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Maynard James Keenan on “Arrogant” Pandemic Behavior: “There’s Logic Attached to Just Looking Out for Each Other”

on November 02, 2020, 2:16pm

Maynard James Keenan recently revealed that he battled COVID-19 earlier this year and is still feeling the residual effects months later. Unfortunately, the singer of Tool, Puscifer, and A Perfect Circle fears any serious warning that he or others give about coronavirus is “just going to fall on deaf ears.”

In interviews with Arizona Republic and The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Keenan disclosed that he contracted COVID when Tool were on tour in Australia and New Zealand in late February. Eight months later, he still has lung damage, leading to daily coughing fits.

Tragically, the United States is currently experiencing its worst single-day infection numbers yet, with roughly 100,000 people testing positive for COVID-19 every 24 hours. To this day, there’s a large contingent of the population that refuses to wear masks or practice social distancing.

We recently spoke with Keenan and his bandmate Mat Mitchell about Puscifer’s new album, Existentional Reckoning, but we also wanted to get the singer’s take on the country’s general response to the pandemic, given his personal experience with COVID-19.

“There’s logic attached to just looking out for each other,” Keenan told us. “I have a lot more questions than answers, honestly. Is this thing like a flame on a candle? If you stand in the corner far enough away from somebody, does the flame burn the candle down, and then it can no longer light your candle? Or is it not like that at all, and it’s going to live on beyond its own cycle within you? I have no idea, but the idea of temporarily isolating and really adhering to the isolation, it seems like that would’ve worked.”

He continued, “But we tend to be fairly arrogant. I knew what I went through and I know what I’m still going through, so I would recommend that you take this seriously, but I feel like that’s just going to fall on deaf ears. It’s just going to be a polarized, politicized statement, so it’s pointless. In that case, I’m just going to worry about keeping my family safe and keeping my friends safe.”


Puscifer just streamed a concert from the middle of the Arizona desert, but Tool had to cancel a year’s worth of tour dates as a result of the pandemic. When we asked what it will take for the concert industry to pick up again, Keenan answered, “I think you need to vote for more funding and education, so people learn history. When you go back and learn history, then you start looking at various pandemics around the world throughout history to see what happened before, during and after, and then make a plan based around that.”

He added, “I’m pretty sure people were touring after the pandemic hit back in the early 1900s. So, eventually it works out. Is it going to work out immediately? I don’t know.”

For now, Puscifer’s streaming event, “Existential Reckoning: Live at Arcosanti”, has been extended through November 8th. Those who missed the initial 72-hour window can now purchase tickets here to watch the visually stunning concert. The band also just shared its video for the song “Theorem”. Watch it below, and pick up Puscifer’s new album, Existential Reckoning, here.

Editor’s Note: Stay safe by picking up one of our custom face masks. A portion of the proceeds will benefit MusiCares’ COVID-19 Artist Relief fund supporting independent musicians.