Bandmate Reveals How He Sees If Maynard James Keenan Won’t ‘Hate’ New Songs


A Perfect Circle guitarist Billy Howerdel was recently interviewed by Full Metal Jackie on KLOS’ Whiplash. Below are transcribed quotes from the interview via Blabbermouth.

On how often he wrote music even while A Perfect Circle was inactive:

“Constantly. But, I never flesh them out to completion. I leave them in somewhat of a porous state then I eventually send them to Maynard [James Keenan] to see if he gets compelled by it, once I’ve got his attention, that is. We’ve had a few false starts, but now that we’re underway, I’ll send him things that I find and I don’t hate and then see if he doesn’t hate them and then we’ll move from there.”

On whether he has a sense of what Keenan likes:

“I feel like I do and sometimes I’m surprised. Maynard, in classic style, what you know of him and what I know of him, he keeps you guessing. There’s some things I know that will get him going a little bit, but there’s some things I was surprised he latched onto or some things I presented that were going to be for my own thing, but he was, like, ‘I hear something that might be in there.’ That’s what collaboration is. If you work in isolation for long enough, you have nothing else you’re pulling from except your own influences that you’ve exhausted and tapped out.”

On how his background in music production changes the way he composes songs:

“I think a lot. I kind of rest on that a lot. I feel like I’m not a great guitar player, I’m more of a ‘collage-maker.’ Like, I work on the computer and I interact with the computer and put my ideas down. It’s not played well, but it’s my first impression. A lot of the times that makes it to the record, too — I’ll leave the scars in there and then sonically, I’ve learned how to do it throughout the years. I don’t think about it too much and I don’t worry about it too much. Drums are another thing. I will make sure they are slamming and right. As long as the drums and the vocals are really right, the other stuff can kind of get a little loose. As far as the sonics go, I’ve engineered and produced everything we’ve done up until this point in A Perfect Circle. I wanted to bring on a producer, so I brought on this guy Dave Sardy at the recommendation of our manager. And, it’s been nice to sit back on the couch and be a musician solely and let someone else cut tracks, comp them together, worry about file management, scheduling, all the headaches of that, and let me see a 20,000-foot view of the songs instead of being so far down in the muck with it.”

On what he learned the most from Pink Floyd:

“Rests. Having pause in music. There’s heaviness that comes from the space in between. I think they were really good at not filling every single space. Sonically, there were so many different colors that they were pulling into their songs. It just made it interesting. I like AC/DC, too, but you knew exactly sonically what the songs were going to be and how they were going to choose to work that puzzle. With PINK FLOYD, you just didn’t know what was going to happen. They could have been using the same instruments, but they always had a different soundscape and color palette to it.”

On utilizing the “mystique” of Keenan in A Perfect Circle:

“I don’t. It’s not my thing. [Laughs] He’s a friend first, a business partner second. We just come together and make music and then talk about how that’s going to be dealt with. Those kinds of things are left to the record company, management, then they come back to us to see if we’re okay with it.”

On whether it’s hard to separate the business aspect of being a professional musician from the creative side:

“Extremely hard. You know what? I have to say we’re very lucky that fans have let us stay at this level after being absent for a while. Without that, bands starting out or bands starting over, you’re left to doing it all by yourself and being the record company and being the manager and being all of these things. It puts you in a place where you think about art different and commerce gets messy and involved. I’m not trying to be cool by saying this; I just don’t think about those things, ever. I’m just trying to make the best songs that I can and let somebody else figure it out. If people are listening, it’s awesome, it’s great.”