Ted Leo

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Ted Leo
Leo performing at Coachella 2006
Leo performing at Coachella 2006
Background information
Birth nameTheodore Francis Leo
Born (1970-09-11) September 11, 1970 (age 52)
South Bend, Indiana, U.S.
GenresPunk rock, hardcore punk, power pop, indie rock
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, musician
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, piano
Years active1989–present

Theodore Francis Leo is an American singer and musician. He is the frontman and lead guitarist of the rock group Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, and in 2013, he and Aimee Mann formed the indie rock duo The Both.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in South Bend, Indiana, Leo grew up in Bloomfield, New Jersey, where his family was from and spent many formative years in the hardcore punk scene of New York City during the 1980s and early 1990s.[2][3] He graduated from Seton Hall Preparatory School in West Orange in 1988 and the University of Notre Dame in the fall of 1993 with a degree in English.[4]


Ted Leo performing in December 2015, wearing Scott Miller button

Leo was a founding member of the New York punk band Citizens Arrest in 1989. In the 1990s, Leo played in bands that included Chisel, Puzzlehead, and the Sin-Eaters.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists was formed in 1999 in Washington, D.C. The group recorded six studio albums between 1999 and 2010. Leo has also maintained a consistent presence as a solo performer since the 1990s.[5]

In early 2013, Leo and Aimee Mann formed a duo called The Both, after Leo had toured with Mann for several months as her supporting act. He and Mann began writing songs together, and in March 2013, the duo performed their first show together as the Both (originally formatted as the hashtag #BOTH). Their self-titled debut album, The Both, was released in April 2014.

Leo released his debut solo album The Hanged Man on September 8, 2017.[1][6] The album was inspired by several years of career and personal hardships, including the loss of a daughter in 2011 due to a late-term miscarriage in which Leo's wife was forced to go into premature labor.[1][7]

For the 2019 animated television film Steven Universe: The Movie, Leo collaborated with Rebecca Sugar and Stemage to write the song "Independent Together". In the film, Leo voiced the role of Steg, a fusion of Steven Universe and Greg Universe. As Steg, Leo performed "Independent Together" alongside Aimee Mann (who reprised her role as Opal from the Steven Universe television series) and voice actress Deedee Magno Hall (as Pearl).[8]

Family and personal life[edit]

Leo grew up in New Jersey before moving to South Bend to attend Notre Dame, where he formed Chisel.[9] He then moved to D.C., and briefly moved to Boston thereafter.[9] Leo has lived in Rhode Island since 2005,[10] and he also maintained an apartment in New York City until 2016.[9][1]

Leo met his wife, musician, and visual artist Jodi Buonanno, in the late 1990s when both were touring in bands.[1][10] She is credited with clapping, whistle, and background vocals on the Hearts of Oak album.

His brothers, Chris and Danny Leo, are also singer-songwriters and have been members of bands such as Native Nod, the Lapse, the Van Pelt, Vague Angels, and Holy Childhood.

Leo is a vegan, and has served as a spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.[11][12] He has made frequent radio appearances as a contributor to programs on WFMU, such as The Best Show with Tom Scharpling.


Citizens Arrest[edit]

  • Citizens Arrest cassette EP (1989, Lifetime Records)
  • Soaked in Others Blood 7-inch EP (2012, Painkiller Records)


  • See Thru 7-inch EP (1991, Next Generation Records)

Animal Crackers[edit]

  • Animal Crackers/Whipped split 7-inch EP with Whipped (1991, Sound Pollution Records)
  • Animal Crackers 7-inch EP (1993, Thrashing Mad Records)


  • Chisel 7-inch single (1991, Assembly Records)
  • Sunburn 7-inch EP (1994, Gern Blandsten)
  • Nothing New 12-inch EP (1995, Gern Blandsten)
  • 8 A.M. All Day (1996, Gern Blandsten)
  • Set You Free (1997, Gern Blandsten)

Hell No[edit]

  • Hell No 7-inch EP (1991, Wardance)
  • Skin Job (1992, Wardance)

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists[edit]

The Both[edit]

Ted Leo[edit]

  • The Hanged Man (September 2017, self-released)


Compilation appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Tedder, Michael (July 6, 2017). "Ted Leo Is Like You". Stereogum. Archived from the original on July 7, 2017.
  2. ^ Cavalieri, Nate. "Biography: Ted Leo". Billboard. Archived from the original on December 14, 2015.
  3. ^ Lomax, John Nova (April 16, 2007). "Gang of New Jersey: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists mingle rampant Europhilia with American Girl". The Village Voice. Retrieved December 25, 2007. Bloomfield, Leo's hometown, is just west of New York City and just north of Newark.
  4. ^ Almond, Steve (March 29, 2007). "Ted Leo". New Times Broward-Palm Beach. Retrieved March 10, 2011. It's virtually impossible to figure out how Ted Leo became, you know, Ted Leo. Born in Bloomfield, New Jersey, Leo graduated from Seton Hall Prep and received a degree in English from Notre Dame. He is now a strict vegan and plays socially conscious punk music.
  5. ^ Timberg, Scott (February 18, 2011). "Ted Leo takes an extended solo". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 19, 2015.
  6. ^ Chavez, Danette (July 6, 2017). "Ted Leo announces new tour and album dates". The AV Club. Archived from the original on August 27, 2018.
  7. ^ Gormely, Ian (September 7, 2017). "Ted Leo Uses Hardship as Fuel for The Hanged Man". Exclaim!. Archived from the original on September 8, 2017.
  8. ^ Trumbore, Dave (July 9, 2019). "First Poster for 'Steven Universe The Movie' Reveals the Looming Threat". Collider. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c Duguay, Rob (December 8, 2015). "Interview: Now Christmas collaborators, Aimee Mann and Ted Leo find common musical ground". Vanyaland. Archived from the original on February 12, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Samons, Jamie (August 24, 2007). "The Independent Man: Punk Activist Ted Leo wants to know: Where have all the rude boys gone?". Rhode Island Monthly. Archived from the original on August 27, 2018.
  11. ^ Boylan, J. Gabriel (April 2, 2007). "Never Mind the Politics, Here's Ted Leo!". New York Observer. Archived from the original on April 11, 2014.
  12. ^ PETA2 (July 18, 2011). "Ted Leo's Living With The Living". Archived from the original on November 6, 2015.

External links[edit]