Since 1999, the bald guitarist has played in a band that has brought him as much success as trouble: A Perfect Circle. A cooperation with Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan, who has hardly any time, but all the more whims. Logical consequence: With "What Normal Was," the frustrated Howerdel goes it alone - and speaks plainly.
eclipsed: Do you wish you had recorded more music with Maynard over the last 23 years?
Billy Howerdel: No question about it! If his schedule had allowed it, we would have made more than four albums, guaranteed.
eclipsed: Did you get into a dependency there that you regret? Was it a mistake to get hooked on him as a singer?
Howerdel: If you would have asked me this question six years ago - before we recorded "Eat The Elephant" - I would actually have had a lot of trouble giving a positive answer. But I'm incredibly proud of what we've done lately, and I think "Eat The Elephant" is our best album - especially in terms of lyrics and vocals. In my eyes, that makes up for a lot. With all his commitments, Maynard is in a difficult situation, and I always knew what I was getting into - that Tool is the top priority and I have to work with the few windows of opportunity that open up. Of course, it was often frustrating over the years to have to take such long breaks, but in the meantime I have also realized that this approach was quite good for our sound. So that we always sound a bit different just because so much happens in the meantime. According to the motto: Maybe the albums wouldn't have been so good if we had released them in a two-year rhythm - and people would have had enough of us long ago. (laughs)
eclipsed: So you're not jealous of Puscifer, with whom Maynard is touring the U.S. right now - as you are?
Howerdel: Not really. Puscifer are very different from Tool or APC - it's his fun side. And it's done with a theatrical show that's really good. To me it has something of a combination of Monty Python, good music and a very over-the-top presentation. He jumps from one thing to another there, it's lively and emotional, and he does a wonderful job. In that respect, I have to say: after all these years, I don't just consider him one of my best friends, I consider him a brother. We're a family - and it's only natural not to talk to each other for four months. But when we do, we're right back on the same page. And that probably describes our relationship best: We live our own lives, we're pretty busy, but it's always great to spend time together.