Maynard James Keenan Says He Struggles To Play Older Tool Songs

Scott Penner, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
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Throughout their career, Tool has crafted a plethora of technically intricate songs; this talent for songwriting was present from the band’s beginnings, but back in the day, they presented that technicality through aggressive instrumentation and performances. However, for band frontman Maynard James Keenan, these older more aggressive songs are not as easy to perform anymore.

During a recent conversation on Steve-O’s podcast, the Jackass star and Tool singer talked about a variety of topics. At one point, Steve-O brought up Keenan’s Tool performances and asked him what it is like to perform the more demanding Tool songs.

It is here where the singer talks about how he struggles to keep up with such material. Among the comments he expresses, he shares that he “can’t do a whole set of those songs.”

Below is everything that the Tool frontman had to say in regard to performing the band’s older material (as transcribed by The PRP):

“…Old cars… Ya know, just like an old Barracuda man, just tearing up the streets. You try to do that with an old Barracuda now and it’s gonna break. Some thing is… Ya know, you just can’t do that. So I think with age you find ways to sing the thing where it’s not creating damage. You can actually recreate it without having to pick a scab, emotionally and literally, like hurting yourself.

“So I think my writing has changed over the years, and I can do some of those songs. I can’t do a whole set of those songs. I can pepper them in, so I can still do some of those things, but you can’t… If you’re actually sitting down and thinking about it, you can’t expect some of those dudes, [from] back in the day, to do the thing they did… 30 years ago, 40 years ago. You can’t expect that out of that body. Your body doesn’t do those things forever.”

Steve-O then mentions how boxer Mike Tyson made an in-ring appearance back in 2020, to which Keenan replies with:

“That [fight] is an absolute expiration date. Your body is not going to allow you to perform the way you used to perform at certain ages. You can apply that to pretty much anybody.”

What do you make of Keenan’s comments about not being able to perform a whole set of those older Tool songs? Can you imagine those tracks being very demanding for Keenan and the rest of the band?

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