Maynard James Keenan

Tool’s Maynard James Keenan on the songs he loves 

Photo: Travis Shinn
Words: Florian Obkircher 

From Dean Martin to Iris DeMent, these are Renaissance man Maynard James Keenan’s favourite tracks 

Renaissance man Maynard James Keenan has not only fronted two extremely successful and innovative rock bands – Tool and A Perfect Circle – but also proved himself as an actor, comedian, multimedia artist and even winemaker.

Despite his cult following, the 52-year-old has remained an enigmatic figure, but his new biography, A Perfect Union Of Contrary Things, provides a window into his world. Here, Keenan picks five songs that have had an impact on the musician and the vintner. 

Check out his wine selection at

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Dean Martin - Ain’t That A Kick In The Head [from You Can’t Love ’Em All]

© Youtube // Halerman444

“Whenever this classic comes up on my playlist, I drop everything so I can just listen to it. When you look at the early days, and entertainers like Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, they were so multi-talented: they could dance, they could sing, they could play instruments and write. Artists were athletic, and I admire that a lot. Today, people are just handed things for free; it’s a very entitled generation.”

Fleetwood Mac - The Chain [from Rumours]

© Youtube // TrixxyKatt

“A lot of people have tried to cover this song and failed miserably. What they don’t get is that you can’t remove any one element from it and still make the song make sense. There’s some kind of magic in the perfect balance of the vocals and every other element. It inspired me to create Le Cortigiane Oneste, a very unusual yet elegantly balanced blend for which I fermented Barbera and Merlot together.”

Led Zeppelin - Kashmir [from Physical Graffiti]

© Youtube // Hector Mussolini

“There’s a consistency throughout all of Led Zeppelin’s albums, but for me there’s one shining moment in their discography and that is Kashmir. It’s a magical song that couldn’t have happened to just any band – this masterpiece was the result of many years of unconscious preparation. And that fact led me to an important realisation: you shouldn’t wait for a lucky strike; life is all about preparation.”

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Zapp - More Bounce To The Ounce

© Youtube // catolog96

“This song holds a special memory for me. When I was in the military – especially in basic training – pretty much all of my friends were black. Whenever we got the chance to take time off, we would go out and listen to funk tunes on huge boomboxes we’d carry on our shoulders. This song has always been one of my favourites. When it comes on, everyone’s hips immediately start moving.”

Iris DeMent - Let The Mystery [from Infamous Angel]

© Youtube // scarecrow3666

“I discovered this one a few years ago. I don’t know much about Iris DeMent’s life and career – she sings a lot of religious tunes – but this is a shining example of good songwriting. It’s mysterious and uplifting; it’s like, ‘Don’t worry about things, don’t judge too much.’ When I listen to this song, I love to pour myself a glass of Chupacabra, which is kind of my mystery blend, a shape-shifter wine from my vineyard.”

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01 2017 The Red Bulletin

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