A Perfect Circle's Billy Howerdel Talks New Album, No-Photo Policy at Shows: 'The Videos You Take Look & Sound Like S--t'

A Perfect Circle
Tim Cadiente

A Perfect Circle

A Perfect Circle's Billy Howerdel promises the group's new album will be out this spring. But it's also still a work in progress.

"We're well over the midway point and still working," the guitarist, in the midst of APC's fall tour, tells Billboard. "I've got a studio on the road, and Maynard [James Keenan]'s still working and he's still writing. It's tough on the road; I knew it was gonna be hard, but it's been tougher than I thought it would be to bet in a groove and keep going. But we're about to have a stretch here in about a week when I think it's going to be time to get a lot done."

Howerdel reports that the group has about 15 songs it's currently working on for APC's first album since 2004's Emotive. "From there we might cut away, but new things pop up all the time, too," Howerdel says. APC's new single, "The Doomed," is one of those new things; "I just kind of presented a little snippet to Maynard and he thought there was something there and asked me to kind of flesh it out into a song," Howerdel says. "So I came back with a song and he wrote it quickly, and that's one of those song that came together quicker than most."

APC began playing two other new songs, "Feathers" and "Hourglass," during its spring tour, and the three combined have given fans some indication of what the full album will sound like. "I can hear how they are the same band, but moving forward -- I guess that's the way I would look at it," Howerdel says. "I think that's the healthy approach, if there is an approach. I think you'd have to hear it to comment on it, really."

APC is on the road until Dec. 4, and has caused something of a stir with its strict no-photo-or-filming policy on its current tour. More than 60 people were ejected from a recent show in Reading, Pennsylvania, leading to online complaints, and prompting Keenan to remind fans that it's actually been a long-standing policy of his other groups, Tool and Puscifer. "No. Recording. Of. Any. Kind. For. 25. Years. Guided experience. Unplug and enjoy the ride," he Instagrammed. Howerdel says there are a few reasons for the policy.

"First and foremost, it's just rude to the people around you," he explains. "I'm guilty of it, too, but I try not to block anybody's view, and if somebody asks me not to, I'm not going to. But it's also just being present and being connected with us. Some of the songs are more subdued, there's more soundscapes that we go into that take paying attention to. And I think at the end of the day it's time to just disconnect for a second. The videos that you take and for your own benefit, you put online -- they look like shit and they sound like shit. We'd rather you communicate this orally; let people know what you saw and how you felt. It's much more powerful than giving a bad representation."