Dec. 4, 2003

A Perfect Circle Makes the Rock World Go Round

By Randy J. Klodz

A Perfect Circle, the rock band that has taken on more of a cult following since the band’s debut release “Mer de Noms” in the Spring of 2000, has taken on some personnel changes, yet managed to release “Thirteenth Step,” the band’s second album, in September.

Maynard James Keenan, who also is the frontman for the popular experimental rock band Tool is still aboard. As is the bald-headed guitarist Billy Howerdel--who was at one time a guitar tech for Tool, and drummer Josh Freese.

In is ex-Marilyn Manson bassist Jeordie White, who is better known as Twiggy Ramirez, filling in for Paz Lenchantin, who went on to play bass for Zwan, which has since reportedly disbanded. Also in is James Iha, who was once the longtime guitarist for The Smashing Pumpkins, filing in for original guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen, who can now be found playing guitar for Queens of the Stone Age.

With the release of “Mer de Noms,” A Perfect Circle toured behind the hard rocking single “Judith,” and later singles “The Hollow” and “13 Libras,” quickly earning the band sold-out shows in large theatres and small arenas, not bad for a band with one album under its belt.

Keenan, always one to have a poetic twist with his lyrics, has a way to make harrowing lyrics sound innocent with his deep, reeling singing voice. On “The Noose,” the third track from “Thirteenth Step,” Keenan sings: “And not to pull your halo down / Around your neck and tug you to the ground / But I'm more than just a little curious / How you're planning to go about / Making your amends to the dead.” Lyrics such as these have little life if spouted by a screaming metal band, yet Keenan barely bats an eyelash.

The first single released for “Thirteenth Step” was “Weak and Powerless,” a slow-moving rock piece with sing-along choruses and crafty guitars, similar to the popular “Mer de Noms” single “The Hollow.” The next single to be released to radio is reportedly, “The Outsider,” a song that should pander to the tastes of any rock music fan.

The album’s lightest song, “The Nurse Who Loved Me,” showcases orchestral instrumentation, along with Keenan’s soft voice singing: “I'm taking her home with me all dressed in white / She's got everything I need some pills and a little cup / She's falling hard for me I can see it in her eyes / She acts just like a nurse with all the other guys.”

Though the band is currently on tour supporting “Thirteenth Step,” a Chicago date has yet to surface. For more information on the band, please view

A Perfect Circle Photo: Sean Murphy