TOOL Frontman Talks About PUSCIFER Project And Making Wine In Arizona

November 18, 2006

IGN recently conducted an interview with TOOL frontman Maynard James Keenan about PUSCIFER — his side project which has contributed music to films like "Saw II" and "Underworld: Evolution" — and his winery Cadaceus Cellars. A few excerpts from the chat follow:

IGN: You have been busy with PUSCIFER, doing movie scores for several movies. What is the meaning of the word "puscifer"? What are you currently working on in regards to this project?

Maynard James Keenan: PUSCIFER means "my vagina itches" just as much as Horseshack means "the cattle are dying." Not really. Honestly I have no idea. I just liked how it sounded.

This is my "catch-all, stream of consciousness, anything goes, etc." project. There is and will continue to be music associated with it although it's not the main focus. There is no main focus to be honest. We/I focus on Random. But currently I'm working on several tracks. All with different sets of musicians and engineers. Lustmord will be involved. Tim Alexander has expressed interest. Possibly Brad Wilk, Tim C., and Jonny Polonsky may want to be involved on a track. Joe Barresi, Matt Mitchell. Danny Lohner. The list keeps expanding. No label. No hassles. Just me and a few artists at a time having fun. One-off songs to be used whereever I choose. And lots of fun merchandise. I'm working on several designs ranging from the basic stuff, like shirts and hoodies, to other items such as fuzzy purses, ballistic material back packs, feminine hygiene wallets/cases, pet supplies, belt buckles, personalized targets, "adult massage devices," etc...

One of the sections on the PUSCIFER site will be dedicated to charity auctions. Friends and relatives who donate an item for auction can pick where the proceeds will be donated. For example, my father will be donating a few of his platinum TOOL albums.

Whatever we get for them on eBay will be donated to a non-profit of his choice. Both the eBay link and the non-profit link will be present in the item description.

IGN: Winemaking is one of your new projects. Was this something you've always been interested in or a more recent discovery?

Keenan: It turns out that my family made wine in Northern Italy. I had no idea until a relative of mine who I rarely see told me. It's in my blood. I'd already put vines in the ground before I knew this.

IGN: Your vineyard, Merkin, is located in Arizona. What prompted your decision to locate there? Was it an issue of soil or the possibility that you'll soon have coastal real-estate on Arizonabay after L.A. sinks?

Keenan: Both the vineyard (Merkin Vineyards) and the winery (Caduceus Cellars) are located in Arizona. This is a prime spot for vineyards. An untapped resource. But the master plan is to have the Merkin Vineyards Bed and Breakfast set up for when California drops in the ocean. Beach front property and the New Napa Valley. You got it.

IGN: Where can one buy your wines?

Keenan: The wines can only be purchased by physically visiting the Page Springs Cellars tasting room in Cornville, Arizona. Other than that we will be selling VERY LIMITED quantities online at

IGN: We heard you used to do some stand-up. Any interest in returning to the stage?

Keenan: I'm on stage often. And sometimes I get laughs. Unfortunately I'm not really trying to get laughs. So that's bad, right? Stop laughing. It hurts my feelings.

Actually I never did stand up. I'm not that funny. I did some bit parts in random sketches. But that was ages ago. Had the honor of working with David Cross, Bob Odenkirk, Brian Posehn, Patton Oswald, Janeanne Garafallo, Laura Milligan... Dammit. I'm forgetting some people. I'm sure I'll hear about it later. Actors have these delicate appendages called egos. One mustn't bump into them. They are spring loaded and will spew "dysfunctional juice" all over you. Which actually seems like the lesser of two evils considering what happens when you ignore said appendages.

Read the entire interview at

Find more on
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email