AMERICAN MURDER SONG – a collection of original Murder Ballads from cult musical filmmakers and performers, Terrance Zdunich and Saar Hendelman. Creep into the Killing Place for “a playful and murderous odyssey through the territories of American identity, looming mortality, and divine judgment.” (Sing Out)
Murder Ballads: (n.) Songs that tell of murder… Some true, some shot, some wild, some caught, some borne, some taught, some cruel.
Murder ballads have their roots in the early history of America. These songs, passed down from one generation to the next, tell the raw stories of life and death, punishment and retribution. American Murder Song stalks along the path of this folk tradition.
As alter egos MESSRS. STORM AND TENDER, Saar and Terrance present tales of lovers, outcasts and killers who bear THE MARK, an American Mark of Cain.
Murder Ballads of 1816
“The Year Without a Summer”
American Murder Song’s debut ballads are set during the strange and unseasonable storm of 1816 that devastated New England and hastened the country’s violent Westward Expansion. Through a collection of gritty tunes and sepia-tinged videos, Messrs. Storm and Tender relate a dark history lesson, populated with the likes of America’s first female serial killer, PRETTY LAVINIA FISHER, brought to life by a rogues’ gallery of cult music stars, including Alissa White-Gluz, Aurelio Voltaire and Chibi from The Birthday Massacre.
Murder Ballads of 1846
“The Donner Party”
Continuing their exploration of American history, Messrs. Storm and Tender step into the snowy footprints of real-life-misadventurers, The Donner Party, for a ravenous round of Murder Ballads. By way of a dark, grindhouse soundtrack and Twilight Zone-like videos, the Messrs. board THE BLACK WAGON and pitch a fire at the infamous cannibal crime scene of 1846, where THE DEVIL IN CAMP, Lewis Keseberg, feasted on his fellow pioneers.
Murder Ballads Live
During the fall of 2016, Messrs. Storm and Tender traveled across these United States to present “The Year Without a Summer” on THE AMERICAN WAKE TOUR. Every night the Messrs. performed a live, historical Wake, recounting the sordid and murderous tales of 1816 in a dead man’s parlor to a rapt audience of veiled mourners.
The following year, Messrs. Storm and Tender took to the road once more to stage 2017’s THE DONNER PARTY REUNION TOUR. Saddling from town to town, they presented a fictional TV show called “The Black Wagon,” where they invited audiences to participate in a murderous reenactment of the lives and deaths of history’s “The Donner Party.”
Messrs. Storm and Tender’s collection not only contains the tales and ballads of American Murder, but also rare and accursed Artifacts of crime lore. Among them: THE TRAV’LERS DECK, a hand-drawn card game of American killers known to conjure the dead, THE BLOOD TRAVELERS’ COMPASS, a musical box set unlike any other, and THE DONNER PARTY BOARD GAME, an artful presentation of The Donner Party experience replete with Fingers and Fingers of Meat.
As history is central to American Murder Song, no chronicle would be complete without recounting some of Saar and Terrance’s pre-Messers. Storm and Tender adventures.
Before creating American Murder Song, the two first collaborated on the musical film THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL, directed by Saw series helmer Darren Lynn Bousman and starring Emilie Autumn, Sean Patrick Flannery and Paul Sorvino. Terrance himself played the titular Devil, who recites Aesop fables and doles out punishment in an amusement park for sinners.
The sequel ALLELUIA! THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL followed, expanding the underworld, and adding rapper Tech N9ne, David Hasselhoff, and Broadway legends Ted Neeley and Adam Pascal, among others, to the mix. This film saw a war brewing between Heaven and Hell, with more Aesop fables, and a big-band era score performed by members of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
Before that, Terrance was the mastermind and co-creator of REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA – a midnight movie favorite in which he starred alongside Sarah Brightman, Paris Hilton and Anthony Stewart Head. It was hailed as “this generation’s Rocky Horror Picture Show” (Hollywood Reporter) and counted amongst The 25 Best Cult Movies Of All Time by a Rolling Stone Readers’ poll. At the same time, Saar was busy at work recording and producing music, including his album “Bleed On Your Dress,” while performing and writing music for film and TV.
There’s Killing In Us Yet
This year Terrance and Saar have their most ambitious plans yet. So get yourself ready for more music, more videos, and lots more American murder. Be sure to follow our social media by clicking on the links below and subscribe to our newsletter to be kept in the bloody loop.