TOOL’s MAYNARD: Why I Can’t Write Any Lyrics Without Having The Song’s Full Instrumental

Maynard James Keenan discussed his approach to writing lyrics – in which he requires to be presented with the song’s full instrumental parts – telling Joe Rogan (as transcribed by

“What I’m writing to is the music that I’m hearing from those people. I write to the music.

“That way is a unique ‘island’ situation. Whenever I tried to write, I had some poetry that I wanted to write and I tried to force it onto a song.

“For any of those projects [Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer] – it doesn’t work.

“It doesn’t seem to fit.

“I need to hear the finished thing, almost finished thing, and then put lyrics to it. Get the melodies in the place, get the rhythm as if I’m an instrument.”

Maynard was also asked whether fan expectations have become a problem for him, to which he replied:

“I’m sure that that [type of complaining] was around 15-20 years ago, but without social media, and without that direct access of bitching.

“Like the star reviews on iTunes, where people are writing reviews of shows, or music, or movies, or whatever…

“It’s like, again, go to a master, learn from the master, to the point where you know you have mastership, all that is gone. You just like, *imitates dumb voice* ‘It f*cking sucks, it took forever to load, I don’t like the guy with that hair, f*ck this one, one star!'”