A Perfect Union Of Contrary Things - Sarah Jensen & Maynard James Keenan review

Tool’s enigmatic frontman only partially revealed – of course

A Perfect Union Of Contrary Things cover art

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Maynard James Keenan is a mysterious fountain of constant creation,” says visionary artist Alex Grey, the man responsible for the trippy work which adorns Tool’s most recent album covers. The keyword here is ‘mysterious’, for the singing vintner is something of an enigma wrapped in a conundrum, then thrown into a darkened, smoky room.

Written in collaboration with his friend Sarah Jensen, A Perfect Union Of Contrary Things is not your usual rock star memoir. It side-steps the well-worn clichés concerning hotel destruction and sexual encounters with willing fans, but rather focuses on pivotal events from his childhood in Ohio to rock stardom, sweeping away all those internet half truths which were taken as fact for many years (have a Google, see what delights you can find). During its 272 pages, you’ll discover why he joined the military, learn about his fascination as a bird twitcher – and his penchant for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu too. There’s discussion about his winemaking (the marvellously named Merkin vineyard), of course, and while the book traces his the myriad strands of his musical career, Tool fans may be left wanting for more of an deeper inside look at America’s most complex band. But then, he’s not going to give everything away, is he? Highly recommended.

Simon Young

Born in 1976 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Simon Young has been a music journalist for over twenty years. His fanzine, Hit A Guy With Glasses, enjoyed a one-issue run before he secured a job at Kerrang! in 1999. His writing has also appeared in Classic RockMetal HammerProg, and Planet Rock. His first book, So Much For The 30 Year Plan: Therapy? — The Authorised Biography is available via Jawbone Press.