There are two versions of this blog post, please choose the one that best suits your reading needs:
The Short Version:
I always knew that Ted Leo was an amazing musician but there was a time when I didn’t listen to him as much as I should have. However, ever since I’ve been following @tedleo on Twitter I’ve become a Ted Leo super fan.
I like Ted Leo the way Gayle Sayers liked Brian Piccolo, minus the dying part. Follow him on Twitter, buy his records, go see him live and live happily ever after. The end.
The Long Version:
Over the last few years Twitter has done a lot for me. Twitter has kept me entertained, helped me stay in touch with friends, and introduced me to new people. Twitter has also helped me to appreciate a fantastic musician even more than I used to.
Several years ago I was given a copy of Hearts of Oak, the second Ted Leo & The Pharmacists album and I liked it so much I bought the first one and then worked my back to one of Ted’s previous bands, Chisel. For months I listened to Ted Leo almost every day and it was good; day after day of kick ass rock and roll.
The era of good times with Ted Leo & the Pharmacists was suddenly halted when a girl who also liked Ted Leo asked me out. Actually I should rephrase that she LOVED Ted Leo (as we all should). Now you’re probably saying to yourself “Girls who like rock and roll and aren’t afraid to make the first move are awesome. What’s the problem?”
The problem was that before asking me out she had already made it clear she wasn’t interested in me; we were strictly rock and roll lunch friends. This meant we’d meet at lunchtime on Tuesdays and buy records but that was it until one day she asked me to dinner. It was at that dinner that I mentioned I was surprised she asked me out and she replied (and this is a direct quote):
My mother told me I should lower my standards and of all the guys I wouldn’t have gone out with before, you are the nicest.
Several years have passed since that night but I still can hardly believe that she actually said that to me. In case you’re wondering I didn’t stay for dinner. I never even ordered, I just got up and left.
As lousy as that experience was it should have ended right there but it didn’t because the next day when I reached for that Ted Leo record I got angry about what that girl said all over again. Instead of letting the music take me someplace where everything was fine I decided to stay angry and so I listened to something else and went on a Ted Leo break.
While I didn’t stay angry for long the bad feelings lasted long enough for me to move those awesome Ted Leo & The Pharmacists records out of my listening rotation. This was a mistake that should have been quickly corrected but it took a while and it happened it was in an unexpected way. It wasn’t because of a new record, or an appearance on The Best Show on WFMU or a song I heard…I started listening to Ted Leo again after I started following him on Twitter.
I don’t remember when exactly it happened but sometime in late 2008 I saw there was an @tedleo on Twitter and as I read I realized a few things:
1) Ted Leo embodies everything that I think is great about rock and roll with none of the bullshit.
2) He brings to Twitter the same unparalleled energy, smarts and humanity that he brings to his records and live performances.
3) I missed listening to Ted Leo.
Soon afterward I added the records I had to my iPod and put the CD’s in my car for good measure. They sounded even better than they did the first time I heard them, it was like being reunited with an old friend who happened to be a brilliant artist that somehow got even better. The Twitter feed added a new element because I felt like I knew a little more about the man behind the music. How could I deny myself such great music from someone who also seems like an equally good guy ?
I felt like I owed Ted an apology so I made up for this the only way I could, by buying the records I had missed out on and promising to not make the same mistake again. Thanks for everything you do Mr. Leo, I really appreciate it.
So I am wondering, am I the only one this has happened to or are there artists, musicians, actors, writers, comedians etc…that you have become passionate about thanks to Twitter?
Follow Up– Shortly after this was posted I saw the message below on Twitter. For the record he links to this clip in the reply.