Maynard James Keenan’s Mom At Tool Show

Photo credit: Lauryn Schaffner for

One fan noted that revealed that he came across the recording for Akron, Ohio on July 14, 1998 where Tool performed and the band frontman Maynard James Keenan introduced his mother, Judith Marie Keenan who was in attendance. Recently, Justin Chancellor’s mother was also in attendance for a Tool show.

Maynard James Keenan mother attended Tool show

During the show, Tool played both “Prison Sex” and “Jimmy” and it raised doubts about whether it was deliberate given the very personal nature of these songs about his mother. Overall, the show was amazing and Maynard’s mother’s appearance makes it a little more interesting. He announced she was there and tried to get her to come out on stage but she wouldn’t.

It is needless to say Maynard James Keenan is one of the most popular figures in all of popular music. He has been intensely private, highly disciplined, and a polymath who has tried everything from sketch comedy to winemaking. Keenan keeps in the shadows during Tool performances, rarely does interviews, and disdains explaining the meanings behind his lyrics.

Well, Keenan is a thoughtful and incisive lyricist who often brings philosophic ideas with purposefully crude humour, and even mathematical formulas to the table when composing and arranging his melodies and lyrical motifs. However, there has been an important figure in Keenan’s life who has inspired numerous compositions within the Tool discography – his mother, Judith.

Judith Marie Keenan was a devote Baptist who suffered a paralysing cerebral haemorrhage when Maynard was just 11 years old. Judith would remain paralysed for 27 years until she died in 2003, and the amount of time Judith spent paralysed would inspire the title track to Tool’s fourth studio album, 10,000 Days.

It has been noted that Judith’s faith was only solidified upon her haemorrhage, and while Maynard was known to be staunchly anti-religious, he viewed his mother’s devotion as reason enough for her to be granted wings and ascend to heaven. “Ten thousand days in the fire is long enough/You’re going home.”

Judith would also inspire a small number of other Tool songs beyond ‘10,000 Days’. ‘Wings for Marie’, the track slotted just before ‘10,000 Days’ on the album, contains many of the same themes of religious devotion and struggling to understand and appreciate the faith that Maynard did not share.

‘Jimmy’, from 1996’s Ænima, also refers to the incident, with Maynard recounting his experience with the lines: “Eleven and she was gone/Eleven is when we waved goodbye.”

Maynard’s most explicit reference to his mother came outside of Tool in the A Perfect Circle song named after her, ‘Judith’. He’s far more critical on ‘Judith’, addressing his mother by saying, “You’re such an inspiration for the ways/That I will never, ever choose to be,” and “Oh, so many ways for me to show you/How your saviour has abandoned you.”

As he matured, it seems as if Maynard took a more contemplative and hopeful approach to his mom’s religious intensity but as always with Keenan, the answers are never that easy.