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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Tearaway Magazine
(NZ's youth Magazine)

Date: September, 2001

Transcribed by
*ˇ±anTeRiA* (Santeria00@millionaireintraining.com)


  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