Birth Name: James Herbert Keenan

Birthday: April 17, 1964

Quick Facts: Maynard was a Kiss maniac when he was 12. His first concert was Rick Springfield. He was voted 'most artistic' by his high school senior class. Maynard has a son named Devo who was born August 5, 1995. He practices Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, occasionally under Rickson Gracie. Has paintings by Ramiro Rodriguez hanging on his apartment walls.

Full Bio: Maynard was born to a Baptist family and grew up with an older sister in Ravenna, Ohio. Maynard attended Brown Jr High and then Ravenna High school through the 10th grade until he moved to Michigan. There he attended Mason County Central High School in Scottville, MI. By the time he entered the army, in 1982, he had lived in Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.

Maynard was a member of the United States Military Academy ("West Point") prep school class of 1984. He was member of the cross country and wrestling teams, the glee club, and the "Knight Crier." References to the Honor Code "I will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do"; and to the term 'tool' probably came from this experience.

Maynard quit the military to study art, which eventually led to a job in LA applying spatial design concepts (called "Feng Shui") to remodeling pet stores. While Maynard was in Michigan, he attended the Kendall College of Art & Design, which is one of the best in that area. His artwork is rumored to be very abstract. Maynard was friends with Gillian Anderson while he was at Kendall.

Before Tool, in the 80's, Maynard was in Children of the Anachronistic Dynasty (C.A.D.) that released an independent cassette called 'Fingernails'. He was also in another band called TexAns.

Maynard met Danny Carey in LA when they were neighbors. Danny let Maynard and Adam use his practice space, and ended up playing with them a few times.

Maynard's father is a retired high school teacher from Mason County Central Highschool in Scottville, Michigan. They get along fine and Maynard visits home every year. Maynard is rumored to reside near Sedona, Arizona.

Maynard is currently involved in a second project called 'A Perfect Circle,' though he is still very much a part of Tool. He has also become engaged to his girlfriend.

thanks to:
"I love fairy tales."
- Maynard on Christianity

Firstly, there's a lot of disinformation spread about Tool, mostly perpetuated by band members themselves. So everything anyone says about tool should always be taken with a huge grain of salt.

Maynard is the lead vocalist in the band Tool (which has been referred to as “metal’s Radiohead”), and depending on who you are talking to, a genius, a prophet, an alien. I think he is just a brilliant man, but he is contrary to a fault. He is self-deprecating, yet he revels in (and cultivates) his own “self”. He has been known to hate humans in general (who doesn't?), because of their invariable ignorance, yet his lyrics are laced with messages of unity, communication, and the collective unconscious. An artist since childhood, he has an angel’s voice and he believes that you can't separate yourself from what you create. He has x-ray eyes and a practically anonymous face, a testament to the band’s insistence upon keeping their own privacy, and marketing the band’s ideas as opposed to it’s image. He's a volatile and complex character; one of those introspective and difficult rock star types who are "allergic to eye contact". He speaks in a cold, calculated, measured tone, and seems completely sober and impassive but then he has this completely humorous side. During the eighties, he even ventured into comedy, performing in after-hours bars. He was once asked who he preferred being interviewed by, cynical rock critics who try and make things difficult for him, or awe-struck fans who stutter and drop their notes. He answered, "Um... To be honest, it's just difficult talking about music. Frank Zappa used to say that talking about music is like dancing about architecture... it doesn't make sense." He is intimidating and clearly bored in interviews, because to him, his work is already done, through his music. He makes life really hard for the interviewers actually, I remember listening to Triple J, an Australia radio show, and Maynard was discussing his Top 5 albums. I felt incredibly sorry for the poor radio guy who went to all ends to cultivate a fluid conversation only to have Maynard answer with, “right”, or “not really”. Snippet:

Interviewer: Is music the most important thing in your life?


Maynard: No.

Interviewer: So if music isn't the most important thing in Maynard's life, what is do you think?


Interviewer: Fair enough. (Tries to laugh it off.) (Looks like an idiot).

Maynard really likes being absorbed by the whole picture. He prefers films to sitcoms, books to poetry. This might explain his decision to become involved in another band, which has become sort of an alter ego for Tool. The band is called A Perfect Circle, and I have noticed that in interviews for this band he is more than obliging, and quite personable. When I discussed this with one of my friends he claimed it was just an elaborate joke, a kind of inside chuckle at the way A Perfect Circle is his “pop” band. And I guess, it is. It’s the yin for Tool’s “yang”. Where Tool is male, mathematical, logical, aggressive, cerebral, A Perfect Circle is more feminine, romantic, personal, communicative, more about relationships. (Perhaps the fact that Tool's latest album, Lateralus, is more personal this time around, means that we are seeing some state of balance). Incidentally, one of the songs on the APC album Mer de Noms is a pretty straightforward love song for his fiancé, Jennifer Brena Ferguson, who he sometimes refers to as his 'reflection'. Maynard, usually shaved bald, wears a long wig and eyeliner when fitting in to his A Perfect Circle persona.

Tori Amos, a close friend of Maynard’s, says when asked what he is like on a day to day basis, “I think he probably wakes up wondering if he's going to wig or not wig.” She says Maynard’s emails make you giggle, and that she thinks is this truly beautiful guy, who has “a deep spiritual currency”. Tori and Maynard both grew up with intense religious backgrounds and she says they both have a real fascination with comparative religions. They apparently spend a lot of time talking about them, and particularly this one book, the Hidden Lineage of Jesus, and how we've all been very manipulated through the ages about the information that's been withheld, hidden. Tori thinks that if they had the time they’d both be students somewhere.

Maynard says he sees Tool as a very small part of his life, it just happens to take up the most of it. “My main focus is our relationships with each other and dealing with life and the shit it throws at us. At the moment, I'm thinking about how wanna build a wine cellar in my house, and I've wanted to do it for a while. So while I'm out here, I'm just daydreaming about my wine cellar."

He is fascinated by sacred geometry and the invisible, the unknown, and believes deeply in the axiom, “Think for yourself”. One of my friends caught one of Tool’s concerts in Sydney and apparently he made the audience chant over and over, “I will question authority”. And then, “I will not do what others tell me to do”.. it took the audience a while to realise he was messing with them and when they finally got it, and stopped chanting, he said, “Fuckers”, and launched into the next song. (Actually, I forget exactly what he made them chant but it was something along those lines). He believes in pushing boundaries and facing “the shadow” spoken of by Carl Jung. When he joined the army in 1982 he says it was "the most illogical thing I could possibly I did it."

He is somewhat of a technology buff these days apparently, marveling over current gizmos. “I think the internet is definitely a metaphor for the collective unconscious. There's the old master saying that if you meditate long enough with focus, you can tap into the collective unconscious. Well, what the fuck do you think people are doing every day when they sit in front of the computer? Pretty soon, we're gonna get to the point technologically where you're not gonna even the external apparatus to do that. Eventually, quantum physics will develop some kind of orientation where you'll just be sitting there talking to your friends on the East Coast with nothing - just with your focus."

He is clearly the frontman of Tool, or so it would seem, but Maynard is very modest about his importance upon the collective that is Tool, saying, “In some cases when you get a record and it deals with the subject matter that we deal with, people ignore the music and go straight to the lyrics, and that puts more focus on me and I'm only one-fourth of this project. If that.” He says that the music is what carries all the emotion and that his words just kind of define where the emotion is coming from. Maynard also says he is more of a “reactive artist” than a creative one:

“It's more in my nature to work under parameters. I do really well when you give me parameters. I take what's there and I work with it. Even with Tool I hardly ever came up with the original core structure, it always ended up being. I'm just kind of reacting to what we're doing in the room. Very rarely do I bring in the original riff and start from there.”

Maynard’s Top 5 albums, as previously mentioned, are (or were on April 17, 1997): Hejira by Joni Mitchell, (one song in particular is Black Crow), two simultaneous albums, Holy Money and Greed by The Swans, (one song in particular, Coward), One More Red Nightmare by King Crimson, Passion by Peter Gabriel, which is the soundtrack to The Last Temptation of Christ, and lastly Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti. Specifically, the song Kashmir, “which, if you haven't heard it, I think you'll see why, and if you have you know what I'm talking about. I don't really need to say much about it.” (Maynard is cryptic. He likes people to go and find answers themselves, to experience things for themselves, rather than being told). Maynard has also more recently been listening to a lot of Massive Attack, his old Cocteau Twins records, PJ Harvey, and the new Radiohead album (Kid A). He also has no idea why Nine Inch Nails’ album The Fragile didn’t do better. He says, “I think if anyone's going for a long drive, they should take that record. In the end, I think that's going to be their big undiscovered record.”

Other projects Maynard has been involved with:

Maynard ventured into acting and imitated Charles Manson on the Ben Stiller show. A few critics claimed that his portrait of Charles Manson was so intense and too real to not be upsetting. Director Steve Grasse also managed to snap Maynard up to play Satan in the full-length film realisation of his popular Bikini Bandit short series. In Bikini Bandits Go To Hell, the Bikini Bandits themselves meet their demise, only to go to Hell where Maynard’s Satan character gives them a choice of either going to Jerusalem to perform "some act" on the Virgin Mary or stay and be forced to watch Corey Feldman (who plays himself) dance forever. Maynard is a longtime fan of the series and first contacted Grasse hoping he would direct a video A Perfect Circle. "Satan plays a major role in the film," Grasse adds, "and Maynard is a really good actor. He's a natural. If he wants to be an actor, he could be huge."

Last words of wisdom: When asked during a NZ tour how to stop Auckland from becoming “one great big festering neon distraction” he answered, "Just remember, art saves lives.”

information comes from many, many interviews and articles; most can be found at

threw you the obvious and you flew

with it on your back, a name in your recollection

A stunning, captivating voice flowed from the radio. It bounced around my room, and I sat and listened, dumbfounded by the pure emotion spewing forth. I was ready to go to sleep when it happened; how could I turn off the light and not hear more? Though I could not understand much of it at first, the song dug in like a splinter; I knew I had found what I would come to love beyond casual interest. But it even felt like something more than that.

thrown down among a million same.

difficult not to feel a little bit disappointed

If anything, it was the emotion in this man's voice that drew me closer.

and passed over
when i've looked right through

to see you naked and oblivious
you don't see me. But i threw you the obvious

I sat there thinking after the song had finished (and the DJ had moved on to discuss European politics of some description), and it occurred to me that no other song had ever stopped me in my tracks like that. Two months later, I told my mother I wanted singing lessons.

just to see if there's more behind the eyes
of a fallen angel,

the eyes of a tragedy.
here i am expecting just a little bit
too much from the wounded.

I had always been a musical person, someone eager to create music, and to cherish what I had created. But what can a sixteen year old do but be inspired, move on, or dominate what they can? The capacity to create something I saw as beautiful had not diminished, but for now, chasing the voice of Maynard James Keenan seemed the right thing to do. And while the singing lessons helped, I realized something. This man's voice, which had moved me so on that night, was irreplaceable. We all have our own voices, and his was one born of the unknown. Untutored, yet polished. Capable of expressing violence, but soft enough to draw tears.

but i see through it all
and see you.
so i threw you the obvious
to see what occurs behind the eyes of a fallen angel,
eyes of a tragedy.
Oh well. Apparently nothing.

Two years down the track and I have started getting work through music. I can honestly say that if I hadn't had disobeyed my parents, stayed up late and listened to the radio, it would not be happening. The song and voice that shaped me, and the voice that bound me to my love. This man is my hero.

you don't see me.
you don't see me at all

3 Libras, A perfect circle

Part of We Could Be Heroes: tes's Everything2 Heroes Quest

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