‘Western culture has lost the plot’, says Tool’s Maynard James Keenan

(Image credit: Press)

When Tool’s enigmatic frontman Maynard James Keenan speaks, he usually has something worthwhile to say. And talking to Kerrang! this week to promote his side band Puscifer’s forthcoming fourth studio album, Existential Reckoning, which deals with the idea of deepening divisions in society, Keenan wished to pass along an important message to humanity.

The album’s title is referenced in the first line of its opening track, Bread And Circus, with Keenan singing “Here we are in the middle of our existential reckoning…”

“It came from watching things progress over the years,” the vocalist says of the lyric, which is expanded upon throughout the album. “It’s us losing touch with things that I would consider as mattering. All this stuff happened before coronavirus. Western culture has lost the plot. I think there’s a way out, but we’ve got to remember how to talk to each other, and how to survive without destroying too much.”

“You have to choose to make this an inclusive better place for everyone. Is everyone with any power trying to drive wedges between us? Fuck yeah, every day! We have to make the choice, as individuals, to be better people – to do no harm, treat your neighbour as you would yourself – all those things that down through the ages have been chiselled into stone as a way we have to be. Right now, more than ever, this is our existential reckoning!”

Promotional material for Existential Reckoning, a concept album which catalogues events in the wake of the disappearance of a character named Billy D, comes with a spoof CIA-style press release making references to alien abduction, “traversable bridges between intuition and technology” and redacted sections. Frankly, we’re not entirely sure we understand it all. But in Maynard we trust…

Existential Reckoning is out October 30 via Alchemy Recordings/Puscifer Entertainment/BMG. It’s available to pre-order now.  You can hear the new single, The Underwhelming, now.

Puscifer Existential Reckoning tracklist:

1. Bread and Circus
2. Apocalyptical
3. The Underwhelming
4. Grey Area 5.1
5. Theorem
6. UPGrade
7. Bullet Train to Iowa
8. Personal Prometheus
9. A Singularity
10. Postulous
11. Fake Affront
12. Bedlamite


Louder is the ultimate resource for alternative music coverage and the home of iconic rock brands Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. With a combined reach of over five million followers across social media, we're the largest and most influential alternative music website in the world.