A Perfect Circle Biography

Every Tool and Maynard James Keenan fan had to stop at one point and say, wait; I have to check this APC thing. That was the beginning of everything, well, the beginning of their success. Actually not, the beginning of everything and the beginning of their success was determined the second Maynard James Keenan and Billy Howerdel decided to make A Perfect Circle.


APC was formed in 1999 by Billy Howerdel and Maynard James Keenan; the original band also included bassist Paz Lenchantin, Troy Van Leeuwen on guitar and Tim Alexander from Primus on drums. Lineup for APC changed a few times, but the most known lineup in addition to Billy Howerdel and Maynard James Keenan was with bassist Jeordie White from Nine Inch Nails, James Iha from Smashing Pumpkins and drummer Josh Freese.
The story of A Perfect Circle begins in 1992, which is when Billy and Maynard first met. At that time Billy was with Fishbone and was opening for Tool, the two of them quickly became friends. It was not until 1995 that Billy played some of his demos for Maynard at which point Maynard said that he can hear himself singing those songs. The original band played their first gig at LA’s Viper Club Reception on August 15, 1999. After that the band went into the studio to record their first album, soon after Tim Alexander was replaced with Josh Freese. On 23rd May of 2000 APC released their first album titled Mer de Noms, which is French for Sea of Names. The most amazing fact about this album is that it was the highest ranking debut album of a band ever, it sold over 180,000 copies in the fist week and it appeared on the number four of Billboard 200 top list. After the release of their debut album they started touring, at first as the opening act for Nine Inch Nails. On other tours Maynard always wore a wig so he could distinguish himself from his Tool persona, at that time he was bald. The album went platinum on October 31, 2000; APC was on tour at that time.


The most famous songs that came from their debut album were also the singles released: “Judith”, “3 Libras”, and “The Hollow”. Pat Blashill from the Rolling Stones magazine wrote that Keenan “added an almost operatic angst to Howerdel’s songs” and concluded that “A Perfect Circle sound like a desperate dream of what rock used to be. Maybe that’s the point.”
Once they started recording their second album there were slight difficulties, the major one being the release of Lateralus. Since some of the band members couldn’t wait for members they decided to go on their own and joined other bands. Two members left APC, Paz Lenchanti was replaced with Jeordie White and Danny Lohner replaced Troy Van Leeuwen, but Lohner could fit so he was also replaced by James Iha. APC’s second album Thirteenth Step was released on September 16, 2003. The album was more melodic than the previous one, which caused even more people to fall in love with APC. Singles like “Weak and Powerless” made masses of fans for APC.


It was only a year after when APC released their third album, Emotive on November 2, 2004 which was an election day in the US. The album was a move forward with reflection on the past; they featured songs of John Lennon “Imagine” and Jony Mitchell’s “Fiddle and the Drum”. Many of the songs were featured in movies as soundtrack, “Passive” in Constantine, “Counting Bodies Like Sheep” in Taking of Pelham 123 and “The Outsider” in Resident Evil: Afterlife. The album had mixed criticism, while some slandered it other praised it as their boldest and best so far.
Two weeks after releasing their third album APC released a CD-DVD set entitled Amotion on November 16, 2004. The DVD has videos for 6 singles, videos never before released.  CD contains remixes from their first two albums, Mer de Noms and Thirteenth Step.

After that the band fell apart, Maynard went to record 10,000 days with Tool and in 2007 he released the first album for his Puscifer project. Other band members also went their separate ways, Josh Freese and Howerdel started their own project, Ashes Divide, but that didn’t stop Freese to once again take on the drums for Nine Inch Nails. White went back to Marilyn Manson and Iha started his own solo project. In an interview in 2006 Maynard clearly stated that APC is over, no further albums will be released, maybe a song or two or a soundtrack, but no more albums. Howerdel had a similar statement in another interview. But here is what Maynard said in an interview for a Revolver magazine in 2007:
–    The real problem with running Tool and A Perfect Circle at the same time was they both operate the same way. They’re both live touring bands with a label, still working under the old contract mentality. So I thought it was time to let A Perfect Circle go for now and let Billy explore himself. It’s tough for a guy who went from being a guitar tech [for Tool] to being in a band with a pretentious, famous singer and having to live in that shadow. It was important for Billy to go and do his own thing and really explore his own sound and let people hear what he has to say and how he would do it on his own, and then we’ll get back and do some A Perfect Circle stuff.
–                             Maynard James Keenan, Revolver, December 2007


On several occasions in 2008 and 2009 Maynard said that he plans and that he is working with APC on some new material, but only song or two at a time. So for all the fans out there, you can hope that APC releases something soon, but that won’t be much, especially with Puscifer and Tool touring and with Tool new album coming up soon.