Given the friendships between the two bands, it’s of no surprise that Maynard James Keenan almost became the voice of Rage Against The Machine instead of Tool. Now, the former’s drummer has opened up about what it was like having the man with the golden tonsils in the group.
Back in October of 2016, Maynard James Keenan explained to Rolling Stone how he almost came to be the frontman for the ‘Killing In The Name’ rockers.
“Well, there wasn’t a Rage when I was working with Tom [Morello],” Keenan told Rolling Stone. “I think he was working with Timmy [Commerford], perhaps. I can’t remember if Brad was drumming or not.”
“This is very foggy at that time ’cause I didn’t know Brad yet, so you’d have to talk to Brad, find out if it was actually him. We actually were in a rehearsal space – this is after [Morello’s former band] Lock Up was dead and he was trying figuring out where he gonna go next.”
“I was looking for almost a Puscifer approach to music at that point. They were looking for a more serious approach, so I think that [breakup] was pretty much immediate.”
As it tuns out, it was indeed Brad Wilk that Maynard had been performing alongside, with the percussionist talking to the Let There Be Talk podcast (via Alternative Nation) about the Tool frontman’s time in the band.
“We were also playing with Maynard, Tom and I were jamming with Maynard at this time,” Brad Wilk explained. “[He] was fucking unbelievable. It was such a great time in music.
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“Cut to meeting Zack for the first time – he comes in, I think he had a beanie on. He comes from a total punk-rock background, but is also super into hip-hop. He was really branching off into hip hop, he wanted to do hip hop.”
“I just remember starting a song, starting to play a beat, and from the second I kicked in with the beat, the dude was richter, like jumping off my fucking drum set.”
“It’s just the four of us in a room, it’s real, and I was so excited to find somebody that had this feeling, and at that time even moreso, like his life depended on every fucking syllable that came out of his mouth,” he continued. “It was all off the top of his head, bouncing off the fucking ceilings. I just remember being completely blown away by that. That was the start of it, Zack knew Tim [Commerford].”
However, despite finding a perfect frontman by way of Zack De La Rocha, the rest of the band didn’t exactly have to break the news to Maynard that his services were no longer needed.
“Maynard was already playing with Tool as well. Maynard might have said, ‘I’m going to go do this thing with Tool…’,” Wilk continued.
“The four of us get together, I remember already feeling the stuff with Zack. I remember playing and feeling like, ‘Holy shit, whatever is happening here is a classic case of we are greater than the sum of our parts.'”
“Whatever was happening sonically, musically, everyone was in, like right from the start.”
While we did happen to learn that both Tool’s ‘Part Of Me’ and Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In The Name’ were written during the same session, we can’t help but wonder what life would’ve been like if Maynard James Keenan had indeed fronted Rage.