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In a recent interview, indie rock lifer Ted Leo said that he was slowing down a bit – which of course fans took to mean he was planning on retiring. Leo was quick to refute the rumor though. Click “Read more…” for the full story.
The rumors started last week when Leo sat down for an interview with Louisville’s Velocity. In it he said the following: “People don’t think record sales matter to musicians. If you’re selling less than 10,000 records, it probably doesn’t matter. And if you’re selling more than 100,000 records, it probably doesn’t matter. But if you’re selling somewhere in the middle, it can make a huge difference.
“I’m going to be totally honest with you. By next year, there’s no way I’m going to be able to be on tour like I have been these last few years. There’s no way I’m going to be able to keep writing and recording and playing music.”
Buzzgrinder.com picked up the story initially, and just a few short hours later Leo’s impending retirement was plastered on every indie rock website this side of Brooklyn.
Leo responded with a post on his official site:
“There’s no money in it for us anymore, and to maintain even a semblance of solvency, we have to keep up the same touring schedule that we and I have been keeping up for the last nearly twenty years – a touring schedule that even the most hardened in our community will tell you is exceptional.
The energy we have inside us is not as boundless as it once seemed, and the amount we have to expend each year becomes more and more of a drain for less and less pay off. These are simple facts – it’s not at all a “woe is me” type of complaint – in fact, it’s not even a complaint at all – anyone who’s seen us play in the last few months knows that we’re having as good a time doing it as we ever have, and from my side of things, I can tell you that we’re actually having MORE fun most of the time – but I’ve decided to be honest with interviewers who ask me about “the state of things,” because what’s the point in sugar coating the realities? As we all push toward forty, exactly how to go forward wisely, in a way that allows each of us to live a full life (and not die between rest stops on I-80), is something I need to think about, and I am thinking about it.
It’s true – there’s no way we can continue forever as we have – but that doesn’t mean we won’t continue in some other way. The important part of what I said in the particular interview that was re-quoted without full context by Buzzgrinder, is that we’re completely booked through the end of 2010, but that yes – by next year, you will see some changes – it simply can’t go on like this forever; followed by “I’M SURE I’LL NEVER STOP MAKING MUSIC,” which is a statement I stand behind, but as I said in Spin a while ago (just to make sure you understand that this doesn’t come completely out of left field), pretty soon, I have to start figuring out what comes next.
One thing I don’t want to have happen, is to wake up turning 50, and have to just be starting this conversation then. I’m looking at things realistically, I’m looking ahead, I’m telling the truth about it, and I’m hoping to find the right way forward.
Oh, and I’ve got plenty of better songs to come…”
The last part should silence anyone thinking Leo is about to hang up his guitar. He and his band The Pharmacists are on tour this summer and fall. Godspeed Ted.
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists tour dates are as follows:
7/10 – Columbus, OH – Skully’s
7/11 – Louisville, KY – Belverdere
7/17 – Brooklyn, NY – Siren Music Festival
9/03 – San Diego, CA – Casbah
9/06 – Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre
9/07 – Victoria, BC – Legends Nightclub
9/08 – Seattle, WA – Vera Project
9/09 – Portland, OR – Lolas Room
9/23 – Pittsburgh, PA – Diesel Club
9/24 – Newport, KY – Southgate House
9/25 – Urbana, IL – Pygmalion Festival
9/26 – Columbia, MO – The Blue Note
9/28 – Lawrence, KS – Jackpot Saloon
9/29 – Denver, CO – Marquis Theater
10/01 – Las Vegas, NV – Matador at 21
10/04 – Phoenix, AZ – Rhythm Room
10/05 – Santa Fe, NM – Corazon
10/06 – Norman, OK – The Opolis
10/10 – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits
10/12 – Gainseville, FL – Common Grounds
10/13 – Orlando, FL – The Social