The two first rubbed shoulders when they auditioned for Ashes Divide, led by A Perfect Circle’s Billy Howerdel. Recognizing a powerful creative bond that went beyond that band’s ranks, the duo was soon asked to join Puscifer, led by Tool frontman and APC co-founder Maynard James Keenan.
Their associations still extend far beyond that cluster of bands: to Filter, Devo, Thirty Seconds to Mars, and Eagles of Death Metal. Friedl and McJunkins would take material incompatible with their other collaborations and stow it away for then mysterious future use. As the pair continued to work together, the creative energy started flowing freely.
The pair put a name to the energetic, futuristic sound they were developing: The Beta Machine. But they wouldn’t be alone in their mission. They had already worked and palled around with vocalist Claire Acey (of Nightmare of the Cat) and guitarist and keyboardist Nicholas Perez, who both gamely stepped up to join them for The Beta Machine’s lineup.