A Perfect Circle has debuted a brand new song -- "By & Down" -- for its summer North American tour. But it's not necessarily a harbinger of the group's fourth album, according to guitarist and co-founder Billy Howerdel.
"Right now the intention is not to put out a (full album) but just to release some songs along the way, and then they might be re-imagined and put together in some collection," Howerdel tells Billboard.com. "If you need to have an album then there will be something more like a photo album where you collect these things and you put them in."
Howerdel says this doesn't mean that the and frontman Maynard James Keenan are anti-album these days -- "I still like records," he notes -- but he says "the nature of the availability of time" that he and Keenan have for APC amidst their other endeavors, including Howerdel's Ashes Divide and Keenan's bands Tool and Puscifer as well as his Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars winery, makes it hard to hunker down for a full-length set.
"If we were prepared to do a 12-to-18 month campaign and do a new record and new tour, that's a little different and we'd approach it a little differently," Howerdel explains. "But with Maynard's commitments to other projects, I don't think it's possible, or it's certainly not in the future." But the silver lining, he notes, is "a freedom to release things as we want. We don't have a record deal anymore. We don't have a record company backing us and financially funding a record or a tour and getting involved. We're doing everything ourselves now. It gives you a lot of freedom, but it gives you limitations as well. You just have to find a balance within that."
There are no plans yet to release "By & Down," which Howerdel describes as "a journey. It's got a lot of movement to it, a nice arc and some subtle power. I think Maynard's lyrics sound fantastic, as usual. I'm really proud of it." And no other new songs have been prepared for the tour, which kicked off Wednesday in Portland and runs until Aug. 10 in Wallingford, Conn.
Howerdel says APC did film and record shows during its fall 2010 dates, when it played each of its three albums in their entirety, which will be released "at some point in the future," though he didn't specify how. He also says APC has "some plans for 2012. I don't know if they are going to be in the States, but we are talking about the possibilities of doing more shows and making more music."
Ashes Divide, meanwhile, is likely to return in early fall with dates in North America, according to Howerdel. He hopes to have up to four new songs for the shows and is planning to take the same path in releasing those as APC is planning. "I'm definitely writing them as the new Ashes (album), but will be releasing in chunks and then put together later as a record," he says. "That's the format people seem to be responding to these days."