Maynard James Keenan (Puscifer, Tool, A Perfect Circle) on The Importance of Keeping It Local

Maynard James Keenan is a successful guy: he's fronts two massive rock bands, Tool and A Perfect Circle, owns Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars in Jerome, Arizona, where he lives. Though ostensibly a "side-project," Keenan's band Puscifer seems to be increasingly be where Keenan's hear lies. He's released two full length albums with the group so far, 2007's V is For Vagina, and a brand new record, Conditions of My Parole, which explores the intersection between gothic folk sounds and the electronic progressive rock.

The new album finds Keenan stepping fully away from the music industry machine. The entire record is self-released. "That's a hard thing for people to wrap their heads around," Keenan says. "They've heard of larger acts saying 'Oh, we're independent.' Well, no, not really, because they might not have a label, but they definitely have a staff that's basically a label. They have all the same pieces in place, and then they go through a major distributor to make sure their records get out into the stores."

Keenan chatted with Up on the Sun over the phone to discuss the bluegrass influences on the new album, dispel the rumor that he owns a store in Tucson, and stress the importance of keeping it local.

Puscifer is scheduled to perform Friday, December 9, at Mesa Arts Center.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.