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Maynard James Keenan On The United States’ COVID-19 Struggles: “I Think There’s A Level Of Arrogance And Confidence… With Being A U.S. Citizen”


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Over the years some have seen Tool/A Perfect Circle/Puscifer frontman Maynard James Keenan‘s cautionary lyrics to be almost prophetic—if not at least prescient. Keenan has long championed bettering yourself on your own accord, without reliance on governmental infrastructure and others in a bid to be prepared and capable if everything around you collapses.

In a new chat with Revolver about the upcoming Puscifer album “Existential Reckoning” (out October 30th), Keenan spoke of the situation we currently find ourselves in amid an ongoing global pandemic and a how the United States has been reacting to it.

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Ruminating on how a global pandemic and the steps to counteract the spread of it have become so controversial, Keenan offered:

“What happens when you’re so comfortable in a particular way [and] it’s taken away from you and you have no backup plan… people are going to panic. And I think it’s going to get worse. [But] it doesn’t have to get worse…”

As COVID-19 infections continue to spike in the United States, Keenan has some theories as to why certain factions and regions in the country seem resistant to measures such as social distancing and wearing masks to help flatten the curve. Speaking of that, he offered:

“I think there’s a level of arrogance and confidence… with being a U.S. citizen. I don’t know if this is an engineered attack on us… but if it was, what do you attack? You attack our stubborn arrogance by introducing a virus and us refusing to put on a mask and help out our brother… out of [gruff voice] freedoms. We lose. That’s how you got us.”

The abundance of disinformation we are bombarded with daily in the digital age is a theme approached in the new Puscifer track “Grey Area 5.1“, Keenan spoke of that:

“…The disinformation… where the lie ends and the truth begins… I wonder if the COVID thing would have helped us take a step back and evaluate what we actually think is important. Get back to some connection with your neighbors, yourself… Not necessarily in a selfish way with what you want, but what’s good for us. What’s good for everybody. I think we kinda failed at it.

And part of it could be the disinformation, when you’re looking in the wrong spot. And the nature of things like Facebook, where you like this, like that, don’t like this… and all the information you get is all going to be geared toward your mirror.

You’re just staring in a mirror. And you have no idea what’s going on outside, what’s going on around you. You have no idea of what compassion even begins to look like after a while.”

Addressing the lack of compassion found at large these days, Keenan replied:

“…It’s pretty ugly. Straight-up ugly. The division is being fed… it’s being nurtured, the division and the hate. To what end, I don’t understand. I can’t step far enough back to get that big picture. I’m hoping it’s not just narcissism. Fuck. [Laughs] I’m hoping it’s not just that.”

You can find more from Keenan and co. over at Revolver.

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