A Perfect Circle – 3 Libras – Being Overlooked

A Perfect Circle was formed in 1999 by Tool singer songwriter Maynard James Keenan and guitarist Billy Howerdel. The two met and became friends when Fishbone opened for Tool in 1992. Keenan offered Howerdel a room in his California home and had an opportunity to listen to some of the ideas Howerdel had been working on. Upon hearing them Keenan expressed a desire to add the vocals and the seeds for A Perfect Circle were planted. They recruited the services of highly regarded guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen (who later went on to join Queens Of The Stone Age,) Primus drummer Tim Alexander (later replaced by Josh Freese) and bassist Paz Lenchantin.

A Perfect Circle released their debut album Mer de Noms (Sea of Names) in May of 2000. It captivatingly displayed the unique synergy between Howerdel’s accomplished songwriting and production skills and Keenan’s uncanny ability to create distinctive emotion with his curiously operatic, alienated vocal style and provocative lyrical subject matter. Howerdel wrote the music and Keenan the lyrics for the darkly derisive “3 Libras” which, according to Keenan, “is a song about parasitic-like people seeing something different or special about a person. Instead of nurturing that quality or helping that person grow, the “3 Libras” feed off of the energy in a bad way instead of using it for good.” In the liner notes to the single Keenan wrote, “Up until the mid twentieth century the mountain gorilla was considered a myth. Oddly enough, a legend not unlike Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster. The chance of actually seeing or experiencing this elusive shadow was as likely as finding one’s soulmate. Rare. Precious. Even once discovered they seemed unapproachable. The only way to get close to this magnificent creature was to become empathetic. Abandon all pretense and preconceptions. To bare an open throat. To collapse into the arms of vulnerability. All but extinct, these beings/moments are threatened by the black hearted. The cold and oblivious.The empty eyed profit seekers that overlook these Rare. Precious.”

Indeed Keenan sees, in the dark uncaring aspect of humanity, the “eyes of a tragedy.” The true artist, the authentic soul that Keenan brilliantly likens to the “magnificent mountain gorilla,” will always fall tragic victim to the parasitic aspect of humanity, “the empty eyed profit seekers” that “coldly and obliviously” overlook the rare and precious miracle of artistic expression.

“Threw you the obvious and you flew with it on your back
A name in your recollection
Down among a million, say:
Difficult not to feel a little bit disappointed, passed over.
When I’ve looked right through,
To see you naked but oblivious and you don’t see me
Well I threw you the obvious,
Just to see if there’s more behind the eyes of a fallen angel,
Eyes of a tragedy.
Here I am expecting just a little bit
Too much from the wounded
But I see, see through it all,
See through, and see you.
Cause I threw you the obvious
Do you see what occurs behind the eyes of a fallen angel
Eyes of a tragedy
Well, oh well..
Apparently nothing.
Apparently nothing at all.
You don’t…You don’t
You don’t see me
You don’t…You don’t
You don’t see me
You don’t…You don’t
You don’t see me
You don’t…You don’t
You don’t see me at all”