General Question

SeventhSense's avatar

Maynard James Keenan- Lead Singer for Tool- Dark or Damned?

Asked by SeventhSense (18904points) March 1st, 2009

I know what it’s like to overcome demons but my overall impression of his work is a sense of his arrogance and a total dark and cynical take on humanity devoid of hope. And really the cult of him. But it’s tough because I like his work and his mind is sharp putting down the establishment and religion etc with works like Aenima- flushing down L.A.- “see you drown in Arizona bay”-brilliant…. but works like Bethlehem Abortion Clinic? What is the line between being dark and just plain evil? Somehow this topic has a type of catharsis for me. I mean if someone says he “sold his soul to make a record”. Do you believe that that is possible?

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37 Answers

El_Cadejo's avatar

“I sold my soul to make a record,
Dip shit,
And you bought one.”

Likeradar's avatar

Hum… I’m a big Tool fan, but I haven’t put as much thought into Maynard’s psyche as you apparently have. :)

I’m going with dark, not “evil”. If you follow MJK’s other works, like APC, and read interviews with him, especially those relating to his wine, he’s really just an intelligent dude who has some strange views and a sometimes dark outlook. Also, some of his Tool songs (Wings pt. 2, and Parabola for example), are really lovely and, in my opinion, uplifting.

Are you asking if it’s possible that he actually sold his soul to a devil? No, because I think that’s just silly.

Excellent answer, Uberbatman. :)
I don’t know Bethlehem Abortion Clinic, by the way, so I left that completely out of my answer

SeventhSense's avatar

Yes I knowe the lyrics

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Maynard is a lyrical genius, period. It’s my opinion that anyone who tries to label him as “evil” either hasn’t really ever listened to his music or they simply are not capable of interpreting the kind of messages he’s trying to put across.

How can someone be evil when the music they write has practically everything to do with the sheer stupidity, ignorance and evil that other human beings cause? He’s a very smart person who got sick of the things he saw around him and he needed an outlet. Having no faith in humanity doesn’t make someone evil. The fact that he recognizes the atrocities alone makes him smarter than most people out there.

SeventhSense's avatar

Ubermatman you offered nothing of value to the thread other than pointing out the further cynicism in the lyrics of which i refer

SeventhSense's avatar

DD
No but do you walk away from the music feeling good, uplifted and happy or just dark?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Honestly, it’s kind of a combination of those. I feel happy because I’m somewhat like him – which is why I’m drawn to their music to begin with – and it’s nice to see that not everyone in the world is a stupid piece of crap. I feel dark, because I know there are a lot of stupid people in the world and recognizing that fact is a little depressing and anger inspiring.

I don’t know the man, but I’m almost positive in saying that he’s probably one of the least evil people out there. Evil people aren’t generally cynical – because they have no problem overlooking the stupidity and getting on with their merry little lives.

SeventhSense's avatar

DD,
Interesting take on the cynical people not being evil. Something to think about. Thanks

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I like discussing things in depth, so any time. :)

gailcalled's avatar

(I love “ubermatman,” but Vladimira may not be happy.)

El_Cadejo's avatar

shes pissed and is planning a ‘hit’ right now :P

SeventhSense's avatar

In the Tibetan Book of the Dead there is ample evidence that ignorance leads us back to samsara again and again. The cycle is perpetuated by ignorance, greed, pride, anger and jealousy. Pride being chief among these. The mistake of course is to imagine that the lowest realms of hell are somehow in contrast to the God realms.
They are all suffering. (As is trying to elicit a response from persons who have their compartmentalized pat answers to life on a cheat sheet in their back pocket:) And I am not saying that we are any less ignorant either. We all seem to be here in this realm of death and rebirth at one point or another on the wheel. And no, I don’t believe that there is a character like a devil that will come to you with a pitchfork and contract in hand. I think that the ethereal body can be damaged by our ignorance and activities though. It also seems odd that people would make a sacred cow of someone who has made such an effort to topple them.

essieness's avatar

Have you listened to the newest album (10000 days)? I consider it pretty uplifting.

SeventhSense's avatar

I have no comprehension of how that can be uplifting. It is just dark period. There musical talent is brilliant but they just need some light. If you’re not whacked out of your skull it becomes really unbearable after a while. The only other comparison I can make is Pink Floyd. Now they are certainly no Pink Floyd but it’s amazing that they can even elicit the comparison. Pink Floyd did songs like Goodbye Blue Sky but even in their darkness, there was light. Even his spin off PUSCIFER-songs like Rev.22:20 for the Underworld movie. Who the fuck do these guys think they are? I mean that refers to the second coming of Christ-“Come Lord Jesus come….and he uses it as a reference to some whore in his song- like even Jesus would be tempted. How can that possibly bring people together? It fosters fear and animosity in religious minded people and it is actually dangerous to the social order. It creates chaos and if your 3rd eye has been opened, and mine has, then you recognize the quantum leap in consciousness that Jesus fostered. Of course that’s not to say that religions haven’t made a fetish out of him. But there’s a method to transform society and if just pissing on people who hold beliefs that you find different is a method than we might as well all join Al Qaida.
I’ll quote John Lennon- “You say you want a revolution, we’d all love to see the plan”.

essieness's avatar

@SeventhSense Why did you ask our opinions if you apparently have already made up your mind about the question? I sense a lot of internal conflict within you about this subject. It seems to really ruffle your feathers. Maybe you should consider questioning where this apparent animosity is stemming from?

Aethelwine's avatar

@SeventhSense Tool is one of my favorite bands. When I listen to music, especially music like Tool, I don’t listen to the lyrics. I enjoy the sounds and rhythms. To me, their sound is uplifting. Music can mean many different things to a person, and certainly not the same thing to everyone.

Likeradar's avatar

10,000 Days is extremely uplifting to me. I think in its entirety it’s about how they came together as a band and began seeing life in a new, more mature way.

Have you listened to the lyrics for Parabola? How is that not uplifting? What about Wings pt 2, the love song to his mother? It practically makes me cry, it’s so beautiful.

I also think you’re reading waaaay too much about MJK’s psyche into his lyrics. And I’m wondering if you’re religious. You say it “fosters fear and animosity in religious minded people and it is actually dangerous to the social order.’ Don’t you think maybe that’s going a bit far? I wouldn’t recommend Tool for the very religious minded, just as i wouldn’t recommend many, many, many other rock musicians. You’re comparing listening to Tool with joining Al Qaida? Really? Really?

I also think Uberbatman’s pointing out those lyrics is very relevant. When MJK sings that he sold his soul, is there a chance that he’s referring to his privacy and thoughts? As he says, all you know about him is what he sold you, dumbfuck. And apparently, you bought it.

I’m not even a little whacked out of my skull, and it’s not unbearable at all.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Likeradar exactly what i meant. Thank you :)

essieness's avatar

@Likeradar Yeah, what you said. I was going to mention the lyrics to Parabola. That song really pumps me up. And also, Jambi from the 10,000 Days album. That song is all about how he used to be dragged down by “the dark side” but now he understands how wrong that was. He even begs the “benevolent son” to “shine on”. In my opinion, seeing that sort of turn-around in his way of thinking is EXTREMELY uplifting!!

Jambi
Here from the king’s mountain view
Here from the wild dream come true
Feast like a sultan I do on treasures and flesh – never few

But I, I would wish it all away if I thought I’d lose you, just one day

The devil and his had me down in love with the dark side I’d found, dabbling all the way down; up to my neck, soon to drown

But you changed that all for me; lifted me up, turned me ‘round
So I…
I…
I…
I…
I would
I would
I would wish this all away

Prayed like a martyr dusk ‘til dawn
Begged like a hooker all night long
Tempted the devil with my song
And got what I wanted all along

But I…
And I would
If I could, then I would wish it away, wish it away, wish it all away
Wanna wish it all away
No pressure could hold, sway, or justify my kneeling away my center

So if I could I’d wish it all away, if I thought tomorrow would take you away
You’re my peace of mind, my home, my center
I’m just trying to hold on one more day

Jab my eyes…
Jab my eyes…

Jab my eyes if they should compromise our fulcrum
If what you need divides me then I might as well be gone

Shine on forever
Shine on, benevolent sun

Shine down upon the broken
Shine until the two become one

Shine on forever
Shine on, benevolent sun

Shine on upon the severed
Shine until the two become one

Divided, I wither away
Divided, I wither away

Shine down upon the many
Light our way, benevolent sun

Breathe in union
Breathe in union
Breathe in union
Breathe in union
Breathe in union
So, as one, survive another day and season

Silence leeches; save your poison
Silence leeches; stay out of my way!

essieness's avatar

Oh and we can’t leave out Right in Two which is an entire song from the viewpoint of angels questioning why man fights over land and kills each other when “father” gave us all free will to behave any way we want. Why would humans behave this way when we have a “father” who loves us?

Repugnant is a creature who would squander the ability to lift an eye to heaven conscious of his fleeting time here.

I think while the WAY he presents the ideas may come across as dark, the message is actually very spiritual and uplifting. He’s asking us to question why we are the way we are. Why is humanity so greedy and evil?

SeventhSense's avatar

@essiness
Thank you, it certainly is and I hope they continue. It seems a breakthrough or evolution of awareness. And thank you for leaving ego posturing aside.
Namaste to you

essieness's avatar

@SeventhSense And thank you for answering diplomatically as well :) We might be able to have some interesting discussions about the ego. It’s a subject in which I’m quite interested.

SeventhSense's avatar

Start a thread.

essieness's avatar

@SeventhSense Oh lorrrrrrrd… lol

SeventhSense's avatar

Yes, combat with ghosts but so serious.
‹(•¿•)›

Likeradar's avatar

@essieness I think Parabola is so beautiful and inspiring that my 1 and only tattoo is of a parabola…

SeventhSense's avatar

Like the curved line/arc? Within a cone?

Likeradar's avatar

@SeventhSense Yup. The geometric symbol. I was gonna get lyrics, but I didn’t want it to be that obvious. I knew I wanted a tat for a while, and was looking at flowers, butterflies, the typical girl stuff. The best advice I ever got was to stop looking, it will just appear. I went to my 1st Tool show, they did that song, and Ah-hah! I was at the tattoo shop within a week. I’ve dealt with depression and hard times, and my tattoo and that song helps me get over it.

I also feel like I need to clarify to anyone who doesn’t know the lyrics- I wasn’t calling SeventhSense a dumbfuck. Those are the lyrics.

SeventhSense's avatar

That’s cool. I can never get one ‘cause I’m so fickle with images that I just know I’d get tired of it and want to change it in a week, but I imagine a symbol would be my ideal- or maybe a Chinese dragon.

Cannedmeat420's avatar

SeventhSense, you must be a fundamentalist Christian. Of course you’d think Maynard is evil if you believe in that. Listen, Maynard isn’t evil because there is no such thing. He puts out for charities, makes awesome wine, and writes excellent lyrics for the best in the world…<<<TOOL>>>... Things you thought to be evil are actually just part of human nature. For example; killing (wild animals do it all the time and we as humans usually eat meat or vegetarians eat plants, all of which are living things); stealing (think about how hyenas steal food for survival). I’m not saying we should continue killing eachother, but keep in mind that species kill other species for food, territory, and dominance. Maynard is far from evil…

SeventhSense's avatar

Read my question again
But it’s tough because I like his work and his mind is sharp putting down the establishment and religion
and I really don’t want to resurrect the thread but one does not have to be Fundamentalist to take issue with self serving agendas. I’ve seen plenty and we’re up to our necks in narcissistic self absorbed rock stars anyway. What’s even more pathetic is the efforts people go to defend an iconic figure. OK they made some music you like. They’re not infallible.

Cannedmeat420's avatar

You’re pointing out shit that I already know. I can just relate with his train of thought. Yes, he’s become a celebrity, but that doesn’t make him more or less human with personal opinions. Maynard is just one of the few people that I agree with in this world. I’m not selfish like you probably think. Just cynical about how far-gone everything is on this planet.

SeventhSense's avatar

Ok cool so we agree. Now we found a nice place called Fluther we’re we can all work on coming together rather than deconstructing any further. We’ve deconstructed everything from politics, art, religion, cartoons, sex and comedy. It’s time to move away from cynicism and start moving towards a collective vision that works to promote the collective good of humanity. Now I’m going to stop following the thread but please don’t take offense. Peace.

Cannedmeat420's avatar

One thing I realized about you is that even if you make absolutely no sense you still need the last word. Whether you’re wrong or right always need something totally asinine to say. We barely agree, lets leave it at that…

hybriddemon's avatar

Though I am probably far to late for this discussion, I can’t resist dropping in…..I do love a debait!

Funny thing religion, here is something that has caused more war and deaths then any all events in history compiled together. Wars over beliefs have been goin on since the dawn of time, every one wants the other one to see that their beliefs are right….when in actuality no one has the faintest idea of what lies ahead of us upon our deaths! What I find even more perplexiong is that if you look at the fundamental undertones all religions possess, they all teach the same thing….Understanding, acceptance, patience, compassion, empathy, sympathy, forgiveness….the list goes on. So if this is what it teaches, why then has war been waged and blood been spilled for thousands of years over it!? Basically it comes down to what god, deity, messiah, or divine power you choose to believe is the ruler of all eternity. Upon Columbus landing on this continent their was the discovery of “savages” deemed this because they lived a “primitive” existence” and did not have or show faith in one single higher power. Yet these “godless heathens” welcomed the newcomers with open arms…and we all know how that ended!

From what I can tell the natives were the only ones who understood the balance life truly is….and it is here that my “mindless rambling” segways into your question. The line between dark and just plain evils is a razors edge as cannedmeat420 points out we kill for food, territory, right to procreate…..etc, but he left out the part about the crusades. I ask you seventh sence, where does the line between good and evil lie there? How does it make sence to kill in cold blood those who will not conform to a single way of thinking, believing or worshiping?? Maynard is an extremely intelligent individual, whos spiritual depths are un-inhibited because he seeks answers to his own questions in the form of knowledge and understandin. Yes his lyrics possess a dark persona, and undertones of discust for what society has become…..but they also contain a moral only non-conformists can pick up on. You can hear his demons screaming in every word he screams, whispers, and sings….but his demons are also the demons many seeking answers to “their own questions” must face on the path to discovering their true selves. There is much more to this life then most organized religions will teach you, and for those of us who have seen life through the right kind of eyes Maynards lyrics are EXTREMELY uplifting and speak to us as tho they were written specifically for our ears. I am not saying your beliefs are wrong! Whether you be religious or not is entirely up to you…. religion, faiths and beliefs are a very personal thing that we are all free to follow as we would like. I am simply saying that there is much more to spiritual enlightenment then following the masses. Truth be told, if there was no evil would there be a good? If their was no sadness would we truly know what it meant to be happy? Without pian pleasure is just a theory…..you get my point? We each seek our own paths in life, and we each find our own answers. Though we are all connected we are as individual and unique as the DNA profiles that make up our physical existence connecting our spirit to the here and now. This world is a classroom and our lives are spent here in search of knowledge we share both collectively and individually benefitting our souls on the path to elightenment and evolution.

There is much more to Maynard’s lyrics then initially meets the ear! Really listen to them, open your mind to understaning them….but remember as you do that much of his work is comprized of cynical ironic sarcasm, double entendres, innuendos,and many many hidden metaphors pertaining to the general state society has regressed to! Listen to 46&2, google it and you will find some pretty interesting info on sacred geometry and the next evolution believed to be upon us…..anyways thats my take on it, I’m open to hear more if ya’ll want to drop more lines on it!

hybriddemon's avatar

Oh also, I do not believe it possible to sell your soul…..But I can speak from experience it is possible to extinguish one! That lyric you are asking about is one of those metaphors I was speaking of…...

eravulgaris's avatar

I think some of his lyrics are interesting and well written, some are beyond many “enlightened Tool fans” minds I’d say but this seems to be where they get their halo’s. I guess if you write about the church, evolution, drugs, the apocalyps, telling some kids to fuck himself cuz you sold yer soul, and call your music ART all the time you will attract a lot of pretentious, psuedo enlightened, sardonic folk. Their music is heavy and largely depressing, I doubt many can argue that. Its like saying you found Schindlers list uplifting. Some songs are very intense and charged but I found the fillers too long and self indulgent – the grudge, ticks and leeches, 3rd eye, faiop de opiad to name a few.
I havent played a whole Tool song in months and often skip to certain parts just for the musicallity and not for the lyrics. But yea, I feel mostly depressed listening to them.

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