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Ted Leo Mulling Retirement in 2011


When I interviewed Ted Leo before the release of The Brutalist Bricks earlier this year, he seemed a bit apprehensive — yet guardedly optimistic — about his future in music. Yes, the thought of retiring from life as a full-time musician was looming, but it wasn’t imminent. However, that seems to have changed in the intervening months.

In a recent interview with Joseph Lord of Louisville’s Velocity (the story is only in print at this point), Leo seems to have pretty much decided that 2010 will be his last of making music as a livelihood. He just doesn’t see it as a sustainable model for himself and the Pharmacists — and drooping record sales (which was also a theme of my chat) is the driving factor in the decision. Per Leo:

People don’t think record sales matter to musicians. If you’re selling less than 10,000 records, it probably doesn’t matter. And if you’re selling more than 100,000 records, it probably doesn’t matter. But if you’re selling somewhere in the middle, it can make a huge difference.

It’s a losing proposition for us at this point. It’s something we can’t keep doing. It’s a simple, unfortunate fact. In our particular case, it is totally tied to a downturn in record sales.

And while some of his talk seemed to hint at part-time rock and roll antics in 2011 and beyond, other statements were much more foreboding and worrisome.

I’m going to be totally honest with you. By next year, there’s no way I’m going to be able to be on tour like I have been these last few years. There’s no way I’m going to be able to keep writing and recording and playing music.
(via buzz grinder)