Tool's Maynard James Keenan Turns Attention To Puscifer


While Maynard James Keenan never stops songwriting with his bands Tool and A Perfect Circle, the intense frontman is currently concentrating on his all-encompassing side project Puscifer, which includes music, a wine operation, a documentary, a clothing line and more.

This month marks the debut of "Blood Into Wine," a documentary film detailing his Caduceus winery operation that features appearances from Tim & Eric, Milla Jovovich, and Patton Oswalt.

But musically, Keenan is focusing on Puscifer the band. Supporting the experimental act's 2007 full-length debut, "V is For Vagina," as well as recent EP "C Is for (Please Insert Sophomoric Genitalia Reference HERE)," both of which were released on Puscifer Entertainment, Kennan and company are following up last fall's West Coast tour with a 21-date East Coast/Midwest swing beginning March 3 in Atlanta.

As for why it took so long to tour the project, the vocalist points to the band's grassroots efforts.

"We needed enough people to start hearing about it so when we actually took it on the road we could afford it," Keenan tells "For example, on the last run that we did, luckily we had a bunch of people that discovered it and could support it. A show like this needs gas in the gas tank. You can't just go do a show. We are truly independent. There's no label or publishers or underwriters or merch company giving us advances. There's no money, so we had to build this thing on our own from the ground up. It's an investment in time and money.

"We kind of painted ourselves in a corner as far as what we need to present to get the idea across. So that's going to take a little bit of money. This last (fall) run we were $150,000 short just to make sure this show happened. So we paid you to watch it."

Musician-wise Keenan will be joined onstage by Tim Alexander (drums), Mat Mitchell (guitar), Johnny Polonsky (guitar), Matt McJunkins (bass), Jeff Friedl (drums) and Carina Round (vocals, guitar). A Puscifer show (don't expect to hear any Tool or A Perfect Circle tunes) is about much more than music, with sketch comedy vignettes and multimedia playing a key part in the presentation. Approaching the entire project more like a television performance troupe, Keenan says he hopes to release "Puscifer Season 1" later this year on DVD.

Since Puscifer's concert debut a year ago in Las Vegas, Keenan says the show has evolved into a revolving door of options.

"There's been a lot of updates," Keenan says. "This thing is definitely evolving as we go. There are minor tweaks as we go along and there are different shows too. At the end of the day, at the end of this run, we'll have roughly four, possibly five, shows under our belt we can present."

He adds, "Each night is a different show. So if we play two nights in your city they're not going to be the same show. If you tuned into 'Saturday Night Live' next weekend and it was the same show as last week, that would be odd. This has more in common with 'Saturday Night Live' and 'Sonny & Cher (Show)' than it does with a rock band."