Fans would be forgiven for hoping for/expecting Maynard James Keenan to follow his current A Perfect Circle run with the long-awaited fifth Tool album. Or at least an APC album. But it appears Keenan’s work with his latest project Puscifer comes first, because the sophomore Puscifer album has already been named and assigned a release date, neither of which can be said for his more well-known rock projects.
The new album is called Conditions of My Parole, and it hits shelves October 18th, almost four years after V Is for Vagina. Keenan told SPIN, “It’s still mixing, but it’s mostly finished.” He continued, “Musically, it’s like Twin Peaks in the desert.”
That desert would ostensibly be a desert in Arizona, where Keenan lives and is well known to have set up shop for his Caduceus wine. It wouldn’t have been too difficult for Keenan to squeeze out a Puscifer album, being that he recorded it in his wine cellar (see Spin for photos). Of the experience, Keenan said, “It’s different writing music in the outback compared to writing music on Hollywood Boulevard.” He added, “The Verde Valley has so much diversity. You’ve got stories of ghosts and aliens, plus republicans, democrats, conservatives, liberals, vineyards, ranches, horses. It’s hostile territory: You’ve got scorpions, black widows, brown recluse, javelina, rattlesnakes… and hippies.”
It wouldn’t be a Puscifer album without a laundry list of collaborations, and there are some intriguing ones this time around. V Is for Vagina producer Mat Mitchell and Josh Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv are back working with Puscifer, to start. Plus, Keenan has brought on Jeff Friedl and Matt McJunkins of ASHES diVIDE, Bat for Lashes drummer Sarah Jones, L.A. singer/songwriter Juliette Commagere, and Jon Theodore of One Day As a Lion (formerly, of course, of The Mars Volta). “He’s got some serious chops,” Keenan said of Theodore. “Working with different people opens up a whole new set of questions and puzzles and solutions.” Unfortunately, this likely means no Milla Jovovich…drat.
Keenan and the gang recorded the album under relaxing conditions. Said Keenan, “[we] put in the right work, put in the hard work, but we didn’t beat ourselves up. This album is us focusing, getting inspired, and then going out for a hike or going out to dinner, then getting back to work on it again.” He then offered up a bit of newly discovered philosophy: “[Recording music] is very much like winemaking. Pieces are developing individually, then you bring them together and they either fit together or they don’t. Eventually when you bring it all together, it integrates, then you spend a little bit of time working on it, and then you release it.”
This isn’t going to be a case of drop the album and then focus on Tool. Puscifer plans to tour for two months following the release of Conditions. As on the previous tour, Puscifer will put on live variety shows, which last time consisted of performing half the songs as a country western outfit, as well as taped and live comedy sketches. This time, Keenan told Spin, there will be “a lot of changes and new approaches. We’ll be doing a lot of filming and posting more videos online, too.”
As for his other projects, he said A Perfect Circle “might put out a track or two” after the band finishes its summer tour. He added, “The energy is good, so there’s always the potential for a future.” Keenan didn’t offer much regarding Tool (surprise, surprise), but he did say, “We’re writing.” Hey, it’s something!
Be sure to check back regarding the details of Puscifer’s album and tour.