Music legend Maynard James Keenan (Tool, Puscifer, a perfect circle) appeared on STROMBO’s show on Apple Music Hits to reflect on Puscifer’s most recent album, share stories about his peers, mental health, and his experience getting COVID-19 twice. Listen to STROMBO interview MJK at Apple Music and read select quotes from their chat below.
Maynard on contracting Covid-19 for the second time
“I got it like mid-November and ended up in the ER on December 1st. Ugly, ugly. Couldn’t breathe. I could barely put two words together without going into a coughing fit that, you know? It ended up kind of also progressing into pneumonia. So, if I stayed in the hospital, they said, ‘Okay, we can keep you here, but you’re fighting 12 other people for a bed and a ventilator we don’t have, so what do you want to do?’ I’m like, ‘Well, I need to breathe and I need to sleep.’ So, you’re just treating symptoms at that point. There’s nothing you can do other than treat the symptom, so for a real cough medicine, not the crap over-the-counter and then like an inhaler, and some antibiotics to fight the pneumonia and strap the f*** in.
Maynard on ‘Apocolyptical’ off new Puscifer album
“It’s the sensationalized thing of online social media stuff. When you have algorithms and bots just changing headlines in real time to create the reaction. I was reading with a friend, she’d sent me an article about the connection between just that physical addiction that very much mirrors, if not identical to heroin addiction. What happens in your body for that dopamine addiction and I think the sensationalizing of headlines. You’re being told exactly what you want to think, you’re being told exactly what you don’t want to think, so you have a reaction, and you’re just addicted to that reaction. I think sometimes that’s what you end up not really seeing… you see truth, but you don’t see fact.”
Maynard on Existential Reckoning’s extraterrestrial theme
“Well, I grew up in Ohio, eventually moved to Michigan, but in a very fundamentalist conservative in a box community. And when you’re an outsider, in a way, you don’t necessarily align with those things. In some ways, you have to blend in and play along, but that idea of what moves people, scary wizards that are half zombie somehow or in charge of your life, and you have to be cool to them, and to get into the bar that is heaven. It was just a strange concept for me and I bought into it and I didn’t buy into it and I bought into it and didn’t buy into it. And I think in a way that unknown of extraterrestrial intervention or the coming of the aliens, that’s kind of the new religion, because it’s still kind of mysterious and scary and inspiring and lovely and awful and all those things. And I think because that’s an unknown, it’s like a combination of the new religion meets Bigfoot.”
Maynard on bandmate’s production talent on ‘The Underwhelming’ off new Puscifer album
“The Fairlight is a very recognizable piece of equipment that has type parameters. You’re really working in a box in that way, so the creativity that comes out of Matt with having the restrictions of these sounds and the Fairlight, he really shined on this because he was able to kind of draw outside the lines on those things… we want these things to be in a way soundtracks, right? They’re soundscapes and the things that he was using on this thing.”
Maynard reflects on musicians who have lost their lives to struggles with addiction and mental health
“You can do the intervention, but there’s… and I’m not putting blame on anybody, but not having anybody in place that could speak the language, whatever magic words you needed to hear, I think, unfortunately, they just don’t exist. So, you could chase your tail all day long trying to figure out who could be there to wave the magic wand to help these people survive this stuff. But at the end of the day, if they don’t want to survive then they’re not going to.”