TOOL Frontman Says Wearing Drag Onstage 'Had Nothing To Do With Florida'

May 23, 2023

When TOOL frontman Maynard James Keenan donned a blonde wig, smeared red lipstick and a body-hugging shirt that showed off his fake breasts during the band's performance at the Welcome To Rockville festival on Sunday (May 21) in Daytona Beach, Florida, most people assumed that it was done in response to Florida governor Ron DeSantis recently signing a series of bills against the transgender community, including preventing minors from attending drag shows. Because Welcome To Rockville is open to all ages, Keenan technically broke the new law designed to punish people and venues that admit kids to drag shows, burlesque performances and other types of "lewd" entertainment.

In a new interview with The Messenger, however, Maynard denied that his actions that anything to do with DeSantis.

"I'm not a political fella — had nothing to do with Florida," he told The Messenger. "I've been cross-dressing since long before these clickbait-junkie dupes were out of diapers. It's pretty crazy the technology and the prosthetics nowadays, how they've come along, and I just was considering bringing the look back.

"It's amazing to me how every single thing you say or do is twisted and conformed into some fundamentalist far-right or far-left agenda," Maynard added.

Despite the fact that Keenan was technically violating Florida's new law, he told The Messenger that he hasn't received an official summons over it. "Nobody's enforcing it," he said. "They just do that and they throw it out there to shore up their base for an election year."

Keenan also told The Messenger he doesn't support the restrictions for drag shows, saying: "I think limiting people's access to anything is absurd. Good parenting allows you to teach your kids how to be reasonable and reason and puzzle things out and decide for themselves what the fuck they wanna see or not wanna see."

Asked by The Messenger if he "claims membership in the drag community," Maynard said: "I guess so, yeah. "On occasion, I am a drag queen; I've been a drag queen. I'm casual, so the hardcore people are going to dismiss me as being a tourist. Let's be honest, I'm 59. So [Sunday] night's performance looked more like Brienne Of Tarth on her worst day."

Read the entire interview on The Messenger.

Check out photos of TOOL's performance at Consequence.

The new Florida legislation, dubbed the "Protection Ob Children" act, bans letting anyone underage into "any show, exhibition, or other presentation in front of a live audience which, in whole or in part, depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or specific sexual activities." That includes "lewd conduct, or the lewd exposure of prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts," shows appealing to "prurient, shameful, or morbid interests," and patently offensive displays "without serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for the age of the child present."

A person who admits a child to such a performance will face a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and a year in prison.

Florida is one of at least 19 Republican-led states that have banned youth gender transition surgeries or other forms of gender-affirming care, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

TOOL is currently scheduled to play four more U.S. festivals this year: Sonic Temple in Columbus, Ohio; Louder Than Life in Louisville, Kentucky; Aftershock in Sacramento, California; and Power Trip in Indio, California.

Tool's Maynard James Keenan defied Florida's new anti-drag law by wearing a blonde wig, red lipstick, and prosthetic breasts during the band's performance in Daytona Beach on Sunday.

Posted by Consequence on Monday, May 22, 2023

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