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Maynard James Keenan Calls Tool Fans “Insufferable,” “Retards”

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Maynard James Keenan is one of the most deified rock stars on the planet — I should know, I’m one of the people who deifies him! — but something tells me he’s about to come down a peg or two.

This excerpt from a new piece in the Phoenix New Times has been making the rounds, and uh…

You’d think Keenan hates Tool. In fact, his reputation as a recluse comes largely from his stubborn refusal to answer questions about Tool, including the undying question: “When’s the next Tool album coming out?” New Times pointed out to him that he seems freer to express his less serious side in Puscifer, as critics and fans tend to view his other projects more seriously.

“It’s weird. It shouldn’t be,” Keenan says. “I mean, this one’s named dick, this one’s named vagina. That’s the start there, okay?”

He acknowledges that there was indeed humor in the Tool albums. But as with any time he’s asked about Tool, his answers quickly become curt. A hint of exasperation creeps into his voice and he exhales heavily through his nose.

“Yeah, it’s there,” he says. “But people miss it because they’re so focused on the other bullshit.”

He shakes his head.

“It’s lost. Insufferable people . . . It’s just ridiculous, retards. I’m sorry. Can’t help them. Way too serious. Too much. Lighten up.”

Did he have to corral the other band members to play this one show in 2015?

“No, they had to con me into it.”

Keenan’s answer to that whole pesky “When is the new Tool album coming out?” question, by the way, is “There’s nothing to say.”

Look: I’m sympathetic to Maynard’s feelings. I’m sure if tomorrow I co-founded a new blog about puppies and all anyone wanted to ask me about was MetalSucks, I’d be frustrated. As a creative person, your heart and soul tends to go into your latest endeavor, and I’m sure it’s frustrating have people ask about your old endeavor every fifteen minutes.

I also don’t think Keenan meant that ALL Tool fans are “insufferable” and/or “retards.” I think he was referring to the fans who don’t see the humor in Tool — the people who need to “lighten up,” as he says. He probably could have made that clearer in his statement, but still, I don’t think anyone should go toss their copy of Ænima into a fire just yet.

All of that being said…

I think Maynard is the one who really needs to “lighten up.” As when Slash’s publicists started telling journalists they couldn’t ask the guitarist about Guns N’ Roses, there seems to be a complete lack of understanding as to why anyone gives a shit about the artist in the first place. HINT: it’s not because of Puscifer! So while I understand Maynard’s frustration, I think he’d do well to remember that he is EXTREMELY fortunate to be in the position to have multiple side projects and a wine vineyard and a bizarrely decorated $2.37 million mansion, and that all of this good fortune is a direct result of his work with Tool. I know it’s hard, but the dude just has to accept that people are going to ask him about Tool every day for the rest of the life, the same way people are always going to ask Slash about Guns N’ Roses, the same way people are always going to ask Michael Keaton about Batman, the same way people are always going to ask Monica Lewinsky about blowing Bill Clinton. It’s what they’re most famous for. They just have to take a deep breath and deal.

Finally — and I can’t believe I’m about to type this — if Maynard really, truly is sick of Tool, he should just quit the band. I’d rather he not do something if his heart isn’t it than do a mediocre job for the sake of money/ego/making the fans happy/whatever. Some bands end with dignity, some bands do not. I hope when the time comes, whether it’s now or later, Tool fall into the former category.

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