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Salival.fr interview with Maynard James Keenan biographer Sarah Jensen

An interesting interview came across my desk this morning, refreshingly nothing to do with A Perfect Circle’s new album.  Christophe from Salival.fr recently interview A Perfect Union of Contrary Things author Sarah Jensen, and asked her a bunch of questions about the process used to write the bio.

Here’s a sneak peek:

What was your approach here?
Maynard and I agreed early on that this wouldn’t be a typical rock-star biography. It wouldn’t be a book about Tool or a tell-all, but the story of Maynard’s journey. It hopefully would show that everyone’s life is a journey, and that the outcomes depend on the choices they make.

Did you meet Maynard for the content, phone him?
Maynard and I live on opposite sides of the country, so every Sunday we got on the phone, and he told me another chapter of his life. During the week, I worked on turning it into a story. He reviewed everything I wrote, and had final approval over it all.

Were there things more difficult to discuss with him, as there are some sensitive events depicted?
Maynard and I trust each other. That trust meant we could be open and honest with each other. We didn’t shy away from talking about sensitive areas, because it was all done to make the best book we could. Like he says: “If you’re going to do something, you do it. (…) You do it for the art.”

In case you haven’t checked out the book yet, check out my thoughts on it here!

 

Billy speaks with Vice about Eat The Elephant

There have been plenty of interviews with both Billy Howerdel and Maynard James Keenan regarding the new A Perfect Circle record Eat The Elephant. The hype train is starting to wind down a bit now that we’re a few weeks post release, but there’s a new interview up in Vice’s Noisy website with Billy recently, and I think it’s one of the better ones to come out.

Here’s a sample:

How do you pick your battles, or decide when to stand your ground? Depends how intense Maynard gets when arguing with you?
You know, there can be things that are triggering right off the bat. You take a minute and look back and go, “Maybe there’s something to this. Or maybe this is just a power struggle, or maybe this is just…” Like with anything, you kind of have to assess. He’s emotional, I’m emotional, and that’s why we do what we do. There’s baggage that comes with that. My least favorite question about Maynard is: “So what’s it like working with Maynard?” It’s like, “What was it like being breastfed by your mother?” I don’t know—compared to what? I can’t compare it to anything else. It’s all I know. It was just happening.

I will say, you can’t be a great lyricist… If you’re tapping into all this stuff, it can be challenging to be graceful in every other aspect of your life. One thing I’ve learned from working with bands is an understanding of characters. Like when I was a guitar tech, I’d be paired with a lot of big personalities. I think it was understood that I was kind of good at navigating it. Some were tough—you know, like Axl [Rose], Trent Reznor and Billy Corgan. You can’t expect everything to go exactly how you want it to go. But if you can do everything, then why don’t you just do it yourself? Getting back to your initial question, like when do you pick your battles? I have great trust and respect for where Maynard is coming from, what he’s capable of and what he can see. Because I’m down in the trenches and have my head so far in it. He doesn’t bog himself down with the progress the way I do. So I’ll give him that he can see a clearer picture sometimes than I can.

Enjoy!

Maynard chats with Lars and other Eat the Elephant related interviews

Plenty of Maynard James Keenan in the press at the moment, the most interesting of which are a chat with Lars Ulrich from Metallica, and a piece for The Australian.

Firstly, Maynard speaks in a video interview with Lars Ulrich.  It’s a reasonable broad interview, touching on A Perfect Circle, as well as it’s relationship with the other bands in Maynard’s arsenal:

Also out in the last week, Andrew McMillen from The Australian had a pretty insightful chat with Maynard about the construction of Eat The Elephant:

Well, to put it another way, then. Do you recall which song went through the most revisions from the time that Billy initially sent the musical idea to you?

Oh, jeez. All of them. Yeah, they all evolve so much. Then we go down blind alleys, turn around and come back. Yeah, I don’t know. They all go through so many changes, and those changes can be quick, it might be like we mentioned; it could be that the music went through a million changes and all of a sudden, the lyrics came almost overnight, once it was settled.

You’re unique as a lyricist in that sense that you juggle writing for three different, popular bands. Do you have any personal rules or criteria that you use to determine whether a thought or idea would be best expressed through each of these outlets, and not the others?

No, never. It’s all about the music. It’s all about conversations. The way you speak to your mother is far different than the way you speak to your college roommate, or a bartender, or the mailman. You just honour those conversations that are in front of you; those subject matters, that music, it’ll all take that direction.

Stay tuned for my thoughts on Eat The Elephant sometime later today!

 

Maynard speaks as Eat the Elephant publicity train ramps up

In case you’d forgotten, the new A Perfect Circle album Eat The Elephant comes on April 20, and as we’d expect both Billy and Maynard are featuring quite heavily in various forms of media at the moment as the promote it.  Two of the better articles I’ve come across recently are below.

The first is an interview with Revolver magazine, in which Maynard speaks at length about the writing and recording process for the album:

On Eat the Elephant, Howerdel worked with producer Dave Sardy. And rather than collaborate side-by-side with Keenan on each track from beginning to end, most of the vocals were done in Arizona and engineered by Puscifer’s Mat Mitchell. It’s a process Keenan now prefers for all his projects. The singer also traveled to the guitarist’s home studio in L.A. “to kind of nudge things forward” and go over ideas.

Keenan was back at the vineyard in time for the harvest, and traded recordings back and forth with Howerdel online. “We were actually on parallel paths, getting things done,” says Keenan. “When I start to dig into the content, the melodies, the words,” the singer explains, he becomes something more like “an Italian mother in the kitchen: ‘Get the fuck out. Dinner’s not ready, get out. Need the kids out of the kitchen!'”

There’s a few light hearted jabs at Tool in the interview as well, and it’s well worth the read.

The second is an interview with Matt Pinfield:

It’s a pretty length discussion about A Perfect Circle, touring and various other interests of Maynard’s (don’t expect Tool chat).

Maynard talks Tool and other things with Joe Rogan

Maynard James Keenan spoke with Joe Rogan on his podcast this week, and covers a range of the usual topics you’d expect – wine making, fighting, discipline, the music industry, his love for cross-stitching and of course, Tool.  As with Maynard’s other chats with Rogan, it’s an interesting listen, and great to hear him speak in a more relaxed, between friends manner than the usual defensive style taken with clickbait focused music journalists.

But let’s face it, Tool is what most of us want to know about (that bit starts at around the 1:22 mark on the video embedded below).  Specifically Maynard discusses frustrations, but also understanding and acceptance of the current writing process.  He also mentions that there are several tracks ready for vocals, and others in the works as well.  Though nothing is complete yet, he does mention that he had worked on vocals for a track, only to find when he returned to the band it had changes so much they were no longer relevant.

I came away from the interview feeling pretty good about where the album is at.  It appeared to me that Maynard feels good about what has been written so far.  There are obvious frustrations, but he seems at peace with where it’s at.  Some question if we’ll ever see another album from Tool, but for me this interview definitely made me feel it’s more of a “when” situation rather than “if”

So, my take on all this is that songwriting continues.  It’s not going to wind up any time soon.  I don’t think anyone should have expectations of Tool recording anytime this year.  I’d go so far as to say we’re unlikely to see a Tool album before this time next year.

Justin discusses the new album with Metal Sucks

Metal Sucks have today published a Podcast which contains a 10 minute interview with Justin Chancellor, where he talks about progress on the new Tool album, and their love of playing live.  While the interview is short on much concrete information, Justin does mention that he believes the new album is about 90% done.  He declined to give any indication of when it would be released though.

It’s an insightful interview, so well worth your time.

Justin talks about San Bernadino show

Adam had his chance, now Justin Chancellor speaks OC Weekly about the San Bernadino Tool show coming up this weekend.  He opens up a bit about some of the other acts playing on the weekend including Primus:

“My fourth gig I ever did with Tool was at the Oakland Coliseum. We supported Primus,” Chancellor said. “I was like 25 and it was all very overwhelming. To come full circle and be touring with them last year, and actually not be quite so intimidated and shy, and be able to strike up some relationships with these people has been really fantastic.”

 

 

Adam Jones interview in upcoming issue of Kerrang

Reports from the Tool Army Members Facebook page suggest that Tool will be the focus of the next issue of Kerrang Magazine, and will feature Adam Jones on “that new album”.  Exactly what we’ll get remains to be seen (the title seems a bit click-baity), but I’d hesitate to suggest it’ll be anything more than “we’re still working diligently on it”…

Justin speak to Bass Player about the new Tool album

In what is one of the most revealing interviews in the last 10 years, Justin goes into a fair bit of depth into the progress and process behind the new Tool album.  Jon D’Auria from Bass Player speaks at length with Justin Chancellor on what is a insightful read.

While he didn’t want to be drawn into speculation as to when the album will be ready (based in my interpretation we certainly shouldn’t be expecting anything for a while yet) he does go into what and how they write, what some of the set backs have been and how he feels about the expectations of a ravenously loyal fan base:

How sick are you of people asking when it’s going to be done?

It’s understandable, and it’s a compliment that people are excited to hear it. But it’s difficult to hear that and not feel some kind of guilt. All I can say is that we’ll go back Monday and do our best to finish it for you, although that’s not really how it works. But we know the listeners will be happy with it when it’s finished.

How do you, Adam, and Danny typically write together?

Adam and I usually have the source material we’ve come up with together here. We’re playing pretty much nonstop right now, so a lot of ideas are coming out. Often, Danny and I will be playing something and Adam will rush into the room and tell us to record it, and then we’ll spend the rest of the day working on it to see if it’s worthwhile. And of course we have a whole treasure chest of ideas on our phones that we record on our own. Basically, Adam and I have riffs and Danny has rhythms or different time-signature beats, and we try to keep them basic before bringing them in to see what the other members will do with them. We establish a riff so we and the listener can identify it, and then we say, Okay, now how far away from it can we go on this journey?

Well worth the read, so check it out when you have the chance!

Justin Chancellor from Tool speaks to Bass Player about the next Tool album

Puscifer on The Onion?

I came across an interesting Instagram post today from Puscifer:

See you all tomorrow! @theonion #comedyfirstalways #thearsonist

A video posted by Puscifer & Caduceus (@puscifer) on

Perhaps we’re going to see Maynard and/or Puscifer on The Onion tomorrow?

In other Maynard related news, there is a reasonably new interview with him on Aussie digital radio station Double J.  It’s not an especially insightful interview, however does give us a tiny clue as to the Puscifer Tour in Australia next year:

“It’s gonna be a different show to what we brought last time,” Keenan told Double J’s Myf Warhurst. “A couple of curveballs. It should be fun.”

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