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Tool Frontman Says He Feels 'Solidarity' With Drag Queens After Violating Florida's Anti-Drag Laws

While he didn't intend to protest Florida's drag ban, the band's frontman Maynard James Keenan still called out the anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment sweeping the nation as a continuation of violence for political gain.

Maynard James Keenan
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Maynard James Keenan, the lead singer of the band Tool, made headlines when he appeared on stage wearing drag at an all-ages music festival in Daytona Beach, Florida.

The performance took place amidst controversy surrounding Florida's recently passed anti-drag law, signed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.

The law threatens to levy fines and revoke the licenses of venues allowing minors to witness "adult live performances." The law's sponsors classified drag as inherently sexual making it an "adult live performance."

The Welcome To Rockville festival seemed unfazed by the potential threat of legal action.

While multiple media outlets speculated Keenan's drag attire was a form of protest against the law, the singer clarified it was a personal choice entirely unrelated to politics.

Referring to the media coverage claiming he was commenting on the Florida law or DeSantis, Keenan told The Messenger:

"I’ve been cross-dressing since long before these clickbait-junkie dupes were out of diapers."

During Tool's set at the Welcome to Rockville festival on Sunday, Keenan took the stage wearing a blond wig, red smeared lipstick and prosthetic breasts in front of an all ages crowd which violated Florida's anti-drag law.

Keenan had worn prosthetic breasts while performing in the late 1990s and said he recently considered bringing the look back after browsing online for a new prosthetic.

The singer—known for his onstage costumes—said:

"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."

He added:

"It's amazing to me how every single thing you say or do is twisted and conformed into some fundamentalist far-right or far-left agenda."

Keenan has appeared on stage in riot-police gear, body paint, lucha libre-style wrestling attire and an outfit based on the Captain America costume.

Though maintaining he wasn’t making a political statement with his 90s throwback look, when asked directly about the drag bans, Keenan replied:

“I think limiting people’s access to anything is absurd.

The father of two added:

"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.”

But Keenan dismissed concerns over the legality of his performance.

"Nobody's enforcing it."
"They just do that and they throw it out there to shore up their base for an election year."

He noted it was a common tactic of oppressors.

"This is not new. I remember listening to my aunt tell me about all the sh*t that went on with her elders with human rights and the days of Martin Luther King Jr. That's not that long ago. That was yesterday to me."
"So this violence is not going away... It's still here. It's not like these laws are going to lead to some kind of new violence. The violence never left."

When asked by The Messenger if he's a drag artist, Keenan said:

"I guess so, yeah. On occasion, I am a drag queen; I've been a drag queen. I'm casual, so the hardcore people are going to dismiss me as being a tourist."

While adamant he wasn't making any political statements, Keenan did affirm his support for drag as an artform.

"Solidarity with people who are not afraid to express themselves? Absolutely."
"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."

The Tool singer concluded:

"If there's any takeaway, it's be yourself. Don't be afraid to be yourself."

Some conservatives were triggered by Keenan's attire regardless of his intent, sounding off on the festival's Twitter post.

But Tool's performance left others feeling nothing but love.

Others weren't surprised by his appearance at all given Keenan's typically unconventional performance style.

Despite technically violating Florida's anti-drag law at the all-ages festival, neither Keenan nor his team were contacted by Florida authorities.

The venue has as yet also not reported any legal complaints.