Billy Howerdel recently reflected on his first meeting with the original A Perfect Circle drummer Josh Freese at an audition while he was working for Guns N’ Roses as a studio engineer. The incident took place during the “Chinese Democracy” era.
Billy Howerdel opens up on John Freese
As a guitar-tech-turned-rock-star, A Perfect Circle’s Billy Howerdel recalled a wild story about Freese during his time with Guns N’ Roses. During a recent interview with Revolver‘s Christina Rowatt Howerdel talks about Freese.
Howerdel did a number of other odd jobs, including playing bass for the drum auditions. It was during one such audition that he got to meet Josh Freese, who would later join Maynard and Howerdel as APC’s original drummer.
During the same time Howerdel revealed how Freese got food poisoning and started throwing up before the Guns N’ Roses audition:
“When I first started with GNR. Duff [McKagan] was on his way out, and so I started playing bass for the drum auditions. And so I played with great drummers; there were amazing drummers [who] came through that door…
“We heard about this kid coming in – Josh [Freese] was a kid. I mean, I was 26, and he was 24, I guess. And Josh was out on tour with somebody. [He] was in London, and [at] London’s Heathrow Airport, there’s a sushi bar in the middle of the terminal. He ate sushi and got food poisoning on the plane. So how’s that, for, like [an] 11-hour flight back to LA. He arrived in LA and went straight to the studio – green and throwing up, you know, in between [takes], and he killed it. He blew everyone away. It was like not even a question [whether Freese would be hired]. So I played with Josh five minutes after I met him there.”
Working with Guns N’ Roses would be Billy Howerdel’s last behind-the-curtains job before he launched A Perfect Circle with Tools Maynard James Keenan. Howerdel explained how he first came to GN’R in 1996 as Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck’s guitar tech, but remained with the band as a sound engineer for the first two years of the notoriously lengthy recording process behind “Chinese Democracy”.
Josh Freese played drums on the majority of songs from Billy Howerdel’s recently released debut solo album, “What Normal Was”. Howerdel is currently touring his new album in the US.