Puscifer's Keenan keeps busy with music, wine ventures - Omaha.com
go logo
article photo
article photo
Puscifer band members, from left, include Matt McJunkins, Jeff Friedl, Maynard James Keenan, Carina Round, Mat Mitchell and Josh Eustis. The band will perform Wednesday at the Omaha Music Hall.


Puscifer's Keenan keeps busy with music, wine ventures
By Kevin Coffey

When Maynard James Keenan isn't fronting alt metal band Tool or rock supergroup A Perfect Circle or even making his own wine, he's doing something else a little different.

He's the leader of experimental group Puscifer, which dabbles in rock, metal, country and electronic sounds.

Who: Puscifer with Carina Round

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Omaha Music Hall, 17th and Davenport Streets

Tickets: $37.50 to $47.50 at www.ticketmaster.com, Ticketmaster retail locations, the CenturyLink Center box office or by phone at 800-745-3000

Information: www.omahacivic.com or 402-341-1500

Keenan, whose Caduceus Cellars produces a variety of wines, rose to prominence fronting the platinum-selling Tool. Later, he formed A Perfect Circle and went on to sell millions more.

In recent years, he's mostly focused on his wine and his other side project, Puscifer, who performs in Omaha on Wednesday. Puscifer is a full band, but is effectively the name for Keenan's solo work.

Puscifer is usually called "experimental" because it borrows from different genres and the band's live shows have been known to include video, comedy bits, masks and all sorts of strange stuff.

Keenan called us from Toronto to talk about Puscifer's new album and tour. And we did manage to get him to talk (just a little) about his other two bands.

Q. You recorded most of your new album, "Conditions of my Parole," at home rather than out on the road like the last album. And you did it in a wine cellar?

A. Pretty much. These days, a studio is wherever you bring your computer and your mic. We recorded some of the tracks in the first song in that space before there were barrels in it.

This time, we set up in there because the other room wasn't ready.

Q. Are you building a studio?

A. It's another music room that's large enough to set up in and record live or rehearse or mix. It's a multimedia music room.

Q. I really liked the harmonies with Carina Round. Your voices fit together really well. How did that come together.

A. Most of it, I would just riff with myself. Just kind of come up with harmonies. Wherever I was super stuck I'd just have to walk away and get some perspective and hand it over to her. I'd hand it over to her, which was probably preferable in the beginning anyway. (laughs)

Q. Wasn't this originally suppose to be an EP? Did you just write too many songs?

A. The project has come up against so many hurdles. We were initially going to do a country EP and then an eclectic rock EP. As we were getting it together, we said, "This is all one thought. Let's just put it together." It made more sense.

Q. What's different about Puscifer compared to the other music you make?

A. I think most people, they enjoy some success based on sound or a movement they've made and they build on that. They go with what they know. After awhile, you're kind of pigeonholed in that sound and you can't move around without criticism.

But if you put on your crazy hat and do that from the beginning, people give you some room.

Q. Do you enjoy the freedom of Puscifer compared to Tool or A Perfect Circle?

A. It's partly that being in that chaotic space is where you learn and grow. After awhile there's an expectation that's attached. Having the different outlets keeps that fresh and builds on ideas.

Especially on this project, it's great. We can do whatever we want.

Q. Puscifer is a totally independent project. Do you like not having to deal with a record label?

A. Absolutely. It helps this thing be sustainable. If you're writing the checks for things, you do things that make sense or grow naturally. You can actually be successful with it without everybody being involved.

We started with a T-shirt and we sold the shirt. With that money we bought some equipment and recorded a song, sold a song, made another T-shirt, sold the T-shirt.

It was piece-by-piece intentionally not taking money from any other project to make this stand on its own.

Q. Between Puscifer, your two other bands and your wine company, how do you have time for it all?

A. Coffee helps. But definitely just budgeting your time. I have a military background so when you have to make sure you get the sleep you need to get up and have your equipment ready, you tend to be really good at shaving minutes. I'm pretty good at that.

I'm also pretty good at logistics. I can run a 4,000- to 5,000-case winery in a 3,000-foot space. It's getting things in the right place and me thinking six moves ahead. It's the same thing as the music.

When things are ready to be done, I dive into do them. When I get to a project and it's not quite ready, I turn around and go back to the other thing. I don't have time to waste.

Q. So you're not deciding which song goes to Tool and which song goes to Puscifer? It sounds like you do one thing at a time.

A. I definitely, absolutely try to do one thing at a time. I'm not writing a song and deciding what group it's going toward. In general, you're right. I don't cross streams.

Q. So with the winery, there are times when you're just unavailable? How do you work that in with touring?

A. It's simple with timing. There's a specific season for harvesting. Then there's a second window — racking, bottling and all the blending — that's kind of flexible. You can work around the tours.

But when it's harvest, don't call me. The misconception is that there's a team of people making that wine for me. That's not the case. I have to be there because I have to do it.

Q. I know you don't want to give out a lot of details, but will the Puscifer show have a variety show feel similar to the last tour?

A. We're gonna make a few changes so whoever comes out that saw it last time, it won't be the same show they saw before. But we'll present the same record.

It's similar. And we'd really, really recommend that people don't go online and look at reviews. There are a lot of spoilers.

And there's not so much the variety stuff. There is a film at the beginning and footage throughout the show. It's a little more cohesive than last time.

Q. Lastly, when will we hear anything from Tool or A Perfect Circle?

A. Currently, I'm really focusing on this. This is the thing that's actually happening and it's delivering.

I'm sure those other things will catch up with themselves.

Contact the writer:

402-444-1557, kevin.coffey@owh.com


Contact the writer: Kevin Coffey

kevin.coffey@owh.com    |   402-444-1557    |  

Kevin covers music, whether it's pop, indie or punk, through artist interviews, reviews and trend stories. He also occasionally covers other entertainment, including video games and comic books.

Read more stories by Kevin

Contact the Omaha World-Herald newsroom

Copyright ©2014 Omaha World-Herald®. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, displayed or redistributed for any purpose without permission from the Omaha World-Herald.

Latest Stories

Here's who'd play Pelini, Osborne and 19 other Nebraska celebrities in a movie
Here's who'd play Pelini, Osborne and 19 other Nebraska celebrities in a movie

When Hollywood comes calling to tell the story of one of our own, we need to be ready with some casting suggestions because the movie executives will certainly want to hear what we think.

'That thing is atrocious': Rusty steel panel in downtown Papillion plaza spurs complaints
'That thing is atrocious': Rusty steel panel in downtown Papillion plaza spurs complaints

The panel is made of weathering steel that's commonly used in building designs. It's supposed to be turning into a vibrant orange panel emblazoned with a monarch butterfly, but the transformation process is taking longer than expected.

Paul McCartney's best moments (and also his weirdest)
Paul McCartney's best moments (and also his weirdest)

Paul McCartney, who will perform in Lincoln this summer, is responsible for some of the most beautiful pop music ever recorded. But he’s had some head-scratching moments, too.

Watch Westside High seniors Jack and Jack answer fan calls
Watch Westside High seniors Jack and Jack answer fan calls

Vine superstars and Omaha residents Jack and Jack were in studio with Mike'l Severe. Fans called in with questions for the guys from across the country.

‘Wonder Bread Years’: Tickets on sale now for salute to baby boomer generation

Tickets go on sale today at the Omaha Community Playhouse for “The Wonder Bread Years,” Pat Hazell’s comedy salute to the baby boomer generation.

What to watch: John Wayne in 'Stagecoach' on TCM
What to watch: John Wayne in 'Stagecoach' on TCM

John Wayne stars as the Ringo Kid in this classic Western about a group of people traveling through the unsettled West who are threatened by Geronimo.

An early look at the new Beercade (photos)
An early look at the new Beercade (photos)

A new Beercade's only a few months away, and the owners let us look at the new space next door.

Michael W. Smith will perform at the Nebraska State Fair
Michael W. Smith will perform at the Nebraska State Fair

Michael W. Smith will headline the Nebraska State Fair’s Christian concert on Thursday, Aug. 28.
Smith will perform at 7:30 p.m. at the Heartland Events Center.
The multiple Grammy Award winner has sold more than 15 million albums, has had 28 No. 1 hits and 40 Dove Awards, making him one of the nation’s favorite mainstream Christian artists.

Listen: Larry the Cable Guy tells us about his recent injury on a movie set
Listen: Larry the Cable Guy tells us about his recent injury on a movie set

In this clip from Monday's "The Bottom Line," Larry the Cable Guy talks about his benefit show for the Team Jack Foundation, his recent injury and what kind of Husker fan he is.

Paul McCartney will play Lincoln's Pinnacle Bank Arena this summer
Paul McCartney will play Lincoln's Pinnacle Bank Arena this summer

It will be his first time performing in Lincoln, but he did play Omaha in 2005.

Movies Opening this week

Movie showtimes and theater listings

Read this!


Tonight in Prime Time
© 2014 Omaha World-Herald. All rights reserved