Ferris Magazine Feature: Maynard James Keenan, Renaissance Rocker

Maynard James Keenan — Renaissance RockerSinger Maynard James Keenan does not have your basic rock star’s typical biography.

Born James Herbert Keenan in Ohio, he moved to Michigan with his father and attended both Ravenna High School and Mason County Central High School. After a hitch with the United States Army, he enrolled at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University. With his Kendall education, he initially designed interior layouts for pet stores, first on the east coast and then in Los Angeles, where he also did set design before forming the hugely influential band Tool. In addition to fronting Tool, he is also lead singer for the super group A Perfect Circle, and in 2003 started his side project Puscifier.

And if that’s not enough, he is also a stand-up comedian, actor (most recently in the independent comedy “Queens of Country” with Lizzy Caplan and Ron Livingston) and winemaker. As the owner of Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars, he is the subject of the documentary film “Blood into Wine,” which chronicles the challenges he faces of making high-quality wine in northern Arizona. (During the summer months Caduceus Cellars’ website notes that “All orders will be held until approximately September 20th, when we anticipate the weather to have cooled enough to safely ship your wines.”)

After being on hiatus during 2008, Tool toured during the summer months the last two years, including headlining the 2009 Lollapolooza in Chicago. The band is reportedly writing material for a new album. Keenan also toured with A Perfect Circle last November at soldout venues in western states, including at the iconic Fillmore in San Francisco. This dizzying and wide-ranging schedule is all the more remarkable given that Keenan is reportedly one of rock’s more reclusive stars.

This story was originally published in the Spring 2011 issue of Ferris Magazine: http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/alumni/ferrismagazine/