Publication: Tearaway Magazine
(NZ's youth Magazine)
Date: September, 2001
page: 24 title: TooL Live! (an interview with MJK after the Auckland concert-NZ) author: Tonamu Namioka and Gareth Bradley The Interview.... AT LAST! Maynard James Keenan is slumped in a chair. He's wearing a white A Perfect Circle beanie, and apart from a little eyeliner, he looks just like any of the roadies. Except he has just come offstage from a two hour set which has drained his physical, creative and emotional energies completely, and it's impressive to say the least - that he'll put up with an interview right now. "We KNOW he'll have a sore throat from just having screamed his way through over a dozen songs; we KNOW this is a man notoriously wary of the media - and we were still stupid enough to open the interview with a "funny" question: (INT= Interviewer/s) INT: "Who do you prefer being interviewed by? Cynical rock critics who try and make things difficult for you, or awe-struck fans who stutter and drop their notes?" MJK: "Um... To be honest, it's just difficult talking about music. Frank Zappa used to say that talking about music is like dancing about architecture... it doesn't make sense." INT: "Laterlus has more of a cohesive flow to it than the other previous albums, with the songs merging into each other rather than following the verse-chorus-repeat formula. "It kind of has a soundtrack/score feel to it, like it's meant to go with something-have you secretly synched it up with a film (like Pink Floyd and The Wizard of Oz)?" MJK: "Not that you're aware of, but it is more of a soundtrack, yes. "For people who don't necessarily know how to approach what we do, that would be how to approach it - think of it like a film. "Don't think of it like watching (in a scornful voice) Tommy Boy or Happy Gilmour, think more like watching the Apocalypse Now or Blue Velvet...something like that. "It just takes a little effort. Something you can go back to, and you'll always find something different." INT: "Would you prefer it if more commercial acts were trying to be different /creative with their music?" MJK: "Well, I think that they should just follow their heart, whatever they want to do - I think it's difficult really to tell what people's intentions are. "I mean, maybe with some of the crappy hip hop/rock bands that's all they want to do is to become famous and to sell records, and there's no concern for the actual music. "If that's what they want to do. I can't criticise them really. "But as an artist, it kind of leaves a huge karmic debt for us all to have to pay...you know, the cattle aren't fed decently..." INT: "You've mentioned wanting to work on a music/film conceptual opus... Will the film follow a coherent story, or will it be very arty and open to interpretation?" MJK: "I would imagine that if we do a film we'll approach it the same way that we approach the music. "We'll make it something that is the child of our imaginations. The four of us meeting together, coming through on some kind of approach. "Wether it ends up being conceptual and extremely open to interpretations, or whether it has a solid idea - we won't really know until we're deep into it." INT: "The humorous side to Tool's work - the final tracks on Opiate or Undertow, the album sleeve to the second printing of Aenima - contradicts the grim, serious tone which most of the music conveys. " Are you deliberately trying to confuse people?" MJK: "We just are, you know, shit talkers, and we're definitely into comedy. "We're just a band that requires you to become involved, to show up ready to experience this with us... and if you don't know that we have a sense of humour then you aren't listening." INT: "You've worked with Deftones and Rage Against the Machine, Adam Jones has toured with The Melvins. Do you get a lot of offers from other acts trying to gain success by association, hoping to push their band by being affiliated in some way to Tool?" MJK: "Um, well... I'm not sure I agree with that 'success by association'. "Just because many of the bands that have opened for us in the past or that we've opened for - aren't doing too well. We were on Lollapalooza '93, that was Primus and Alice in Chains and Front 242... and uh, they're not doing too well right now. The Flaming Lips - they're playing to less people now than they did before they opened for us, so... I don't know about that." INT: "But do you get a lot of requests from other bands/artists for you to guest on their albums?" MJK: "Um, not that I know of." INT: "Has Volcano set up a 'barrier' or something?" MJK: "Oh, I don't talk to Volcano either." INT: "Have you ever read your own press, just out of curiosity?" MJK: "I try not to. You've got to try and keep your art pure by trying to stay away from other people's opinions about it. "Because opinions can just taint it, you just have to follow your heart. " I mean, it's already difficult enough with four people all throwing their ideas into the centre and working it out, without having to care what other people's opinions are - it just gets more convoluted." INT: "One of the few pieces of actual advice your music offers is: ˇĄthink for yourself'. You urge people to be true to themselves as well as being creative. Is there enough of that going on?" MJK: "Hard to say... time will tell. It's a slow process. Ten years from now we'll look back and see if anyone actually stepped up to the play. "I think the main thing - one thing you'll learn as you grow older - is that the sooner you don't give a fuck what your heroes think, the better off you are. "So when you hit that point where you just move forward and just do what you do, you've come to an amazing spot in your life. "The big thing is that you've got to do it for you, for something that really moves you. "It shouldn't be something that you're doing FOR your parents, or FOR some girl or FOR some guy, or for some jackass rock star - you should just do it for yourself." INT: "Do you want people to be familiar with your older material, so they can appreciate the progression you've made?" MJK: "Not necessarily. I mean, if they discover it and if they're in a place to really hear it. If they're right for it emotionally and at that maturity level, I guess it's a good thing." INT: "How much control do you have over your music after it has been released? For example, when the MTV awards used Schism to fill in time while an award recipient walks onstage..." MJK: "(grimacing): "Yeah, those fuckers..." INT: When a local television station used Ticks And Leeches for a rugby advertisement, did you even find out?" MJK: "Well if that happens, it's just a loss of... you know... it's a matter of our record company picking it up and getting the money for it. "Because we're not commercial, that's not why we wrote it." INT: "In the future, people are going to look back on you - so when you're old, grey and saggy, will you want lifetime achievement awards, tribute albums or stuff built in your honour?" MJK: "I won't have time for any of that stuff." (He's looking less and less interested, and that last sentiment sounded suspiciously loaded. One more quick question:) INT: "How can we stop Auckland from becoming a 'big festering neon distraction'?" (for once he doesn't hesitate:) MJK: "Just remember that art saves lives."
Posted to t.d.n: 09/16/01 23:54:31