A Perfect Circle singer Maynard James Keenan is suggesting that the band's long-awaited new album came about because Keenan's other band, Tool, couldn't finish the music for its own long-awaited new album during a window in which he was available.

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Keenan was asked how he and APC guitarist Billy Howerdel decided to work on the new album, Eat the Elephant, due April 20 via BMG.

The singer has previously expressed frustration due to the years Tool has spent revising and rewriting the instrumentals for its new album, and his response to Rolling Stone's question leaves little doubt—at least if you're a Tool fan.

"I had a lot of things I needed to do, but it sounded like things weren't, um, going forward so I had time to shift focus and dabble in something else and see where it would go," Keenan said. "With everything I do, there are deadlines for progress. So if I see a spot like, 'Eh, there's just not a lot of movement,' I'll shift gears."

It certainly seems like he's saying he had a window where he was available to work on new music. Initially, he thought it would be for Tool, but Tool wasn't ready, so he started working on A Perfect Circle.

Tool and A Perfect Circle have always seemingly existed in harmony. There's major crossover between fans of each, and both bands have shared Keenan's services on the road (usually in alternating years or at least seasons) over the past 18 or so years. Tool did some light touring last summer while APC toured South and then North America in the spring and fall.

However, with both bands planning/hopefully planning highly-anticipated new releases in 2018, it seems Keenan is being pulled in two directions: one with A Perfect Circle and another with Tool—not to mention his Caduceus Cellars wine-making business.

Eat the Elephant will be APC's first new album in 14 years. The still-untitled new Tool album will be that band's first since 2006. 

In recent weeks, Keenan has taken to social media to contradict statements by Tool drummer Danny Carey and guitarist Adam Jones that the new album is nearly finished.

In one Twitter post, Keenan clarified that he only promised a new A Perfect Circle album would be out in 2018. 

Not long after that, Jones said in a livestream via Instagram that Keenan's lyrics over the new music were "coming in hard."

A week later, Keenan declared in a since-deleted Tweet that he would only take "half" as long on his vocals as his Tool bandmates did on music—about 11 years.

The only time Keenan has directly addressed questions about Tool's status was last summer on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

He told Rogan that his bandmates, Carey, Jones and bassist Justin Chancellor have a "very analytical" process to writing music, and they're also under a lot of pressure to make a great album. Hence the delays.

"And they're always going back over things and questioning what they did and stepping back and going farther and going forward. And in a way it's like they're laying a foundation; they're putting in the footings for a house."

But Keenan continued at the time, saying he can't do his job until his bandmates have finished writing.

"I can't write melodies until the footings are in place. I can't write words until the melodies are in place. I can't build walls and start decorating this place until the foundation is in place. Because if they keep changing the foundation, changing the footings, the melodies change and then the story of course isn't getting written. So that's where we are." 

Given Keenan's schedule, and the fact that he now has an album cycle with A Perfect Circle to begin, it makes a lot of sense that he wouldn't want to release both albums in the same year.

But if Tool fans are one thing, it's patient.

Tool has no tour dates announced for this year.

You can get APC's tour dates here


Photo: Getty Images