My girlfriend Lauren told me about Ted Leo’s music before we were dating in 2007. We were both into The Jam and she showed me this picture of a man gritting his teeth, wearing a Conflict shirt, with blood seeping from a self-inflicted wound on his forehead. Coming off a high school Crass Records binge, I was sold on appearance alone.
After checking out some samples of his songs online, I was initially turned off by the disconnect between how nicely he sang and how aggressive he looked in the photo. That went away after I started getting burned CDs of his albums from Lauren.
I’ve seen Ted Leo perform either solo or with his band The Pharmacists several times, and I’ve loved every single performaces. Even when he wears his influences a little too close to his sleeve (check the intro to “Some Beginner’s Mind” and “Away From The Numbers” by The Jam in the playlist), I’ve never left a show let down or felt disappointed by his art. From his early band Chisel to his most recent work with Aimee Mann in The Both, he has been ripping Thin Lizzy-style guitar solos since around ‘95 and hopefully won’t stop anytime soon.