A Perfect Circle's debut album Mer Des Noms is deeply rooted in mythology. "Mer Des Noms" is French for "Sea of Names." In an interview with online magazine New York Rock, APC singer Maynard James Keenan explained that "a lot of the names of the songs are actually people I do know in real life" and that "some elements of their lives seem to be the same as elements in the lives or stories of mythological figures."
Before joining A Perfect Circle, guitarist Billy Howerdel was the guitar technician for Nine Inch Nails. At the end of NIN's Downward Spiral tour in 1995, frontman Trent Reznor gave Howerdel several classic guitars as a "thank-you" gift. One of those, a '60s Gibson Les Paul manufactured in 1991, is still one of Howerdel's main instruments.
Although he's officially listed a founding member of A Perfect Circle, drummer Josh Freese (Weezer, The Vadals) was not the first drummer the band jammed with. In the beginning, Tim Alexander from Primus played with APC and the band even performed a handful of shows with him in Southern California. When APC scored a record deal in 1999, Freese was introduced to the fold and he soon became an official member of the band.
A Perfect Circle guitarist Billy Howerdel nearly lost one of the band's songs – literally. The track "Vanishing," which appears on APC's second album Thirteenth Step, was supposed to be on the band's debut album Mer Des Noms, but Howerdel couldn't find the file for it on his computer. He'd named the file "Test" thinking that it would be thrown away but fortunately he eventually found the file years later. The song was re-recorded and released in 2003.
Not only does A Perfect Circle singer Maynard James Keenan have a great voice, he's also a master winemaker. Keenan's grandparents and great-uncle made wine in Italy before coming to North America. He decided to continue the family tradition now owns a winery called Caduceus Cellars based in Arizona.
A Perfect Circle bassist Matt McJunkins also knows how to play the drums. Growing up with two older brothers, McJunkins was introduced to hair metal bands like Guns 'N Roses and Motley Crue. By the early '90s, McJunkins' brothers were playing in bands so he learned Metallica, Primus, and Rush songs on the drums so that he could jam with them.
In 2010, A Perfect Circle drummer Josh Freese appeared on several other artists' records including Michael Buble, Social Distortion, Devo, Joe Cocker, Megadeth, Katy Perry, The Vandals, Cher, Gavin Rossdale, and Avril Lavigne, among others. When APC returned from a six year hiatus in 2010, Freese chose not to tour with the band, opting to hit the road with Sting, Weezer, Paramore, and Sublime With Rome instead.
A Perfect Circle guitarist James Iha owns a recording studio in Manhattan called Stratosphere sound. Although APC is based in California, Iha has lived in New York City since 2000. Some of the bands he's recorded at the studio include R.E.M., The B52's, Keith Urban, Moby, Tenacious D, Bright Eyes, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Billy Howerdel and Maynard Keenan do most of the A Perfect Circle songwriting between them. Howerdel primarily writes the band's instrumental music, while Keenan contributes the lyrics and vocal melodies. Howedel told Razor 94.7 about their songwriting process:
"Typically, I'll start an idea at home, kind of in isolation, and just kind of work on it until I don't hate it anymore. And then send it over to Maynard, see if he finds anything compelling about it. He'll kind of say 'yay' or 'nay' and find something he latches on to. And he'll throw down a scat vocal - syllables and a vocal melody idea, and it helps me move the song forward from there. And then if it's enough, then he starts working on lyrics, so he does all the lyrics and melodies and orchestrates the backups and all that. And then I concentrate on making the music. So that's kind of the back-and-forth conversation that we have musically."