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February 4th, 2010

Maynard James Keenan Turns Blood Into Wine


Next month, Puscifer — the semi-industrial groove-rock side project of Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan, known for its experimental, vaudeville-ish live shows — comes to the TLA for two shows on Monday, March 8th and Tuesday, March 9th.

But let’s talk about wine for sec. And let’s be real — around these parts, wine was long the domain of snobs and pussies (and to more than a few people, it still is). However, in recent years wine has made inroads with even the Coors Light guzzlers. It might have something to do with the far reach of the wine-championing Food Network into blue-collar land, or perhaps the recent trend of celebrities and other famous persons (including beloved former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Dick Vermeil) who’ve started their own lines of wine.

Which brings us back to Maynard James Keenan. About a decade ago, the singer got into winemaking and along with business partner Eric Glomski established Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards near Sedona, Arizona, where he makes his home. In the years since, he’s crafted a series of affordable and — based on many expert reviews — high-quality wines that you can now get at Whole Foods (not in Pennsylvania, obviously) and from various other distributors. And naturally, his efforts have gotten the attention of, and even converted, at least a few people who normally wouldn’t consider sniffing a wine cork or getting involved in so-called “wine culture.”

Anyway, this whole story is explained in far more detail in a new documentary film called Blood Into Wine, which follows Keenan and Glomski’s journey into wine-world and also features live music and guest appearances from model/actress Milla Jovovich, comic Patton Oswalt, Mr. Show’s Bob Odenkirk, and Philly’s own Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (of Adult Swim’s Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!). The film hits some theaters around the country (alas, nowhere in Philly, at least not yet) on February 19th, and then it comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray on May 4th.

Meantime, if you’re going to check out Puscifer and you happen to run into Keenan afterward, be sure to ask him about his wines and not when Tool is making another album, or he’ll likely ignore you.

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