Billy Howerdel

Last updated

Billy Howerdel
Billy Howerdel.jpg
Howerdel performing with Ashes Divide in 2008.
Background information
Born (1970-05-18) May 18, 1970 (age 49)
Genres Rock, hard rock, alternative rock, alternative metal, experimental rock, industrial
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter, producer, audio engineer
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, bass, keyboards
Years active1988–present
Associated acts A Perfect Circle, Ashes Divide

Billy Howerdel (born May 18, 1970) is the founding member, guitarist, singer-songwriter, and producer for the bands A Perfect Circle and Ashes Divide. He has recorded four acclaimed studio albums with the former, and in 2008, Ashes Divide released their debut album, Keep Telling Myself It's Alright .

A Perfect Circle American band

A Perfect Circle is an American rock supergroup formed in 1999 by guitarist Billy Howerdel and Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan. A Perfect Circle has released four studio albums, the first three during the early 2000s: Mer de Noms, their debut album in 2000, and followed up by Thirteenth Step in 2003; then in 2004, Emotive—an album of radically re-worked cover songs. Shortly after Emotive's release, the band went on hiatus; Keenan returned to Tool and started up solo work under the band name Puscifer; and Howerdel released a solo album, Keep Telling Myself It's Alright, under the moniker Ashes Divide. Band activity was sporadic in the following years; the band reformed in 2010, and played live shows on and off between 2010 and 2013, but fell into inactivity after the release of their greatest hits album, Three Sixty, and a live album box set, A Perfect Circle Live: Featuring Stone and Echo in late 2013. The band reformed in 2017 to record a fourth album, Eat the Elephant, which was released on April 20, 2018.

Ashes Divide is the name used for the solo project of American rock musician Billy Howerdel, guitarist of the alternative rock band A Perfect Circle, where he is the primary songwriter, musician, producer, and vocalist. The project's debut album, Keep Telling Myself It's Alright, was released in 2008. Howerdel formed a live band and toured in support of the album through the rest of the year, but the project fell to the wayside after A Perfect Circle reformation in 2010. Howerdel frequently discussed working on new material for the project as recently as 2017, but no further material had been released, with Howerdel instead focusing on A Perfect Circle's fourth album, Eat the Elephant, released on April 20, 2018.

<i>Keep Telling Myself Its Alright</i> 2008 studio album by Ashes Divide

Keep Telling Myself It's Alright is the debut studio album by American rock band Ashes Divide, the solo-project by A Perfect Circle guitarist Billy Howerdel. While efforts towards a Howerdel solo album were started even back in his time in A Perfect Circle during touring in support of their 2003 album Thirteenth Step, commitments to A Perfect Circle and other projects, along with some difficult recording sessions, pushed the album's US release out to April 8, 2008. It was released in Australia on April 19. Its first single, "The Stone," entered radio circulation in January of that year.


Early life

Howerdel was born in New Jersey. He attended high school at West Milford High School in West Milford, New Jersey. [1] He played some sports but took an interest in a television production class and was very active in an extracurricular audio program. This program gave Howerdel the foundation for his post-high school audio technician pursuits and eventually led to his high-profile guitar technician positions. Stephen Porcello, the high school teacher who was the adviser for this program took Howerdel into New York City and helped him select his first electric guitar. Howerdel cites attending a Pink Floyd concert as a youngster as the catalyst for wanting to be involved in music. He spent several years sound engineering for New Jersey bands and further worked as a guitar technician for numerous others, which before forming A Perfect Circle included Faith No More, Fishbone, David Bowie, The Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, Guns N' Roses, and Tool.

New Jersey U.S. state in the United States

New Jersey is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is a peninsula, bordered on the north and east by the state of New York; on the east, southeast, and south by the Atlantic Ocean; on the west by the Delaware River and Pennsylvania; and on the southwest by the Delaware Bay and Delaware. New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state by area but the 11th-most populous, with 9 million residents as of 2017, making it the most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states with its biggest city being Newark. New Jersey lies completely within the combined statistical areas of New York City and Philadelphia. New Jersey was the second-wealthiest U.S. state by median household income as of 2017.

West Milford High School

West Milford High School is a four-year comprehensive community public high school that serves students in ninth through twelfth grades from West Milford, in Passaic County, New Jersey, United States, operating as the lone secondary school of the West Milford Township Public Schools. The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools since 1968.

West Milford, New Jersey Township in New Jersey, United States

West Milford is a township in Passaic County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 25,850, reflecting a decline of 560 (-2.1%) from the 26,410 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 980 (+3.9%) from the 25,430 counted in the 1990 Census.

Recording career

A Perfect Circle

Howerdel functioned as a guitar technician for Tool during the tour and recording of Ænima , working with Maynard James Keenan, whom he met in 1992. During this time, Howerdel played Keenan some of his songs, and Keenan offered his vocals if Howerdel ever decided to form a band. [2] Despite originally considering a female singer, Howerdel would eventually accept Keenan's offer. [3] In 1999, Howerdel founded A Perfect Circle, and invited Keenan to join.

Tool (band) American metal band

Tool is an American rock band from Los Angeles. Formed in 1990, the group's line-up includes drummer Danny Carey, guitarist Adam Jones, and vocalist Maynard James Keenan. Justin Chancellor has been the band's bassist since 1995, replacing their original bassist Paul D'Amour. Tool has won three Grammy Awards, performed worldwide tours, and produced albums topping the charts in several countries.

<i>Ænima</i> 1996 studio album by Tool

Ænima is the second studio album by American rock band Tool. It was released in vinyl format on September 17, 1996, and in compact disc format on October 1, 1996 through Zoo Entertainment. The album was recorded and cut at Ocean Way, Hollywood and The Hook, North Hollywood from 1995 to 1996. The album was produced by David Bottrill.

Maynard James Keenan American musician

Maynard James Keenan is an American singer-songwriter. He is the lead singer of the rock bands Tool and A Perfect Circle with whom he has released five and four studio albums, respectively. In 2003, he created Puscifer as a side project, with which he has released three studio albums.

Ashes Divide

Howerdel is currently actively involved in his new solo project, Ashes Divide. Howerdel handled nearly all the instruments in the studio for the release, except the drums for which he recruited session musician Josh Freese. The first single, "The Stone", gained some radio play, and the band toured for the album throughout 2008. [4]

Session musician Profession; musician hired to perform in recording sessions or live performances

Session musicians, studio musicians, or backing musicians are musicians hired to perform in recording sessions or live performances. Session musicians are usually not permanent members of a musical ensemble or band. They work behind the scenes and rarely achieve individual fame in their own right as soloists or bandleaders. However, top session musicians are well known within the music industry, and some have become publicly recognized, such as the Wrecking Crew, and The Funk Brothers who worked with Motown Records.

Josh Freese American musician

Joshua Ryan Freese is an American session drummer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and composer. He is the son of tuba soloist Stan Freese and the older brother of musician Jason Freese.

The Stone (Ashes Divide song) 2008 single by Ashes Divide

"The Stone" is a song by American band ASHES dIVIDE and is their debut single from their debut album Keep Telling Myself It's Alright, which was released on April 8, 2008. The music video for the song was released in March.

Other projects

Howerdel has occasionally played live with the band Abandoned Pools. In 2005, he wrote and recorded music for the video game Jak X: Combat Racing , which also features remixes of Howerdel's songs by Danny Lohner and Dean Menta, and musicians Josh Freese and Troy Van Leeuwen of Queens of the Stone Age, Atom Willard of Angels And Airwaves, Joey Castillo of Queens of the Stone Age, ex-A Perfect Circle bassist Paz Lenchantin, and Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit. Howerdel also worked on the Guns N' Roses album Chinese Democracy , specifically the song "There Was A Time".

<i>Jak X: Combat Racing</i> 2005 video game

Jak X: Combat Racing is a vehicular combat video game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE). First released for the PlayStation 2 console on October 18, 2005, it is the fourth installment in the Jak and Daxter series. The plot follows protagonist Jak and his allies who, after having been poisoned, must partake in a championship of the fictional sport of "combat racing" in an effort to obtain an antidote.

Daniel Patrick "Danny" Lohner, frequently known as Renholdër, is an American musician. He worked with Trent Reznor on numerous occasions, both with Nine Inch Nails and on the now defunct Tapeworm project. He has also played for Methods of Mayhem, and in the past was one of the founding members of industrial-thrash outlet Skrew, as well as one of the members of the Texas thrash metal band Angkor Wat.

Dean Menta is an American music editor and composer living in Los Angeles, California.

Personal life

In a 2008 interview Howerdel said he did not take drugs, drank only occasionally, and practiced Transcendental Meditation. [5]

The Transcendental Meditation technique or TM is a form of silent mantra meditation, developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The meditation practice involves the use of a mantra and is practiced for 20 minutes twice per day while sitting with one's eyes closed. Beginning in 1965, the Transcendental Meditation technique has been incorporated into schools, universities, corporations, and prison programs in the United States, Latin America, Europe, and India. In 1977, a U.S. federal district court ruled that a curriculum in TM and the Science of Creative Intelligence (SCI) being taught in some New Jersey schools was religious in nature and in violation of the First Amendment. However, the technique has since been included in a number of educational and social programs around the world.


Billy has replaced his previous effects rig with an Axe-FX II made by Fractal Audio.[ citation needed ] He is also using Naked amps made by Dave Friedman of Rack Systems.


Related Research Articles

<i>Thirteenth Step</i> 2003 studio album by A Perfect Circle

Thirteenth Step is the second studio album by American rock band A Perfect Circle, released on September 16, 2003. The album sold well, charting at the number 2 position on the Billboard 200 in its premiere week, selling over 231,000 copies and staying on the charts for 78 weeks. The album went on to be certified as gold on November 4, 2003 and as platinum on March 24, 2006 by the RIAA. Three singles were released from the album, "Weak and Powerless", which topped both the Mainstream Rock Tracks and Modern Rock Tracks, followed by "The Outsider" and "Blue", which also charted on the respective charts.

<i>Emotive</i> (album) 2004 studio album by A Perfect Circle

Emotive is the third studio album by American rock band A Perfect Circle. The album is primarily a collection of anti-war cover songs. It was released on November 1, 2004 via Virgin Records to coincide with the US presidential election. Two singles were released in support of the album; a cover of John Lennon's "Imagine", and "Passive", a previously unreleased song originating from the defunct Tapeworm project. The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart, though the band would not tour in support of the album, later entering a hiatus. It would be the band's last release until 2018's Eat the Elephant.

"3 Libras" is a song by alternative rock band A Perfect Circle. The song was the second single from their debut album Mer de Noms. The song was well received both critically and commercially, with it peaking at number 12 on both the Billboard US Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts in 2001.


Sweethead is an American alternative rock group formed in 2008. The group's lineup consists of singer Serrina Sims and guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Troy Van Leeuwen. For recording and touring they are joined by a variety of guest musicians, many of which are current or former members of Queens of the Stone Age or Mark Lanegan Band.

By and Down 2013 single by A Perfect Circle

"By and Down" is a single by alternative rock band A Perfect Circle in 2013. The track represented the first studio material from the band in almost a decade's time. The studio version appears on the band's greatest hits album, Three Sixty, while a live version appears on their live box-set A Perfect Circle Live: Featuring Stone and Echo, both released in 2013. The song peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. An alternate version of the song, titled "By and Down the River", was later released on the band's fourth studio album, Eat the Elephant.

<i>A Perfect Circle Live: Featuring Stone and Echo</i> 2013 box set by A Perfect Circle

A Perfect Circle Live: Featuring Stone and Echo is a live box set by American rock supergroup, A Perfect Circle. It was released via the band's own label, A Perfect Circle Entertainment, on November 26, 2013, a week after the release of the band's greatest hits album, Three Sixty.

<i>Three Sixty</i> 2013 greatest hits album by A Perfect Circle

Three Sixty is a greatest hits compilation released by American rock band A Perfect Circle on November 19, 2013. The set compiles songs from previous albums by the band and includes one new song, "By and Down". The album was also released in a deluxe edition which includes additional studio songs from the band's back catalog and live tracks from 2011 featured on the limited edition box set A Perfect Circle Live: Featuring Stone and Echo.

Matt McJunkins American musician

Matt McJunkins is an American musician best known for touring and recording with the American rock band A Perfect Circle. He is a former touring bassist for Eagles of Death Metal. He is one of the founding members of The Beta Machine, a rock band formed with Jeff Friedl. McJunkins has also worked with Thirty Seconds to Mars, Ashes Divide, Puscifer, and Socadia.

"Blue" is a song by American rock band A Perfect Circle. It was the third single from the band's second studio album, Thirteenth Step, behind the releases of the singles "Weak and Powerless" and "The Outsider". While not as successful as the prior two singles, which crossed over into the Billboard Hot 100 charts and hit the top 5 of the Mainstream Rock charts, the song was still a moderate success, peaking at number 19 on the latter chart. A remix version, "Blue ", was created by guitarist James Iha and released on the band's compilation album Amotion as well, and also received radio airplay.

<i>Eat the Elephant</i> 2018 studio album by A Perfect Circle

Eat the Elephant is the fourth studio album by American rock band A Perfect Circle. It is their first album release in fourteen years, after 2004's Emotive. While early work on new material traces back to as early as 2008, years of slow progress would ensue due to issues between the band's chief music writers, frontman Maynard James Keenan and guitarist Billy Howerdel, largely stemming from their commitments to other projects and inability to come to an agreement on the direction to take the band. Renewed focus, alongside assistance from music producer Dave Sardy, helped propel the band into much more productive sessions across 2017, with the album being completed in early 2018. Thematically, the album covers a variety of Keenan's views on modern societal, religious, and political issues, focusing on his perceived lack of accountability in humanity. Musically, the album was viewed as an extension and maturation of their rock sound, adding more piano and electronic elements into songs for a more mellow sound than prior albums.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (A Perfect Circle song) single by A Perfect Circle

"So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish" is a song by American rock band A Perfect Circle. It was released on April 15, 2018, as their fourth single off their album Eat the Elephant. The song's title is taken from the Douglas Adams book So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, the fourth book in his The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.

"The Contrarian" is a song by American rock band A Perfect Circle. It is off of the band's fourth studio album, Eat the Elephant.

<i>Mer de Noms</i> 2000 studio album by A Perfect Circle

Mer de Noms is the debut studio album by American rock band A Perfect Circle. The album was released on May 23, 2000, and entered the Billboard 200 at No. 4, making it the highest ever Billboard 200 debut for a rock band's first album. It sold over 188,000 copies in the first week, and was certified platinum by the RIAA later that same year. Three singles were released in promotion of the album, "Judith", "3 Libras", and "The Hollow", all of which hit the top 20 of both the Billboard US Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts.


  1. Makin, Robert. "Album Reviews", Courier-News , June 1, 2000. Accessed October 25, 2015. "Keenan formed the band with West Milford-raised guitarist Billy Howerdel, who performed on 'Aenima.'"
  2. Summers, Jodi (2004). Making and Marketing Music. Allworth Communications, Inc. p. 16. ISBN   1-58115-387-2.
  3. "ASHES dIVIDE official website @ – Home". Island Records. Archived from the original on July 3, 2008. Retrieved August 23, 2008.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. "ASHES dIVIDE official website @ – Tour". Archived from the original on October 5, 2008. Retrieved August 28, 2008.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. "Howerdel Exposes Ashes Divide". June 5, 2008. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 4, 2014. I recently got turned onto this Transcendental Meditation and I would say that it is more along the lines of what I do.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)