Why punk matters: Talking with punk-mod legend TED LEO on the latest Against Everyone with Conner Habib

21 Mar

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I’m so excited to share this episode about punk rock with you. Not only does it weave in and out of where the source of many of my ethics come from, it also features a reunion between myself and an old friend, the musician Ted Leo, who I haven’t spoken with for almost twenty years.

Ted is best known for his band Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, but also for his project with Aimee Mann, The Both, his solo albums, and his hugely influential mod-punk band, Chisel.

On this episode, Ted and I talk at length about how punk changed our lives, but – perhaps more importantly – why that punk rock network and community matters now.

And as a bonus, Ted plays two of his songs!

But don’t stop there – Ted’s oeuvre is wildly varied… with a line of mod pop music running through. I’ve created a playlist of some of my favorite Ted Leo songs for you on spotify.


One of my favorite AEWCH moments was when Fugazi/Minor Threat frontman and Dischord Records founder Ian MacKaye agreed to be on the show… and our conversation on AEWCH 119 was really incredible. A very different kind of conversation than this one with Ted, but still adjacent to everything.

A great introduction to the ways art and politics and mutual aid interwove during our punk coming of age is We Owe You Nothing: Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews which features longform interviews with musicians, but also leftist political figures of the time.

Ted’s website is here, and he also posts frequently on bandcamp, where you can support his music via donation. Here’s Ted’s Stereogum interview about his solo album The Hanged Man. And just for the fuck of it, here’s Ted singing a karaoke version of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” with comedian Paul F. Tomkins in tow.

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