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Maynard James Keenan doubts wisdom of joining army today

Tool
Changed times: Keenan, left, with Tool

Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan isn’t sure he’d recommend the army to anyone else – even though he got what he wanted out of his time in service.

He enlisted in 1981 soon after he left school, and left three years later despite having been offered a position at West Point Academy.

Asked whether he’d suggest the same career path to others, Keenan tells Rolling Stone: “That’s a tough one. When I joined the military I was pretty convinced all of that crap was over – I believed we’d found some kind of groove as far as world peace.

”We didn’t really have any major conflicts. We were going through a lot of growing pains as a nation. I don’t know that I would recommend active service right now.”

He says his interest was “that discipline, that connection, being absolutely vulnerable and having your life in the hands of your team-mates – the growth that occurs where you’re broken down and being built back up.”

Keenan adds: “The big pick-up we usually see when it comes to military is the entire globalisation – our invasion of other areas for our own interests.

“That’s not really what I embraced about the military. What I embraced is that warrior’s mindset. You’re competing against yourself and understanding that you have to be able to get into that mindset in certain situations. At the end of the day, you’re competing against yourself.”

An argument in favour of military service, from Keenan’s point of view, is the fact that it’s difficult to leave. “If you know you have a way out of something, you’re not really fully invested,” he says.

“So by joining the military, you’re stuck there for three to six years, depending on your involvement. You can’t get out, so you’re in.

“You can play Monopoly, but you can walk away from the table any time – it’s just a game. But if you’re in a situation where you can’t get out, you’ve chosen to be a part of it. That’s where you really find out what you’re made of.”

He reflects: “It might be good for some people.”

Tool are continuing work on the long-awaited follow up to 2006’s 10,000 Days. Bassist Justin Chancellor recently said the work was “cooking” and added: “Just trust me that it’s going to be awesome.”

Keenan’s biography A Perfect Union Of Contrary Things is published on December 6.

Tool's Maynard James Keenan in biography video teaser

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Oct 26: Denver Pepsi Center, CO
Oct 28: Little Rock Verizon Arena, AR
Oct 29: New Orleans Voodoo Festival, LA

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Martin Kielty

Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band (opens in new tab), a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories (opens in new tab) about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.