Over the years, TOOL‘s main headline-making technique has been teasing an album that will drop sometime between 2016 and when the sun goes supernova. The fact that so many people remain interested in seeing its release is staggering; despite the music’s inaccessibility, both in its content and the band’s insistence on refraining from online streaming, they retain a massive cult following. They will make their only appearance of the year on Saturday, and they will probably be making more money from that one show than most bands do in a year of touring. According to the media, though, singer Maynard James Keenan might not reciprocate the feelings of fans.
“MAYNARD JAMES KEENAN CALLS TOOL FANS ‘INSUFFERABLE!'” screams every damn music website in existence right now. But that’s not true. It’s out of context, it’s clickbait, and if you take that at face value without reading what he actually said, maybe you’re the tool.
Keenan was talking to the Phoenix New Times to promote the band’s sole 2015 appearance at the Monster Mash music festival in Tempe, Arizona. He was asked a pretty innocuous question: like his side project Puscifer, is there humor in Tool’s music? Here’s his response:
“Yeah, it’s there. But people miss it because they’re so focused on the other bullshit. It’s lost. Insufferable people . . . It’s just ridiculous, retards. I’m sorry. Can’t help them. Way too serious. Too much. Lighten up.”
I think it’s pretty clear that Keenan isn’t insulting Tool’s fanbase here. Like many artists, musical and otherwise, he doesn’t appreciate when his audience can’t appreciate the message behind his work. He has a point; if you asked any number of Tool fans what they thought of the band, “funny” is not one of the adjectives they would likely use.
Some Tool fans (who are much more dedicated than me) have a different theory. “I think him saying that was also part of his sense of humor,” ruminated Jose Urquiza, vocalist of the Sevendust-produced hard rock band 3 Years Hollow (you should check them out). His comment ended with a smiley face emoji, which is completely necessary in order to understand the complex thoughts and emotions portrayed in said comment.
I will admit that I don’t listen to Tool very much, but I do know that the members of the band have a very dry, deadpan sense of humor. After all, who can release a song called “Hooker With a Penis” straight-faced? The theory holds water.
No matter Keenan‘s motivations, though, the bottom line is that he is not attacking fans of Tool, and if you get your news from headlines without reading the actual article, you are everything that’s wrong with today’s media landscape. Although you are reading this, which means you do read the articles, so maybe you aren’t that bad. But I digress.
Here’s a music video in case you live under a rock and have somehow never heard of Tool before:
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