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Maynard James Keenan Talks Joni Mitchell With Sammy Hagar at Winery

Maynard James Keenan—he of Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer, and the vineyards—is an upcoming guest on AXS TV’s series Rock and Roll Road Trip, hosted by Sammy Hagar. If you’re somehow unfamiliar with AXS TV’s offerings, the Sunday program features the tequila-slinging former Van Halen singer jet-setting around to visit other rock celebrities. On the latest episode, he visits Maynard’s wine company headquarters in Arizona. (As you can see above, a promotional image for the show also features Hagar and Keenan standing next to Guy Fieri, but we don’t have an explanation for that yet.)

In a pre-release clip from the episode, Hagar asks Maynard about how he comes up with the crazy rhythms and time signatures in Tool songs (“6/8, or 6, 7/9 or whatever”). Keenan explained that a lot of his attraction to unusual meter came about while running cross country in high school and listening to music.  “Everybody has their own breathing rhythms, right?” Keenan said. “I was actually running to my [footsteps]. So, if you’re going over hills, or down hills, or in chuck-holes, or whatever, my breath would follow those rhythms.” When Hagar asked about the music he was listening to during this period, Maynard specified Joni Mitchell, whose praises he has sung before, and who he even interviewed in 1995. “Odd time signature stuff. There’s some Joni Mitchell stuff that’s crazy.”

Hagar responds with apparently earnest enthusiasm for either Joni Mitchell’s music or the idea of it. “She’s brilliant with playin’ and singin’ too—her rhythm and her lyrical…” Hagar opines. Maynard then counters: “She’s singin’ on the up, she’s singin’ on the down.” I would challenge anyone reading to spot the lie.

Some other early inspirations Keenan pointed to were AC/DC (not weird time signature stuff), King Crimson (weird time signature stuff), and Pink Floyd (decently weird time signature stuff). In May, Tool announced that their first album in 13 years is coming out on August 30. Watch Hagar and Keenan chop it up below.