A Perfect Circle has released three albums: Mer de Noms, Thirteenth Step and eMOTIVe. A CD-DVD set, aMOTION, has also been released and contains thirteen music videos in addition to a number of song remixes created by Danny Lohner. The group has not recorded, toured or released any new material since its hiatus began in 2004. Since then band members have worked on other projects; the most notable being Keenan's work on Tool's 2006 album 10,000 Days, and Howerdel's founding of the band Ashes Divide.
Soon after recording was finished for their debut album, Mer de Noms (French for "Sea of Names"), the band began touring. Initially, they served as the opening act for Nine Inch Nails on the 2000 Fragility v2.0 tour, but they then embarked on a number of headlining tours all over the world, including the Canadian festival, Summersault. As Keenan was well known through his other band, he would often wear long wigs on his otherwise bald head when performing, to distinguish himself from his Tool persona. Mer de Noms was released on October 31, 2000, while the band was on tour. The album is distinctive in that it is the highest ever debut for a new rock band, selling over 188,000 copies in its first week, and appearing at number four on the Billboard 200.
The album produced three singles: "Judith", "3 Libras" and "The Hollow". As is the case with a great number of bands, A Perfect Circle added hidden touches to their songs. "Judith" is unique because it is named after, and about, Keenans's mother who suffered a stroke and was left paralyzed when he was 11. The song "Renholdër" is a reference to guitarist and sound engineer Danny Lohner and reads Re:D.Lohner backwards. Ironically, Lohner did not know the song was about him despite his first name being sung—albeit in a distorted fashion—in the song.
The band released their second album, Thirteenth Step, on September 16, 2003. With the new album came a new sound. While Mer de Noms had a heavier, deeper sound, Thirteenth Step was more melodic and straightforward. After the release of the album, John Lappen from The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "They were never a band who beat the listener over the head with metal brutality, but now they're even more song-oriented than before—a move that illustrates that the band has a knack for writing instrumental hooks that show off a melodic talent that was not as apparent on the first album. This different sound can be heard in the three singles that came off the album: "Weak and Powerless", "The Outsider" and "Blue". Following the release of the album, the band toured throughout the U.S. until the year's end. Then, in January 2004, the group left the country to play shows in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. They headed home in mid-March and finished touring in mid-June.
A third album, Emotive, was released on November 2, 2004, and contains covers of anti-war songs by artists such as John Lennon ("Imagine") and Joni Mitchell ("Fiddle and the Drum"). Emotive was recorded with current and former members of the band, but is mostly the work of Keenan and Howerdel. The single "Passive" was adapted from the defunct band Tapeworm, a project composed mainly of Keenan, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, and Danny Lohner. "Passive" first appeared under the title "Vacant" at a show played by A Perfect Circle in Portland, Oregon on January 31, 2001, notably, without the blessing of Reznor to play the song. The song remained unreleased by any artist until it appeared on Emotive as the song "Passive".
On November 16, 2004, the CD-DVD set entitled aMotion was released. The DVD contains music videos for six singles; previously unreleased videos for other songs, including three contest runner-up videos and the winning video for "Blue"; and three trailers for Bikini Bandits. The CD is composed entirely of remixes of the singles from Mer de Noms and Thirteenth Step. The songs were retooled by Danny Lohner, Joshua Eustis, Massive Attack, and James Iha among others.
The future of A Perfect Circle remains uncertain and has wobbled between "done for now", and "alive and well". The band became inactive after they played their last show in Denver, Colorado on June 13, 2004. Keenan left to work on Tool's upcoming album 10,000 Days, and Howerdel began work on a side-project with Josh Freese that flourished into Ashes Divide. In addition to Keenan's work with Tool, his side-project Puscifer released its first album, V Is for Vagina, on October 30, 2007. The rest of the band also went their separate ways. Freese once again took up the reins as drummer for Nine Inch Nails, White moved on to rejoin Marilyn Manson at guitar under his pseudonym Twiggy Ramirez, and, while there was talk of Iha joining Billy Corgan for the Smashing Pumpkins reunion tour in 2007, this idea was rebuffed and he is instead working on a solo record.
Both Howerdel and Keenan have discussed the future of the band in various mediums. During a February 2006 interview with Rock Hard, Keenan remarked, "I think [APC] is over. ... We pushed this project as far as it could go, and I see ourselves playing again together only in a few years to make one or two songs, nothing more. Howerdel's thoughts on the reunion of the band were similar to those of Keenan. In a May 2006 interview with MTV he stated, "[Maynard and I have] talked about it lightly. A few months ago, it was like, 'If we did A Perfect Circle again, I'd want to do this or that.' It was a benign conversation. I think we both entertain the fact that it could happen again, but for right now we don't have any plans to do it again. We're focusing on what we're doing now. A Perfect Circle is done for now."
Despite the comments made by Howerdel and Keenan in 2006, there have been hints that A Perfect Circle may return in some form in the future. A November 2007 issue of Spin featuring Keenan, when asked "Will there ever be another APC album," he responded, "Um, no. Maybe, someday, a song on a soundtrack. But an album? No." The following month, Keenan took part in an interview with Revolver. He discussed the other members of A Perfect Circle's recent activities and also hinted at the possibility of a reunion. During the interview, Keenan stated:
Although the band's official website has offered no insight as to whether or not the group will reunite, news continues to arrive through Keenan about the existence of the band. In Puscifer's May 2008 newsletter, Keenan remarked on the status of A Perfect Circle: "As many of you may have heard, Billy and I are engaged in our own little projects for the moment. His is called ASHES DIVIDE and mine is called PUSCIFER...Please be advised that A PERFECT CIRCLE and TOOL are still alive and well. This is simply MORE."
All members contributed to aMotion, and are listed in its liner notes in the above order.