Maynard James Keenan Of Tool, Puscifer, Etc.

Maynard James Keenan On Performing Tool’s More Demanding Earlier Material In His 50s: “I Can Do Some Of Those Songs. I Can’t Do A Whole Set Of Those Songs.”


Maynard James Keenan has remained increasingly prolific outside of the notoriously glacial output cycle of Tool over the years, particularly when it comes to his Puscifer project. These days though, he’s found himself writing even more new music than usual, thanks in part to learning how to use the digital audio workstation, Logic.

The enigmatic vocalist recently guested on the latest episode of ‘Jackass‘ star Steve-O‘s ‘Steve-O Wild Ride‘ podcast (see below,) and discussed numerous topics, including  his passions for winemaking and MMA.

Speaking of learning how to use Logic to create musical ideas and sketches with it, he offered [transcribed by]:

“Now that I’ve unlocked this little tool—no pun intended—Logic, I have this new thing now where I can’t finish my coffee unless I write at least a beat or a melody in Logic and send that off to Mat [Mitchell] and Carina [Round] from Puscifer.

It’s like ‘here’s my morning coffee’. So, like at least three a week, I send them something so there’s this folder of like 40 things I’ve been working on over time. And I’m sending some of those… If it sounds like it’s leaning towards A Perfect Circle, [or] it’s leaning toward Tool, I’ll send them [their way.] But I usually just get crickets back from those guys. So, like ‘that’s a cute riff, stay in your fucking lane.'”

The conversation also steered towards the controversy surrounding  Puscifer‘s debut album “V Is For Vagina” and the financial ramifications Keenan faced from it:

“From the time that we started recording “V Is For Vagina“, until the day that we actually released it, the record industry fucking collapsed. So all the record stores were open when we started recording, when we released Tower and Virgin had all closed.

Like all those mom and pops had all closed. We were stuck with Target, Best Buy, K-Mart, and Target sent our albums back because it said vagina on it. I was like ‘what?’ ‘you don’t like vagina? I love them.'”

He continued:

“I mean Puscifer‘s an independent band, so I wrote the check for all that vinyl. And I did not only pay for the vinyl to be made, but to have the vinyl be shipped back to me, and then rent a fucking warehouse to put it in…. We sold it all, eventually. But like that was scary, to have 80,000 pieces of vinyl shipped back to you.”

Keenan also revealed that he has purchased a new pair of prosthetic breasts which he hopes to reintroduce into his live set, having done so decades ago now. He brought it up, as Steve-O is planning to get implants for his next big stunt. Keenan said of that:

“I don’t want to show you my Amazon cart right now, but I literally was buying… with everything going on right now, I was like ‘I gotta bring back the tits.’ Because I used to wear ’em in ’97.

And I ordered and them and it’s weird, it’s like this whole sleeve, and you have to put it on like a vest. And it’s weird, these feel like… these are like stripper tits, they’re silicone. But I put it on and they’re right here (points to the middle of his chest) and my wife’s like ‘what the fuck are you wearing?’ It looks like headlights… Tijuana boob job, awful.”

Steve-O later brought up a 1996 Tool concert he saw in Albuquerque, NM and was comically rebuffed by Keenan for his enthusiasm for Tool‘s live performances. When Steve-O looked to recover in asking Keenan how he approaches performing the more demanding songs of the band’s early catalog now, the 58-yearold musician/vintner, etc. offered:

“…Old cars… Ya know, just like an old Barracuda man, just tearing up the streets. You try to do that with an old Barracuda now and it’s gonna break. Some thing is… Ya know, you just can’t do that. So I think with age you find ways to sing the thing where it’s not creating damage. You can actually recreate it without having to pick a scab, emotionally and literally, like hurting yourself.

So I think my writing has changed over the years, and I can do some of those songs. I can’t do a whole set of those songs. I can pepper them in, so I can still do some of those things, but you can’t… If you’re actually sitting down and thinking about it, you can’t expect some of those dudes, [from] back in the day, to do the thing they did… 30 years ago, 40 years ago. You can’t expect that out of that body. Your body doesn’t do those things forever.”

After respectfully bringing up Mike Tyson‘s 2020 in-ring return as an example, Keenan stated:

“That [fight] is an absolute expiration date. Your body is not going to allow you to perform the way you used to perform at certain ages. You can apply that to pretty much anybody.”

Today, March 31st, saw the release of Puscifer‘s new all-star remix album “Existential Reckoning: Re-Wired“. That outing features contributions from members of Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Queens Of The Stone Age, Bring Me The Horizon and many more.

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