For several years already I have been a fan of A Perfect Circle, the alternative metal band formed around former guitar tech Billy Howerdel, Tool vocalist Mayard James Keenan and to some extent also drummer Josh Freese who became a core member of the line-up as well. The band has been on a hiatus since they released the eMOTIVe album and since the it looked like APC was officially over. Maynard literally said in an interview that "APC is done for now" and that they "pushed this project as far as they could". While a few separate songs may be an option for the future, he said, there were no plans to really re-unite A Perfect Circle on a more permanent basis. Howerdel confirmed those rumours and established his own band, so it seemed indeed APC was over.
A Perfect Circle started off as Billy Howerdel’s band where Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan, at that point on a brea with Tool, offered to deliver vocals. Because of the huge popularity of Tool and Maynard, APC was wrongly branded as a Tool side-project whereas initially it was Howerdel’s brainchild. With Josh Freese on drums, Paz Lenchantin and Troy Van Leeuwen on bass and guitar, the first line-up recorded the epic "Mer de Noms" album, one of my all-time favourite albums. Songs such as "Breña" (could this be the best ever lovesong?) and "The Hollow" were amongst the most played tracks on my iPod, while the album was full of other gems as well: "Rose", "Magdalena", "Orestes", … A true epic. Add the runes and hidden messages and the artistic artwork and shows, and it was impossible not to fall in love with this band.
Maynard’s involvement with Tool meant that APC was often on a break, and the other members sought other projects and bands. Thus the second album, the concept album "Thirteenth Step" had a line-up change with Jeordie White and James Iha replacing Lenchantin and Van Leeuwen. A third, less positively welcomed, album "eMOTIVe" followed. This was an anti-war concept album full of covers and only 1 new APC song. It felt like a rapid efford to complete the three-albums deal the band had in order to close the APC chapter without too much efford. After that it seemed the band was over. Until 2008 Maynard announced that APC was still alive and that they were working on new material. This was received with a lot of question marks since the next 2 years no releases nor tours followed. Until now.
APC did a mini tour of the American west coast with shows in Tempe (AZ), Los Angeles and San Francisco (CA), Seattle (WA) and Las Vegas (NV). With the exception of Las Vegas, they played 3 shows in every city, with each album being performed in full one night. It was a short tour to make sure people would not forget about who APC were, so it was said with some irony. But with the band now really active again and Howerdel having said lot of new songs are ready, us APC fans can really hope the band will be alive and kicking for the foreseeable future. The live performances from this mini tour in fall 2010 sound very promising, some fans posted some songs on YouTube and the band still sounds as fabulous as ever live. With the exception of Matt McJunkins replacing Jeordie White, it is the Thirteenth Step line-up that made the mini tour and probably will hit the studio. Fingers crossed for a European tour as well…