Tool’s Maynard James Keenan reveals ‘ugly’ battle with coronavirus. ‘It’s real’, he tells ‘ridiculous’ sceptics

Tool press shot
(Image credit: Travis Shinn)

Though he kept the news to himself at the time, Tool/Puscifer/A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan has revealed that he contracted coronavirus in February, and is still battling with “the residual effects” of the illness some eight months on.

“It was ugly. I survived it, but it wasn’t pretty,” Keenan says in a new interview with the AZ Central website. The singer says that he went through “some major medications” to recover from coronavirus, and reveals that he “lost a few family members” the illness, which “several” friends contracted too.

“I kind of didn’t want to run around screaming it,” he admits. “But it’s real. And there’s after-effects. I had to go through some major medications to undo the residual effects. Still coughing. There’s still lung damage.”

Asked if he is feeling “all right now”, the singer admits, “Well, no.”

“I still have the cough. Every other day, I have these coughing fits because my lungs are still damaged at the tips. And I just got over the inflammation that was going on with my wrist and hands. I had an autoimmune attack on my system in the form of, like, a rheumatoid arthritis. Basically, from what I understand, it attacks weird spots and it’s random. So that’s what I got.”

Keenan also offered some strong thoughts for the “ridiculous” sceptics and contrarians who believe that wearing a face mask during a global pandemic is an affront to their civil liberties.

“It’s just an absurdity,” he says. “We wear seatbelts. We don’t smoke in trains, planes or taxis anymore, or even restaurants. There’s reasons for those things. I feel like there’s this twist on the idea of personal freedom where somehow freedom is you being able to walk into anybody’s house and take a dump on their meal or shout ugly things at their grandma. That’s not what freedom is. Freedom is the ability to pursue your lifestyle, pursue what you want to do for your family, for your future, what education you want to get. And with that freedom comes a responsibility to look out for yourself, for your neighbor, for your family, for everybody. So there are some compromises that come along with freedom. I'm not sure why that's so difficult to grasp.”

Puscifer’s Existential Reckoning album is out October 30 via Alchemy Recordings/Puscifer Entertainment/BMG. It’s available to pre-order now. 

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.