The Tragic Childhood Of Maynard James Keenan That Inspired His Music


As every Maynard James Keenan fan would know, the musician always draws inspiration from a variety of aspects in his personal life without making it too obvious. Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Puscifer frontman loves planting hidden stories in his music for his fans to find once they take a closer look.

While it may be based on human relationships such as in ‘Schism,’ or a reversed subliminal message like in ‘Intension,’ Keenan always has an agenda behind his lyrics regardless of their purpose. Surprisingly, the rocker sometimes chooses to directly tell a story from his personal life, especially from his childhood.

Today we will take a closer look at Maynard James Keenan’s upbringing along with his relationship with his parents to find out how he was inspired by the tragedies to create a number of songs including, ‘Jimmy,’ ‘Wings for Marie,’ and ‘Judith’ with his bands over the years.

Maynard James Keenan Had A Tragic Childhood


Maynard James Keenan was born as James Herbert Keenan in Ravenna, Ohio, on April 17, 1964, the only child of Southern Baptists Judith Marie and Michael Loren Keenan. His parents divorced when Keenan was only four years old, and his father moved to Scottville, Michigan, which was the reason why Keenan only saw him about once a year for the next 12 years.

His mother Judith remarried another man which caused Keenan to grow up in an intolerant household where his creative expression and artistry would be stifled. While things weren’t already going pretty badly for the future rock star, Keenan’s mother suffered a paralyzing subarachnoid hemorrhage due to a ruptured cerebral aneurysm in 1976 when he was only 11 years old.

A few years after the diagnosis, Judith persuaded Keenan to live with his father in Scottville which was one of the best decisions he made in his life if you ask the musician. From that on, the rocker blossomed in his personal life as he directed his own life however he liked from joining the United States Army to singing in the glee club.

His years with an oppressive stepfather as well as having her mother paralyzed later serve as the inspiration for a number of songs in Keenan’s career. Tool’s ‘Jimmy‘ and ‘Wings for Marie,’ as well as A Perfect Circle’s ‘Judith‘ were inspired by his mother’s condition. Unfortunately, some fans believe that Tool’s disturbing song, ‘Prison Sex‘ was also inspired by the horrible incidents he lived with his stepfather including being sexually abused.

You can listen to ‘Jimmy,’ ‘Wings for Marie,’ and ‘Judith’ below.