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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: NY Rock

Date: September, 2000

Transcribed by
Stu (

 title: Interview with Maynard Keenan of A Perfect Circle
author: Gabriella

When the press discovered Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan was 
working with a new band, A Perfect Circle, earlier this year, a few 
eyebrows were raised. Was it the end of Tool? Or merely a side 
project? Word has it that Tool continues and Keenan plans to re-group 
with the band for a new album after a few weeks off from this 
summerís tour with A Perfect Circle. 

Itís not surprising that the creative force behind Tool, one of 
todayís more respected rock groups, would put together another 
stellar project. The members of A Perfect Circle have collaborated 
with such bands as Nine Inch Nails, Orgy, Rage Against the Machine, 
Guns íN Roses, the Vandals, the Deftones, and, hey, even Tori Amos. 
Itís also not surprising that fans have been going crazy for the 
music, from the bandís first single, ěJudithî (released last spring), 
to the sold-out shows with NIN, Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters and 
Eve 6 this summer. 

The band's lineup is rather spectacular. Small wonder the record 
companies were cueing up to get you guys signed.  

We're simply five friends who knew each other for a long time and we 
always knew that we'd like to perform with each other, play in a band 
one day and it was something that was bound to happen sooner or 

And the band's name ń how is it symbolic?  

We're five people, five individuals who came together to create 
something, to make music and to complete each other musically, to 
form a perfect circle. A circle is the reflection of eternity. It has 
no beginning and it has no end - and if you put several circles over 
each other, then you get a spiral. 
Many of the song titles on Mer des Noms (French for "Sea of Names") 
are actually names of real or mythological people. A lot of the names 
of the songs are actually people I do know in real life and some 
elements of their lives seem to be the same as elements in the lives 
or stories of mythological figures. A lot of names in America and 
Europe have their roots in Latin and Greek words. A lot of them go 
back to archetypes and their stories. 
It's amazing, isn't it? If you take different mythologies from 
different cultures, the names may change and the story lines may vary 
but there is always something in common.... Most religious stories 
and mythologies have some sort of similar root, some sort of global 
archetypes. There are hundreds of myths that are talking about virgin 
births or murder. It's really hard to find out what happened first: 
Was it something that happened to people in their lives and it got 
turned into a myth, or was there a myth and people tried to copy it 

Speaking of myths, you ventured into acting and imitated Charles 
Manson on the Ben Stiller show. A few critics claimed your portrait 
of Charles Manson was so intense and too real to not be upsetting. 
What is your take on Manson? Charles, not Marilyn....  

I think the media made Manson, turned him into some larger than life 
figure and surrounded him with mystery and some shady glamour. I 
don't even think that he was really a psychopath, that he had any 
form of mysterious power. He was just a frustrated guy who wanted to 
be a rock star. He dreamed about having groupies, getting laid and 
the whole thing how people imagine rock stars live. The kind of stuff 
you read in the tabloids. Nobody gave him a record deal and he 
latched on to some drugged-out people who were so spaced out on acid 
that they did what he told them and went and killed some people like 
he told them. I can't believe that the media didn't see that part of 
him and turned him into this larger than life figure, almost a living 

But Manson was a monster, wouldn't you agree?  

Of course, he was a monster. It's his fault that terrible crimes were 
committed, but I think there's nothing great about him. For 35 years 
people treated him like dirt and then he freaked out. We didn't 
glamorize him in any way. We made fun of his image as a psychopath.  

There's a lot of talk about the Napster controversy. How do you view 
the new technology? After all, with Tool you were one of the less 
commercial bands in the music scene.  

In a way, it does destroy the music scene, not just the record 
companies, even more the artists, the people who write the songs and 
who don't get paid. I think there are a lot of other industries out 
there that might deserve being destroyed. The ones who get hurt by 
MP3s are not so much companies or the business, but the artists, 
people who are trying to write songs.  

Did you always see yourself as a musician or was it more by chance? 
I'm curious, because you don't seem to be phased by success.  

I always knew that I wanted to be an artist. I never even thought 
about it. It was always there in the back of my head. We had those 
forms in school, just stupid forms you had to fill out where they 
asked you all sorts of things. For example, what you want to be when 
you grow up. There were a lot of choices to make and I always picked 
artist. I never once picked doctor, lawyer, firemen or something like 
that. It was always artist. I always knew that I wanted to be 
creative, that I wanted to create something. Even if I didn't know 
what when I was a child.  

Posted to t.d.n: 03/01/01 20:11:36