After a few European headlining jaunts and scattered Stateside opening dates (including the Who and Gnarls Barkley), the time was just right for a full-scale U.S. Peeping Tom tour, frontman Mike Patto

After a few European headlining jaunts and scattered Stateside opening dates (including the Who and Gnarls Barkley), the time was just right for a full-scale U.S. Peeping Tom tour, frontman Mike Patton tells Billboard.com.

"It's been funny -- out of the gate this band has been a hard one to put together with eight or nine people," he says. "It varies. Every tour I've done has been different members through different schedules. Also, we've gotten offers to open for a lot of different bands and some of them have been exotic and intriguing and we've chosen to explore those options as opposed to doing our own tour, so it was put off for those reasons as well."

Released last summer on Patton's Ipecac Records, "Peeping Tom" features contributions from Norah Jones, Massive Attack, Dan the Automator, Rahzel, Dub Trio, Kool Keith, Amon Tobin and more. The Peeping Tom tour, which features album contributors Rahzel and Dub Trio, begins March 30 in Dallas and culminates with an April 27 appearance at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif. As far as a set list is concerned, Patton is taking a very relaxed approach.

"Having an eight-piece band, everyone is playing loud at all times and it's nice to break it down and show everybody all of the elements that are going on," Patton says. "It's quite an octopus, quite a beast and it's fun to play with that. We just don't play Peeping Tom tunes." He says audiences can expect to also hear solo material from its touring members' careers and even a few covers.

Even though Peeping Tom, which is decidedly more accessible stylistically speaking than any of Patton's other outfits, is billed as a band, there's a sense the act is nothing more than a Patton solo project.

"Most solo artists go out on their own and put their name on the record," Patton says. "I prefer to create little alternative universes. I create a guise or a band that I can operate within and within each one of those bands I've got an M.O. or a set of rules and parameters I can work within."

He adds, "Some artists can work under one guise, whether it's a name or a band or doing film soundtracks, put all of their ideas in one pot and move on. Me, I need to compartmentalize. I put things in little boxes and like to have a lot of toys to play with and that's the way I view these bands. That's what keeps me interested and motivated."

Patton remains busy with his other projects. New records are due out later this year from Tomahawk, as well as Moonchild, which features John Zorn. The latter outfit just came off a European tour, with more overseas dates planned for 2007. Patton says there are tentative plans for Fantomas to record in 2008.

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