Saturday, March 20, 2010

Exclusive: Tool frontman chats comedy, new project

To say Puscifer - the side project of Maynard James Keenan - is a departure from anything the Tool and A Perfect Circle frontman has done before would be an understatement.

As Keenan describes it, Puscifer is not a rock band. Not even close.
"This has more in common with SNL or the Adult Swim network than it does Metallica," he said, chatting by phone last week.

Needless to say, gone are the dark, menacing aesthetics that permeate Keenan's work with Tool and A Perfect Circle. Instead, Puscifer is a comedy troupe. The production meshes music, videos and sketch comedy to create a very unique, very un-Tool like experience.

Puscifer reaches the Royal Oak Music Theatre on March 23 and 24, so I checked in with Keenan about the project and his new documentary, "Blood into Wine." To listen to the interview, click here.

Anne: Puscifer is comprised of a revolving door of performers. Who will be playing with you in Detroit?

Keenan: Each night will be different. I would guess one night will be Tim Alexander (Primus) and Matt Mitchell (Tool guitar tech) for the rhythm section, and the other night will be Matt McJunkins and Jeff Friedl from ASHES dIVIDE.

Anne: What's the vision behind this project?

Keenan: It's mostly that we had some ideas we wanted to express that were impossible to express in 1995. Some of the stuff we're trying to do would have been cost-prohibitive back them. Some of the videos we've been able to do because of technology. Back in '95, it would have been a half-million dollar video. Now we can do it for five, ten or fifteen grand.

Anne: When did the idea come about?

Keenan: In the mid-'90s, when we were doing sketch comedy at local comedy clubs (in L.A.). We wanted to expand it to film sketch, animation and various other elements including stage performance.

Anne: Do you think there's a comic side to you that people haven't seen?

Keenan: They've seen it, just didn't get it. I mean, come on: "Stinkfest?" If someone can't see the humor in some of those songs, then they're not listening or just choosing not to.

Anne: You have quite a few back-to-back dates on this tour.

Keenan: Yes, and those are always two completely different shows. Each night is a different performance with different sets and videos.

Anne: Cool. And this is not a rock concert, right?

Keenan: Exactly. This is not a band; this is a troupe. This is a performance, not a concert.

Anne: Cool. Let's talk about your documentary, "Blood into Wine." The film shows you living in a small town in Arizona and working at your vineyard. What inspired you to move to Arizona?

Keenan: I'm from a small town, so L.A. was kind of getting under my skin. There are a lot of great people and great opportunities out there, but there's also a lot of zombie-vampire activity. There are a lot of energy suckers and at some point, you see what people are really concerned about - things that they shouldn't be concerned about - and it kind of takes you back.

Growing up in Ohio and Michigan, you have to shovel the snow. That's a real problem. If you don't shovel snow in your driveway and get to work, then you won't have a job. In L.A., it's traffic and you miss your hair appointment. It's just kind of silly. So I moved to Arizona to get away from some of that disconnected feeling.

Anne: Are there any plans for a Michigan screening of the film?

Keenan: I would imagine at some point. It is a documentary, so theaters aren't going to be beating down the door to get the film on their screens. It's definitely not as visually stimulating as "Avatar." There won't be any 3-D "Blood into Wine" versions. But I would expect to have showings on some of the more local, independent theaters. The best thing to do is to go to and for new screenings.

No comments:

Post a Comment