TOOL’s Frontman Explains Why They Want You To Put Your Phone Away During Their Shows: “You’re Missing The Opportunity Of Actually Absorbing In Real-Time What’s Happening”

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In an era where smartphones are an extension of our hands, Tool‘s stance on fans filming their shows stands out. The band has a history of prohibiting phone use during their performances, even ejecting attendees for disobedience, but they do offer a reprieve by allowing fans to capture one song towards the end of the show.

Maynard James Keenan, Tool‘s frontman, recently sat down with Phoenix New Times to discuss his views on this contentious issue. He minced no words, expressing his belief that phones at concerts detract from the live experience for everyone present.

Keenan asserted: “You’re annoying the person behind you. They shouldn’t have to watch the show through your phone. It’s not going to look good. You’re just wasting your time.”

His argument centers on the value of living in the moment, an ethos he’s exemplified throughout his 60 years. He champions the idea of immersing oneself fully in the live performance, rather than attempting to capture it on a device.

“It’s rude. Not to us, I mean, I just did a whole photoshoot. I’m not afraid of cameras and I’m not afraid of phones. I’ve got mine right here. It’s a very useful tool,” Keenan stated.

He went on to emphasize that recording a concert on a phone fails to capture the essence of the live experience. Keenan believes it detracts from the art of storytelling and prevents concertgoers from truly absorbing and recounting what they witness.

“There’s no way you can actually capture what’s happening in that live moment on a phone. You’re missing the opportunity of actually absorbing in real time what’s happening. The art of storytelling. Being able to actually recount what you saw without having to record it. Training your brain to live in the moment and see the thing, but more importantly, stop annoying the person behind you. It’s annoying, it’s distracting and it’s distracting for us, too. So put it the fuck away, grow the fuck up. It’s only two hours. And at the end of the show, we usually let you film a song, so you get your souvenir.”

When asked if there have been instances where he chose not to allow filming, Keenan didn’t hold back: “Absolutely, if we have to throw out a dozen people because they’re being arrogant assholes, selfish pricks. You’re annoying the people around you. I know there’s all kinds of arguments, like, “Well, the removing all those people is annoying.” Uh-huh. It’s called consequences. This is what happens here. You do it in a theater, you do it at a play, you do it at an orchestral performance, you get removed. You don’t get to do it. Do it at an opera, you’re leaving. It’s rude. You’re here to experience a thing. You paid all that money to be here to witness what we do, not what you do.”

In essence, Keenan‘s message is clear: respect the experience, respect the artists, and most importantly, respect your fellow concertgoers.

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