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A Perfect Circle

Updated on September 11, 2014

A Perfect Circle - Circa 1999 - 2001

Conceived by Billy Howerdel and Maynard James Keenan, A Perfect Circle came about in late 1999. Keenan handled vocals, with Howerdel taking lead guitar/backing vocals, with bassist and violinist Paz Lenchantin, rhythm guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen, and drummer Josh Freese (who replaced original drummer Tim Alexander) rounding out the band.

In May 2000, after playing shows in Los Angeles, the band released its first album, entailed Mer De Noms. The title is French for "sea of names". It was the highest debut for a rock band, hitting number #4 on the Billboard 200 and selling 188,000 copies in its first week of release.

The band toured to promote the album, opening for Nine Inch nails on the "Fragility v2.0" tour then embarked on their own headlining world tour in 2001.

Mer De Noms had three hit singles and the videos for Judith and 3 Libras played in heavy rotation on MTV. The album was certified platinum in October 2000.

Maynard James Keenan

Lead Vocals

Maynard James Keenan is not only the vocalist for A Perfect Circle but vocalist for the multi-platinum rock band Tool as well as his side-project Puscifer.

Reclusive, Maynard has served in the United States Army, performed stand up comedy in the early 1990s, and dabbled in acting, appearing in 2009's Crank: High Voltage. He also operates and owns Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars outside Sedona, AZ. His son Devo H. Keenan sang backing vocals on 2003's Thirteenth Step.

Billy Howerdel

Lead and Rhythm Guitars ~ Vocals

Citing a Pink Floyd concert as the catalyst for his interest in becoming involved in music, Billy Howerdel started out as a sound tech for bands in New Jersey before moving up to guitar tech. He worked on tour for the likes of Faith No More, The Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, David Bowie, Guns N' Roses, and Tool.

Howerdel met Keenan in 1992 and served as a guitar tech during the recording and subsequent tour for Tool's album Ãnima. In 1995, after accepting an offer to live with Keenan, Howerdel shared recordings of music he had made, to which Keenan expressed interest in singing vocals for. The two formed A Perfect Circle.

During hiatuses, Howerdel formed his own band Ashes Divide. He recorded all musical instrument tracks for the band's first album, except for the drums which were played by Josh Freese. He has also played with Abandoned Pools. Howerdel also wrote and recorded music for "Jak X: Combat Racing", a video game.

Paz Lenchantin

Bass ~ Strings ~ Backing Vocals

Argentinian-born Los Angeles native Paz Lenchantin began to play piano at age five, followed by violin lessons at eight and self-taught guitar playing at twelve. She joined A Perfect Circle for their first album, Mer De Noms.

After leaving the band, she formed The Chelsea, an all-female "supergroup" with Melissa Auf de Maur, Samantha Maloney, and Radio Sloan. The Chelsea only played one show before disbanding. Since then, Lenchantin has worked with Entrance since 2004.

Lenchantin has played on several albums of as well as toured with various bands, including Queens of the Stone Age, Papa M, Silver Jews, Trust Company, Kaura, and Brightblack Morning Light and Ashes Divide.

She has also recorded and released two solo albums, Yellow mY skYcaptain (2000) and Songs For Luci (2006) as well as frequently collaborating with her sister, Ana.


Mer De Noms (2000)

Troy Van Leeuwen

Rhythm Guitars

Troy Van Leeuwen started his musical career on drums, but after realizing he could not sound like idol John Bonham he moved to guitar. He played with the band Jester in the late 1980s before moving to 60 Cycle, and finally on to Failure.

After Failure broke up, Troy worked as a sessions musician and recording engineer, working with Crazy Town, Coal Chamber, Korn and Orgy. During this time he was introduced to Keenan who offered him the spot of rhythm guitarist.

Van Leeuwen recorded guitar tracks for three of the songs on Thirteenth Step before accepting an invitation to join Queens of the Stone Age for their tour in support of Songs For the Deaf. He has since stayed on, recording two studio alums with Queens in addition to touring in support of them.

During hiatuses, Van Leeuwen has worked on his side project, Sweethead. He has also contributed to The Gutter Twins, the Desert Sessions, Mondo Generator, Eagles of Death Metal, and Mark Lanegan's solo album.

Josh Freese


A session drummer and songwriter, Freese is the song of a Disneyland Band conductor. He began to play drums professionally at age twelve in a band at Disneyland called Polo. Freese left school at age fifteen and began to tour with as well as record albums with various bands, including Dweezil Zappa and The Vandals.

Freese has been a member of, song writer, or touring musician with the likes of Devo, Weezer, The Offspring, Sting, Guns N' Roses, Nine Inch Nails, Ween, Ashes Divide, Paul Westerberg, Suicidal Tendencies, Good Charlotte, Lostprophets, Black Light Burns, Replacements, Goon Moon, The Dwarves, Queens of the Stone Age, Daughtry, 311, Social Distortion, Megadeth, Katy Perry, Cher, Gavin Rossdale, Avril Lavigne, Ayumi Hamasaki, Joe Cocker, Jubilee, and the Desert Sessions in addition to playing and recording with A Perfect Circle.

In 2009 he released his second solo album Since 1972 via his website. The album was distributed in various value-added packages with marketing stunts including a package worth $75,000.

A Perfect Circle - Circa 2002 - 2004

A Perfect Circle went on hiatus from 2000 to 2002, while Keenan worked with Tool. When the band regrouped it was forced to replace Paz Lenchantin and Troy Van Leeuwen, who had moved on to other projects. Bassist Jeordie White stepped in to replace Lenchantin and guitarist Danny Lohner, who the song Renholdër on Mer De Noms was named for, took over for Van Leeuwen. Unfortunately, Lohner did not work out as a rhythm guitarist and James Iha replaced him.

Thirteenth Step, the band's second album, was released in September 2003 and was heralded as a different sound then the band's first album. Following the release, the band toured the United States before embarking on a world-wide tour in 2004.

A third album, eMOTIVe was released in November 2004 to coincide with the US presidential election. The album 10 "political" songs as well as 2 "original" songs. The album single, Passive was a remake of a song called Vacant by the defunct project known as Tapeworm. The song had originally been created by Keenan, Danny Lohner, and Trent Reznor and was used in the 2005 film Constantine.

Thirteenth Step (2003)

James Iha

Rhythm Guitars

Chicago-native James Iha started as a guitarist for Snake Train when he met Billy Corgan in 1987. The two formed Smashing Pumpkins. In addition to playing guitars on seven albums for the band, Iha also wrote and sang several songs.

When the Smashing Pumpkins broke up in 2000, Iha contributed to other recordings by Whiskeytown, Ivy, and Fountains of Wayne. He joined A Perfect Circle in 2003, to support the band on their club tour. he also contributed to remixes of songs Blue and The Outsider on the eMOTIVe album.

After leaving A Perfect Circle he joined Vanessa and the O's as well as scoring a Japanese film as well as contributing recorded tracks to various bands.

Iha has released one solo album, Let It Come Down and is currently working on a second. He has also joined Taylor Hanson, Adam Schlesinger, and Bun E. Carlos to form Tinted Windows, who released their first album in April 2009. In late 2010 it was announced Iha would be rejoining A Perfect Circle for tour dates in the fall/winter of 2010.

Jeordie White


Jeordie White was inspired to begin a musical career after hearing the musical score from Star Wars. He began to play guitar around age thirteen and played in various southern Florida metal bands in his teens and early twenties.

In 1993 he joined the band Marilyn Manson as a bassist, taking the stage name of Twiggy Ramirez. He would write, record, and tour in support of five albums with Marilyn Manson before leaving the band in 2003. White would audition for spots in Metallica and Queens of the Stone Age before replacing Paz Lenchantin in A Perfect Circle. He contributed to eMOTIVe as well as toured with the band in support of Thirteenth Step.

White contributed to the Desert Sessions as well as Melissa Auf de Maur's solo album as well as forming his own side project Goon Moon, with Chris Goss. In 2005 he joined Nine Inch Nails, supporting them on tour as well as with production of With Teeth and Year Zero.

In 2008 Jeordie formally rejoined Marilyn Manson and recorded a new album, The High End of Low, with them. He is also appearing as a DJ in various clubs in Los Angeles in addition to working on new material for Goon Moon.

eMOTIVe (2004)

Emotive [Explicit]
Emotive [Explicit]

Annihilation (Crucifix)

Imagine (John Lennon)

Peace, Love and Understanding (Nick Lowe)

What's Going On (Marvin Gaye)

Passive (Tapeworm)

Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie (Black Flag)

People Are People (Depeche Mode)

Freedom of Choice (Devo)

Let's Have a War (Fear)

Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums

When the Levee Breaks (Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe McCoy; Led Zeppelin)

Fiddle and the Drum (Joni Mitchell)


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A Perfect Circle

Returning in 2010

A Perfect Circle played their last official show on June 13th, 2004. The members split to work on their various projects and other bands. Keenan returned to Tool as well as started side project Puscifer. Howerdel started Ashes Divide. Freese and White joined Nine Inch Nails as drummer and bassist respectively, before White rejoined Marilyn Manson under his stage name of "Twiggy Ramirez". Iha recorded and released a solo record.

Throughout the latter half of the decade, Howerdel and Keenan would discuss the future of the band but nothing concrete ever came about. At times the band would be described as "alive" while at others it was declared "over".

In late 2008 Keenan announced that he and Howerdel had begun writing new material for A Perfect Circle. In June and August 2010, hints were dropped that something was coming from the band soon. Messages began to pop up on the members' various Twitter accounts, prompting a surge of anticipation.

In September 2010, the band announced that they would play several three-night shows in selected cities, devoting one night to each album. The touring line up was announced as Keenan, Howerdel, Freese, Iha, and Ashes Divide bassist Matt McJunkins.

Thank You for Visiting!

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    • filmic profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice Lens! Used to love Tool, pretty much up to Aenima, got into APC from the Maynard link. They are great though!

    • JoyceCooper LM profile image

      JoyceCooper LM 

      7 years ago

      Can't wait to get more APC!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great band, glad to hear of their reunion

    • juliannegentile profile image

      Julianne Gentile 

      7 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio, US

      I love it! Blessed!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      nice lens. check out mine if you get a chance, I went through and ranked all of the songs tool has ever put out. let me know what you think.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I like James Iha.

    • remanon profile image


      8 years ago

      A fav. of mine. Super lens, well done

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 

      8 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      I have never ever heard of them! Thank you for the introduction:)


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