Billy Howerdel Addresses The Pressure Of Working With Maynard James Keenan

Maynard James Keenan has been working in three different bands as their mastermind, and it’s not a surprise that the singer’s dominance can be challenging for the artists who work with him. In a recent interview with Everyone Loves Guitar, Billy Howerdel recalled when he started working with Keenan and admitted that his dominant aura initially made him feel under pressure.

“Thinking about the early Perfect Circle days,” said Howerdel, recalling his journey with the band, “Getting on stage for the very first time with APC at the Viper Room, which is, if anyone knows, it’s a tiny club in West Hollywood – 200 seats, maybe. But it was a festival amongst other big bands. It was a benefit for Keith Morris from Circle Jerks, who had some medical bills that needed tending to that he couldn’t afford. Right before us, Gibby from Butthole Surfers was doing a weird DJ experimental set.”

“Then we got up as Maynard from Tool’s new thing,” Howerdel remembered. “I think we had a band name; it was called A Perfect Circle, and we had, like, six songs or seven songs ready to play. The moment before that, I was definitely nervous. Even though we’re playing in front of 200 people, it’s just like a lot of things happening all of a sudden – People come up and go, ‘Oh, cool. You’re doing that thing with Maynard. I can’t wait to hear it!'”

He continued by revealing how he met another prominent Hollywood figure that night, “I had also just met Johnny Depp, who owns the club. There was a lot of pressure mounting, and I was pretty nervous. I remember which booth I was sitting in and what it felt like. And then, once I got on stage, it was great. Again, preparation. I was definitely prepared. I mean, I lived those songs. It was all good.”

It appears that working with a name like Maynard James Keenan in his band A Perfect Circle put Billy Howerdel under significant pressure as he was anxious about the expectations. However, the musician overcame this feeling by getting well-prepared before performances and playing the songs as if he were living them.