These Are The “End of Days” MJK’s column from Phoenixnewtimes

Maynard James Keenan: These Are The “End of Days”
By Maynard James Keenan
Published Mon., Sep. 10 2012 at 4:00 AM

I suppose a quick introduction is in order. My name is Maynard James Keenan and I am currently a Verde Valley winemaker in beautiful Northern Arizona in my Small Domestic Farm Winery known as Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards. I’m also co-owner and founder of Arizona Stronghold Vineyards. My current and former life also includes the international recording acts and multimedia projects known as Puscifer, A Perfect Circle, and Tool.
For some reason I’ve been asked if I would take up space in the New Times with my Zippy the Pinhead-esque blitherings and meanderings. Not sure why they would ask me of all people, but my wife said I should do it. So as a good spouse does, I said yes dear, in that cadence, and without punctuation or quotations. So we begin.

The inherent problem with being a Chicken Little-type person is that if or when the sky ever falls, I’ll be too flattened to snip “See? I told ya so!” And although I live near Sedona, I possess no crystal ball, and any Tarot cards I may have owned have certainly all been shredded in the spokes of my long retired banana seat Huffy.

And yet, these last few years, I’m seeing some truth to all these Earth Changes stories my hippie neighbors keep interpretive dancing about. It’s only the first week of September and we’ve already harvested 80-85 percent of the 2012 vintage. That’s 111 tons of a possible 130-140 tons. Historically, my first red to be picked was the Merkin West, Judith’s Block Cabernet Sauvignon. Usually between the 8th and 12th of September, but last week I barreled down this finished wine. Done. Picked, processed, fermented, pressed, settled, barreled. That’s pushing roughly 3.5 weeks ahead of schedule. Truth be told, we have several sites that appear to be only slightly ahead of schedule and much more aligned with previous vintages. But they’re still a tiny bit ahead of schedule overall. So screaming, “I told you so!” might be a bit premature without a bit more due diligence.

My copy of the Mayan Calendar appears to have expired, so it is currently of no use to me. I got on the Bunker bat phone to Tim White at Arizona Stronghold and Todd Bostock at Dos Cabezas Wineworks to see if they were witnessing a similar trend. Turns out they are. Todd is 84 tons in. Tim is 200 tons in. Confirmed. All ahead of schedule. All of that painstaking groundwork resulted in a significant drop in my overall energy level and pleasant demeanor. I did the only logical thing a high performance mental athlete such as myself would do. I reached in the freezer for a Buster Bar. None. Surely this is yet another sign.

There’s an old saying I like to mumble under my breathe during psyche evaluations. “Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean I’m not being followed.” Conclusion: Based on my clearly tireless and thorough research stretched over tens of minutes, I have come to the following daunting conclusion and well thought out suggestion. These are in fact the “End Of Days” and people need to know about it As Soon As Possible! Obviously the only rational thing to do is to clear out all of your bank accounts and send me a cashier’s check for the full amount. These funds will assist in further delivering this message to the rest of the world. There isn’t enough time to sell all of your possessions. So along with that cashiers check, I’m gonna need to you to go ahead and send along a detailed list of all your assets, toys, deeds, to any real estate, patents pending, etc. Please include high resolution photos. I can’t be bothered to Google image each and every one of them. Not enough time.

Chicken Little out.

Follow Maynard James Keenan on Twitter: @caduceuscellars, @mjkeenan, @puscifer. Read his column every second and fourth Monday of the month on Up on the Sun.

Intended Zing: Maynard James Keenan Would Like You To Stop Effin’ Around

Intended Zing: Maynard James Keenan Would Like You To Stop Effin’ Around
By Maynard James Keenan
Published Wed., Dec. 5 2012 at 3:00 AM

I base my life and my movements throughout it on quite a few assumptions. These may or may not be accurate, factual, or even realistic. And until they actually prove themselves to be inaccurate, I follow them without question. (Insert silly comment about assuming here.)
Today’s rant is centered on one of my previous assumptions regarding one’s chosen path.
As children, we do things. Sometimes, the things we do are met with accolades from the
surrounding huge people. And in chasing more of these overly animated approvals, we begin the long process of repeating and honing the actions praised.

The assumption is that these early spark sparks drive us toward a particular path. And that as our years click on, we either consciously or unconsciously find our way toward a career based on these little successes.

Whether we’ve come by these accolades through predisposed natural talent or by blood,
sweat, and tears is of no consequence. The assumption is that we’ve continued on the
path because of the balance between praise and passion, and that we strive each day to
do better at our chosen task. I used to believe this. I was wrong. Apparently,
this perspective applies only to a handful of people.

It came up the other day while speaking with Sarah, with whom I’m working on my semi-autobiography. She was tasked with covering the new Puscifer EP announcement
for my hometown newspaper. She’d been browsing through some press clippings from
recent years, and after the business end of our conversation, she commented on how
forthcoming I was during her interview. She said it stood in direct contrast to some
— but not all — of my tight-lipped discourse she’d found online. Her guess was that the journalists in question lacked enthusiasm.

Her understatement was correct. This is not the case with all journalists I’ve encountered,
but unfortunately, it’s the norm. The awesome writers strike up a conversation
and my publicist has to cut us off ‘cuz we’re having too much fun. We call these people
journalists. The lazy ones have a list of questions to which they’ve already anticipated the answers, so they don’t bother listening to my responses. We call these people never again.

There seems to be an epidemic raging out there. A whole lot of people are calling
themselves professionals who really have no business doing so. I’m blessed. I’m surrounded by knowledgeable, experienced craftsmen. Tasting room staff, plumbers,
masons, electricians, journalists, engineers, programmers, etc. But they are the exception, as far as I can tell. The norm is to accept mediocrity. For these extras on the set, it’s almost as if their praise and subsequent path came from their whining rather than doing.

Their skill is squeaking and moaning in order to get their way. Which is fine with
me. It makes for easier targets. When the world goes sideways, these same helpless
and starving extras, also known as “Zombies,” will instinctively stumble their way
past San Bernardino and across the desert toward the hoarders and doers, also known
as farmers. Plenty of headshots to be taken during the harvest down time. We call this
pre-apocalypse practice.

A suggestion (and again, this is just one man’s opinion): If you’re going to take money
for doing something, try and effing learn how to do it well. Otherwise, quit effing wasting
all our effing time. Otherwise, I’ll see you in the crosshairs, you squeaky eff.

(Out of respect for this publication and its investors, I have used the socially acceptable
term “effing” in the above paragraph in place of that wonderfully trailer-trash term we fear
so much. We, the Sybil-equivalent authors, highly suggest you go back and read the
paragraph aloud with the proper verbiage in place. It will give the piece the intended oomph, zing, and rage it is currently missing and desperately deserves.)

Chicken Little out.