Hard times to write about

Not to write about Ted Leo for the second time this week, but it’s not like that’s ever a bad thing, right? I interviewed him this morning, and had a great time talking about his new solo album, The Hanged Man.

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I’ve really got to say, though, that I can’t shake this Stereogum feature on Leo. The story contains so much information about his career and his personal life, it’s staggering. And illuminating as all hell. But at the same time, it’s one of the most poorly structured features I’d read in a while. I can’t get past the image of the writer just skiffing across the surface of his audio transcript and throwing choice quotes onto the page as they come up in the (daylong) interview. It’s, like, not edited at all? If it weren’t for Leo being such a compelling subject, I’m not sure I would have finished it.

All that being said, Leo plays the Grog Shop on Sept. 23. Should be a great Cleveland show. (The Grog celebrates its 25th anniversary that weekend.) He’s a prolific and political songwriter, and I had to ask him about how last year’s U.S. presidential election impacted the new album’s structure.

“So much of what has gone on is sort of hard to write about, because it’s almost too heavy and I can’t treat it lightly,” Leo said. “But at the same time, it’s almost too dumb and insane, and I can’t actually give it the depth that I want to give what I write about politically.”

And later: “If you’d asked me in 2008, ‘Would Donald Trump be president?’ and ‘Would I have a saxophone player in the band?” Leo posited, laughing, “I’d have said no.”

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