Think the coronavirus pandemic isn’t that serious or is perhaps a hoax? Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan has a not-so-friendly message for the truthers who think he was paid to say he had COVID-19: “Eat a d–k, dude.”
The rocker, who first opened up about his battle against coronavirus with AZ Central in early October, sat down with the Joe Rogan Experience for a new interview to further discuss how he contracted the coronavirus and the impact it had on his body — all as cases again continue to rise in the United States.
Keenan shared that he was in Australia in February, on tour with Tool to promote their new album, Fear Inoculum. He was out grabbing dinner with a friend when he first noticed a symptom — which he didn’t know was a sign of COVID-19 at the time. “Immediately, food didn’t taste right. But this is all hindsight, right?” he said of not being able to taste or smell, which wasn’t identified as a symptom early on during the pandemic. “I was sick, then I had to get on an international flight the next morning and fly to New Zealand.”
Keenan, whose musical project Puscifer is releasing new album Existential Reckoning on Oct. 30, did later note that prior to hopping on the flight, he got a mask to wear.
After arriving in New Zealand, the musician said that he stayed in his hotel for four days because the band had a few days off. “So I was just drinking water, hot showers, taking care of myself, hot tea. Just trying to get through it. It sucked!” he said. “But you didn’t know yet how bad this thing could’ve been; if I had known how bad this thing could’ve been, I would’ve been freaking out! So we isolated pretty well.”
But because of his illness — which a doctor in New Zealand told him wasn’t COVID-19 — Keenan says that the band had to tweak their sets a bit to accommodate him. “It was not fun” to sing, he shared, adding that Tool had to “adjust the set a bit to not put the hard [songs] in.”
Later, Keenan said that when he was trying to practice Muay Thai — also known as Thai boxing — he noticed that his hands and wrists hurt. “My hands never hurt this badly!” he told Rogan. The rocker, who has also had friends become incredibly sick from the coronavirus, originally thought the pain was due to him being 56 and just practicing a tough sport, but after walking an arthritis specialist through what he was experiencing, the doctor told him it was COVID-19.
And now, more than eight months after he first experienced a symptom of the coronavirus, he’s suffering from lingering effects despite being on medications. “I still have the cough. Whatever cough I got in New Zealand, like every other day, I’ll have a coughing fit for, you know, 10 minutes, coughing up stuff,” he shared. “So I have lung damage from it still.”
“I’m still feeling residual effects of that thing. … I feel like there’s a bunch of people that — maybe I didn’t almost die — I have friends who almost died,” he continued, saying that some people still don’t believe he had the virus. “It was ugly.”
Watch Keenan and Rogan’s full interview below.