Billy Howerdel (born May 18, 1970) is the founding member, guitarist, songwriter, and producer for the bands A Perfect Circle and Ashes Divide. He has recorded three acclaimed studio albums with the former, and in 2008, Ashes Divide released their debut album, Keep Telling Myself It's Alright.
Howell was born in New Jersey. He attended high school at West Milford Township High School in West Milford, New Jersey. 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.
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. Despite originally considering a female singer, Howerdel would eventually accept Keenan's offer. In 1999, Howerdel founded A Perfect Circle, and invited Keenan to join.
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.
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, also worked on the Guns N' Roses album Chinese Democracy, specifically the song "There Was A Time".
In a 2008 interview Howerdel said he did not take drugs, drank only occasionally, and practiced Transcendental Meditation.
- Guitars - Gibson Les Pauls, predominantly a 1991 Les Paul Classic given to him by Trent Reznor. Plays Ernie Ball strings, with Dunlop 1.0mm Nylon picks. Tom Anderson Pickups. H3+ Bridge H1- neck
- Cabinets - VHT Straight Cabinet / 4x12
- Effects - Axe-Fx Ultra
- Pedalboard: Voodoo Labs Ground Control Pro
- Tuner - Korg DTR-1 Rack Tuner
- Amp - Naked Amp by Dave Friedman of Rack Systems
Billy has replaced his previous effects rig with an Axe-FX II made by Fractal Audio. He is also using Naked amps made by Dave Friedman of Rack Systems.
A detailed gear diagram of Howerdel's 2004 A Perfect Circle guitar rig is well-documented.