Date: March, 2000
page: 12 title: Tool Leader Keenan Forms A Perfect Circle author: Melinda Newman TOOLS OF THE TRADE: As Tool leader Maynard James Keenan launches his new band, A Perfect Circle, he hopes his fans will share the musical journey with him. "One of my biggest heroes in music has been David Bowie," says Keenan. "He's said, 'I'm going to be a painter now, or I'm going to do some films,' and his audience is very forgiving, because they understand him as an artist. Whether you agree or like the result, you respect that he's expressing his artistic feelings. This is like that." A Perfect Circle, which Keenan formed with former guitar technician Billy Howerdel, will debut with its Virgin project, "Mer De Noms," due May 23. Prior to the album's release, the band will kick off a tour with Nine Inch Nails in mid-April. A Perfect Circle inked a worldwide deal with Virgin Records after the label outbid Volcano, the record company for which Tool records. "Volcano had matching rights," says Keenan. "Virgin expressed interest to [Volcano] that this was a serious thing. I think [Volcano] thought that I was just going to be off gallivanting for a weekend. When we realized there was a label that genuinely understood what it was about, that helped us decide to go to Virgin." Keenan stresses that Tool and A Perfect Circle will co-exist, and he will trade off projects between the two. In fact, he's now working on Tool's follow-up to 1996's "Aenima," but he doesn't expect the project to be finished before A Perfect Circle hits the road with Nine Inch Nails. "But I think that might be good," he says. "My doing this allows [my Tool bandmates] to explore without me. It will be a good result, a different perspective." He rules out a Tool and A Perfect Circle tour, saying it would be too grueling. "Tool is far more brutal vocally. I don't think I could do two sets [in] one night. There's too much emotional dynamic. I'd be physically and emotionally exhausted in a week." Indeed, While A Perfect Circle plays hard rock--and first single "Judith" is a crunchy, driving slab of a song--"Mer De Noms" blurs the line between hard and alternative rock, with many slower tunes exhibiting an intense smolder rather than a flashy burn. "I kind of view music as a result of the relationship with the people you're surrounded by," Keenan says. "Put four different musicians in the room, and you're going to have a different result." Rounding out A Perfect Circle are guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen, bassist Paz Lenchantin, and drummer Josh Freese.
Posted to t.d.n: 03/12/01 01:19:50