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Billy Howerdel Talks A Perfect Circle, Ashes Divide + Trent Reznor’s Guitar Destruction

Billy Howerdel
George De Sota, Getty Images

A Perfect Circle will strap on the instruments for a handful of one-off shows and festival appearances in the coming months, but the big question remains as to when we’ll see new music from the band. Guitarist and founder Billy Howerdel says that while nothing is imminent, he has been working on music for the group.

Howerdel tells the Las Vegas Weekly, “[I] kind of [have some new material]. I mean, I haven’t even sprung them on [singer] Maynard [James Keenan] yet.” The band, who will play a show in Las Vegas tonight before heading off to Australia’s Soundwave Festival in February, is currently deciding on if they will include any new songs in their sets. The guitarist says there was one new track they played last summer that could likely return, but that he doubts any of his newer music will find its way into sets.

As for talk of a new album, Howerdel says, “I’d love to [release another disc] — when the time is right. It would be awesome. I’m trying to write songs with that in mind, but … right now, I’m focusing most of my energy on a new Ashes Divide record, which is underway with 11 songs. Still working on finishing vocals and writing lyrics and hopefully get that thing mixed in January or February.”

In related news, Howerdel also spoke with the Las Vegas Review-Journal about his past work as a guitar tech for several major acts, including Nine Inch Nails. Howerdel recalls having to repair numerous “completely and deliberately smashed” instruments for Trent Reznor. He explains, “The only way I’ve seen [a broken guitar] is Trent hauling the thing 30 feet in the air, hitting the lighting truss, doing a triple pirouette into the stage and just shattering. I did buy new guitars constantly. I think the number was 137 Les Pauls working for Trent.”

The guitarist said working for Reznor taught him a valuable lesson. He explains, “You learn how to fix them and save the tour some money. He let me take a couple of guitars at the end of the tour and I took the best sounding of the 137. That’s my main guitar.”

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