“Winemaking is the long game,” Tool, Puscifer and A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan says. “You have to pay attention and understand that there’s a big picture attached to it.
“It’s not immediate and you can’t be greedy when it comes to winemaking. It absolutely is about being present, being conscious, being aware and being patient.”
Winemaking is a passion Maynard has explored over the past decade, along with writing his autobiography, acting and of course his music making.
His “long game” philosophy and “patient” approach to his various pursuits can possibly be traced back to the first time he heard the song that would spark his musical mind in a big way.
Maynard tells the story of watching Fast Times At Ridgemont High as a kid and hearing Mike Damone deliver his Five Point Plan for a successful date to a lesser experienced friend.
The fifth point? ‘The most important. When it comes down to making out, whenever possible put on Side One of Led Zeppelin IV.’
For the next eight years, Maynard kept buying Zeppelin’s IV, looking for the song he’d heard in the movie. It wasn’t until he crossed paths with visual artist Ramiro Rodriguez, a big Zeppelin fan, who had a vast collection of cassettes, bootlegs and vinyl that he was able to clear up some of his confusion over the song.
He asked about that movie scene and Rodriguez laughed.
“That’s not Zeppelin IV,” he said. “It’s from Physical Graffiti!”
With his Zeppelin-aficionado roommate’s knowledge, Maynard thought he’d taken his next step toward finally hearing ‘Kashmir’ again, but it wasn’t to be. Ramiro told him every copy he’d ever owned of Physical Graffiti had been destroyed by wayward cats or sun damage, been stolen or destroyed by the player it was in.
“It was the one song he did not have in his possession,” Maynard remembers.
A month later, Ramiro turned up with his brother’s copy of Physical Graffiti. Maynard finally got to satisfy his urge to hear the elusive song and did so multiple times before he and his friends went out for a short while.
When they came back, they found the door to their room kicked in. They’d been thoroughly fleeced. Thieves had stolen their TV and equipment like Maynard’s four track recorder, music pedals, microphones and the stereo, which had the recently acquired copy of Physical Graffiti on the turntable.
It’s fairly understandable that Maynard feels he has an ill-fated relationship with this album and ‘Kashmir’, but he knows how he’s long felt about this song and its very unique qualities.
“It’s more than the sum of its parts,” he says. “There’s this thing that happened that, for most artists, only happens once in their lifetime. The layers of tempos, grooves and moods, the words, the sounds, it feels like a setting. Like a great wine that expresses a place, and, whatever place you’re in, that wine or that song sounds different, gives a different mood. In a way, it changes with you.”
Hear Maynard’s thoughts on ‘Kashmir’ and other key influences like Pink Floyd and PJ Harvey on Don’t Look Back.