"An Ecstasy is a thing that will not go into words; it feels like music, and one cannot tell about music so that another person can get that feeling of it." - Mark Twain
The Three Terrors are LD Beghtol, Dudley Klute and Stephin Merritt - three men who, on their own (see links to select discographies below), possess the ability to pen songs to put many to shame.
On occasion , the three choose to spend rare and beautiful evenings covering "the saddest songs they know" to the crowds who have gathered to hear them. Just two weeks before this day, T3T joined for one of these mesmeric nights of homage - playing a sold-out show at the 2nd Annual HOWL! Festival.
Read on dearest lover of the loveliest, for the time will soon come again - and you should take notice now.
The Three Terrors name a spin on The Three Tenors?
BEGHTOL: Well, when Dudley first thought of it - he's brilliant with
naming things - I immediately thought of the book THE PRINCESS
BRIDE, actually. By William Goldman. You know, the "Three
Terrors in the swamp.. ."
KLUTE: Also we often take songs out of their original context, and
play them with radically re-worked arrangements so that the audience
can hear the songs in a new way. The point being to experience the
songs as compositions - and not just nostalgia. We try very hard not
let anything be too close to a karaoke version, or have that piano
bar lazy familiarity.
STEPHIN MERRITT: Covering our own songs shifted the focus too much for my taste. For the New York show we will perform songs culled from our own painstakingly, painstakingly, painstakingly laborious researches. We often think it would be easier to simply write the show ourselves.
LD BEGHTOL: But since we're so terribly philanthropically minded we perservere. Actually, we did my song, "Measure of a Man" at the "Saddest Songs" show. That was the show where someone tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide in the bathroom during the show. Silly cow. And we've done Dudley's gorgeous ballad, "Anywhere (like the Moon)." And we've done several from the Stephin songbook as well. Oh, and we did Dudley's brilliant translation of the Moth Wrangler's hit, "Over & out" ("Je hais ma vie / et je peut morir.. .") at the the French Pop show. The person we played with that night later printed up handsome cotton tote bags with that phrase printed on them. I wonder what the words for "thieving pig" are in French? (possibly "le fait de voler le cochon", but it may need a second opinion.. - k)
LD BEGHTOL: Or those unfortunate souls who missed the shows! Without giving anything away, I usually do a Victorian parlour ballad, or something that sounds like one, like last year's "Have Some Madeira, M'Dear" by Flanders & Swann. And we seem always to do Sondheim, Marc Almond, some Brill Building stuff... And this year we'll do our second Crash song - Crash being a swell New York band from the 80's that I love and almost no-one has ever heard of. We do try to keep the song list for each show very broad and to include current stuff when it passes muster.
STEPHIN MERRITT: The lengthy eclectic set list is a secret until the show, but in the past we have performed the theme from DEEP THROAT, "The Silver Swan," "Tiny Bubbles," and "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall."
BEGHTOL: All 99 verses!
DUDLEY KLUTE: The Three Terrors existed long before 9/11 so the use of "terror" in our name has never been an issue
BEGHTOL: Aren't people likely to write about or read about us smarter
chance of taking the show to further venues, like a T3T tour?
DUDLEY KLUTE: And our shows are really set-up to be one-off events, so for us, doing those shows night after night would lose the sense of surprise and excitement [for the audience] that are essential parts of the whole experience. I've come to liken T3T shows to the Tibetan Budhist monks who work for a year making an elaborate and beautiful sand mandala, and once it's finished they sweep it away. The Three Terrors is also based on a sort of impermanence: It's a gift for us and for whoever happens to be in the audience. That's a big part of what makes it so special.
LD BEGHTOL: And thus impossible to repeat.
[ the players and their works. simply click ]