Thursday, September 9, 2010
[artistdirect.com] If there's one thing that Blood Into Wine proves, it's that Maynard James Keenan is no slouch.
In fact, Keenan may have very well replaced James Brown as the hardest working man in show business. Blood Into Wine shows Keenan up-close-and-personal as he and his winemaking cohort Eric Glomski turn grapes to vino over an involved, intensive and intricate process in Northern Arizona.
The final product, "Caduceus," is the triumphant fruit of all this labor. Keenan unveils it at Silverlake Wine in a revealing, sharp and funny sequence in the middle of the film. Filmmakers Ryan Page and Christopher Pomerenke interview him everywhere — even the bathroom—making candid conversational vignettes that propel the documentary along at light speed. Ultimately, Blood Into Wine is as poignant and poetic as Keenan's lyrical prose with Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer.
The film's soundtrack, Sound Into Blood Into Wine, features some unforgettable and unique re-imaginings of Puscifer tracks that'll no doubt stay etched in listeners' psyches. The soundtrack's available now HERE and you can find out more about Blood Into Wine HERE. We're quite positive that James Brown wouldn't want you to miss either…
Maynard James Keenan sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about Blood Into Wine, Sound Into Blood Into Wine, collaborating with Milla Jovovich, the philosophy behind winemaking and how making wine isn't all that different from creating music in this exclusive interview.
Does Blood Into Wine exemplify the creative collective idea you've had with Puscifer? It brings the wine, the music and the visuals altogether.
Yeah, to be honest, I'm really thankful that they've included so much of the Puscifer stuff in the film. In this day and age, it's definitely a challenge for people to get their heads around what it is. Puscifer's not a band; it's a troupe. We don't have concerts; we have performances. For them to actually give us that much screen time, I was pretty gracious. Being completely independent, we're paying for everything. It's hard to get on the map—especially with the way that the old record industry has worked with its tail and backroom discussions amongst managers, lawyers and agents. We don't have those things.
Blood Into Wine has a maverick aesthetic reminiscent of '70s films with the way the music and film come together. Would you say that's the case?
Yeah, I think so. That's a pretty accurate description.
The music, the philosophy behind winemaking and the journey you embark on converge seamlessly in Blood Into Wine.
Not to get all Buddhist on you, but I think it's got that mentality where these things are not separate events. They're all integrated. When you see Brad Pitt or Kathy Bates doing something on screen, it's such a presented "thing" that you think it's one-dimensional and there are no others. You don't ever see them going to the bathroom [Laughs]. They're all integrated. There's more to it. Like you said, I think [the filmmakers] were accurate in connecting the whole life—everything going on around the situations—rather than just showing a slice of the story that you want to present.
Do you feel like making wine and making music follow a similar creative process?
Absolutely! There's a little outtake on the DVD where Eric talks about Sensualism. Although there have been some negative connotations attached to that Sensualist movement having to do with gluttony and over-indulgence, I think the essence of it is more about you as a conscious being and becoming more conscious as you grow by paying attention to your senses. It's an awakening to those things that you're experiencing in the world. I guess that's where "artist" comes in. As an artist, you're paying attention to patterns, noticing things, cataloging movements and recognizing them as a conscious being. Whatever it is—cuisine, painting, music, winemaking, architecture—there are all of these things that you should be paying attention to as a growing artist.
With complexity of the grapes going from seeds to wine, it mirrors the evolution of a mind given the abundance of intricacies.
I could see that.
It's an inspiring film because audiences very rarely have the opportunity to see how intense the winemaking process is.
It's been removed from our culture. Prohibition pretty much interrupted the whole appreciation. It's odd. That was such a huge move. Prohibition, The Great Depression, World War I and II, there's this thing that happened on our soil that removed a lot of that appreciation from the table for us, quite literally. Now, we're catching up with it. There are all of these celebrity chefs and cooking shows. More wine is being appreciated by people and not to the point of indulgence. You don't drive down the highway and see corkscrews and bottles along the side of the road; you see Budweiser cans. It's not like it's that kind of growth. There's an appreciation for art and a consciousness that's attached to it.
The film's not portraying the classic imagery of Dionysian excess. The artistry comes through with Blood Into Wine.
We're hoping! The more we can explain that to people, the more they can get on a path themselves and learn some things.
Well, it's done very cleverly. How important is a sense of humor to this film and the soundtrack?
I think you can't really have one without the other. It's very Shakespearean. You have to have the comedy with the tragedy. There has to be the friction with the release. It all has to be present, or it's out of balance. To tell some of these intense stories and see some of these struggles, if you can't tell a joke along the way, it just sounds like a brooding, self-involved documentary. In that case, it might as well be a PBS special.
On Sound Into Blood Into Wine, "Sour Grapes Legend" is truly hilarious.
That's Puscifer. It's funny, on this soundtrack, people have complained that a bunch of the songs are previously released tracks. At the same time, in the last year or so, I've had people come up to me about those very same tracks and go, "That song's awesome! Why didn't you release it on the first album?" I'm like, "It is on the first album. You didn't listen." [Laughs] Also, I can't really sell an album called V Is for Vagina in my tasting room, to be honest. My own sense of humor came back to bite me in the ass on that one. For people who haven't really discovered Puscifer yet, it's a perfect little segue into the dark sense of humor to get into that. A live Puscifer show is a performance. We're a troupe. We're not a band. That night, "The Legend of the Mix," is a whole country set that Puscifer does. There's a whole story that goes with it and all of this video that accompanies it. It's something different.
These songs feel like they were always open to evolution from their first release on V Is for Vagina.
It's definitely going to be an evolving project. Most likely, the next thing you'll see from it is a DVD. We're going to probably work on it next year. It'll be Puscifer Season 1 — Episodes 1-10 or 1-12. It's a show. Some of the shows segue into the others. I guess it has more in common with Adult Swim or Saturday Night Live than it does with Led Zeppelin.
READ THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE!!
Posted by Dan Goldin at 3:49 AM