Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Dark and powerful hard rock / metal from A Perfect Circle

Maynard James Keenan is a busy fellow. You probably know him best from his multi-platinum rock band, Tool. Songs like ‘Schism’ and ‘Vicarious’ are deep, heavy, and flat out fantastic. Keenan takes just enough from math rock to keep his songs interesting without losing the thumping feet of his listeners. Tool is my wife’s favorite band, and pretty high on my list. I saw Tool at Bonnaroo in 2007 and it was a highlight of that week. Here is a bad video of Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave) playing with Tool that night.

Keenan has a solo project called Puscifer, which released “V is for Vagina” in October 2007. Keenan has had enough success now that he gets to work on projects doing pretty much whatever the hell he wants to and this is some weird stuff. Most of it rocks, but it’s weird. More on this one, perhaps, another day.

I think Maynard Freakin' Keenan is appropriate now.

Keenan is also the lead singer for A Perfect Circle, though it isn’t his project per se. A Perfect Circle was actually the idea of Billy Howerdel, a former guitar technician for Tool (and Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, and Fishbone). While staying at Kennan’s place, Howerdel played some demos of his music. Keenan liked it and although he had originally wanted a female lead singer, Howerdel knew Keenan could do a good job with them and probably thought having a talented lead singer from an already popular band wouldn’t hurt his chances either. Their debut album, “Mer de Noms” (not LOLspeak for a giant bowl of cheeseburgers) hit the ground running in May of 2003, selling 180,000 copies in its first week, putting it at #4 on the Billboard 200. It went platinum in 5 months.

If you weren’t one of the many who bought the album, it’s powerful, dark, and excellent. I ripped 7 of the disc’s 12 tracks.

  • Magdelena – This darkly prowling tune is ominous to start, but builds to a long and towering guitar solo.
  • Rose – I never knew until today that Howerdel originally envisioned a female singer. I can hear maybe Amy Lee from Evanescence doing a great job with this.
  • Judith – Great rocker. I love the way he hollers, “It’s not like you killed someone,” in the chorus.
  • Thomas – The beautiful acoustic guitar intro lasts about 20 seconds before the electric power chords shock you awake. In contrast with ‘Rose,’ I can’t imagine another vocalist delivering the oddly rhythmic chorus as well as Keenan.
  • Renholder – The gentle acoustic guitar lasts the entire 2 minutes of this eerie song.
  • Thinking of You – I think this is my favorite song on the album. I know it’s my favorite video.
  • Brena – This song sounds the most like Tool to me, except it isn’t in 11/12 time or anything like that.

I didn’t rip ‘The Hollow,’ which was the other single off “Mer de Noms.” What can I say? I didn’t like it, though a lot of people did, so you might too.

I mentioned Keenan is busy. He has performed improv comedy and done a little acting. He owns Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars winery, and owns a piece of Stronghold Vineyards, all in Arizona, where he lives. Oh, and he is also a partner in the Los Angeles restaurant Cobras & Matadors. Oh, and owns a produce market and an organic market in Cornville, Arizona. By night, presumably, he fights crime.


February 2, 2010 - Posted by | Hard Rock, Metal

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