Maynard James Keenan

Tool, A Perfect Circle, Etc. Frontman Maynard James Keenan: “I Embrace My Inner Grandpa”


Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich‘s chat with Tool, A Perfect Circle & Puscifer frontman Maynard James Keenan has arrived online earlier than expected and can now be viewed below. The chat took place for Ulrich‘s Beats 1 show, “It’s Electric!‘ and finds them discussing A Perfect Circle‘s newly released album “Eat The Elephant“, Tool and more.

When asked if the rest of the band outside of Keenan and band mastermind Billy Howerdel contributed to the writing process for this latest effort, Keenan offered:

“They weren’t on this one. In the past, maybe a few pieces here and there. But, because Billy and I are pretty intense personalities in general, it’s best that we just let them come in later. Because adding any other chaos to the mix, it’s gonna be hard to get things done. So, all very talented musicians and talented writers, but for the focus of what we’re trying to go for, that extra voice is just unnecessary.”

When asked by Ulrich if he considered the band to be his and Howerdel‘s projects, Keenan responded:

“Oh yeah, I mean it’s our project. We started it. We wrote the checks—initially we were the independent, startup band. When you have to write a check, it’s the two of us. So the successes and failures are hanging directly around our neck.”

Speaking on drawing inspiration for material, Keenan offered:

“I think, for most people—especially if you listen to some older stuff that was going around, you know, the Vietnam war, the ‘Woodstock‘ era music, there is a signature. A very sonic and time stamped signature on that music.

And I think you do yourself a disservice to not be paying attention to where your feet are. Because you might be accidentally writing something that is specific to your time that you couldn’t invent. It’s gotta be honest. It’s gotta be there. You kinda have to pay attention to what’s going on around you. We are merchants of emotion.

We are meant to be emoting, tapping into moods and feeling, right? We observe, interpret and then report what’s going on around us. If you lock yourself in a dark, dim, studio and try to regurgitate whatever got you popular to begin with, you’re probably going to be unsuccessful.

Your third or fourth album is not gonna sound anything like your first album because you have a maid now. There’s a disconnect. Your third album sounds like you’ve been on the road because you have been…

You kinda have to tap into what’s happening now and try to be honest without forcing it or manipulating it. Be honest about what your feelings are about those things because your feelings are universal, they’re timeless. So how do I truly feel about this thing without being too specific? That’s kind of how this entire album [“Eat The Elephant“] was kind of written.

Not just what’s happening, but how is it affecting a guy who is 53. Right? Not how it was effecting a guy when he was 25. How it is affecting me now and you have to be honest with that place.

I embrace my inner grandpa. If your ball bounces into my yard I’m gonna keep it, right? That’s my yard and now it’s my ball, sorry. Grumpy dude… So if you’re honest about that stuff and you write from that space, then it’s gonna feel more connected.”