Influenced by hardcore punk acts like Fugazi and modern rock groups like The Jam, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists produce songs about modern warfare (“Bomb. Repeat. Bomb.”), eating disorders (“Me and Mia”) and the demise of the third-wave ska movement (“Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?”). Since 2001, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists have featured singer/songwriter Ted Leo on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, James Canty on lead guitar and Chris Wilson on drums; bassist Marty Key is a new addition to the band.
Wilson, a native of Arkansas, currently resides in Fishtown and has called Philadelphia home for more than a decade.
“I could either go to Chicago and struggle for a while or move to Philly and be in a band immediately,” Wilson said.
Wilson met up with Leo in 2001 at the South By Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, where their musical collaboration began.
“I said, ‘Offer’s still up if you need a drummer,’ and he said, ‘We’re leaving in three weeks,’” Wilson said. “And I’ve been in the band ever since.”
Wilson said Ted Leo and the Pharmacists’ brand of pop-punk appeals to more than one demographic.
“The crowd’s definitely gotten a lot younger, or maybe we got older, I’m not sure which,” he said. “Around [2005’s] Shake The Sheets, we started seeing a lot of younger people at our shows. It’s a good mix, though.”
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists began as a solo project for singer-songwriter Ted Leo in 1999 after the breakup of his previous band, Chisel, in 1997. While the band’s previous albums haven’t gained much mainstream commercial success, their newer releases, especially The Tyranny of Distance and 2003’s Hearts of Oak, have been critically acclaimed by media outlets such as Pitchfork. The band has appeared on Late Night with Conan O’ Brian and Jimmy Fallon, and their videos for singles “Me and Mia” and “Colleen” have gained airplay on stations such as mtvU. The Brutalist Bricks was the first album by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists to chart on the Billboard 200, peaking at No. 114, and it also reached No. 11 on the Billboard U.S. Independent Albums list.
The band is currently touring for its sixth full-length album, The Brutalist Bricks.
Max Webber can be reached at email@example.com.