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Maynard James Keenan Speaks On Puscifer Originating Out Of Tool Moving Away From Humor


At the tender age of 60, comedy and satire has remained a constant for Maynard James Keenan throughout his storied career. From the inclusion of stand-up comedian Bill Hicks on early output from his acclaimed alternative metal band Tool, to having given a soft launch to what would become Puscifer on the sketch comedy show ‘Mr. Show‘ back in 1995, humor has remained a prevalent component in Keenan‘s daily life.

For Keenan, who turned 60 today, April 17th, little has changed in his quest for laughs. Whether he’s stanning for ‘Letterkenny (he named his current dog ‘Shoresy’ after a character originating from that Canadian comedy show) or partaking in a self-deprecating skit for his various bands, little is off the table when it comes his amusement.

In a way, it’s almost ironic that the origins of his band Puscifer can be traced back ‘Mr. Show‘. While the music itself remains a sincere venture, the associated skits, characters and lyrical concepts surrounding the band, along with their live performances, ultimately skew towards campier territory.

As you might have already suspected, Puscifer grew out of a need to continue to indulge in his mirthful tendencies. While Keenan was able to initially scratch that itch with Tool, the multi-platinum band eventually branching out into much headier territory and concepts left him seeking another outlet.

In a recent joint interview conducted with his old running buddy, Primus vocalist/bassist Les Claypool, Keenan spoke of how Tool‘s conceptual trajectory led him to making Puscifer a reality, and how it helped facilitate a need in him. That interview was conducted by Revolver, who have just published that conversation online.

When asked how comedy and improv have fed into his music, Keenan replied:

Tool, has always been a weird eccentric project. Before we went down a farther path, we used to have a lot of humor in there — but I feel like it kind of disappeared with the growth. So Puscifer came out of my need to express that side of things. All the stuff you see with Puscifer is still serious music, but there is just a natural unforced sense of humor that comes out in it. That stuff’s always been in Puscifer because it’s such an important outlet for not taking yourself too seriously, although taking the music very seriously.”

Later in the interview, Keenan also hinted that new music from all three of his bands (Tool, Puscifer & A Perfect Circle) appears to be on the way. When quizzed about what he has on the horizon, he offered, “I’ve got three bands that need to write songs, so I’m going to be doing that.”

Of course much of his time will also be invested in his winery and eatery concerns, along with his other business ventures, including a new fried chicken joint he plans to launch. But outside of that, his creative pursuits will be focused on music, as he went on state, “…The next year and a half to me is writing songs I’ve got to write.”

For now, A Perfect Circle, Primus and Puscifer remain engaged in a traveling celebration of Keenan‘s 60th, performing collaborative sets each night that finds members swapping in and out. The remaining dates for that trek, which was commemorated with the recent “Sessanta E.P.P.P.“, featuring tracks from all three of the aforementioned artists co-written by Keenan, can be found below:

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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