Maynard James Keenan Compares Tool Album To Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy

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Maynard James Keenan discussed the delays of Tool’s new album being similar to Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy in a new Revolver interview.

In 2010, A Perfect Circle began occasionally touring again after an absence of six years. But the chance to create new music finally emerged from the same scenario that originally birthed A Perfect Circle at the end of the Nineties: Keenan’s frustration at the slow pace of progress in recording a new Tool album. “I had this other looming project that can’t seem to go forward, as much as I’ve tried, every magic word in the book that I tried,” says Keenan. “It’s just no different — and worse because there’s pressure now, and what are we? Chinese Democracy II or III? So I saw a window.”

That opening meant he could commit himself to making A Perfect Circle’s Eat the Elephant. “Having conversations with Billy [Howerdel, A Perfect Circle guitarist], it seemed like he was ready. If I were to do another Puscifer record,” he goes on, “I’m going to get fucking murdered in my sleep because people are going to keep blaming that project for the delay — when it’s not.”

“I just wanted to be a part of the circus, of the energy,” Billy Howerdel says now of his days as a roadie and even an engineer for Guns N’ Roses. While experimenting with music at home, his years as a roadie showed him how things worked, not just musically, but hearing all the chatter about managers, accountants and lawyers. Axl Rose heard Howerdel’s music and was very encouraging, even if Howerdel kept his expectations grounded in reality.