Plus: four facts about the band’s "hologram" album "Eat the Elephant."
It took 14 years for A Perfect Circle to reconvene for new material, but fans didn’t hold it against the alternative band. After Eat the Elephant arrived April 20, it debuted atop such Billboard charts as Top Rock Albums and Alternative Albums with 68,000 equivalent album units and also debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, the group’s fourth consecutive studio album to bow in the top five of the chart. The 12-song collection seems like both a return and a departure from APC’s 2000 debut, Mer de Noms, for it retains the act’s moody, introspective aesthetic but expresses it with less guitars and bombast, a result of guitarist Billy Howerdel writing much of the material on piano.
When it comes to being satisfied with how Eat the Elephant turned out, enigmatic singer Maynard James Keenan (who also fronts metal legends Tool, which is now 12 years between albums) thinks APC got “about 75 percent of the way there.” “There’s always room for improvement” when it comes to any recording project, he concedes. “But you have a moment where you just kind of let go.” He paints a scenario of having friends over, pouring some wine and playing the music for them. “In that moment, stepping back and basically watching them listen, that visual of what it’s doing for them, that’s the satisfying part -- if they come away from it feeling like you’ve done something, rather than an awkward, ‘Hey man, that was the work you’ve ever done,’ ” he says with a chuckle.
A Perfect Circle has augmented the record -- which it introduced with single “The Doomed” -- by having filmmaker Steven Sebring (Horses: Patti Smith and Her Band) create what’s being touted as the world’s first hologram album. When a prism in Eat the Elephant’s limited-edition deluxe boxed set is sat atop a smartphone and a code is entered at an affiliated website, a 58-minute projection of beautifully rendered and occasionally disquieting images -- like a colorful, eight-tentacled heart and the Nosferatu-ish characters from the cover art embodied by Keenan and Howerdel -- appear. Below are four other interesting details about the album.