Portrait of an Alternative Bass Player
By Marc Leod

[Translation by Twiggette]

Marilyn Manson's ex-bass player didn't have the opportunity to question himself, or be forgotten before joining A Perfect Circle and being acclaimed by the band's audience. Here is an interview with a musician whose head didn't even have time to turn.

You weren't really a stranger when you joined A Perfect Circle. You were already a Billy Howerdel's friend, weren't you?

You know, I've known Billy for more then 10 years. In fact, it dates back to the time when we were touring with Nine Inch Nails. He was the man in the background, the infallible guitar technician. We became friends and never lost contact since that time.

You seem to know a lot of musicians and especially have very good relationships with them, like with Josh Homme from Queens Of The Stone Age.

Josh is one of my best friends. We get on wonderfully with each other. But the fact is that most of us are now in the spotlight, that's why everybody talks about that. But it doesn't prevent us from seeing each other and playing music together, quietly.

Like for the last Desert Sessions?


Let's come back to the musician that you are. First you played the guitar?

That's right. I was 13. I've been playing the bass only since I was 23, when I met Marilyn Manson. When I was recording my first songs with him, I was playing the bass for less than 6 months, in relation to 10 years of guitar.

So you were a guitarist in your previous bands?

I played in an East Coast trash band, whose name was Amboog-A-Lard. It was more like Malevolent Creation or Morbid Angel. We were from the Tampa scene in Florida. When I joined Marilyn Manson, I didn't have the time or the money for traveling continually between the two states. So I settled in California.

Sometimes you played the guitar and the bass on the album for the Mechanical Animals studio sessions. Was it difficult to do both?

The situation was a bit strained. At the time we didn't have a guitarist. I recorded the guitar parts and I'm proud of it. But it was arduous work and sometimes accomplished in pain. We had to keep serious and calm. I took part in every detail during this album's genesis. Luckily, John 5 soon arrived.

Let's come back now to the bass player. What's your material, especially on tour, like with A Perfect Circle? I travel with only two basses. They're Fender Precisions. I've got one on the stage and one backstage, in case. I traveled with eight Gibson Thunderbirds in the Marilyn Manson era. Today, it isn't really necessary. I've got a Mesa Boogie amp and Ampeg speakers. And for the effects... nothing in particular, except a distortion pedal.

Has your bass playing radically changed between Manson and A Perfect Circle?

Not radically. But I've modified a lot of things. Everything was very powerful with Manson. Sometimes we were able to play full tilt without caring a lot about the rest. Now I have to concentrate more, simply because the songs are more complex to remember and to play. You see, on an almost 8 minutes song like "The Package", I cannot be vague. And the drummer is Josh Freeze, I must insure. (Smile)

The end of the Manson adventure hasn't slowed your activity down. What exactly happened between both of you?

I had arrived at a point where I wasn't able to continue. Everything was a bit confused in my head. I wasn't seeing the different things we could have made with Marilyn and I was a bit tired of the lifestyle. I thought it was time to go to something else. You know, we aren't on bad terms. It's a separation made of one accord.

And how does the work go today, with guys like Billy Howerdel and Maynard James Keenan?

They're easy to get on with. And before everything else, they're friends. It makes things a lot easier. When I joined the band, the majority of the album was already written. I only took part in the writing of "The Package" and "Crimes". But, on the other hand, I recorded all the songs. I'll tell you more by the next album.

This means that you're gonna stay with A Perfect Circle?

Yes. I think we'll be touring at least until next summer. Then, we will take a one year break, for landing, writing again or even, for some of us, to do some side projects.

And you will do one?

Yes. I think maybe I'm gonna work on my own album after the tour. I'm in close contact with Chris Goss from Masters Of Reality. And Josh has The Vandals, and Maynard is with Tool. It will give us some time to get fresh air before meeting again. Maybe it's what I missed with Marilyn Manson... to breathe, sometimes.

So now A Perfect Circle really has a stable line-up?

Of course! We only have to succeed in granting one's timetable of work with the others' ones. And each musician who is now in the band seems to be happy where he is. Why not continue under these conditions?