if you didn’t deserve to be poked, and it upset you to be wound up, then, again, I’m sorry. And if you couldn’t pause for a second before blasting me with your demands that I come deliver myself to your front door, and my poking upset you, then I’m still sorry. I was trying to use sarcasm to make a point humorously, not bum anybody out. It’s a point I’d still like to make – maybe I just won’t underline the points from now on.
Thoughts? Comments? Hate letters? E-mail me!

REGARDING THE RUMORS OF “RETIREMENT”

Addendum! (front end): I’m afraid that this is starting to get blown up into this thing where I’m going around making grand sweeping statements about my life as if everyone should care – I’m not – I’m answering questions that interviewers are asking me, and I’m making a conscious decision to be as honest as possible about it, and I want to be as CLEAR as possible about that. All of this is coming from the answers that I’ve given to questions people have asked me – these are not manifestos – I’m just talking with people.
That said…
This is too long a thing to get into fully today, but suffice it say that in classic journalistic hissy-fit form, something I said about transitions has been turned into “retirement.” Here’s the bit on The Daily Swarm.
It’s true – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – doing this as a full-time thing, as wonderful as it is, has been a losing proposition for us for a while now. The crowds, while amazing, are mostly diminishing, the record sales, while appreciated, are a pretty weak percentage of what they were during the brief two year window in which we actually seemed to crack some sort of indie glass ceiling and make all ends meet and have a little left over to boot; and regarding other income streams that everyone likes to point to, I don’t sell my songs to commercials, and we keep our CD, LP, and t-shirt prices at $10.00 a piece. There’s no money in it for us anymore, and to maintain even a semblance of solvency, we have to keep up the same touring schedule that we and I have been keeping up for the last nearly twenty years – a touring schedule that even the most hardened in our community will tell you is exceptional.
The energy we have inside us is not as boundless as it once seemed, and the amount we have to expend each year becomes more and more of a drain for less and less pay off. These are simple facts – it’s not at all a “woe is me” type of complaint – in fact, it’s not even a complaint at all – anyone who’s seen us play in the last few months knows that we’re having as good a time doing it as we ever have, and from my side of things, I can tell you that we’re actually having MORE fun most of the time – but I’ve decided to be honest with interviewers who ask me about “the state of things,” because what’s the point in sugar coating the realities? As we all push toward forty, exactly how to go forward wisely, in a way that allows each of us to live a full life (and not die between rest stops on I-80), is something I need to think about, and I am thinking about it.
It’s true – there’s no way we can continue forever as we have – but that doesn’t mean we won’t continue in some other way.
The important part of what I said in the particular interview that was re-quoted without full context by Buzzgrinder, is that we’re completely booked through the end of 2010, but that yes – by next year, you will see some changes – it simply can’t go on like this forever; followed by “I’M SURE I’LL NEVER STOP MAKING MUSIC,” which is a statement I stand behind, but as I said in Spin a while ago (just to make sure you understand that this doesn’t come completely out of left field), pretty soon, I have to start figuring out what comes next.
One thing I don’t want to have happen, is to wake up turning 50, and have to just be starting this conversation then. I’m looking at things realistically, I’m looking ahead, I’m telling the truth about it, and I’m hoping to find the right way forward.
Oh, and I’ve got plenty of better songs to come…

IMAGINARY ANSWERS TO COMMENTS SECTION COMMENTS #1

I might start addressing things I read in comments sections here. It’s an admittedly passive aggressive thing to do, but then again, so is commenting anonymously in comments sections…
Read this on BrooklynVegan (which is a great music blog and source of information and should never be held accountable for the idiots who plague its comments sections except insofar as in allowing them to exist, it offers us another layer of entertainment, and therefore should probably draw praise, as long as those of us who are sometimes commented ON can maintain a thick skin and sense of humor about it) today, devoid of context and dripping with snark:

“I overheard a group of kids at the show wondering if they’d make it out of there in time to catch their train back to NJ” -Anonymous, July 5, 2010 12:20 PM

Were I not under a self-imposed ban on contributing to comments sections on music blogs, I would have responded thusly:
Oh my god! No way! Are you telling me that there are people from Jersey, which is a huge part of the NYC metropolitan area, and which is literally right across the Hudson River from Manhattan, meaning that a whole lot of it is closer to a whole lot of magical New York music clubs than a whole lot of Brooklyn and Queens and pretty much ALL of Staten Island and the Bronx, who go to shows in New York City!? And wait, let me get this straight, you’re trying to tell me that they were actually talking about train times and figuring out if they could make their TRAIN!? You have GOT to be kidding me! That is LITERALLY the craziest thing I’ve ever heard! It must be the first time in history this has ever happened (if it happened at ALL, amitrite? Ha ha ha). Seriously, though, you must be pulling everyone’s leg here, Anonymous at 12:20 PM. Nobody from Jersey ever goes to shows in New York, and if they do, they certainly don’t belong there. If the state had ever produced any decent musicians who had contributed significantly to the “New York Scene” at any point in time, it might be a different story, but as it is, I figure you’ve got to be kidding. Keep on keepin’ on and keepin’ the hard streets of NYC safe from all that Jersey trash, you crazy diamond – you’re doing god’s work! You might wanna franchise your vigilante justice company up to Scarsdale or wherever you’re actually from, too – lord knows they don’t need no scrubs from New Rochelle blowin’ up their spot!
(Was that last part too much?)