Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Mar 19th 2010 12:00PM by Jason Cohen
"I don't give a flying f---, to be perfectly honest," the Notre Dame alum told Spinner.
Leo and his Pharmacists put on the rock 'n' roll equivalent of a full-court press, often barreling straight from one song to the next (think Springsteen or the Ramones minus the counting off) over 70 packed minutes of old favorites ('Timorous Me,' 'Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone'), much of the new album, 'The Brutalist Bricks, and an encore that included covers of the Waterboys, the Misfits and, after the crowd just wouldn't let him leave, an understated tribute to the late Alex Chilton with an a capella snippet of Big Star's 'The Ballad of El Goodo,' a song he's previously covered in its entirety.
"Big Star's always been a really big influence on me -- it's probably not hard to see," said Leo. "I think the first bio that anyone ever wrote about me said something like our music can somehow weirdly leave you thinking of both Crass and Big Star at the same time. That was like the greatest compliment I'd ever gotten in my life."
The current four-piece Pharmacists -- Leo, guitarist James Canty, bassist Marty Key and longtime drummer Chris Wilson -- is more expansive and proficient than the band has ever been, equally at home with Brit-punk-style shouters ('Where Was My Brain'), genuine, if brief, guitar duels and the dynamic and anthemic one-two punch of 'Counting Down the Hours' into 'Little Dawn.' On the former song, Leo shamelessly updated the lyrics to "and I'm thinking about New England/and I'm missing old Spokane" (instead of "Japan").
In the van between Minneapolis and Washington, Leo tweeted about listening to the Waterboys; his solo version of 'Fisherman's Blues,' complete with fiddle-emulating moments on guitar, was a true heart-sweller.
"I'm rarely not listening to the Waterboys," Leo said. "A few nights ago in Madison, people wanted another song and I remembered that I've played that in the past so I was like, 'oh, I'm going to play that!' Then I also remembered, at that moment, that I'd forgotten how to play it. Now I'm making sure I stay in practice."
The show was also somewhat stolen by the speaker-climbs and dancing of a middle-aged couple who looked as though they walked right out 'Anvil!: The Story of Anvil.' "You guys rule," Leo told them, as the woman blew him kisses. Footage of them made it onto YouTube within hours.