Last year, A Perfect Circle released what was one of the most anticipated albums of the year, Thirteenth Step, and the all-star band is still touring in support of the album. The band consists of drummer extraordinaire Josh Freese, former Failure guitarist Billy Howerdel, and the crown jewel of the band is Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan. Bassist Paz Lenchantin left for Zwan, and the band replaced her with former Marilyn Manson bassist Jeordie White¸ who previously went by Twiggy Ramirez. Also departing the band was Troy Van Leeowen, who was replaced by former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha. The new, retooled band took what was created on their debut, Mer De Noms, and forged ahead with Thirteenth Step. The band will continue touring through 2004 to the chagrin of Tool fans.

New bassist Jeordie White phoned in to ARTISAN NEWS SERVICE to talk about joining the all-star group, his role in the band, and his days with the notorious Marilyn Manson.

Q: Was it easy to fit in with A Perfect Circle ?

A: “Yes. It took a little bit of work at first and then it all settled in.”

Q: Was there any pressure to fill the shoes of former APC bassist Paz Lenchantin?

A: “No. I don’t think so. Paz is a great player, and she was off doing something else at the time. And it was just a different version of the band. I’ve never heard anyone complain about it.”

Q: It’s weird some hardcore A Perfect Circle fans had posts on certain websites, “Paz or Jeordie?”

A: “They’re gonna do that.”

Q: Can you compare playing in A Perfect Circle to playing in Marilyn Manson?

A: “Um, it’s different. It’s apples and oranges. It’s two different bands. With Manson I did most of the writing and with this Billy does most of the writing. So it’s kind of fun to play other people’s music. It’s something different.”

Q: It seems like there’s a different side to your playing with A Perfect Circle .

A: “Yeah, the songs are in a lot of different time signatures than I usually write in. It’s definitely more challenging at first. I definitely learned a lot going over these songs. I still play as aggressive as I did with Manson, but this is a little more complicated.”

Q: What was the most proud moment with Manson?

A: “Probably Antichrist Superstar. It was just that everything was in place at the right time. We weren’t really trying very hard. We just came to do it. It was very natural and it was definitely an honest record as far as what was going on in our lives at that point.”

Q: What transpired between you and Marilyn Manson. You’ve obviously moved on.

A: “We’ve still remained friends. I just honestly don’t have more to offer Marilyn Manson’s band. I took it as far as I could, and it was time to branch out into other things.”

Q: Do you think it’s still strange that Marilyn Manson is a target?

A: “I think he asks for it, so that’s half the charm of it. I don’t think he’s a victim. He asks for that kind of attention.”

Q: What was it like touring on Lollapalooza last summer?

A: “It was great to play with Jane’s, Jane’s Addiction, They’re still a great band, and it was was a great collection of bands – a lot of fun actually.”

Q: A lot has been made about Maynard James Keenan’s mom passing away, if it affected the album or not.

A: “Well I know Billy’s mom passed away at the time of the first record, so I really got to know Billy after that. I was really just getting to know Maynard around the time his mother passed away, so I’m not really the person to answer that question.”

Q: Were there any songs that didn’t make the album?

A: “There are some more songs I’m sure. Some of those will see the light of day eventually. We just picked the ones that fit the album.”

Q: Was “Weak And Powerless” the obvious choice for the album’s first single?

A: “It was mostly Maynard’s idea for that song. At first I wasn’t confident in that being the first single. I stand corrected. I guess it really worked out for the best.”

Q: What’s your take on the response people have given to the new line-up of A Perfect Circle ?

A: “With me coming from Manson and James coming from Smashing Pumpkins, it actually has put the band on a higher... I think we’re getting even more attention now that James and I are in the band because we’re both veteran musicians that took it a little further than A Perfect Circle did.”