Maynard James Keenan's 7 Favorite Frontpeople | Revolver

Maynard James Keenan's 7 Favorite Frontpeople

Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer vocalist sings praises
MaynardJ.png, Angela Boatwright
photograph by Angela Boatwright

Even if he's been as inspired by Ozzy and Rob Halford as everyone else, Maynard James Keenan prefers to align himself with a more eclectic set of performers, so it's no surprise that a few comedians, a performance artist, a folkie, and a hardcore punk turned talk-show host are on his list of favorite frontpeople.

Steve Martin
"He shreds on the banjo. He has totally inspired me as a frontman, as a performer, and as a musician. I never saw him onstage other than on video, but he's amazing with a crowd, and his stand-up albums were like rock records."

Gerald Casale (Devo)
"He's an absolute nightmare in the best way possible. The things that come out of that guy's mouth are just pure poetry. He is his own man. He speaks his own mind. It's like he has no filter from brain to mouth."

Henry Rollins
"I saw Black Flag perform half a dozen times back in 1982. The intensity he was putting out onstage was really inspiring—that raw, crazy energy. These days, he's not the same intense, fly-off-the-handle open nerve that he was back then. He has evolved, and he's come gracefully to where he is now. He's not afraid to say what he thinks, and it's great to see."

Bill Murray
"As far as being an eloquent asshole and prick, he's amazing. He was recently busted for driving a golf cart drunk. That's better than Axl Rose ever did. And Axl Rose wasn't in Groundhog Day, so fuck him."

Joni Mitchell
"On her early stuff, she was doing everything herself. So never mind that she was a female performer trying to make it in a male performer's world. She was actually producing, writing, and performing all on her own, which was pretty ballsy back in the day."

Patti Smith
"She did freeform poetry and it was amazing. I don't ever have the balls to do that kind of stuff where you kind of just go for it and jam in front of people and riff."

David Bowie
"He went through his changes gracefully, also. And he explored all these different areas as an actor, as a music maker, as a visual artist. 'Ashes to Ashes' is still one of my favorite videos ever."

We spent two days with Maynard James Keenan at his home in Jerome, Arizona, to see how his vision of sustainable living ties into and inspires his artistic creativity. Watch our original video series "The Art of Work":