Tool’s Maynard James Keenan slams drag bans after appearing in drag at Florida concert

Maynard James Keenan performing with Tool at the Welcome to Rockville festival
Maynard James Keenan performing with Tool at the Welcome to Rockville festival Photo: Jacquelin Goldberg

Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan flouted Florida’s recently passed anti-drag law this weekend when he appeared onstage wearing drag at an all-ages concert in Daytona Beach.

Keenan, who is famous for wearing outlandish costumes during performances, reportedly took the stage for his band’s set at the Welcome to Rockville festival Sunday wearing a blond wig, smeared red lipstick, and prosthetic breasts.

Following the performance, some outlets speculated that Keenan may have intended to protest the Florida law, one of several signed by anti-LGBTQ+ governor Ron DeSantis (R) last week, which allows the state to revoke the business licenses of venues that allow minors to see “an adult live performance.” While the text of the law does not mention drag, a handout from the governor’s recent news conference stated that drag shows are considered adult live performances “without serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”

As the festival at Daytona International Speedway was an all-ages event, Keenan technically broke the law.

But the singer clarified that his stage attire had nothing to do with the Florida law.

“I’ve been cross-dressing since long before these clickbait-junkie dupes were out of diapers,” he told The Messenger. Keenan went on to explain that he was simply riffing on a look he wore onstage in the ’90s. “It’s pretty crazy the technology and the prosthetics nowadays, how they’ve come along, and I just was considering bringing the look back. And that’s really all there is to it. I’m not a political fella — had nothing to do with Florida.”

Still, the father of two made it clear that he opposes drag bans like the one in Florida. “I think limiting people’s access to anything is absurd,” he said. “Good parenting allows you to teach your kids how to be reasonable and reason and puzzle things out and decide for themselves what the f**k they wanna see or not wanna see.”

Asked whether he identifies with drag performers, Keenan said, “I guess so, yeah.”

“On occasion, I am a drag queen; I’ve been a drag queen,” he explained. “I’m casual, so the hardcore people are going to dismiss me as being a tourist.”

He also expressed “solidarity with people who are not afraid to express themselves.”

“People that want to express themselves in whatever f**king way they want to express themselves, as long as they’re not physically directly hurting someone? Yeah, go for it. I’m all for ya.”

He also noted that while he did technically break the state’s anti-drag law, neither he nor his team have been contacted by Florida authorities. “Nobody’s enforcing it,” Keenan said. “They just do that and they throw it out there to shore up their base for an election year.”

“If there’s any takeaway, it’s be yourself,” he added. “Don’t be afraid to be yourself.”

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