Billy Howerdel in one of the popular names and influenced the alternative band A Perfect Circle. The New Jersey-born musician first started making his name in the music industry as a sound engineer nonpareil. As a sound engineer and guitar technician, Howerdel has worked with some of the most prominent bands in the ’90s such as Nine Inch Nails, Tool (where he befriended Maynard James Keenan with whom he formed APC), as well as some established icons like David Bowie.
He had worked with Axl Rose during the very early stages of the decade-long recording process that resulted in 2008’s “Chinese Democracy”. Howerdel has recently been interviewed on the GN’R-centric podcast Appetite for Distortion where he talked about his experiences of working with Axl.
Billy Howerdel recalls the incident
Recalling how he got to work with GN’R through Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck and Howerdel revealed how he had moved in with Maynard James Keenan back in the day. Here is what he said:
“Robin Finck from Nine Inch Nails called me. I was a tech with Nine Inch Nails, Trent’s guitar and keyboard tech on the road, and that was ’94 and ’95. I went on to work with Bowie in ’96, because we toured together, and then I just continued on with Bowie. I saved up enough money to go and give a crack at recording my own songs at that point. That’s what I set out to do.
“I found a spot, I moved in with Maynard – it was a chance of bumping Maynard at a bar when I was looking for a place to stay, and it just worked out. At that time Robin calls me, so that’s like ’97 now, and said hey, ‘I got this crazy call, I got a call to go down and play with Guns N’ Roses and they want unique sounds.’ That was kind of my angle, I was good at programming Interesting guitar sounds. And back then it was hard to do; gear was complex, you had a lot of hurdles to jump over, so he just called me up to do that. And I was like, [laughs] ‘Okay!’ We kind of laughed about it.”