‘LET IT HAPPEN’
“I don’t know if I could describe (Puscifer) if I wanted to. I’m in the middle of it,” says Keenan of the group ambitious mix. ‘We’re just making music, coming up with various artistic pieces. Its just an artistic process across the board.”
For Keenan, whose “Mr. Show” appearance was the first in a long string of comedy and acting gigs that also includes the films “Bikini Bandits” and “Crank: High Voltage,” it took almost a dozen years for Puscifer to evolve from a lark to an actual band. After contributing tracks to the soundtracks of films such as “Saw II” and “Underworld: Evolution,” the group properly debuted in 2007 and from the get-go proved hard to categorize, throwing elements of industrial metal, alt rock, psychobilly, cabaret, even gospel into its mix. Indeed, in an early interview the frontman called Puscifer “my catchall, stream of consciousness, anything goes, etc. project,” a quote that has become an ethos over the group’s three full-length albums, four remix albums, two live albums, and three EPS, an output that ranks Puscifer as the most prolific among Keenan’s many projects.
Part of the eclecticism of Puscifer lies in the revolving door of collaborators Keenan has employed over the years, a roster that includes actress/singer Milla Jovovich, violinist/songwriter Lisa Germano, and Primus drummer Tim Alexander, among many others. For many years, Keenan seemed Puscifer’s only constant, leading many to label the group a glorified solo project. But the man himself says that the key to the band’s third full-length studio album “Money Shot,” released in October, is a growing group dynamic among a tight knit group he has assembled in recent years, including producer Mat Mitchell and British vocalist Carina Round, who share most of the songwriting credits on “Money Shot” with Keenan.
“We had a lot of collaborations on the last couple of records, but this one definitely there’s some obvious stuff,” says Keenan, pointing most obviously to the layered harmony vocals that are the calling card of the record.
Appropriately, Round joins Keenan on the current tour, which also includes Mitchell on guitar, drummer Jeff Friedl, keyboardist Masha Zargaran, and ex-ministry bassist Paul Barker. (And Keenan, as depicted in the 2010 documentary “Blood Into Wine,” is very hands-on with his winery operation, Puscifer tours tend to be based around the grape-growing calendar.) Beyond the personnel, Keenan is mum on details about the show, going so far to enforce a-no-photos policy in concerts and requesting a social media blackout from fans.
The few details that have leaked out in reviews, however, point to an expectedly, colorfully theatrical production. Where past Puscifer tours have revolved around a cabaret or trailer park theme, the “Money Shot” tour riffs on the imagery of wrestling, with a lucha libre act, Luchafer, opening most shows and the band itself playing in a wrestling ring.
“Expect the unexpected. Just come with an open mind and strap in for the ride,” says Keenan, refusing to elaborate on what attendees of its current tour can expect to see on stage. “I think its best to just kind of let it happen. Some of my favorite films are ones that I had no idea what they were. I just walk in, sit down, and let it happen. I guess just trust. Trust us. Take a chance.”