How Twitter Reunited Me With Ted Leo

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?

You can find news and information about all things Ted Leo here plus songs and videos here.

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.




Filed under General Tomfoolery

14 responses to “How Twitter Reunited Me With Ted Leo

  1. Interesting stuff. I may have to give Mister Ted a listen.

  2. I’m not sure if passionate is the right word, but I’ve become a bigger fan of Felicia Day (@feliciaday) after following her on Twitter.

    And I’ve become even more annoyed by Rainn Wilson (@rainnwilson) and Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) and his gang of ridiculousness. I don’t follow them; just knowing they’re out there annoys me greatly.

  3. Fantastic for you for walking out.

  4. You know what i love about the @tedleo twitter stream? He really says meaningful/interesting stuff. I’ve followed/unfollowed other bands, but I’ve stuck with him, because he has some real gems.

    It’s funny that you say that about certain music, because for me it’s certain restaurants that get tainted by association. Moreso than songs or bands, but there’s restaurants I can barely stand to walk into any more, that are delicious, but that were ruined by a particular event or person.

    • betheboy

      It is one of my favorite Twitter streams because there isn’t a much junk as you get with, for example, mine.

  5. I love Ted Leo & the Pharmacists – even though it was an ex-girlfriend who introduced me to them. She’s gone, but they’re not. That’s the way I prefer it now anyway.

  6. kim

    Isn’t “following” him on twitter kind of like an apology?

  7. Keeping with your Friends Of Tom theme, Paul F Tompkins is someone who I really never thought about before Twitter, and now he’s introduced me to a lot of other great things.

    Similarly, I was never really a Jimmy Fallon fan, but seeing how he embraced Twitter gave him points in my book.

    • betheboy

      The PFT on Twitter is great, I have seen Jimmy Fallon on Twitter but I’ve yet to watch his show but that says more about my early bedtime than him.

  8. if you wanna dig on some old-school Chisel, as well as some other mysterious and little known projects Teddy was involved with back in his South Bend days, check out:

    follow us on twitter, too: @SBP90s

  9. AS

    Nce read. I actually had a very discouraging experience with @tedleo. I don’t know what happened really. He replied to my tweet once in a very friendly way and it made me think the world of him he’d do that. A few weeks later, I said something as a sarcastic joke in reply to the many tweets he sends out and I was no longer able to follow him a few minutes later. I don’t know if he reported my account as spam or blocked me from following him due to what I said. I think it’s the former since can still view his tweets if I go to his profile while logged in. As a fan of his music and everything he stands for, I’m crushed as it is, even if it turns out he was offended by something I intended to say as a tweeting joke. It offends me as well being that I pride myself in being polite, whether it be on Twitter or in person.

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