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A Perfect Circle’s Billy Howerdel on His New Solo Album, Depeche Mode Influence, and More

The singer-guitarist is currently in the midst of a North American tour in support of his solo effort What Normal Was

Billy Howerdel, via Heavy Consequence
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    A Perfect Circle’s Billy Howerdel recently released a new solo album, What Normal Was, and is currently in the midst of a headlining North American tour. The singer-guitarist caught up with Heavy Consequence via Zoom to discuss the new solo effort and more.

    Howerdel previously unleashed an album in 2008 under the name Ashes Divide that was essentially a solo effort, but What Normal Was is the first LP released under his own name. As Howerdel told us in the video above, he debated whether making the new album an Ashes Divide release, but ultimately chose to go with his own name for this one.

    “It was always going to be the next Ashes record, but I did toy with the idea of, ‘Okay, it’s so different, and I kind of feel myself moving in a different direction’,” explained Howerdel. “A year ago, I went out to my birthday dinner with Jerry Cantrell, Josh Freese, and Greg Puciato … and we were talking about solo band stuff … and they were just so encouraging on using my name for many reasons.”

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    On the opening track, “Selfish Heart,” and throughout the album, we detected a Depeche Mode influence, and with the recent passing of Andy Fletcher, we asked Howerdel about the impact the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band has had on him.

    “They’re the band that ages gracefully,” Howerdel said of Depeche Mode. “I wasn’t the biggest fan, but the influence of their music on mine I think is probably undeniable. Martin Gore is an incredible songwriter … Songs of Faith and Devotion is the record that got me into them. I heard them when I was younger, wouldn’t turn it off, liked it, but I wasn’t obsessing on it like other things, like The Cure or Siouxsie and the Banshees, in particular.”

    Howerdel went on to say that Danny Lohner, who co-produced What Normal Was, is a huge fan of Depeche Mode, and that’s another reason the band’s influence can be heard on the album.

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    Catch Howerdel on the remaining dates of his North American tour, which runs through a July 20th show in Phoenix, Arizona. Tickets are available here.

    Watch Billy Howerdel discuss more of his solo album in the video interview above, and stay tuned for Part 2, in which he talks about A Perfect Circle, his longtime friendship with Maynard James Keenan, and more.

    Trouble viewing the video in the player above? Watch on YouTube.

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