This week, we chat with punk musician Ted Leo. Leo had been at the front of several different bands over the years, notably Citizens Arrest, Chisel, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, and The Both (with Aimee Mann). He also recently broke with his label and took his latest solo record to Kickstarter.
Despite his hardcore persona and punk-rock edge, Leo is actually a fairly intense geek who is totally grounded in Tolkien. He takes his Middle Earth lore very seriously, and it doesn’t take much to set him off. In fact, during his performance with Aimee Mann at this year’s JoCo Cruise, that obsession was played up for hilarity as everyone kept getting a dig in until he finally exploded. The video below comes in right when the pressure cooker started to blow. (Plus, it includes all of the amazing “The Shire,” which you should totally listen to. If only to hear Aimee Mann sing about Jar Jar Binks and Leo sing “So say we all.”)
In addition, here’s one of his new songs, “Can’t Go Back,” performed live during his JoCoachella performance in Loreto, Mexico (again part of this year’s JoCo Cruise).
On this episode, we chat with Leo about why he went to Kickstarter for his latest album, whether crowdfunding is a sustainable model for musicians, the future of the music industry, the benefits and drawbacks of collaborations, Middle Earth, and how we can find the courage to do what scares us most.
And if you’re curious about the Tree of Gondor art that Justin mentions in this episode, here you go: