Maynard James Keenan Reveals ‘Tedious’ New Tool Album Process: ‘I Had To Start Over’


Maynard James Keenan discussed the long awaited new Tool album in a new interview with Joe Rogan. Alternative Nation transcribed Keenan’s comments.

“It took me awhile to, my desire to move forward, go go go, and get things done, I’m always butting heads with the guys in the band, and Tool, to get those things done, and it’s just not their process. It took me awhile for me to go this is not personal, this is just the way that they have to do it, and I have to respect it, and I have to take my time and let them take their time.

I just check in, I come and I see what’s going on: ‘Hey Justin, send me the tracks, to see where we’re at. Is this thing done? If this thing is done done done and I can start writing words and music on it, great, but I’ve had instances where I’ve started to write stuff, and by the time I actually got it around and back and actually listening and whatever, the song had gone in a completely different direction. So everything that written melody wise or lyric wise was completely irrelevant now, and I have to start over.

I mean I can sit there in that room, and be with them in that room, but their process is so tedious and so Rain Man, that I just can’t, I just start fucking folding in on myself. I’ll be right back, I’ve got to go take 5 years to plant a vineyard, because you’ll still be right where you were when I left. But it’s a great thing, what they’re doing is a wonderful – I completely back what they’re doing. There’s no other way for them to do it. For me, I can move much more quickly if you will let me help you.

I’ve written a few songs, in fact, I was involved in many of them, the ones that we’ve done, so we can do that, but I think this is what they need to do. I’m okay with it, you got to get a little friction in there, so I have to come in and puff my chest out a bit and be aggressive: ‘Let’s move it guys.’ That worked for a minute, and we definitely make traction, but if I were to do that every day, it would just become a part of the friction, more friction instead of getting anything done.”

Keenan added, “We’re definitely four very strong personalities. Same thing working with Billy in A Perfect Circle. He gets a little forest through the trees sometimes, and I’m the guy going: ‘Step back, look at it.’ Then I’m out the door, the poor guy is going: ‘Where did you go?’ Then working with Mat Mitchell and Carina and Puscifer, we all generally work with or for other projects and other people, so when we get together, we are fucking streamlined organized.

We go, okay, I’ll check in with the guys in Tool and go, where are we at, what do we got, are we there? Are we going to track tomorrow? Because if we’re going to track tomorrow, I can say great then, we’re going to line this up. But if we’re not going to track tomorrow, and it’s going to take this much time, then I’m going to do this other thing. Tell me when that day is when we’re ready to start, when these are done, and I can take my time to write them.

In fairness, I should take my 10 years to write lyrics now, but I won’t do that, I’ll digest these things as quickly as I can and keep that moment, that freshness, of what my impressions are of the finished tracks, and we’ll start. Nothing is tracked yet, nothing is completely finished. There’s a couple songs that I think are finished now, I can start working on those, but nothing is actually recorded.”