In the early 1990s, both bands were launching in the LA area. Rage Against The Machine released their debut album in 1992, and Tool followed suit with Undertow just a year after, but it could’ve been a very different story.
Now, in an interview with Rolling Stone, Keenan reveals that it could’ve been a very different story, because he could’ve ended up as the frontman of Rage.
After Tom Morello’s former band Lock Up disbanded, Keenan was apparently rehearsing with Morello, Timmy Commerford and potentially Brad Wilk (he can’t remember). Of course, these guys all went on to form Rage Against The Machine with Zack De La Rocha, but Keenan didn’t join.
“I think just the vibe of where they wanted to go … I guess I had a little bit of that Green Jellö thing going on in me still, so I was looking for almost a Puscifer approach to music at that point,” he says, explaining why he didn’t stick with them.
“They were looking for a more serious approach, so I think that was pretty much immediate. If there was a consideration for that at all, it was very brief, but it was all at the same time.”
Tool have had a little bit more of a smooth ride than Rage Against The Machine. They’ve taken hiatuses, but they’ve managed to release four albums without breaking up.
Rage, on the other hand, haven’t played shows since 2011, and haven’t released an album since 2000. They’re currently performing (without De La Rocha) with Public Enemy’s Chuck D and DJ Lord, plus B-Real of Cyprus Hill as Prophets Of Rage.
Tool, on the other hand, are prepping the release of their fifth record, which will be their first in over a decade. Unfortunately, Keenan gave Rolling Stone no update on when to expect new material, but you can listen to him providing some vocals on the Rage track Know Your Enemy, below.
Listen: Rage Against The Machine – ‘Know Your Enemy’ (Feat. Maynard James Keenan)