Click here to expand and collapse the player

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists

Rate It! Avg: 4.5 (269 ratings)
  • Born: South Bend, IN
  • Years Active: 1980s, 1990s, 2000s
  • Website: tedleo.com
  • Recent Activity: 04.01.15 RT @cher: #ShutDownTheFuckBarrel
  • Ted Leo & The Pharmacists


Biography All Music GuideWikipedia

All Music Guide:

Since the early '90s, Ted Leo has been one of the most progressive forces in East Coast independent music, with a unique combination of punk and folk, soul and hardcore, and tradition and experimentation. Originally rising to a small degree of fame in the late-'80s New York hardcore scene by playing with Citizen's Arrest and Animal Crackers, Leo left New York for Washington, D.C., in 1990, when he founded and fronted Chisel, one of the first mod/punk revival outfits to gain national renown. Leo was the primary songwriter and singer of Chisel, recording two full-length records with the band which were released on Gern Blandsten in the mid-'90s and leading the band on countless short tours. The songwriting was as infectious and calculated as that of Brit rock legends the Kinks, yet the rhythms remained fueled by the anthemic energy reminiscent of bands like the Who and the Clash.

Chisel's eventual breakup in 1997 came after their critically acclaimed sophomore full-length, Set You Free. The band's reputation seemed to flourish after their breakup, however, and even though the retro trends in indie rock would eventually gain enough popularity to inspire the likes of mod underground sweethearts like the Mooney Suzuki and the Delta 72, the influence of Chisel goes largely unnoticed. Leo went on to a variety of musical endeavors, including two years of on-again, off-again touring as a guitarist with the Spinanes, and a short-lived project called the Sin Eaters that he founded with his brother, Danny Leo, on drums and former Van Pelt bassist Sean Greene. The Sin Eaters' progressive, politically charged, punk-fused rock and local all-star lineup took the New York underground by storm between 1997 and 1998, until Danny Leo left the band to work on his own material and eventually founded the Holy Childhood.

When the Sin Eaters disbanded without a recorded legacy in 1998, Ted Leo was left without a band and began his career as a solo artist. He remained active by wearing the hat of producer for the Secret Stars' debut record, Geneologies, and touring alone on the East Coast and through the Midwest. He eventually recorded a self-titled full-length on his homestead, Gern Blandsten Records, in 1999 with a new band, the Pharmacists, that included various friends and affiliates of the Secret Stars, including Jodi Buonanno. This record marked a notable change in Leo's sound, which, mostly due to his performance practices, was more and more rooted in songwriting legends like Billy Bragg and Alex Chilton. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists released a split with the One AM Radio later that year as a collaborative effort of both Gern Blansten and Garbage Czar.

In the spring of 2000, Leo's sophomore effort, Treble in Trouble, was released on New Jersey-based Ace Fu Records, displaying a more aggressive and romantic bent to Leo's writing. In the early summer of 2001, Leo released a polished studio effort, The Tyranny of Distance, on Lookout Records. A strong contender for record of the year, it was followed by the equally strong Hearts of Oak in 2003. Shake the Sheets. which appeared in 2004, would prove to be his last for then-troubled Lookout, as Leo signed with Chicago-based indie Touch and Go in February 2006. A tour followed in March, on which he was supported by the Duke Spirit and Les Aus. He continued touring throughout 2006, festivals such as Coachella and headlining dates alike, as new material was worked on as well. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists eventually returned in March 2007 with full-length number five, Living with the Living. In 2009 Leo signed with Matador, and the following year he released his first record with them, The Brutalist Bricks.


Redirect to:

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
more »

eMusic Features


Who Are…Royal Headache

By Austin L. Ray, Contributor

Guitars are at the forefront of much of Royal Headache's self-titled debut, but not the noodling, 14-notes-a-second variety. Instead, these young Aussies specialize in the type of songs led by jangling, major-chord strums laced with just enough distortion to make it interesting. The Sydney foursome cut its teeth in Australia's punk and hardcore scenes before opting for something a little more mod, a little more power pop, a little more R&B. The resulting LP, which… more »


It Came From New Jersey

By Brian Raftery, Contributor

Click for Full-Sized Image In the 40 years since Bruce Springsteen signed his first record deal, the New Jersey native has established himself as the bard of the Garden State — a rep that continues with the release of Wrecking Ball, his 17th studio album. But the Boss isn't the only hungry-hearted Jersey musician who's managed to get on the map. Herewith, an annotated atlas of where a few home-state heroes got their start. Click the… more »

Video from YouTube

  • thumbnail from 09 Where Was My Brain? - Ted Leo and The Pharmacists 09 Where Was My Brain? - Ted Leo and The Pharmacists
  • thumbnail from Ted Leo and the Pharmacists- Bottled In Cork Ted Leo and the Pharmacists- Bottled In Cork
  • thumbnail from Ted Leo and the Pharmacists @ Death by Audio (Full Set) Ted Leo and the Pharmacists @ Death by Audio (Full Set)
  • thumbnail from Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - "The Mighty Sparrow" Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - "The Mighty Sparrow"


  • 04.01.15 RT @cher: #ShutDownTheFuckBarrel
  • 04.01.15 Home studio status update: possibly finally achieved desired small cold London room, 1" 8-track, board helmed by Nick Lowe circa 1978 vibes.
  • 03.28.15 RT @jessevondoom: Writing a review of @tedleo's rock opera about the Silmarillion. Trying to will it into existence. Kudos to Ted for letti…
  • 03.27.15 RT @CatsCradleNC: Tix for THE BOTH (@aimeemann and @tedleo) on 5/11 are on sale now. http://t.co/3SMdC6Idpf
  • 03.26.15 RT @RealLondonMay: Its another #Samhain#Danzig DJ party 4/3 in LA @themontybar Steve Zing & I spin killer music all nite #LethalAmounts htt…
  • 03.25.15 RT @ConsolidatedNws: @tedleo Ted Leo & the Pharmacists makes the list of "truly American rock songs of all time" to educate Ted Cruz: http…
  • 03.13.15 Babylon ah try ah ting but we nah scared. http://t.co/s0xY7iv5as
  • 03.11.15 I do not like this hashtag: #RIPBottletree. I love the @BottletreeCafe.
  • 03.11.15 RT @stgpresents: The Both (@aimeemann + @tedleo) will be @thecrocodile on July 18th! On sale Friday at 10am. http://t.co/E8a80tvgpd http://…
  • 03.11.15 RT @PBRMatt: @aimeemann @tedleo beyond excited that you will be joining us and playing @projectpabst this year. http://t.co/eWqQL4IJt0
  • 03.11.15 RT @danielralston: The fact that @tedleo and I are talking about working on a project together and we can't call it TL:DR is a fucking trav…
  • 03.11.15 Please dig my & @aimeemann's "One Way Mission to March" springtime variety show both 3/19 *AND* 3/20 @LargoLosAngeles http://t.co/PV6ApxP5VN