A Perfect Circle: Why A Little Mystery Is A Good Thing
By Erin Broadley

A Perfect Circle bassist Jeordie White may have left his previous band Marilyn Manson over a year ago, but that hasn’t stopped the endless barrage of questions regarding his previous ventures as Twiggy Ramirez. White explains the differences between his projects past and present: “With Manson it was very in-your-face and up front, almost like a horror movie or a porno. With A Perfect Circle, I feel it’s more a scary movie where you really don’t see the monster, like the first Alien movie or The Blair Witch Project. It just makes it a little more mysterious, interesting and more thought provoking. I think that’s where the mystique behind this band comes from.” Somewhat along the same lines as comparing porn to eroticism, White insists that leaving a certain amount up to the imagination is what lends A Perfect Circle its captivating quality.

To call A Perfect Circle a “super-group side project” is an understatement, because it would imply that its members’ top priorities lie with other bands. Such is not the case and, as any member of the band would tell you, A Perfect Circle is its own complete entity – a creative indulgence equal to the combined, dedicated efforts of each of its musicians. In that sense, there are no compromises made.

Completed by composer and guitarist Billy Howerdel, vocalist Maynard James Keenan (of Tool), guitarist James Iha (formerly of Smashing Pumpkins) and drummer Josh Freese, A Perfect Circle hardly needs further introduction.

White won’t get into specifics regarding the concepts behind the band’s single, “Weak and Powerless,” or their sophomore disc Thirteenth Step, a follow-up to 2000’s Mer De Noms, though he will say, “the record is definitely about recovery from something.” Due mostly in part to the album’s title, critics have already pegged Thirteenth Step as referencing drug and alcohol addiction via the 12-step program. White insists that Keenan, who wrote a majority of the album’s lyrics, would tell you the complete opposite. “[None of us in this band] necessarily like to be too obvious about the concepts,” White says. “That way the listener can, through their own experiences, come to their own conclusions about what the record’s about.”

Audiences are drawn to A Perfect Circle’s textured and artistic redefinition of the typical rock standard, and White would agree: “I think A Perfect Circle is a little more artistic than a straight ahead rock band. When you’re creating in the studio or writing songs, that’s where the art is involved,” White asserts. “The performance is [more of] an escape. The way I look at it, when you go on tour and perform, it’s not really the real world, so I look at it as an escape. Playing music is a sort of therapy, but creating music is definitely art,” he adds.

With a level of musicianship that continuously challenges listeners and lyrics that prefer to paint abstractly with words rather than dictate a literal narrative, A Perfect Circle is often discussed with intellectualized rationale. White wants to make clear that while A Perfect Circle takes its music seriously, the band members don’t necessarily take themselves as seriously. “Sometimes it kind of confuses people when the music is very emotional and serious,” explains White, “but in between songs Maynard and myself will just crack jokes with the audience. I don’t know if it’s disappointing to people that we’re not as serious [in person] as we present ourselves [in our music]. The band is pretty ridiculous and silly.”