Publisher: Backbeat Books
Authors: Sarah Jensen, Maynard James Keenan
New York Times Bestseller A Perfect Union of Contrary Things is the authorized biography of musician and vintner Maynard James Keenan. Co-author Sarah Jensen's 30-year friendship with Keenan gives her unique insight into his history and career trajectory. The book traces Keenan's journey from his Midwest childhood to his years in the Army to his time in art school, from his stint at a Boston pet shop to his place in the international spotlight and his influence on contemporary music and regional winemaking. A comprehensive portrayal of a versatile and dedicated artist, A Perfect Union of Contrary Things pays homage to the people and places that shaped the man and his art.
Until now, Maynard's fans have had access to only an abridged version of his story. A Perfect Union of Contrary Things presents the outtakes, the scenes of disappointment and triumph, and the events that led him to take one step after the next, to change direction, to explore sometimes surprising opportunities. Included are sidebars in his own words, often humorous anecdotes that illuminate the narrative, as well as commentary by his family members, friends, instructors, and industry colleagues. The book also features a foreword by Alex Grey, an American visionary artist and longtime friend of Keenan. Accompanying the text are photos of Keenan from childhood to the present.
Maynard's story is a metaphor for the reader's own evolution and an encouragement to follow one's dreams, hold fast to individual integrity, and work ceaselessly to fulfill our creative potential.
Inventory #HL 00146489
“Keenan, the lead singer and songwriter for the Grammy-winning alternative metal group Tool, labels himself a 'world-class multitasker' in his e-mail signature, and first-time author Jensen details all of Keenan's various enterprises – leader of musical side projects A Perfect Circle and Puscifer; owner and winemaker of the Caduceus Cellars winery; aspiring actor and comedian – in this entertaining biography, which also serves as a glimpse into one of the more important and influential bands of the 1990s. Sure to please Tool's many fans, Jensen's look at Keenan's development as an individual and an artist is comprehensive, covering Keenan's Midwestern youth and his time serving in the Army (which supported his subsequent time in art school), his life in Boston working in a pet store, and his move to Los Angeles in the late 1980s, where, along with bands such as Rage Against the Machine, Tool helped redefine the sound of metal ('The primal scream was the key to making it sound sincere') and carefully developed a radical stage show. Jensen is excellent at describing how Keenan used 'a lyricist's talent for conflating the visual and the aural to create a provocative synesthesia.' And she gets Keenan to step out from behind his carefully crafted persona to look back on his life and career and admit that 'most of it was dumb luck and trust. You step over the edge into darkness. The bliss finds you.'” – Publishers Weekly
“Keenan, best known as the singer for the band Tool, is an artist in every sense of the word. Born in the Midwest, he was raised to work hard and loved to sketch and sing. He chose to enter the U.S. Army after high school so he could get money to pay for art school. Several years and a move to Los Angeles later, he met many musicians and, because of his friendship with Tom Morello, almost became the frontman for Rage Against the Machine. Instead, Keenan formed Tool and obtained a record deal after playing only seven live shows. The journey from abject poverty to rock star is not the only focus of this book, however, as Keenan's success as a vintner and comedian are also examined. His longtime friend Jensen writes a chronological and fascinating look into his life. Sidebars include longer quotes from the musician and provide further insight into specific events of his life. VERDICT: This book is for not only followers of Keenan's bands (Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer) but also fans of the 1990s music scene, Lollapalooza, artistic endeavors of all kinds, and those wanting to follow one's own path in life.” – Library Journal
“Casual fans will learn a lot about the rocker's life, and diehards will be interested in the writers and thinkers who influenced Keenan's intellectual development...You won't find any juicy gossip, but you'll find a better understanding of one of the modern titans of rock.” – Consequence of Soumd
“Member of Tool (as well as A Perfect Circle and Puscifer), winemaker, comedian, artist, soldier, former pet store epmloyee, martial artist, and much more is such the life for Maynard James Keenan. And really, who wouldn't want to read about that? Assisted by the author (and her 30 year friendship with the frontman), readers gain an insight of the real MJK as opposed to a persona. While following the life path and homage to the people and places that made the man, it's also (secretly) a lesson of life's full potential.” – Revolver
“[A Perfect Union of Contrary Things] is the story of creative souls striving in mercurial landscapes, artists who contend with multiple modes of expression, multiple day-jobs, and all while inhabiting a pop culture worthy of their scorn – not to mention a political climate more than a little foreboding. Seems familiar, doesn't it?” – Forbes.com
“As the leader of Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifier, Maynard James Keenan has fostered a huge global fanbase over the past two and a half decades. But the press-shy Keenan has rarely opened up about himself to the media. In turn, A Perfect Union is a surprising look into the one-of-a-kind frontman by author Sarah Jensen, who had full cooperation from Keenan himself.” – Downtown Magazine
“A Perfect Union of Contrary Things definitely isn't the typical music biography. At its heart, it's basically the story of a guy with remarkable focus who was willing to work his ass off in order to achieve his goals. In that respect, he's almost an Everyman sort of character who's much easier to relate to than I ever would have expected. The book humanizes him without resorting to salacious details, and that alone makes it well worth picking up.” – Indy Metal Shows
“Life is as much about the decisions we make as those we don't. The authorized biography of Tool lead singer-songwriter Maynard James Keenan (A Perfect Union of Contrary Things) is a story of hard work and good luck, passion and friendships, music and wine beautifully told by author Sarah Jensen. Even those with little knowledge of Tool or A Perfect Circle will want to read this volume cover to cover.” – Desert Star
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