Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists in a publicity photo by Kyle Cassidy.
|Genres||Punk rock, indie rock, art punk|
|Labels||Gern Blandsten, Ace Fu, Lookout!, Touch and Go, Matador|
|Associated acts||Citizens Arrest, Chisel, the Sin-Eaters, the Both|
|Past members||Jodi V.B.|
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists (sometimes written Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Ted Leo + Pharmacists, or TL/Rx) are an American rock band formed in 1999 in Washington, D.C. They have released six full-length studio albums and have toured internationally. Though the group's lineup has fluctuated throughout their career, singer/guitarist Ted Leo has remained the band's main songwriter, creative force, and only constant member. The group's music combines elements of punk rock, indie rock, art punk, traditional rock, and occasionally folk music and dub reggae. Their most recent album, The Brutalist Bricks, was released on March 9, 2010.
Ted Leo started the Pharmacists essentially as a solo project in 1999. His previous band Chisel had broken up in the late 1990s, after which he spent time with the Spinanes and the Sin Eaters and acted as producer for the Secret Stars. In 1999, he recorded the album tej leo(?), Rx / pharmacists, a solo effort which was highly experimental and mixed elements of punk rock, reggae, dub and audio experimentation. In 2000, Leo expanded the project to a full band including James Canty on guitar, Jodi V.B. on bass and Amy Farina on drums. He named the backing band the Pharmacists, and the group released the EP Treble in Trouble. The EP moved away from many of the experimental elements of tej leo by relying on more traditional rock structures and instrumentation, though it still explored some non-traditional characteristics.
Lookout! Records years
The band signed to Lookout! Records in 2001 and experienced more lineup changes as V.B. and Farina left the group. For the album The Tyranny of Distance, Leo and Canty utilized a number of in-studio backing musicians. The album incorporated multiple styles including Celtic rock, acoustic folk balladry and pop rock. During the supporting tours for The Tyranny of Distance, bassist Dave Lerner, drummer Chris Wilson and keyboardist Dorien Garry became permanent members of the band. The group's next album, 2003's Hearts of Oak, drew from punk rock and new wave influences. The EP Tell Balgeary, Balgury Is Dead soon followed and featured a number of Leo's solo songs and covers. The band's video documentary Dirty Old Town was released the same year.
Prior to the recording of 2004's Shake the Sheets, Garry and Canty left the band, reducing the group to a trio. The album explored social and political topics and experienced some success with the single "Me and Mia". The iTunes-exclusive EP Sharkbite Sessions followed in 2005.
Touch and Go Records years
In 2006, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists left Lookout! amidst financial crises within the label, and signed a new contract with Chicago-based Touch and Go Records. The band's popularity continued to expand through constant touring and performances at large festivals such as the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and the Pitchfork Music Festival. Their fourth full-band album, Living with the Living, was released on March 20, 2007. First-run copies of the album also included the Mo' Living EP. Former guitarist Canty rejoined them for touring in support of Living with the Living.
Bassist Lerner played his last show with the band at McCarren Park Pool in Brooklyn, NY on August 12, 2007. Marty "Violence" Key of the (Young) Pioneers replaced him on tour,. In April 2008, the band recorded a performance for the Beautiful Noise concert series in Toronto. They then performed as openers for six dates of Pearl Jam's 2008 U.S. tour in June.
On September 15, 2008, the band released a surprise digital EP, Rapid Response, in response to the violence at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. The EP was made available on the Touch and Go website for a choice of prices with all proceeds going to Democracy Now! and Food Not Bombs of St. Paul.
The Pharmacists' most recent album, The Brutalist Bricks, was released on March 9, 2010, followed by a tour of the United States and Europe. In September 2011, Key left the band to open a record store. The band has continued as a trio with Canty taking over on bass.
In a 2012 interview, Leo alluded to a new album to be released that summer, which has yet to be issued. In 2017, Leo released The Hanged Man under his own name.
tej leo(?), Rx / pharmacists
Treble in Trouble
The Tyranny of Distance
Hearts of Oak
Tell Balgeary, Balgury Is Dead
Shake the Sheets
Living with the Living
live shows only
The Brutalist Bricks
- Ted Leo – vocals, guitar, piano
- James Canty – guitar, keyboard, backing vocals
- Chris Wilson – drums
- Marty Key – bass, backing vocals
- Adrienne Berry – saxophone, percussion, keyboard, backing vocals
- Ralph Darden – guitar, backing vocals
- Jodi V.B – bass (1999–2001)
- Amy Farina – drums (2000–2001)
- Dorien Garry – keyboards (2002–2004)
- Dave Lerner – bass, backing vocals (2002–2007)
|1999||tej leo(?), Rx / pharmacists||Gern Blandsten Records||CD||Technically the first Ted Leo and the Pharmacists album, though it is a Ted Leo solo recording.|
|2001||The Tyranny of Distance||Lookout! Records||CD/LP||First album as a full band.|
|2003||Hearts of Oak||Lookout! Records||CD/LP|
|2004||Shake the Sheets||Lookout! Records||CD/LP|
|2007||Living with the Living||Touch and Go Records||CD/LP|
|2010||The Brutalist Bricks||Matador Records||CD/LP/digital|
|2010||The Brutalist Bricks||La Castanya||LP/CD||Licensed from Matador for Spain and Portugal. Colored vinyl and CD including the bonus track "One Polaroid a Day (Remix - Featuring Rebecca Gates)".|
|2017||The Hanged Man||self-released||CD/LP/digital||Credited to Ted Leo|
|1999||Guitar for Jodi||Persona Records||7"|
|2000||Treble in Trouble||Ace Fu Records||CD||First release as a full band.|
|2003||Tell Balgeary, Balgury Is Dead||Lookout! Records||CD||Single from Hearts of Oak backed with nine Leo solo songs and covers.|
|2005||Split with Blueline Medic||Casadeldisco Records||EP|
|2005||Sharkbite Sessions||iTunes||digital||iTunes-exclusive downloadable EP.|
|2007||Mo' Living||Touch and Go Records||CD||Bonus EP included with first run pressings of Living with the Living.|
|2008||Rapid Response||Touch and Go Records||digital|
|1999||Split with One AM Radio||Garbage Czar Records||7"||Two tracks: "The Latest Dart" and a cover of Lungfish's "To Whom You Were Born". Re-released in 2003 on CD by Translucence Records.|
|2002||Split with Karla from Ida and Beekeeper||Tigerstyle Records||7"||One track: "Bridges, Squares (Bilbao to Glasgow)"|
|2008||Split with Zach Galifianakis||Chunklet Magazine||7"||One track: "Rock'n'Roll Dreams'll Come Through"|
|2010||"The Oldest House"||Matador Records]||7"||Two tracks: "The Oldest House" and "North Coast"; Record Store Day release|
|2010||"Bottled in Cork"||Matador Records||digital||Two tracks: "Bottled in Cork" and "Bottled in Cork (Demo Version)"|
|2000||Transmission One: Tea at the Palaz of Hoon||Cosmodemonic Telegraph Records||"You Always Hate the One You Love"|
|2002||Don't Know When I'll Be Back Again||Exotic Fever Records||"Many Rivers to Cross"|
|2013||La Castanya 5||La Castanya||"La Costa Brava (Versió Català)"||New recording with lyrics in Catalan of the song "La Costa Brava"|
|2003||"Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?"||Hearts of Oak|
|2004||"Me and Mia"||Shake the Sheets|
|2007||"Bomb. Repeat. Bomb."||Living with the Living|
|2007||"Colleen"||Living with the Living|
|2010||"The Mighty Sparrow"||The Brutalist Bricks|
|2010||"Bottled in Cork"||The Brutalist Bricks|
|2004||Dirty Old Town||Plexifilm||DVD|
- "Thursday, September 29". Now Toronto. September 29, 2005. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
- White, Adam (August 13, 2007). "Ted Leo and the Pharmacists part ways with bassist Dave Lerner". Punknews.org. Retrieved August 13, 2007.
- Muir, Ryan (August 13, 2007). "Ted Leo Bassist Leaves Band". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on January 2, 2008. Retrieved August 13, 2007.
- White, Adam (September 6, 2007). "Young Pioneers bassist joins Ted Leo for upcoming tour". Punknews.org. Retrieved September 6, 2007.
- "Beautiful Noise taping schedule: March/April 2008". Archived from the original on April 3, 2008. Retrieved July 15, 2008.
- "Pearl Jam on tour in 2008". Official Pearl Jam website. Archived from the original on February 23, 2008. Retrieved March 21, 2008.