Inspiration Through Music: Maynard James Keenan

At the end of last week’s Inspiration Through Music, I said that Maynard James Keenan was the musician that I had been waiting to do all year. The reason is that I find his songs so deeply inspiring. I’ve used several of his songs as inspirations for my Monstrum Chronicles series and other songs of his for my various mysteries, thrillers, and other dark fiction. There is a rawness and a depth to Keenan’s voice that really makes it easy for me to imagine my characters fighting their inner darkness’s. In the same way, I can also get into the heads of my antagonist’s better because I can empathize with them more. And the lyrics? They are some of the most fitting I’ve ever seen, holding descriptions of things that I’ve always found it hard to find words for.

Maynard James Keenan is an American rock singer who has formed and been a part of influential bands such as Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Puscifer. I first heard A Perfect Circle back in high school with the album “Thirteen” and was immediately a fan. More recently, I re-found Puscifer (earlier this year) and fell in love again. The new album, “Conditions of My Parole” was really quite spectacular and held a bevy of songs that I’ve now listened to many times over for inspiration. Today, I’ll be sharing 7 of Keenan’s songs with you and how they’ve inspired me.

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Shoot ’em up!

Hey all,

Yesterday I began work on chapter 23 of my sequel, “Aequitas: Book 2 of the Monstrum Chronicles.” As you may have already guessed, this chapter contains a gunfight. I intend to make this one of the bloodiest I’ve ever written. I got about 4 pages down and will likely not get it finished until some time this weekend, probably Sunday.

To prepare to write it, I found myself watching some of the best gunfights in films, ie: Heat, The Matrix, Leon… etc. All of those films have superb action scenes. I learned from each of them that the hero most often always enters the gunfight with a cool and level head. The enemy gets reckless and frustrated and it eventually leads to their demise. I’m okay with this certain scenario but I feel that it lacks a certain something. [EDIT: I didn’t mean that. What I meant was that they all have something that I lack. I’ve written other gunfight scenes and there isn’t anything unique about them. These are memorable because they do something that others don’t. I need to do something like that with my book.] It’s also different writing a gunfight between vampires than it is between humans.

Some of you know that I am heavily influenced by music when I write. I find the perfect song and listen to it. I shut my eyes and imagine everything happening to the beat of the song as if it were a film in my head. Last night, only one song fit the violence and anger that worked for this chapter. It was kind of strange because I’d only heard this version of it once before. It’s a very eerie song. Someone on the youtube channel commented that it was the soundtrack for their nightmare, and I have to agree. There is nothing more unsettling than the heavy drums and uneven rhythm that this song delivers, rife with all sorts of strange sound effects in the background.

Also makes excellent scary Halloween music.

Here’s the youtube video with the song, “Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums” by A Perfect Circle. Enjoy!

If there is a song that makes you think of a good shoot ’em up scene, feel free to share! I’m always interested in finding new music! Also, any shoot ’em up scenes in movies that you thought were memorable and want to share! Please comment!

Until next time, happy writing and good morning!