Watch Maynard James Keenan totally slam it onstage with Rage Against The Machine

Tool and Rage Against The Machine

Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan's guest appearance on Rage Against The Machine's Know Your Enemy (from their legendary self-titled debut) surely ranks as one of the most exciting things to have happened in 90s alt-metal

When the initial collab happened in 1992 virtually nobody knew who either band was, but in a few short years both ranked among the best 90s metal had to offer. And it all came about because Rage Against The Machine couldn't find Perry Farrell.  

"Originally Perry was scheduled to sing on it, and we couldn’t find him on the day we were recording Know Your Enemy", guitarist Tom Morello explained to Artist Direct. "We called [Maynard] up like, 'hey, can you come down and rock this?' Of course, he did a spectacular job. He improvised what he did in the studio and it’s become a classic part of that song."

The bands have shared a stage a number of times over the years (including spots at Lollapalooza in 1992 and 1993), offering plenty of opportunities for Rage Against The Machine to bring Maynard up for a live rendition of Know Your Enemy. The results are... well, predictably odd, as per the video below, 

Shot during Rage Against The Machine's debut set at Coachella on October 10 1999, Maynard saunters on-stage as the band launch into an energetic rendition of Know Your Enemy. The band ricochet about like human pinballs, but Maynard stands at the back, utterly still to the point of near invisibility (Drax would be proud). 

Only when his part comes up, he steps forward and chimes in with those inimitable vocal melodies, before unleashing a lung-shredding scream that cements just how powerful Maynard James Keenan's voice is. 

A playful wrestle between Maynard and Rage vocalist Zach De La Rocha as he serves as a last reminder for just how close these two bands were - titans of early 90s metal and friends behind the scenes. We can only dream of a day where they decide to join forces live again...

Tool play the UK in May. Rage Against The Machine play Reading and Leeds Festivals in August.

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.