"So, here's the scene: three talented musicians walk into a studio in New Orleans…"
Well, it wasn't quite like that, but in a new interview with Heavy Consequence, Billy Howerdel spoke on a wide range of topics, including his latest solo LP, What Normal Was, as well as some of his very creative friends and collaborators, in particular, Maynard James Keenan and Trent Reznor. Howerdel revealed that he's actually responsible for helping the two men meet. You can watch the entire interview with Howerdel here.
“I brought Maynard to the New Orleans studio to meet Trent. I mean, they obviously knew who each other were, but they’d never met," Howerdel said.
"The first day I brought him in there, I remember Trent was literally on the floor with a PC spread out, putting circuit boards together and things like that. And I think it was the moment when Maynard goes, 'Oh, OK, this guy's for real. This isn't just some guy phoning it in with a pretty face and a couple of lucky songs. This is a guy who's doing the work.' That's me imagining [Keenan's impression], 'cause I l know Maynard's work ethic, and I know what things he values."
Howerdel has seen that work ethic on display time and time again in A Perfect Circle. About Keenan, Howerdel told Consequence, "I always feel like my game is elevated around him — regardless whether it's in conversation or in the studio with him or on the stage rehearsing or playing. He's got an energy and he obviously loves the craft and the business part of it, too. I feel like Maynard has his bearings more solid than most people I know in music. He knows his lane. He knows what he can and can't do, and he's great at what he does do."
Howerdel's observations of Reznor have also been profound. "Trent was and still is a big inspiration, and kind of North Star, for what it is to be a writer, [as well as] a person looking at technology and how it incorporates into your world… I think it's inspiring."
Howerdel released his first solo album, What Normal Was, earlier this year and toured throughout North America in June and July. You can check out some really excellent fan-shot video of Howerdel and his band doing "Bring Honor Back Home" off of What Normal Was live at Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI.