Date: May, 2002
page: title: Mine's interview with Maynard James Keenan of Tool author: Bart Cabanier and Bert Lambrecht Sixteen minutes, two seconds and fifty-three hundredths of a second Mine have had the honour of speaking to Maynard James Keenan, the famous singer of Tool. That's quite exceptional, knowing that the man gives interviews on an average of two a year. Therefore Mine had to go to Ettelbruck, Luxemburg, where Tool played at a local sports centre. After their show, which was great, we met Maynard backstage in his dressing room. He's quite small and a whole different person than whom we saw on stage earlier on: shy, suspicious, sometimes paranoid even. He almost whispers instead of talking, carefully considering his words. But anyhow, Maynard James Keenan speaks to us! Mine: During the American 'Lateralus'-tour Robert Fripp of seventies legend and Tool's main musical influence King Crimson joined you a few times on stage. You said in an interview once that you hope that one day a band will be expanding new musical fields thanks to Tool as you did thanks to King Crimson. Have you heard such band yet? Maynard James Keenan: "No, not yet. It seems like right now everyone is focused on becoming rich and famous. It doesn't seem like there's much artistry happening out there. There are some people doing things on their own. Like Tomahawk, with Mike Patton from Faith No More and people from Helmet, Jesus Lizard and The Melvins. They have had their album out for a while now, they've been touring and will be supporting us in the States. It's not influenced by us though, but they're doing wonderful work." Mine: The members of Tomahawk aren't exactly young artists either: they're making music for over ten years. That's two generations in terms of pop music. MJK: "It has become that way, with the McDonalds- and Starbucks generation: short attention spans. We try making people aware of what kind of work it takes to get from A to B not taking the easy way. They should definitely put away the Coca Cola for a second, slow their heartbeat down and read something, experiencing something that takes a bit of effort. A kind of an interactive process." Mine: The band Tool itself is a good example of that: you released only 4.5 albums within 12 years. Partly because of legal problems with your record company we had to wait a long time for your fourth album. MJK: "No, the legal problems didn't take that long. People are always harping on this big amount of time between albums. But consider this: bands that came successful with their first album, had their whole lifes to write that first album. In the aftermath they write a second album that is still reflecting everything they learned up to that point. Their third album might be OK, but generally it isn't. And it's over. Because they force out an album every year and they are spent after only four years. They're done." "Bands should take their time and gather more life experience as they're writing. Music should not be a product from a factory. It should be a result of your life experience. When you put out an album every nine months, there's not enough time to absorb, interprete and then regurgitate. Each time we deliver something we can be proud of. We couldn't put anything out, if we're not a 100% satisfied about it." Mine: You're known as perfectionist and control freaks, not only when it comes to their music, but also when it comes to artwork and cd sleeves. What do you think about malls like Walmart banning your cds, because of their covers, as it was the case with 'Undertow'? MJK: "It wasn't the cover, it was some photos inside they didn't like. They wanted us to change them, so we went 'Fuck you, we are not going to change any of it.' We just put a form in it "When you get this form, send in this form and you get the actual artwork in its integrity, rather than just pieces of the artwork." Mine: That kind of censorship, is it a typically American thing? Would you come across it in Europe? MJK: "It's the same everywhere, just different nuances. You just get so used to being censored, that you don't notice it anymore. For instance limited options: they say to you 'Well, there's only green, blue and red available to you.' And after a while, you start believing them." Mine: Do you think music can change anything? Do people visiting a Tool concert anything more than the shot of adrenalin that they've experienced? MJK: "I don't know whether our music has that much to do with shots of adrenalin. To me Tool has a lot more to do with meditation. I hope people can lose theirselves in our music, that our music makes things possible for them." Mine: But still: when you compare the reactions of the crowd on a Metallica concert with those on a Tool concert, you don't see much difference. MJK: "There's not much soul searching going on on a Metallica concert, but it's music. In general, music is a higher form of language, so people are going to react on their most base level and with their most basic language. But even after an opera show, or some country and western, you will have enthousiastic reactions. But after an event where someone has done some soul searching and shown his heart, really tried to do something, hopefully that will translate through the sound and people will walk away with some extra Tool, necessary to go to another level." "People that saw The Sex Pistols perform, felt that raw, pure, intent from the heart and it changed things on same level. Jello Biafra, Pink Floyd, it changed something. I don't how much really gets changed when you see Aerosmith. They're yelling allright, but I don't think it's really going to change anything. You'd rather go see the Backstreet Boys."
Posted to t.d.n: 05/26/02 21:43:46