What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both.
“There was a duet that I had asked Ted to come out and do with me during my set and then there was a song in his set that I really wanted to play bass on,” says Mann of the partnership that began on her 2012 “Charmers” tour, “We kept cross-pollinating our sets and eventually it felt like, ‘Well, let’s do some songs together.’”
With a self-titled release out this week, The Both combine two individual styles that might not at first seem so obvious.
“I bring a little punch and distorted guitar,” Leo says. “Aimee brings a little more considered lyricism and content. And hopefully they kind of create something that is its own thing.”
Mann says part of what brings two longtime solo acts together is that it’s nice to have a little company on the stage.
“There’s always something in a show where things get kind of hectic, like a piece of equipment breaks down, or someone makes a mistake, or there is some weirdo in the audience,” she says. “Or you’re just having a bad night. It makes all the difference to look across the stage and see your pal and know that things will be all right.”
Leo says they keep each other in check.
“I tend to race ahead when I’m playing, and Aimee keeps things a little steadier,” he says.
Leo tends to race ahead when thinking of the future of The Both too.
“We’re planning the falling-out, because you have to book things so far in advance these days that we have to get on booking our eventual cash grab reunion tour soon,” he says.
“The Both: SVU”
Aimee Mann’s “Charmer” music video features Laura Linney as a robotic lookalike who attends signings for the singer. But who would play Ted Leo? He’s hoping for a “Law and Order: SVU” crossover, with Christopher Meloni “as me and Mariska [Hargitay] as Aimee, and we would have a singing detective thing going.”
Failing that, the only other actor with sufficient gravitas to bring the Ted Leo story to life? Clint Eastwood. When Mann suggests Paul Rudd, Leo isn’t having it.
“Paul Rudd would be a terrible me,” he says. “More like Denis Leary.”