Why Tool’s Maynard James Keenan ‘Can’t Do A Whole Set Of [Older] Songs’ Anymore
This month marks both the 30th anniversary of Tool’s debut LP, Undertow, and the birthday of frontman Maynard James Keenan (who’ll be turning 59 years old). It’s no surprise, then, why the one-of-a-kind vocalist now has trouble performing the band’s more challenging earlier material.
During his March 30 appearance on Steve-O’s Wild Ride! podcast, Keenan was asked about bringing Tool’s oldest songs to the stage after so many years.
Earnestly, he replied [via The PRP]:
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. Something 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. . . . 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.
To his point, the tracks on Undertow – as well as 1992’s Opiate EP – are easily among the heaviest and fastest pieces Tool ever composed. Afterward, they incorporated more traditional (and thus, gentler) psychedelic rock and prog rock templates into their work.
READ MORE: Marc Maron Explains Why He Doesn’t Like Tool
Of course, this doesn't mean that Keenan is giving up live shows entirely. In fact, while Tool haven’t formally announced a new tour (although there’s been some fan speculation), they are scheduled to play a few festivals later this year.
So, would you be down for seeing older Tool songs in concert? Let us know!
Also, be sure to watch Keenan’s full episode below.