Revered avant-metallers Tool have been nominated for several Grammy Awards over the years, and they’ve even won three: Best Metal Performance in 1997 and 2001; and Best Recording Package in 2006 for their most recent LP, 10,000 Days. This year, Tool were up for Best Hard Rock Performance again, for the 10,000 Days track “The Pot,” but they lost the award to the Foo Fighters.
Not surprisingly, Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan has long shunned the Grammys, and had never even been to the ceremony before Sunday night — despite the numerous nods to his band’s work. So why the change of heart, Maynard?
“Well, it’s the 50th anniversary, and my son’s never been to the Grammys, and I’ve never been to one, so I figured it’s probably time,” Keenan told MTV News on the Grammy red carpet on Sunday. His date for the event was his 12-year-old son, Devo, who is a cellist for Ashes Divide, the band founded by Keenan’s A Perfect Circle co-pilot, Billy Howerdel. “There are other things we could do, but this is very special, I think, and it will be the highlight of the year for him. I think he’s pretty stoked about it. We’re kind of easygoing.”
The reclusive Keenan isn’t the awards-show-going type, of course, but, just before heading inside Los Angeles’ Staples Center, he admitted he was looking forward to the Foo Fighters’ Grammy performance. “It’s going to be tremendous,” he predicted of the band’s outdoor set, which featured a full orchestra conducted by Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones.
But really, talking about the Grammys isn’t exactly an exciting endeavor for Keenan, and as fans might expect, the enigmatic singer has a lot on his plate anyway. His idiosyncratic side project, Puscifer, is keeping him quite busy, and so is his Sedona, Arizona, winery, Merkin Vineyards. Late last year, Keenan — who is a passionate wine connoisseur — released a 2004 Nagual de la Naga, a 2004 Nagual del Sensei and a new Primer Paso.
And yes, there’s also Tool’s fifth studio album to think about. While he wouldn’t say much about the forthcoming LP, Keenan did reveal that the band would soon be reconvening to start kicking around song ideas.
“We’re going to start writing the new Tool record right away,” he said.
That said, there’s no time table for the disc — Keenan didn’t say when he expected the band to start tracking the effort, when it might be ready for release or what it might sound like. But with Tool’s touring schedule wide open for the foreseeable future, he said it’s time for the band to buckle down. He also elaborated on Tool’s creative process.
“The music always comes first,” Keenan said. “We all get in a room, shut out all the extra noises from the other people and what goes on outside the room and just focus on the four of us, where we are that day. And then we just start making sounds.”