Born In: Ravenna, Ohio, United States
American singer, songwriter, record producer, and winemaker Maynard James Keenan is best known as the vocalist and main lyricist of the rock band Tool and the side projects A Perfect Circle and Puscifer. In high school, he excelled in wrestling. Following this, he joined the US Army but quit after his advanced training. He later attended the Kendall College of Art and Design and moved to Los Angeles, where he co-founded Tool. With Tool, Keenan created multiple platinum certified albums and Grammy-winning tracks such as Schism. He has also delivered Grammy-winning tracks such as 7empest with A Perfect Circle. Apart from music, Keenan is also known for his outlandish costumes, his blonde wigs, and his blue body paint that he sports on stage. He has experimented with acting, too. Keenan also owns the Arizona-based Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars and has found a way to produce vegan wine.
Also Known As: James Herbert Keenan
Spouse/Ex-: Lei Li (m. 2012), Jennifer Brena Ferguson
father: Michael Loren Keenan
mother: Judith Marie Keenan
children: Devo Keenan, Lei Li Agostina Maria
Born Country: United States
U.S. State: Ohio
Maynard James Keenan was born James Herbert Keenan, on April 17, 1964, in Ravenna, Ohio, US. The only child of his Southern Baptist parents Judith Marie and Michael Loren Keenan, Keenan is of Irish and Italian origin.
After his parents’ divorce in 1968, Keenan’s father moved to Scottville, Michigan, and Keenan saw him only once a year for the next 12 years. Keenan’s mother, meanwhile, remarried, but Keenan had a difficult time adjusting to the stifling environment of his new home.
In 1976, Keenan’s mother suffered a hemorrhage due to a ruptured cerebral aneurysm. Keenan was 11 back then, and this incident later inspired him to write several of his songs, such as Wings for Marie.
Keenan eventually moved back with his father in Scottville. In 1982, Keenan graduated from Scottville’s Mason County Central High School. He excelled in wrestling in high school. His father was a coach for the high school wrestling team.
As a teenager, Keenan watched the comedy movie Stripes and was impacted by the movie’s protagonist, who was a soldier. Keenan thus wanted to grow up and be a soldier like him.
In 1982, Keenan joined the American army. One of the reasons behind this decision was his hope that G.I. Bill would someday fund his art school expenses. He was also given an opportunity to train at the US Military Academy (West Point) and become an officer. However, unable to tolerate the strict army rules there, he quit the army after his advanced army training in 1984.
While at West Point, he studied courses in math and English, wrestled, sang in the glee club, and even ran on the cross-country team. Keenan later attended the Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he had actor Gillian Anderson as his classmate.
After leaving Kendall College, Maynard James Keenan moved to Somerville in Massachusetts, where he did odd jobs, such as interior designing for a Boston-based pet store and set construction. At the same time, he also performed for local bands.
He moved to Los Angeles in 1988 and formed the rock band Tool in 1990, with guitarist Adam Jones, drummer Danny Carey, and bassist Paul D'Amour. In 1995, Justin Chancellor replaced D’Amour.
Interestingly, Keenan’s stage name, Maynard James Keenan, was based on a fictional character named Maynard that he drew along with the poems he wrote as a child. Tool soon gained fame with the EP Opiate in 1992. The following year, they released their debut album, Undertow, which was later certified platinum. The music video for their 1994 single Prison Sex was removed by MTV for being too graphic.
Their second platinum certified album, Ænima, was released in 1996. A legal battle followed, and the band went on a hiatus. Soon, Keenan, using the pseudonym Gaylord C and collaborated with Tim Alexander and Mike Bordin on the track Choked.
Their 3rd album, Lateralus, released in 2001, peaked the US Billboard 200 albums chart in its first week, while their track Schism got them a Grammy Award. Their 2006 album 10,000 Days was another chart-buster had songs such as Wings for Marie.
In 1999, Keenan formed the side project and supergroup A Perfect Circle, with guitarist Billy Howerdel. They won the Grammy for the Best Metal Performance for the track 7empest from the 2019 album Fear Inoculum.
Keenan and A Perfect Circle also released albums such as Mer de Noms (2000) and Thirteenth Step (2003), both platinum certified. Their 2004 album eMOTIVe was certified gold. After a long hiatus of almost 6 and a half years, the band returned for a 14-tour show in November 2010.
In 2003, Keenan began using the name Puscifer, starting with the track REV 22:20 from the soundtrack of the film Underworld. He later named his multi-media side project with Nine Inch Nails guitarist/bassist/keyboardist Danny Lohner after Puscifer.
In 2006, Puscifer recorded the track The Undertaker (Renholder Mix) for the soundtrack of Underworld: Evolution. Keenan also released the band’s first full-length album, “V” is for Vagina, through his independent label Puscifer Entertainment in 2007.
Puscifer later launched a clothing line and made merchandise available for sale on the band's website. They later launched a store in Jerome, Arizona, where apart from merchandise, one could also buy coffee and other collectibles.
In February 2009, the band appeared in a cabaret-style show in Nevada. Puscifer later released the album Conditions of My Parole (2011) and the EP Donkey Punch the Night (2013).
In 2003, Maynard James Keenan married Jennifer Brena Ferguson. The couple had a son, Devo. Keenan started training his son in the guitar from an early age, as he wanted him to become a musician.
Keenan and Ferguson later split. Devo grew up to sing backing vocals for the track Thirteenth Step by A Perfect Circle and was also the cellist on Ashes Divide's track Keep Telling Myself It's Alright.
In June 2010, it was reported that Keenan had proposed to his girlfriend, Lei Li, who also worked as a lab manager at his winery, Caduceus. Keenan married Lei Li in 2012. They have a daughter named Lei Li Agostina Maria (born on July 25, 2014).
Keenan is known to be reclusive and hates the hero-worshipping of celebrities. He is known for his outlandish stage make-up, including his blue body paint, wigs, and huge sunglasses. Interestingly, although he is seen in long blonde wigs on stage, he does not have much hair on his head.
In 2018, he was accused of raping a woman. The woman claimed on Twitter that Keenan had raped her following a concert featuring Nine Inch Nails, where Keenan had also performed.
While in the army, Maynard James Keenan had learned how to fight. After he quit the army, he wished to continue training in fighting. Thus, he joined a jiu-jitsu course and has been fighting as a hobby since the mid-1990s. He won a purple belt at 51 and, in November 2021, was promoted to brown belt.
Keenan is also a winemaker and is the owner of Nerkin Vineyard and Caduceus Cellars Winery in Arizona. He bought the wine company in 2009, along with his wife. Trying to find a solution to replace the use of egg whites and the fish bladder derivative named Isinglass that is used to filter wines, in 2016, he found an alternative and now produces a vegan and cruelty-free variety of wine.
He has appeared in the sketch comedy show Mr. Show. He has also been seen in the films Bikini Bandits (2002) and Crank: High Voltage (2009).
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