Best known as the frontman for Tool, Maynard James Keenan’s main focus these days is winemaking and his side bands, Puscifer and A Perfect Circle. While Tool are currently on hold (despite some evidence that new music is in the works), both of these acts are busy in some form this fall. Last month, Puscifer released a remix album entitled All Re-Mixed Up and a comedy-meets-live perfromance footage DVD called What Is . . . slated for November 26th. A Perfect Circle are gearing up too, with a new box set called A Perfect Circle Live: Featuring Stone and Echo due out November 29th, and a best-of compilation called Three Sixty, due out November 19th. Keenan recently spoke with Rolling Stone about these latest projects, where to score a good wig and some new wine suggestions.
I just watched the Puscifer DVD, What Is . . ., and couldn’t help but notice the Andy Kaufman-esque vibe it has.
We recommend people that hadn’t seen the show watch the documentary, so you can kind of see the documentary attached to the actual live footage, just because there’s a lot of stuff that comes up in the show that if you don’t know anything about the other characters, it doesn’t really make any sense. But I think we’re setting up the DVD so you can either skip that or include that. And Kaufman is definitely a huge influence. Just his alter egos and he had a very pure, twisted sense of comedy.
Where do you find such beautiful wigs?
[Laughs] You try to find them in the place you’d think that you would find them – Wal-Mart and rural areas. But honestly, Hollywood Boulevard. You can’t back up with your eyes closed without bumping into a fantastic, awful wig. And I mean actually in a store – not bumping into a person and taking it from them.
How did Sir Mix-a-Lot get involved in remixing a Puscifer track [on All Re-Mixed Up]?
Our friend Dino reached out to him, somehow, a connection through Rick Rubin, I believe. That was out of nowhere. When he called me on that one, it was kind of like, “Turn the music down . . . what? What did you just say?”
Can one band never have enough remix albums?
I don’t know, it just all depends on the artists you get involved with. To me, it’s fun to hear the things with a different perspective. Even with a brand new song, if you have somebody in the room with an idea and they present that idea to the three or four people in the room, then they take it across the hall to a different set of people, that same core idea is going to end up being a completely different song depending on the room and the people in it.
What can you tell us about the Perfect Circle box set?
We did a short run a couple of years ago, where we did the albums front-to-back. Three nights, three records, the whole album. And some of the songs we haven’t played in eight to 10 years. Some of them we hadn’t played at all. In the box that you have, you have those three CDs, and then you have us live at Red Rocks. Always fun to play Red Rocks. And that’s the full DVD – that’s the full live performance. And there’s other bells and whistles attached to it – there is an autographed lithograph. I think five lithographs are included in the box, and there is a custom-made resin A Perfect Circle box that it all goes in. So it’s kind of fun.
And from what I understand, A Perfect Circle is releasing a “greatest hits” package, too.
Of course, record companies always have their little clause in their contract, about their right to release a greatest hits record. I think that can be kind of weird sometimes, when you see “the greatest hits,” no, no – “the greatest greatest hits.” Releases by a record label that the band had nothing to do with, and there’s several versions of the same thing, over and over again. That’s kind of why we did the DVD and the box set. If you’re going to release a greatest hits, we should also offer something that’s not just the old recordings, rearranged. But on that greatest hits, there’s going to be the studio version of “By and Down,” which is the new track that we’ve been working on, that we never quite got around to recording.
How’s the wine business these days?
I have juice on my hands as we speak, from doing a submerged cap fermentation. It was starting to get out of hand. That’s why I was late getting on the call – I was cleaning up.
In your estimation, what is the savoriest wine from Caduceus Cellars?
Savory . . . mainly our Italian blends, because they tend to have more to do with food pairing. So, the Marzo, the Oneste. It’s a Barbera/Merlot blend, or a Sangiovese Cabrut.