Paz Lenchantin powers the Pixies

(Image credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

In the summer of 1997, Argentina-born, Los Angeles-raised Paz Lenchantin was just beginning to put herself out into the music scene at age 24 when she received a call from guitarist Joey Santiago of the Pixies. He invited her to audition to play bass for a quick tour with his side project, the Martinis. Born to a family of musicians and already an accomplished violinist at that point, Lenchantin was thrilled when she landed the gig and trekked up the Pacific Coast on her first actual tour. At the time, she had no idea that this brief, three-week engagement would eventually lead to the biggest opportunity of her career.

At the conclusion of the run, Lenchantin got a call from guitarist Billy Howerdel and singer Maynard James Keenan, who asked if she would join their new alternative rock project, A Perfect Circle. She agreed and contributed bass, strings, and vocals to their 2000 debut album, Mer de Noms, and gained a level of fandom thanks to her immaculate playing, angelic vocals, and her ability to thrash onstage wearing stilettos. Knowing that APC’s time was limited due to Keenan’s role in Tool, she decided to leave APC and join Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan in forming Zwan, a successful yet short-lived outfit that released one album (Mary Star of the Sea, 2003) and disbanded.

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