the tool page

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The Tool Page: An Article


Date: May, 2002

Transcribed by
K. (

 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