Maynard James Keenan is primarily known as the frontman of numerous successful bands such as Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Puscifer. Although he is an exceptional vocalist, Keenan doesn’t have many collaborations in his music career that spans over 35 years. However, he made an exception for Rage Against the Machine at the beginning of his music career.
Following the formation of Tool back in 1990, the band released an EP named ‘Opiate’ in March 1992, and they hit the road to support this release, touring with Fishbone and Rage Against the Machine. During this period, Maynard James Keenan got closer with RATM members, and they built a friendship. Apparently, their friendship could have turned into something more serious, but Keenan didn’t like the idea. Let’s take a look.
Maynard James Keenan Didn’t See A Future With RATM
Right after Tom Morello’s band Lock Up disbanded, the guitarist decided to form Rage Against the Machine. While looking for band members, Morello came across Maynard James Keenan, and the two rehearsed together.
During an interview with Rolling Stone back in 2016, the Tool singer explained how he nearly became Rage Against the Machine’s frontman. Although the rehearsal went great, the vocalist was looking for a band that has the essence of his future band, Puscifer, whereas RATM was looking for a more serious approach to music.
Because of these differences, Maynard James Keenan decided not to work with the band almost immediately. The decision was somewhat mutual, and Tom Morello was already impressed by Zack de la Rocha’s freestyle rapping and asked him to join his band.
During the interview, Keenan stated:
“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 Lock Up was dead and he was trying to figure 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.”
Lucky for their fans, the rocker collaborated with the band soon after that on a track that’s deeply loved by fans and gave a little taste of what RATM could be if he were to be the frontman of Rage Against the Machine.
Tool Frontman Later Collaborated With RATM
A few months after touring together, Maynard James Keenan collaborated on a track named ‘Know Your Enemy’ with Rage Against the Machine. The anti-authoritarian track was first released in November 1992. It featured Keenan’s vocals and Jane’s Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins’ percussion.
The track is now a fan favorite due to its bold lyrics that fit the band’s mood perfectly, and it remains the only collaboration between Maynard James Keenan and RATM. While the musicians remained friends and stayed in touch, they didn’t embark on a new project.
You can listen to ‘Know Your Enemy’ below.