It wasn’t a matter of if A Perfect Circle would follow up 2004’s “eMOTIVe,” it was a matter of when and who would join co-conspirators Maynard James Keenan and Billy Howerdel.
Keenan, who also fronts Tool and owns a vineyard, and Howerdel, a guitarist who also is with Ashes Divide, have a connection with A Perfect Circle.
“Maynard likes to write lyrics to my music for A Perfect Circle,” Howerdel said by phone from Austin, Texas. “I love the way he sings A Perfect Circle songs. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy writing the songs and playing guitar in this band. Maynard and I have the same sense of humor and the same musical sensibility. We knew we would eventually get together again.”
Keenan and Howerdel, who formed the edgy and hard-hitting alt-rock band in 1999, were joined by a new cast of characters when the tandem reunited to craft “Eat the Elephant,” which dropped in April.
Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, bassist Matt McJunkins and drummer Jeff Friedl, helped fill out the lineup.
“It helped having some new guys work with us,” Howerdel said. “That helped inspire us to keep moving in a different direction.”
“Eat the Elephant” finds Keenan once again offering witty social and political commentary as he did throughout “eMOTIVe.” However, the band’s sonic palette has expanded. Howerdel and his new bandmates deliver muscular rock, but also serve up a number of gentle and subtle sonic moments.
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“I’ve evolved a lot since the last album,” Howerdel said. “I was a lot younger (he was 34 in 2004) when that album came out. I think I learned a few things since then and I want to move in some different directions musically. Maynard feels the same way. We’ll obviously be playing a good bit of the new material when we come in to perform. When we got together to make this album, we were in a groove.”
So many creative sparks were flying that Howerdel and Keenan have extra material. Does that mean that the group will record a follow-up before 2032?
“I hope so,” Howerdel said with a laugh. “I really think we will release an album sooner than later. We have some strong tracks in the can that were never finished. Those songs deserve to be completed. I would rather not leave a song sit by itself for years.”
Fans can hear A Perfect Circle Tuesday (11/13) at the U.S. Cellular Center in downtown Cedar Rapids.
“We’re enjoying being on the road together so much, so why stop what we’re doing? Yes, Maynard will go back into Tool mode, but I think we may be back sooner than later with A Perfect Circle. I can see us making the effort. If you come out to see us, you’ll see how much fun we’re having,” he said.
Just don’t try to record any moments from the show. Videotaping and photos are verboten. More than 60 people were ejected from A Perfect Circle’s concert in Reading, Pa., last year.
“I don’t understand why anyone records from their phone at a show,” Howerdel said. “It’s just rude. We also hope that people can stay connected with us throughout the show. It’s difficult to do that when you are on a device. Just sit back and take in every element of the show.”
WHAT; A Perfect Circle with guests Night Club and Tricky
WHERE: U.S. Cellular Center, 370 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (11/13)
TICKETS: $39.50 to $325 VIP, arena box office, 1-(800) 745-3000 or Uscellularcenter.com/event/a-perfect-circle/
BAND’S WEBSITE: Aperfectcircle.com