Billy Howerdel On Adapting The Blue Öyster Cult’s ‘Ethereal Sound’ In A Perfect Circle

A Perfect Circle released their latest album, ‘Eat the Elephant,’ in 2018 after a 15-year break and did not come up with new material since then. Now, 5 years later, a recent interview with Revolver required the band’s Billy Howerdel to address some questions about Circle’s records, one of which had the influence of The Blue Öyster Cult‘s sound.

With the lengthy gap between their albums, there was curiosity among people regarding the best entry point into A Perfect Circle’s music. Luckily, the guitarist offered a detailed insight into this topic, picking up a particular track as a starting point for someone who never heard the band’s songs.

He revealed his choice by saying:

“I think ‘Orestes’ from ‘Mer de Noms’ is a good intro to get a feel as to what the project is. It might not sonically touch on everything, but I think as an overture to the whole band… I think musically and quality of writing, Maynard [James Keenan]’s lyrics, and melodies and things… it’s a good intro.”

Referring to The Blue Öyster Cult’s effect on the piece and the band’s sound, Howerdel went on to state:

“Like [if we were] talking about TV shows, you could focus on the special effects, the characters, the story, or some other kind of sub-interest. With Blue Öyster Cult, there was Donald Roeser [a.k.a. Buck Dharma], the singer who sings many of the songs you probably have heard. There’s two singers, but he’s, like, the minor singer. He’s got this great ethereal sound, and I think I really tried to tap into that.

So to me, ‘Orestes’ is a lot of that Blue Öyster Cult kind of ethereal thing that I was chasing… You try and recapture things that drove you to be a musician in the first place as a kid, and ‘Orestes’ kind of came from that.”

Interestingly, when asked a similar question during an interview with BBC Radio 1’s ‘Rock Show,’ Maynard James Keenan gave a different answer. His preference was ‘The Contrarian’ from the band’s latest album, showing a divergence in thinking between the two bandmates.

The singer’s words were as follows:

“Just even the first three songs on ‘Eat the Elephant’ was a very difficult task to do because it was an exercise in Billy and I showing restraint. It’s hard to do a very restrained, focused song with a lot of space. It’s actually harder than filling in all the space. Especially with that song [The Contrarian] because there’s a subtlety attached to it and a lot of space.”

While the band members indicated that they would continue making music for A Perfect Circle in the future, there’s been no attempt for new material due to Keenan and Howerdel’s busy schedule with their side projects. So, in the meantime, it could be a good idea for the band’s fans to revisit these songs.