By Melissa Fossum
By Lauren Wise
By New Times
By Amanda Savage
By Jason P. Woodbury
By Troy Farah
By New Times
His forecast regarding the music industry is bleak, but realistic:
"It's going to have to default back to people who are willing to do more work for less money, basically. You have to kind of do it out of love, and doing it by living within your means and getting to an end of what you want to do, other than worrying about 401(k)s and insurance and all that crap that comes with being paid by someone else [so] you [can] coast."
It makes sense that Keenan focuses on Puscifer. Tool records for Volcano, a subsidiary of Epic Records, owned by industry giant Sony. A Perfect Circle recorded for Virgin Records, bought out in 2007 by Capitol. The majors continue to consolidate as the market share decreases, making Keenan's small, locally sourced business approach to Puscifer look as much like a necessity as a creative capital choice.
"The illusion is gone," Keenan says. "There's no longer blank checkbooks. I remember playing a show ages ago, where Helmet got offered a [record deal worth a] million dollars. Oh, my God! A million dollars. Of course, all that did was make every other band with ego throw its dicks on the table and say, 'Well, I want a million five.' 'Well, I want two million; I'm more popular.' There was never any rhyme or reason to what those numbers ended up translating to at the end of the day. If you go back and track what somebody actually paid for something, it's not nearly as dialed-in as, say, a video-game corporation saying, 'No, we're going to sell exactly this many units of this game.' It was never that calculated. The people running [the business] weren't qualified to run it."
For a band to survive takes more than T-shirts and CDs, Keenan says. Embracing digital distribution makes too much sense to ignore, he says, but the MP3 model comes with downsides for someone interested in creating a complete package.
"I don't know, I feel like I'm kind of torn," he says. "There's two sides of my brain fighting with each other. There's something about connecting with that physical piece of property, and also things you don't know about. When you download the song, there's nothing. Sometimes it comes with a booklet, sometimes it comes with an image, but usually it doesn't. It's just this disconnected thing that you can't touch and feel and experience. [There are] other nuances to the songs. Some images and artwork that are totally connected and related to the song you're hearing, and you make the connection by seeing that image, and it completes the joke or completes the thought; that's a little disconnected.
"However, as an independent project — no funding, no record label, no underwriters, nothing — the whole digital route is a lot more sustainable. You're not wasting a lot of paper or plastic products, except for the manufacturing of computers, which apparently go out of date every week. Thank you very much, Apple. But you're able to get that music out there and have a direct connection to who you're selling it to — and actually fund your project."
Keenan splits the difference. Puscifer's music is available via digital outlets like iTunes, Amazon, and eMusic, but just up the hill from the Caduceus Cellars Tasting Room in Jerome, you'll find the Puscifer Store, a brick-and-mortar outlet devoted to Keenan's physical esoterica: CDs and vinyl from Puscifer, DVD copies of the Bikini Bandits films, Puscifer whole-bean coffee, jewelry, framed show posters, T-shirts, and releases from like-minded collaborators such as "America's Funnyman," comedian Neil Hamburger.
"You have to turn to weird stuff," Keenan says. "We just released a limited-edition giclée of an image [designer and photographer] Tim Cadiente and I put together, and we're being criticized because it's 250 bucks. But if you go online, Mickey Mouse giclées are 800 bucks. Am I Mickey Mouse?"
Keenan doesn't claim to have the solution for the ailing music industry, but he thinks it generally will sort itself out. Innovative bands will figure out a way to reach fans, while those that won't adapt to the new landscape — bands that refuse to take on the ever-increasing workload — simply will go away.
"We have our own thing figured out," he says. "I think that's how the pieces are going to settle into place. It's going to default back to people who want to do this and are willing to do this. Once people find their own way and find their own audience, they might kind of peek their head up over the crowd long enough to see that there's an entire movement happening, and we did it individually. It's critical mass; it all disseminates in a way that you go, 'Oh, this is the new thing now.' People just did it naturally, and people just did it in their own ways, in their lines and their mediums and surroundings. They'll all step back and realize they've all come to the same place."
Surrounded by round wooden casks cradled by sturdy metal racks at Four Eight Wineworks, Keenan is just about finished with his photo session. The camera's flash illuminates the recesses between the barrels, each worn and stained with the deep reds and purples of the wine within.
The internet killing album sales isnt the fans fault the dead toured for 30 years while the fans bootlegged everything but still supported them by buying tickets for every show they could make it to
there is no question the maynard is very talented...but coming from a tool fan I wish him and the band( tool ) would not have so much distance between tool albums
Love me some Maynard, but it's way, way, WAY easier to be "independent", when your name & reputation were built on the corporate checkbook of the old record industry. God bless him, he's right in a lot of what he says, but he's not making enough from Puscifer (I don't think) to simply fund more Puscifer...this whole operation is Tool money.
Speaking of, that band will not release anything online (Tool). Maynard makes the incredibly silly point that music needs a physical product to feel complete. No, music enters your headphones, cracks your cranium, & envelops your soul. You're too lost in bliss to hold a picture on a sleeve. Release the hounds, Tool! ;o)
ITS STEALING IF YOU LIKE IT THEN PRICE IT IF NO NE PAYS ITS OVER FOR MOST INDIVIDUALITY AND ONE THING IS SURE NO ONE WANTS TO NOT BE HEARD BUT ID ONLY LISTEN TO RAREST NON ABLE TO OWN UNLESS .SOO I WONT SEE FUTURE DJ THATS IT RECORD SPINNER NOPE BUY THE GODDAMN PROCESS.
I'm just honored to be invovled in a fans perspective I believe I'm truly an awe for his vocal poetic gifts are my muise to be an artist as well thanks for allowing me to be counted .chipnathan
OK. Need yalls help please. My crazy pass gf has been gone for a week. Says she's with Maynard now and they are together together and she is leaving me for him. Says she's staying at his place w him in Jerome... her details are accurate.. is this possible.? Thought he was married as well.. please help.. no joking matter here... maybe a comment or two from someone close to Mr Keenan could shed some light for me... thanks
AIs Maynard still married? My crazy pass psycho gf supposedly took off from here in San Antonio, Tx. And says she's with him at his place in Jerome. Is this possible or is she full of it...?
Get over yourself, Maynard.Get back to TOOL and stop fooling yourself. TOOL is the art. Pussyfart is very mediocre at best.If anyone else's name was attached to Puscifer,no one would care because it's just ok, not great. TOOL is the greatest thing you will ever do in your lifetime, so go back to perfecting it instead of spreading yourself out so thin.
Newtimes is completely bias and bogus , however, since manard has been writing a column for them, I find myself picking this yellow-rag up every Thursday
This man is an inspiration. It makes me happy that he's followed his dream of wine making and succeeded and excelled.
He'll have new Tool music for you when it's ready. In the mean time enjoy his wine.
The man turned his angst into music to feed the soul; now, it's grapes into wine. Same result. Fuck YA Maynard
I don't know if anybody remembers the Tool concert some years back where somebody chucked a beer bottle at Maynard while he was on stage at what was Desert Sky. He got pissed and walked off stage.
Great to see Maynard doing his thing. For all the douchetards out there who just cry about MJK working on Tool, this is an example of a guy living the dream that is life and evolving as an artist. TOOL was/is a vehicle that has carried all four of these guys into a life that most people can only dream of. They create what they want and they share it when its ready. I wouldn't want it any other way as a fan. Even after six years of listening to 10,000 Days, I still listen to those songs and hear something that I maybe hadn't heard before, which is a testament to how much work goes into their craft. Anybody want a half-ass TOOL album that was pushed out too soon? Anyone? Bueller? I've been a Tool fan since I was a teenager and I'm 32 now. I enjoy the time in between new material, because it gives you an opportunity to really appreciate each release. Besides, Puscifer is the bee's knees or the cats pajamas as the cool kids would say. I've seen them three times; Apollo Theater, Tower Theater/Philly, and Asbury NJ. They've never been anything short of mind-blowing. I've never been to AZ, but listening to some of these songs, they almost put you there mentally. Its a very strange and enjoyable phenomena and I should note that I don't drink or do drugs. But hell, preaching words of reason these days is pretty hopeless. Fork it, I'm going to look at porn.
I have to say I prefer tangible recordings over digital downloads. I don't want to take the chance on the whimsy of electronics to "crash" and losing all of my music again and again. I am glad to see the comeback of vinyl. I have Lateralus on vinyl and the artwork on the albums themselves is unique and beautiful. I am still trying to locate 10,000 Days on vinyl but not having much luck. Looking forward to your biography upon it's release, Mr. Keenan, whenever that shall be.
I love Maynard, but how about a new fucking Tool album! It's been like almost 7 years! Stop farting around with wine and Puscifier and get back to your number one project.
To support the bands that one loves, one has to make the commitment to engage: Buy merch, pay for tickets and go to see them, etc. PAY THEM for the pleasure they have brought you. Innovations allow one to enjoy VIP experiences. Costly? Yes. Worth it? Every penny's worth. The music I love has informed my life: Frank Zappa, King Crimson, Patsy Cline, Bill Nelson, Al Green, Philip Glass, David Sanborn, Public Enemy, Sam Phillips, The Clash, Kate Bush, Radiohead, Liz Phair, NIN and on and on and on... All three of Mr. Keenan's projects have fleshed out the never-ending soundtrack that enriches my life. And while I don't go quite the route of hero worship, I absolutely am a fan of a human whose experiences - as they are offered through their art - have helped me to identify, understand (or not) and embrace my own. And, interestingly, it seems that Mr. Keenan has a vision that, perhaps, just perhaps, by his establishing an ethic of finding and following one's bliss, a few of us fans may be prompted to do the same...
The desert sure does something to a man. I have, to admit to those who can relate, he is absolutely getting wiser in his age and I'm a huge fan. It's good to feel hope in something/someone's actions...I would like to continue to see him succeed because he puts forth such hard work in his dreams. Kudos, to you, Chicken Little. Puscifer has changed me and a few other fans I know in ways you wouldn't understand and I will continue to support and purchase merch to support these dreams and families. I'm waiting very patiently for that autobiography.
As a vinyl fanatic it's good to know sales of records are growing exponentially. Downloading just doesn't do it for me. Not sure if you can purchase Puscifer records on the website (I haven't checked) but if you ever make it to the store in Jerome the vinyl releases are usually autographed.
Good read. Love this guy :) and his music. Probably would like his wine too! He seems very professional and has a real passion for his work
Nice article. In addition to monkeys in a cage, fans have ADHD and as soon as a CD is released it doesn't take long for "when your next CD?" LOL... If Tool/APC/or Puscifer never makes another CD...I'm fine with it... There are a few bands in my 48 years that I continually go back to to listen over and over....picking up more nuance each time...Tool and APC are two of them. With regards to piracy...I've never downloaded a single song without paying for it...and buy CD's whenever I can...I much prefer the sound quality over downloaded music...and I encourage my kids to do the same thing explaining that's how bands make money...oh, and i encourage them to get their asses out and go see live music whenvever possible...
Mistake: Billy Howerdel was never in Queens Of The Stone Age, you're mistaken for Troy Van Leeuwen - one time A Perfect Circle guitarist on their debut album only. He has been a permanent member of QOTSA since 'Songs for the Deaf'
Don't evenstop critique the artistfor styles transcend with wisdom and it is a bad move tobe a judge on a free man cushe isn't screeming and turnedmore melonicshut up and buy .
You are a simpleminded fool...Maynard doesn't care what you like. He makes music that he likes and if people enjoy it great. Its what separates him from all of these garbage musicians out today, whose main concern is to make pop hits for the masses. Go buy the latest korn album and get back in line with the rest if the sheep.
@ckrescho Yup, I remember that. I was pissed.
@GimmeAliterOfcolaVery well said, have two liters of Cola hehe.
Going to see Tool for the second time on March 4th in Spokane, so worth the wait! Last time I saw them was 6 years ago, same venue, with my daughter who was 11 at the time; it was her first concert. We're going together again, cannot wait!!
It never ceases to amaze me how so many fans of Tool fail to realize the depth of their music, the sheer metaphysical power of it, the evolving meanings behind the lyrics and notes. No other band has ever done the things to my energy system that Tool has heh. My favorite band, of all time.
This guy is speaking for me id give you a liter of cola you speak just and true we all share this phoney ownership that's built upon our demands for more more more well to be this band of ginormous artists to become each everysong is fully transcended in us thanks for all we can have.
@churv69 When you're right you're right, Churv. I've removed the Queens reference, and you're absolutely right that I mixed those two up.