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Maynard James Keenan, center, turns 60 on April 17, comes to the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday, April 21, 2024 for the Sessanta Tour — the word is 60 in Spanish. He’ll perform with his bands A Perfect Circle, with who he’s seen here, and Puscifer, and also sit in with Primus, the third band on the bill. (Photo by Paul Harries)
Maynard James Keenan, center, turns 60 on April 17, comes to the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday, April 21, 2024 for the Sessanta Tour — the word is 60 in Spanish. He’ll perform with his bands A Perfect Circle, with who he’s seen here, and Puscifer, and also sit in with Primus, the third band on the bill. (Photo by Paul Harries)
Peter Larsen

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: 9/22/09 - blogger.mugs  - Photo by Leonard Ortiz, The Orange County Register - New mug shots of Orange County Register bloggers.
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When quirky rock star turned 50 in 2014, the singer threw a party at the Greek Theatre over two nights that featured two of his three different bands – A Perfect Circle and Puscifer – alongside the band Failure.

Ten years later, Keenan returns with Sessanta, a 60th birthday party at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on Saturday, April 20.

A Perfect Circle and Puscifer are back – Keenan’s third and biggest band Tool recently finished its own tour – and they’re bringing old friends Primus along. And this time, it’s going on the road, too.

  • Maynard James Keenan, right, turns 60 on April 17, comes...

    Maynard James Keenan, right, turns 60 on April 17, comes to the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday, April 21, 2024 for the Sessanta Tour — the word is 60 in Spanish. He’ll perform with his bands Puscifer, with whom he’s seen here, and A Perfect Circle, and also sit in with Primus, the third band on the bill. (Photo by Travis Shinn)

  • Rock singer Maynard James Keenan is also a vintner in...

    Rock singer Maynard James Keenan is also a vintner in Arizona where he lives. Seen here, he’s at his Merkin Vineyards. Keenan, who turns 60 on April 17, comes to the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday, April 21, 2024 for the Sessanta Tour — the word is 60 in Spanish. He’ll perform with his bands A Perfect Circle and Puscifer, and also sit in with Primus, the third band on the bill. (Photo by Greg Bernstein)

  • Oddball rockers Primus will join singer Maynard James Keenan on...

    Oddball rockers Primus will join singer Maynard James Keenan on the Sessanta Tour. The word, Spanish for 60, refers to the fact that the tour is a celebration of Keenan’s 60th birthday on April 17, 2004. Keenan will perform with two of his bands, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer, with all the players, including Primus, filtering in and out of each’s others sets. (Photo courtesy of Primus)

  • Maynard James Keenan, center, turns 60 on April 17, comes...

    Maynard James Keenan, center, turns 60 on April 17, comes to the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday, April 21, 2024 for the Sessanta Tour — the word is 60 in Spanish. He’ll perform with his bands A Perfect Circle, with who he’s seen here, and Puscifer, and also sit in with Primus, the third band on the bill. (Photo by Paul Harries)

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The Sessanta Tour kicked off April 2 with the first of two shows in Boston. After winding its way across the country, it reaches San Diego on Thursday, April 18, swings by the Hollywood Bowl on April 20, and then heads north to the Greek Theatre in Berkeley on Sunday, April 21.

As with the the Cinquanta shows in Los Angeles a decade ago, the Sessanta shows will mix and match bands and performers throughout the night. One band might kick off the show and be joined by members of another after a song or two. Each band will get its own spotlight on stage, but players will come and go.

Or maybe just sit in lawn chairs drinking red wine as they did at the 2014 shows.

We caught up with Keenan by phone at his home in Arizona, where he was overseeing work on the wineries and restaurants he owns and operates there. In an interview edited for length and clarity, he talked about the plan for the Bowl show, how different songs find their way to his various bands, and – especially – why you should never be late to a Maynard James Keenan show.

Q: After Cinquanta at the Greek Theatre, was it always in your mind that you would do another one of these 10 years later?

A: Well, you know, as we were approaching it, I had considered doing something similar even not related to the birthday. But COVID and new albums and touring kind of threw a wrench in it. So it made sense to save it for the 60th.

Q: This time it’s bigger, too. More of a mini tour, I guess.

A: We’re gonna be hitting places all over the state. Wish we could get to more. Time doesn’t allow.

Q: Tell me a little how you’ve got it planned out this time.

A: It’s three bands and we’re gonna be all sharing the stage. So A Perfect Circle will do a few songs, and then Puscifer will do a few songs, and Primus will do a few songs. And just keep rotating like that. Some of us will guest appear on other bands’ songs.

We’ll probably have some special guests, especially at the Hollywood Bowl because, you know, it is L.A. and a lot of our friends live there. That’s pretty much the agenda. It’s just a rotation and shared guest spots. And we have a few new songs that we’re playing. So it’s also that.

Q: At the Greek, performers sat on stage and watched the others perform. Drank wine and then would come up and sing. Will this be like that was?

A: I wouldn’t want to spoil anything. We’ve figured it out logistically, so it’ll be kind of what it was before, but with a few twists.

Q: I’m curious how complicated, or uncomplicated, to manage all the comings and goings.

A: We try to make sure we plan enough to where if there’s any kind of improv or some kind of last-minute decision, as long as we have 95% of it mapped out for how it’s going to go, then part that last 5% can be the flexible part.

Q: What made Primus the right choice for a third group to have in these shows?

A: I think just the relationship I’ve developed with Les Claypool and Ler [Larry “Ler” LaLonde] over the years. And my old relationship, that’s already been established, with Tim [“Herb” Alexander]. Tim’s played on Puscifer songs, he’s played on Perfect Circle songs, so it just kind of made sense to have him, have them come out.

Q: So what is it like for you to move through the different songs you’ve created over the years with Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Puscifer?

A: Well, there’s a map associated with each song and you snap right into the map. It’s already been established. So that’s easy. Conversations are just like you talking to your old high school buddies, your work buddies or your family. You’re going to have different conversations with each one of them.

Q: How do you know if a song is for Tool, A Perfect Circle, or Puscifer?

A: Generally speaking, the music is written first and I’m reacting to the music. I’ve been writing a lot more. Early on. I wrote a lot with A Perfect Circle. And then recently I’ve been writing more with Puscifer. So by handing it off and just having Billy [Howerdel) create things for Perfect Circle and having Mat [Mitchell] present things for Puscifer, the seed starts with them, and then I’m reacting to what I’m hearing, as always.

Q: Do each of the three bands satisfy a different interest that you have in music?

A: I have no idea.

Q: Since A Perfect Circle  have not toured as recently as Puscifer or Tool, what will it be like to be back with Billy and the other folks who are going to be part of it this time?

A: Do you find that when you go home for, say, a family reunion or a holiday that you kind of seamlessly fall back into your old habits a little bit – and maybe your accent from wherever you’re from kind of comes back out?

Q: Yep, yep.

A: Same.

Q: Let me ask you about your wineries. I know it’s grown a lot in recent years. Tell me what it’s like over there now.

A: We have about 110 acres under vine in Arizona. We have Caduceus Cellars up in Jerome, but I have several winery locations, because we have not just Caduceus but we have Merkin and we have Four Eight Wineworks and my Queen B sparkling wines.

So it’s quite the expanse. We have a trattoria up in Cottonwood with the winery right next to it surrounded by five acres of vines, and we just opened a fried chicken place because the mead we made was pretty delicious. I was trying to figure out how to present the mead in a way that made sense and had a fried chicken recipe, so we kind of melded the two and it’s going really well.

Q: For you, working in this non-musical wine world, what’s the satisfaction you get from it?

A: It’s puzzles. It’s all creative solutions to challenges and hurdles. It’s all puzzles.

Q: Will we see you in a decade for the Setenta Tour?

A: Hopefully. The biggest thing you want to make sure you drive home in your article is to show up on time, because the show starts when the show starts. There is no opener. If you want to catch the first song, it’s not who you’d expect it to be. So show up on time, be in your seat ready to go, because it will not be a normal show.

Q: So you will start close to 7:30 p.m., the time on the ticket?

A: I’m former military. We start on time.

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