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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Revolver

Date: July, 2000

Transcribed by
Laura Munkholm (madam_diva@yahoo.com)


  page: 75
 title: A Beautiful Mind
author: Robyn Doreian

Maynard James Keenan is an intensely private person.  The 
Tool frontman will speak freely on issues such as censorship 
and President Geroge W. Bush.  But when asked about his 
personal life, Keenan responds with "I am not going into 
that," and the conversation comes to a screeching halt.
  
What does get Keenan talking, however, is his passion for 
art, music, spirituality, and psychology.  And when the 
conversation shifts to religion, the government, and the 
horror of compromised integrity, the singer is positively 
verbose.  It seems Keenan has deemed it his responsibility 
to speak out against the forces that seek to oppress him.

Considering that Keenan has so much to say, it's not 
surprising that the singer fronts two bands: Besides his 
lengthy relationship with Tool, he is also the mouthpiece of A 
Perfect Circle, the project launched by former Tool guitar tech, 
Billy Howerdel, in 2000.  Both bands are equal priorities for 
Keenan, who insists that APC is NOT a part time gig.  "People 
can't get it through their heads that A Perfect Circle is not a 
side project," says Keenan, adding that APC should be 
releasing another album next year.  "It's just like having two 
children and saying that you just thought you would have the 
second one for fun.  No, they are your children and part of 
your life."  The two groups, he explains, allow him to wxplore 
different sides of personality; while Tool are rough, caustic, 
and deeply exploratory, APC delve into softer territory -- 
What Keenan likes to refer to as his "feminine side."

In this interview, however, Keenan moves beyond framework 
of either Tool ro A Perfect Circle and focuses on more 
pressing -- and controversial -- concerns.  The result is as raw 
as it gets.

*****

Revolver: Tool's live shows are a unique sensory experience.  
What do you think it is that sets them apart from other live 
acts?

Maynard James Keenan: We are totally at odds with the 
current musical climate.  Do you really think people are 
impressed by Nickelback? Or Limp Dickshit?  How could you 
be impressed by Fred Durst?  When they come to see 
something that has more substance, it is a moving 
experience -- there's more heart.  There is intent.  Going to 
see Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, or Rage Against the Machine, 
there is heart.  It breathes.  You have to be affected by that.

Revolver: Are the costumes you wear onstage -- wigs, 
Speedo bathing suits -- purely for the benefit of the 
audience, or do they transform you into someone different 
every night?

Keenan: It's said that when Michal Keaton was contemplating 
playing Batman, wondering how he was going to do it, Jack 
Nicholson told him, "Sometimes you have to let the costume 
do the acting for you."  That is kind of where i am with that.

Revolver: Is it something you plan in advance?

Keenan:  Not really.  The ideas come from the music, and 
you do it and it either works or it doesn't, in which case you 
abandon it and go on to the next thing.

Revolver:  Have any of them not worked?

Keenan:  Oh, plenty.  I don't want to bring them up, but 
there is photographic evidence.

Revolver: Is it odd to wear fake breasts?

Keenan:  Who says they are fake? (laughs)

Revolver: During Tool's live shows, you tell the audience 
that "art saves lives." Under what circumstances did it save 
yours?

Keenan:  Things happen to you as a child and they might 
damage you in some way, and that can make you see the 
world in a strange light. If you allow that damage to run your 
life, you could end up being a guy on a building with a rifle.  
Alternately, you could channel your damage in a different way 
and become a sculptor instead.  Art provided me with an 
outlet.

Revolver:  How do you think your religious upbringing as a 
Southern Baptist has impacted who you are today?

Keenan: The religious upbringing that most people go 
through, and its association wtih Western religion, is all 
based on lies.  At some point you either wake up and realize 
they are lies or you continue in a fog.  I realized i had been 
lied to and wanted to know the truth.

There is a big difference between religion and spirituality.  If 
you are walking a spiritual path, it is because you are trying 
to help yourself or others for the greater good. You are trying 
to become a more conscious being through your actions and 
by understanding what motivates you.  Relition, on the other 
hand, is basically a marketing plan.  There is a middleman 
involved, and somewhere along the line someone is going to 
ask you for your credit card number.  They are going to pass 
a plate in front of you, trick you into giving ten percent of 
your income to some child-molesting fuckhead, or worse, 
trick you into giving up your civil rights over some storybook.

Revolver:  Why do you think people still subscribe to it?

Keenan: I am still trying to figure that out.

Revolver:  So what areas of spirituality have you delved into 
to explore your own creative consciousness?

Keenan:  All of them, as there is truth in every religion.  You 
just ahve to week out teh middleman principle, the profit 
portion, and get to the crux of it.

Revolver:  Have you come to any conclusions as to why we 
are here?

Keenan:  I think we are here to create a new world order.  
George W. Bush is an extremely evil person, and what he is 
doing is going to bring us down.  He is going to make it very 
difficult for me to travel around the world because I am an 
American, and people will look at me in exactly the same way 
they used to look at the GErmans when they were traveling in 
the Fifties, right after WWII.  We are living in McCarthyism, 
the Third Reich, and people don't realize it.

Look at the events of September 11.  The person who 
profited from that was teh President of the United States -- 
the same man who was not elected by the people but instead 
by a fault in the electoral system.  His public opinion was at 
an all-time low, so he benefited from it.  His family's oil, war 
and weapons interests all benefited.  And everyone was so 
scared that they willingly gave up their civil rights, so that if 
anyone discovers how evil this guy is, they can't do anything 
about it.

It really amazes me that the American people are just blindly 
letting this go on.  They are not even considereing the 
possibility that their government could be lying to them.  It is 
absolutely nauseating.

Revolver:  It seems that communication is even more 
important today.

Keenan:  The son "Schism" is very significant for me.  It 
came out a month before September 11, and the second 
verse says, "I know the pieces fit cuz i watched them tumble 
down/ no fault, no one to blame, it doesn't mean i don't 
desire to point the finger/blame the other/watch the temple 
topple over/to bring the pieces bac together, rediscover 
communication."

When Tool was on the brink of breaking up, it was our ability 
to communicate with each other that saved us.

Revolver:  What do you think it means to be human in 2002?

Keenan: [long pause] It feels like we are on the brink of 
something here.  It almost feels like we are going to have to 
figure out our connection to each other or we are not going to 
survive as a race.

Revolver: Therein lies a great opportunity.

Keenan:  A great opportunity for liars, thieves, and murderers 
like our government.  This so-called new world order has 
been very effective in undermining the creative process to the 
point where it is run by actors and businessmen with 
marketing plans.  It is no longer about music.  I mean, when 
was teh last time you ahd three CDs come across your desk 
in a month that really impressed you?

Revolver: What's undermining you?

Keenan:  Mony and power.  I know very creative people who 
are considering putting their process on the back burner so 
that they can make money with some horrible, horrible band, 
one with no artistic integrity.  What they don't realize is that 
as soon as they do that, the band will use thier name to 
undermine anything credible they could possible do in the 
future.  They are completely selling out their credibility for the 
money.  It happens at so many levels here that people 
pretty much accept it as the precess, and it has completely 
undermined everything.

Revolver: But what do you do if you're a struggling artist?

Keenan:  Figure a way.  Realize that you don't need your DVD 
player [laughs] Start from the basics of what you need to 
survive.  You need a roof over your head, food, and clothes.  
Just start there.  Everything else should go into your art.

Posted to t.d.n: 04/27/03 22:45:27