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Maynard James Keenan Explains Why He Performs From The Back Of The Stage At Tool Shows


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While it wasn’t always the case, Maynard James Keenan‘s default stage position when it comes to fronting Tool‘s live performances has evolved into an unconventional locale. The enigmatic musician/entrepreneur can almost always be found fronting the band from an often dimly lit perch erected at the back of the stage.

There’s been many theories as to why he’s chosen that position over the years, as it certainly contrasts with the stage layouts of the majority of rock and metal bands. Tradition has dictated that the singer remains front and center, serving as the focal point for the set. Not so for Tool.

Some have speculated that Keenan opted to remove himself from the direct eyeline of the audience in a bid to divert their focus to the elaborate visuals and dexterous performances of his bandmates. Others have posited that the position allows him to create an air of mystery and intrigue. Meanwhile, others have jokingly suggested it helps keep him distanced from from stage invasions by overzealous fans.

As it turns out, there’s a far more practical reason the acclaimed singer is partial to operating from an elevated platform in the shadows. Speaking with Kerrang! as part of a newly published cover story, Keenan explained the reasoning behind his preferred spot on the stage, offering:

“With Tool, Danny’s drums are so loud, he has like 17 arms and 15 legs, and then you’ve got Adam’s row of amps and Justin’s wall of bass. It just makes it way harder for the front-of-house to have a mix if [I’m] down front. And the position up top is also great, visually, because I can see what’s going on, we can connect with each other by looking at each other. If I was facing the audience, my back would be to what’s happening, so I can’t take cues.”

You can catch Tool out across Europe and the UK starting later this week, with the multi-platinum progressive alternative metal band booked for the following run of shows:

05/25 Hannover, GER – ZAG Arena
05/27 Amsterdam, NET – Ziggo Dome
05/30 Birmingham, UK – Resorts World Arena
06/01 Manchester, UK – AO Arena
06/03 London, UK – The O2 Arena
06/05 Paris, FRA – Accor Arena
06/08 Berlin, GER – Parkbühne Wuhlheide
06/10 Wien, AUT – Wiener Stadthalle
06/11 Kraków, POL – Tauron Arena
06/13 Budapest, HUN – BudapestAréna
06/18 Köln, GER – Lanxess Arena
06/20 Dessel, BEL – Graspop Metal Meeting
06/22 Copenhagen, DEN – CopenHell
06/25 Stockholm, SWE – Tele2 Arena
06/27 Oslo, NOR – Tons of Rock

Night Verses will join them on select dates.

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