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2000.09.02 - Calgary Herald - Rock Supergroup Takes Shape (Josh)

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Post by Blackstar on Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:47 am

2000.09.02 - Calgary Herald - Rock Supergroup Takes Shape (Josh) 2000_056


Rock supergroup takes shape

A Perfect Circle zooms up the charts

Calgary Herald

Josh Freese has been running in circles for years. He’s bounded from one project to another in his time — from Devo to Guns N’ Roses, Indigo Girls, Suicidal Tendencies and his ongoing link with The Vandals — but he’s finally found a home for his frenetic drumming in the heavy alt-rock outfit A Perfect Circle.

The band comprises vocalist Maynard James Keenan (Tool), guitarist Billy Howerdel (instrumentalist and engineer on Guns N’ Roses live album and ex-Tool guitar tech), guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen (Failure, Coalchamber, Crazy Town), bassist Paz Lenchantin and Freese.

The band is widely considered one of the alt-rock world’s supergroups, but Freese wants nothing to do with labels. “We hate that term,” Freese said. Making fun of the tag, he suggests an alternative. “We’re a super-duper group,” he says with a hearty laugh.

Like any true punker, Freese treats his growing renown as a joke. In his world, you have to maintain the idea that success sucks — even when it’s providing you with a better life than you ever dreamed. He insists he’s just doing what it takes to survive.

“I love The Vandals,” admits Freese, “but I have to be constantly working my ass off and being involved in a million things at all times to make a living."

A Perfect Circle is much more than just another band on Freese’s resume.

Its first disc, Mer de Noms (Sea of Names) earned a staggering chart debut, rocketing into the Billboard Top 200 all the way up to No. 4—the highest album chart entry ever for a rock band’s first album. Propelled by the first single, Judith, the debut sold 188,034 copies in its first week.

Three months later, Mer De Noms has already sold 80,000 units in Canada and has gone nine times platinum (900,000) in the U.S.

The group’s performances on the Summersault Tour (which rolled through Edmonton last month) were well received by fans and critics alike. The tour was one of the few surprises for Freese last year. He expected to be locked down tight recording Guns N’ Roses next, long-delayed album.

“I’m not really able to talk about it,” says Freese of his GN’R experience, explaining that a friendly agreement is in place. However, he did mention band leader Axel [sic] Rose has finished a bunch of songs.” Rumours have been rife that Rose had been unable to accomplish anything during the supposedly tumultuous sessions.

“I enjoyed the time in the studio with (Rose) — he was a pleasure to work with,” Freese said. “But I had to make a decision and I decided I wanted to do A Perfect Circle and get out on tour. I really believe in this record.”

Part of what attracted Freese to the new group was the exceptional dedication of its members to the project.

“We didn’t have a deal when we made (Mer de Noms) but Billy and Maynard spared no expense in making sure everything and every last detail was tended to. They 're very thorough.”

How does Freese jump from the punk zaniness of The Vandals to the more controlled environment of A Perfect Circle? Freese jokes that being schizophrenic helps.

“It’s not fun and games like The Van-dais. A Perfect Circle doesn’t make you laugh, but it’s still fun to play. I love the music we’re doing.

“The ‘fan and smartass obnoxious' side of my personality comes out with the Vandals and the ‘serious focused musician guy’ comes out with A Perfect Circle.”

Freese and his bandmates all have other projects on the go, but Freese says he expects this job to be the main focus of the years ahead.

This doesn’t seem like a side project to any of us. This has become a priority for everyone involved.”


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