TOOL Frontman Sounds Off On Illegal Downloading

November 16, 2007

During an interview with Australia's Beat magazine, Maynard James Keenan of TOOL, A PERFECT CIRCLE and PUSCIFER sounded off on illegal downloading, but not for selfish reasons. "I acknowledge I am one of the winners of the lottery," Keenan tells Nick Snelling. "Around the time NIRVANA came out, labels were out there looking for something different. TOOL got lucky, we got a record deal, but we were also smart and planned to do as much as we could to take advantage of it. But there's a lot of young bands out there where that $1000 in record sales could be the difference in them going on the road or recording their next record or not, you know? So kids out there need to understand that if they dig a band's music, then they have to find some way to get compensation to that band for their art so that they can ensure the band can keep making it." But looking out for the little guy isn't an endorsement to download Keenan's own material for nothing. "I can't do this for free," he said. "It's ridiculous and insulting."

Recently, the singer was quoted in Rolling Stone, where he said: "Heavy rock is sinking" and the PUSCIFER project was his way of stepping away from it and deliberately trying to make a "fun project." Does he still feel like that? "Yes. It has stagnated, it's no longer moving anywhere,' he says bluntly, speaking of the genre. "Part of it is large labels signing stuff they think is easy and a quick buck, but I also think it's the bands who aren't evolving their ideas or stretching their legs musically. And the ones that are, you don't hear about — they're overlooked 'cos they're not moving units. The independent stuff is out there, bubbling underneath, but no one's giving it a chance 'cos they're all scrabbling for the next LINKIN PARK or BACKSTREET BOYS-style band."

He gives a small snort. "I just think it's one-dimensional, I'm sorry. Or maybe, that really is the best that they can do!"

Speaking of lowest common denominators, was the singer gutted over the farcical decision to award the Grammy to WOLFMOTHER (and their derivative single "Woman") over TOOL for "Best Hard Rock Performance"? "Well, you and I both know exactly where that song came from," he laughs. "But never mind all that, because it was a catchy feel-good song, which is kind what we all need right now. Forget the depth of it. If rock is dead, and nobody knows where to go and they're not moving forward, what else are they gonna do except go back and look at stuff that's been done. They want to rekindle that feeling you got when you first heard soul-inspiring rock."


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