At this year’s Rock on the Range festival, we caught up with A Perfect Circle guitarist / composer Billy Howerdel. While discussing the band’s new album, Eat the Elephant, Howerdel explained how his relationship with Axl Rose helped shape one of its songs. He also addressed APC’s "no cell phone policy," and why it is sometimes suspended.

Before becoming a rock star in his own right, Howerdel worked as a guitar tech for numerous bands, including for Guns N’ Roses during the making of their Chinese Democracy album. This led to a relationship with Axl Rose, who ended up putting his stamp on “TalkTalk” in an arbitrary way.

“That song was called ‘Dreams’ because I wrote it right when Robin Williams passed away,” Howerdel recalls. “What Dreams May Come [the 1998 film which Williams starred in] came up as an anchor to name the demo. It made me reach back out to Axl, because it’s something we kind of connected on, that movie. It was kind of steeped in a lot of emotions that we were talking about at the time.”

As for A Perfect Circle’s infamous “no cellphones” policy at their shows, Howerdel explained why that rule is jettisoned at festival performances. “It’s not our house, we’re guests of the festival. That’s not their policy, [so] it’s not our policy.” Howerdel says. “At our shows, it’s our room for the night, just like if you go to a play or a movie theater. If somebody asks me to put my phone down, I do it. If they don’t, pick it up and go for it.”

Check out our full chat with Billy Howerdel in the clip above.

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