TOOL Frontman Wants People To Be Inspired By His Band's Music

Paul Gargano of Maximum Ink music magazine recently conducted an interview with TOOL frontman Maynard James Keenan. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

Maximum Ink: There's such a sense of mystery and mysticism surrounding TOOL. Do you find your fans delving into that world, or do they seem content to just listen to the music?

Maynard: I'm not really concerned about it whatsoever, honestly. If they get it, they get it — if they don't, they don't. Not that there's anything to get, really, it's just my version of a story.

Maximum Ink: A lot of people look to your "version" because they hope to find answers and/or understanding…

Maynard: Which I find very interesting, seeing as I'm not a college graduate, or a doctor, lawyer or debate team captain. I have no degree whatsoever. I rarely ever had a job that was nine-to-five that I held for very long. That seems kind of, umm, not great.

Maximum Ink: As a band, you go to such lengths to express a voice. Take the alternate track listing for "Lateralus", for example. Is that something you hope to see people explore, that second layer of meaning in the songs?

Maynard: Are you familiar with the movie "Life of Brian"? I would hope that people wouldn't be standing there holding a sandal, thinking it's a sign. I would hope that they would just see us doing something, then go off on their own and do something. Be inspired by it. I love the idea of a kitchen full of cooks coming up with a new recipe because they were listening to the album and doing their own thing. They're not worried about meeting us, or tripping on what we had for lunch or where we're going on vacation, or what we meant here or there. They were just inspired by the music and made an incredible dish.

Maximum Ink: There's obviously an element to your music that you'd love for people to explore, or you wouldn't go through the efforts you go through to lay the groundwork for further investigation, as you do on your website. Do you feel that seeking that deeper understanding of TOOL affects the appreciation of your music?

Maynard: I think it's simply right brain/left brain. Reading is a very analytical process, it takes you out of a creative space. Just listening to music without words attached to it takes you to a much more creative headspace, and a much more ambiguous "go where your mind might take you" kind of space. If the words are in front of you, you're no longer listening and feeling the music, you're thinking it. Then you're focusing on the map that's laid out in front of you rather than bumbling around the countryside. That's better to me, rather than having hard lines.

Read the entire interview at


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