"It sounds like a punk band name," says 3 Leg Torso violin and trumpet player Béla Balogh. "Our energy is definitely punk. We have a good combination of chamber music and high octane rock 'n' roll."
"It sounds like a punk band name," says 3 Leg Torso violin and trumpet player Béla Balogh. "Our energy is definitely punk. We have a good combination of chamber music and high-octane rock 'n' roll."
The Portland band — Balogh, accordionist Courtney Von Drehle, double bassist Michael Murphy and percussionists Gary Irvine (who will not perform at the Ashland show) and T.J. Arko — pulls its name from the idea that it has one foot in modern chamber music, one foot in free improv jazz and one foot in Eastern European music, all connected to one torso. The group will perform at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 27, at the Ashland Community Center, 59 Winburn Way, Ashland. Tickets cost $15 or $20 and can be purchased at the door or reserved by calling 541-301-5306 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Balogh and Von Drehle started 3 Leg Torso 18 years ago as a violin, accordion and cello trio.
"We set out to create modern chamber music with some Eastern European roots, some South American tangos and a little bit of jazz," Balogh says. "We decided we wanted to conquer the world that way."
The group started on its path to world domination when Von Drehle went to the Portland music store where Balogh worked.
"This fellow came in and said 'Hey, I heard you play violin. I have this piece that I'd like you to try out," Balogh says. "It was an unusual piece. My father is a violinist, conductor and educator, so I brought the piece to him to see if it was doable.
"Courtney and I hit it off after that."
As Balogh and Von Drehle got to know each other, they learned that they both attended Marylhurst University, where Balogh's father teaches.
"It's funny, Courtney even took some conducting classes that my dad taught," Balogh says.
The pair formed a progressive rock band and performed for a year before 3 Leg Torso formed.
"It was King Crimson and Mahavishnu Orchestra-type stuff," Balogh says. "We wanted to play music that was a little more accessible. We didn't want to keep playing in clubs. It was getting a little too loud for us."
The band's third album, "Animals & Cannibals," was released in 2010, and the band is at work on two new offerings to be released this year — the follow-up to "Animals & Cannibals" and an album of Christmas music.
"A couple of years ago, we joined forces with the acrobatic steampunk circus, Wanderlust Circus," Balogh says. "We did a version of 'A Christmas Carol' that we called 'A Circus Carol.' That was successful, so we decided to do an album of Christmas music.
"It's not your traditional Christmas album. It's darker, but still fun."
The band's music has been featured in many films and documentaries, including Bill Plympton's "Idiots & Angels" and the Morgan Spurlock-produced "What Would Jesus Buy?" Now, the band's music is featured in the webseries "& Teller" which stars Teller from the comedy magic duo Penn & Teller.
As for the live show, Balogh says that audiences can expect an energetic group of songs.
"We put on a lively show," he says. "There's a lot of energy on stage, and we tell fun stories that accompany the songs. We aim to entertain."