The tour finds Keenan’s two bands Puscifer and A Perfect Circle aligning with special guests Primus with all three groups overlapping in the performances, something that Howerdel is still a little uncertain as to how it will all work. He even joked with Jackie about perhaps knitting a sweater or doing taxes onstage on tracks where he’s not an obvious fit.
What does one get Maynard James Keenan for his birthday? Howerdel also shared his thoughts on trying to get a gift for the singer in the past.
In addition, Howerdel offers updates on new music, reflects on his musical start and comments about A Perfect Circle playing the Sick New World festival this year. Check out more of the chat below.
It’s Full Metal Jackie, we’ve got A Perfect Circle’s Billy Howerdel on the show with us this week. Happy to have you back on the show. Billy, A Perfect Circle are returning after a five year break with the “Sessanta” tour, a bill that overlaps the musicians of A Perfect Circle, Puscifer and Primus on each other’s music. How much fun is it trying to work into each other’s music and and what are the biggest challenges of pulling it off?
We shall see. We haven’t started rehearsals yet, but kind of got a few ideas to think about kind of how to incorporate. But how am I gonna fit into a Primus song, I have no idea. I’m not a bass player, so I don’t know. I don’t know how the hell that’s gonna go, but it should be great.
We’re gonna be onstage at the same, everyone’s onstage for the whole show. So you’ve gotta find out how to keep yourself busy when you’re not playing. I don’t know if I’m gonna be knitting a sweater. I don’t know what I’m gonna be doing.
Can you please knit me a sweater? I would absolutely wear it. I don’t wear sweaters, but if you knit one for me, I would wear it.
OK, you never know. I truly might. I might learn that before. So if anyone’s listening, anyone got the skills, croquet or whatever it’s called …
I think it’s crochet.
Crochet. No, but I wanna do cro. I’m gonna do croquet and then we’re gonna do a bocce ball as well instead. Yes. Could be a few different things.
It’s getting better and better by the minute.
Yeah. I’m gonna sweeten this deal by the end of this interview. I’m gonna be doing taxes on stage. There’s gonna be a little bit of a life coach. So I am starting to crack out my old rig and playing through these songs a little bit and getting excited. It’s still a few months away, but it’s gonna be interesting.
Billy, something similar was staged for Maynard James Keenan’s 50th birthday and we’re trying it out again for “Sessanta,” his 60th. What else do you get Maynard for his birthday and what does it mean for you to have played a part in the legacy that he’s achieved since the ’90s across multiple bands?
You don’t get him anything he is impossible to shop for. So this was the only thing I could think of. I don’t know.
Last time, we played at The Greek for a day or two and this is gonna be a whole month, so I don’t know about his whole birthday ego thing. I don’t know how long he expects a cake to be delivered to the dressing room. I mean, once a week?
Have you ever gotten Maynard a gift? Like, ’cause he doesn’t seem like a “Oh my god, Billy, thank you so much. This is awesome” guy. He doesn’t seem like he’s THAT guy.
I don’t know. I think I got him a Prada doggy bowl once and I think he was excited. Barring that, I don’t know. That was back before Prada wasn’t cool or was cool. I forget whichever way that goes. Whichever.
Billy, before you got your shot at the spotlight with A Perfect Circle, you famously worked as a tech for Fishbone, Nine Inch Nails and Tool. I’m sure you picked up things from each experience. How did they inform the musician you are and the band you wanted to put on stage when it came time for your turn at leading a band?
I was always writing music. I was that pain in the ass roadie that brought a recording studio with me everywhere I went. So I’m sure that wasn’t fun for people I worked with, but it was mostly days off or bus rides and things like that. So I think just writing alongside being able to have this musical diary while traveling around the world, writing with kind of no pressure, cause I wasn’t doing it for a deadline or for anything in particular. I was just writing to write music for possibly someday having a band.
I think it was a unique experience and I wrote a lot. I mean more than just what’s on the first record, I kind of just continually write. I continually tap into that, that musical diary so to speak. But adding in new things as I go.
It was I guess it was a unique situation and I didn’t have this burning desire to be up on the stage. I really did enjoy working in service of the show for whatever that show was. I don’t think you could do it again by design. I think I just happened to luck out where things worked out the way they did.
Billy, 2024 brings the 20th anniversary of the Emotive album, which was mostly filled with covers. Are there any covers still on the shelf out there or might you look to do something new surrounding the celebration of that set?
I can’t remember if we have any covers that were not released. Everything was kind of like we did as a live recording. We had quite a bit. I think we’ve filled our quota for the time being on covers, but, I don’t know. We did a little we did a little tribute, a little AC/DC tribute on the last tour, so you can kind of find that if you look hard enough somewhere around.
A Perfect Circle, “Imagine”
Billy, in recent years you went from Ashes Divide to a full-fledged solo record. What does the future hold for you in terms of new music? Are we strictly looking at a tour from A Perfect Circle and or do you have something else in mind for your next creative offering?
I have new music I’ve been working on for a new solo record. It was a weird thing, right? I didn’t know where I was gonna go with calling the project Ashes Divide again or just going under my name and it was kind of a last minute decision right before the record came out to go with my name. But I guess it’s interchangeable Ashes, Billy Howerdel whatever you wanna say.
So yeah, there’ll be more shows and more music coming with that and I might try and sprinkle that in on this spring run, but if not, maybe once we get a proper APC engine back up and running and tour and record and everything, I might sprinkle in some shows here and there.
Billy, I wanted to ask, with A Perfect Circle taking part in the Sick New World Festival, what’s your take on seeing the music that was popular right when A Perfect Circle we’re starting seemingly come back around again with renewed interest? And how interested are you to see where the fan base is when A Perfect Circle returns to the stage?
You know, funny enough, I went to Sick New World last year. I scooped the family up when we went out to Vegas and it was great. It was hot. That wasn’t great, but it’s fun. It was a great lineup. It was a great crowd. I’m not just being what am I trying to say? Salesy? No, it was a fun. It’s definitely a fun festival with like so many bands.
I don’t know how they’re gonna schedule this year. There’s so many bands and so many great bands, so it’s kind of hard. I sat there going, okay, if I can not tire myself out by going to sit in the sun and watching a few acts, who do I really wanna see? And it was kind of tough printing out the schedule and circling it. So I don’t know, but it’s gonna be a good time.
Are you seeing a generational turnover?
I mean maybe. I would think so. I think there’s always pendulum swings in art and music especially. I’m sure it takes on new forms, but it’s nice to see that some of the bands that have cracked the code back. They were there at the turn of the millennium and then getting into newer bands that fit within that festival like last year.
I was looking forward to like 100 Gecs and I like Death Grips and I like the bands that were playing last year as well. And then this year there’s interesting bands being mingled in that seem to make sense too. So yeah, it’s kind of heartwarming. Is that the right? I think that’s the right way to say it.
Well, looking forward to all the great things to come with you. I really appreciate you taking the time, Billy, it was great to catch up.
Yeah, nice to speak with you.
Thanks to A Perfect Circle’s Billy Howerdel for the interview. Be sure to get tickets for the “Sessanta” tour with A Perfect Circle, Puscifer and Primus. You can also stay up to date with the band through their website, Facebook, X, Instagram, YouTube and Spotify platforms. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio show here.
Active Bands That Haven’t Released an Album in 5 Years
These bands haven’t released an album in five years.
Gallery Credit: Lauryn Schaffner