Tool Singer Maynard James Keenan Calls Out ‘Ripoff’ Songs

Photo credit: Lauryn Schaffner for

Photo credit: Lauryn Schaffner for

Tool and A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan was recently interviewed on BBC’s Music Ruined My Life. He discussed the albums that had an impact on him growing up (via Revolver).

He named Joni Mitchell’s Blue, citing input from his aunt when she realized Keenan was “going down the spiral of Kiss and Black Sabbath.” He internalized the message, saying he’s unsure how his aunt was successful at convincing him to listen but he became aware then that Mitchell was “a woman who’s writing her own songs, who’s producing and mixing and releasing her own songs, and it’s a woman fighting this uphill struggle in arguably a man’s rock world.”

Keenan’s aunt was the one who introduced him to Sabbath when the youngster was “all jacked up on sugar” watching monster movies at her house. The aunt saw the natural pairing in young Keenan’s tastes, which led to him playing the band’s legendary self-titled record while watching the horror movies with the volume down.

Devo’s Are We Not Men is also mentioned by Keenan, “If you listen to those early albums, most of them are, in my opinion… seem like they’re direct ripoffs of classic rock songs, just sped up and quirked out.”

He also discussed Low, “That discipline is so difficult for musicians because they’re looking for the payoff right away. So in this album, Things We Lost in the Fire, there is so much patience and restraint.”

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