Whoa. Watch a Young Maynard James Keenan Sing ‘Sober’ in ’87 Before TOOL Existed

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While it might sound a bit silly, it’s hard for us to wrap our heads around the concept of Maynard James Keenan existing in any band before TOOL.

The first time our feeble teenage brains heard Maynard’s voice and saw him stalking across a stage on MTV is forever entrenched in our memory banks.

It’s almost impossible to imagine him existing in any other musical context before then, sort of like it’s weird as hell to think about the fact that your parents were with different romantic partners at some point before you existed.

So, our collective jaws hit the floor when we stumbled on this footage on YouTube of Maynard James Keenan in 1987, performing with a bunch of seemingly random musicians on late-night public access TV.

The band was called C.A.D. (Children of the Anachronistic Dynasty), and Maynard sang, played bass, and programmed a drum machine for the group. 

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Whacky 80’s fashion and new wave aesthetics aside, the most interesting thing about the footage is the fact that you can hear Maynard essentially singing TOOL‘s ‘Sober’ in 1987, a full three years before TOOL even formed, and six years before it would see a proper recording on 1993’s Undertow LP.

While sure, the song musically, lyrically, and structurally isn’t 100% exactly the same as the ‘Sober’ we would all come to know and love, but the melody and cadence are shockingly almost intact, sans choruses.

We had always assumed this was a song that TOOL crafted together, but clearly, it was Maynard’s own musical baby that he then brought to the band post-C.A.D.. The song at this time was technically called ‘Burn About Out,’ and a version of it exists on C.A.D’s 1986 demo.

Perhaps it’s the poor audio quality from a decades-old recording, but even without being able to completely make out the underlying music, Maynard’s powerful vocal melody and delivery still make the song sound undeniably like ‘Sober.’ Anyways, check out the footage for yourself via the video below.

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