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Maynard James Keenan on Next Tool Album: 'A Very Tedious Process'

'You don't want to become a greatest hits version of yourself,' says frontman of touring

Maynard James Keenan performs in Indio, California.
Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage
November 13, 2013 12:00 PM ET

Maynard James Keenan has been busy lately with winemaking and new releases from his bands A Perfect Circle and Puscifer. But his biggest project, Tool, hasn't released an album since 2006's 10,000 Days. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Keenan opened up about what's taken so long.

"I don't write the music. They write the music," he says of his bandmates. "I wait for them to bring music to me. They tend to go back over and over stuff. It's a long process. For a person like me, it can be a very tedious process."

See Where Tool's Adam Jones Ranks on David Fricke's 100 Greatest Guitarists List

Keenan admits he has high creative standards, but adds, "In some ways, they are bigger perfectionists. But you can only help support their talent so long. They don't have to go through it 700 times. They can trust that first thought. But that's their process, so you gotta let them do it." And is that process happening? "I couldn't tell you," says Keenan.

Keenan acknowledges the band doesn't necessarily need to release new material to fill an arena – they took their dark, psychedelic show on the road as recently as earlier this year. "But as an artist you don't want to become a greatest hits version of yourself, either," he says. "You want to push the boundaries. You want to figure out how can you challenge yourself to discover something new, discover something different about yourself. What are your limitations? What avenues can you push and expand? That is life. I don't have any interest in coasting yet."

Keenan refuses to speculate where the band will go musically. "Just in general, each project is going to find its own way," he says. "Depending on the motivation."

He adds, "We're all in this together. I'm not pointing any fingers. I will take full responsibility if I have to."

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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