Maynard James Keenan recently swung by the Apple Music's Beats 1 studio to join host Zane Lowe and discuss Tool's first new album in 13 year, Fear Inoculum. He also delved into an array of other topics, including the group's decision to finally release its catalog to digital music services, his creative relationship with the rest of the band, his life in L.A. during the Nineties and why he left, and more. The singer also notably addressed the minor internet brouhaha sparked when pop star Justin Bieber revealed his Tool fandom via Instagram and Keenan responded by tweeting "#bummer," a comment that Justin's wife Hailey called out for being "childish."
"He's probably a good kid. It's the crap that surrounds him," Keenan said of Bieber. "He was never armed with the tools to handle it. And the people surrounding him are monsters. He's living in an ocean of ... Am I allowed to swear on this show? OK, never mind. I was going to say ... but I'm not sure I'm allowed to. So he's, God bless him, he's a product of those things that we've spoken about numerous times on every project I've ever done."
"So when I make a statement like #bummer, it has nothing to do with him," Keenan continued. "It has to do with, I know that the ocean of shit that's going to follow because he couldn't just be a quiet Tool fan, he had to say it out loud, and now I know the flood's coming from the people that don't get it, and the people that think they do, and they're going to argue with each other. And it's going to be stupid. And it doesn't matter. And this poor kid's caught right in the crosshairs, as he was, as he is."
Keenan's wit and wisdom was not reserved for the topic of the Bieber controversy. Addressing the songwriting dynamic within Tool and his decision to remove himself from the earlier stages of the creative process, the singer also delivered some choice quotes. "I didn't stop being a pig head," he quipped. "I just wasn't a pig head in that room. I mean, because then you have to learn to accept what's coming. If I'm not going to be in there fighting the fight for what's happening, that actually is ... that's a teaching moment for me. It's a teaching moment for myself to understand how to navigate what's being presented rather than being in the middle of the fight and making it take longer, Losing perspective, because you get forest for trees in that room. So I had to step out, and which actually taught me a whole new skill. By stepping out and having [the music] presented as is with minor adjustments, this is how I'm going to tell the story around a framework that exists. That was a challenge, and it took me about 10 years to figure that out."