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Maynard James Keenan

Maynard James Keenan Speaks On Why He Restricts Fans From Filming During His Live Performances


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Diehard fans of Maynard James Keenan are likely familiar by now with the no-filming policy he regularly enforces amid his live performances. As the vocalist for Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer, it’s often warned in advance that fans attending shows from his various creative outlets can expect little to no filming of their experiences to be permitted.

Those who break the rules will find themselves descended upon by ushers or security, while more flagrant violators are subject to ejection from the venue. Over the years, some of those bold enough to infract upon these rules have even incurred the verbal wrath of Keenan himself. While it’d be easy to paint Keenan as the architect of this restrictive protocol, several of his various bandmates have also gone to bat for it.

Among them are his musical compatriot in the multi-platinum alternative metal band A Perfect Circle, Billy Howerdel, who has previously voiced his support for no filming at shows. Still, Keenan and co. will generally allow their fans the chance at capturing a digital memento.

It’s become more common for him to give an all-clear for fans to document their time in the crowd amid a set closing song. But exceptions aside, it’s customary that if Keenan is on the stage, your smart phone should be in your pocket.

Speaking recently with Phoenix New Times, Keenan further addressed his decision to enforce this policy that some concertgoers find to be draconian. As Keenan puts it, his gripes don’t lie solely with himself being the focal point of a few thousand digital cameras, or having to stare down the lights from them shining in his face.

Rather, he sees the elimination of such digital distractions as beneficial to all concertgoers as a whole. In not being tethered to their phones, he feels those in attendance are more freely able to immerse themselves in the live experience.

He commented to the aforementioned publication of those who choose to film at concerts:

“You’re annoying the person behind you. They shouldn’t have to watch the show through your phone. It’s not going to look good. You’re just wasting your time.”

He later added:

“It’s rude. Not to us, I mean, I just did a whole photoshoot. I’m not afraid of cameras and I’m not afraid of phones. I’ve got mine right here. It’s a very useful tool.

There’s no way you can actually capture what’s happening in that live moment on a phone. You’re missing the opportunity of actually absorbing in real time what’s happening. The art of storytelling. Being able to actually recount what you saw without having to record it.

Training your brain to live in the moment and see the thing, but more importantly, stop annoying the person behind you. It’s annoying, it’s distracting and it’s distracting for us, too. So put it the fuck away, grow the fuck up. It’s only two hours. And at the end of the show, we usually let you film a song, so you get your souvenir.”

When asked if he had ever decided against letting the crowd film, he responded:

“Absolutely, if we have to throw out a dozen people because they’re being arrogant assholes, selfish pricks. You’re annoying the people around you. I know there’s all kinds of arguments, like, ‘Well, the removing all those people is annoying.’ Uh-huh. It’s called consequences. This is what happens here. You do it in a theater, you do it at a play, you do it at an orchestral performance, you get removed. You don’t get to do it. Do it at an opera, you’re leaving. It’s rude. You’re here to experience a thing. You paid all that money to be here to witness what we do, not what you do.”

At the moment, Keenan is the star of an ongoing tour dedicated to his impending 60th birthday (April 17th.) That traveling extravaganza features a melting pot of collaborative live performances from not only A Perfect Circle and Puscifer, but also alternative metal oddities Primus, with whom Keenan has had a longstanding friendship with.

That tour is dubbed the ‘Sessanta and an accompanying EP issued around it finds Maynard involved with tracks from all three artists. That tour will roll on through to early May, with the following dates booked:

04/12 Irving, TX – Toyota Music Factory
04/13 The Woodlands, TX – The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
04/16 Phoenix, AZ – Talking Stick Resort
04/17 Phoenix, AZ – Talking Stick Resort
04/18 San Diego, CA – The Rady Shell
04/20 Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Bowl
04/21 Berkeley, CA – The Greek Theatre
04/23 West Valley City, UT – Maverik Center
04/25-26 Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheater
04/30 Bonner Springs, KS – Azura Amphitheater
05/01 Chicago, IL – Wintrust Arena
05/02 Clarkston, MI – Pine Knob Music Theatre
05/04 Forest Hills, NY – Forest Hills Stadium

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