Officially ending a six-year hiatus, the platinum-selling band has launched a tour that has brought it to the Avalon Hollywood.
Maynard James Keenan is not about to explain everything for you. The brooding, melodic, hard rock he's recorded with A Perfect Circle is there for listeners to interpret, and the singer will not characterize songs in any detail.
“Having all the answers delivered to you in a short sound bite keeps you stupid,” Keenan said by phone from Tempe, Ariz., as A Perfect Circle officially ended a six-year hiatus last week by launching a five-city tour. A three-night stop at the Avalon Hollywood began on Monday.
Fans already seem to understand, and have turned what might have once looked like a side project to Keenan's work with Tool into a platinum-selling act with a distinct sound and purpose. On tour this month, A Perfect Circle is devoting each night to a single APC album, including the band's 2000 debut, “Mer de Noms.”
The debut and the two releases that followed were not concept albums by design, Keenan said, but developed a through-line during the recording process.
“Mer de Noms” began as a collection of demo recordings by guitarist Billy Howerdel. “I could just hear potential in it,” remembered Keenan, who was Howerdel's roommate at the time. “When I hear somebody has some music, I immediately hear what it needs. That's where my mind goes. It just so happened I had the time.”
This was during an excruciatingly long break between Tool albums, so Keenan joined Howerdel in the garage studio of their North Hollywood house to complete the songs.
The debut's title is French for “sea of names,” and many of the tracks were given the names of people, including the raging first single, “Judith,” named after Keenan's mother, who was paralyzed from an aneurysm when he was a child. The song deals with the contradictions of faith and personal tragedy, as Keenan sings: “Your lord, your Christ / He did this, took all you had / and left you this way.”