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Tool's Maynard James Keenan addresses his "feud" with Justin Bieber, says he's "probably a good kid"

Photo: Justin Bieber (Ricky Vigil/Getty Images); Maynard James Keenan (Martin Philbey

When Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan heard that pop star Justin Bieber was a fan, he responded on social media with a curt “#bummer.” It’s easy to read that as shade, which is exactly how Bieber’s wife, Hailey, took it. “You must be unhappy with yourself that you want to make people feel small who express their admiration for you,” she wrote on Twitter. “Very childish and hurtful thing to do. I hope u find security within yourself. Sad place to be.”

In a new Beats 1 interview with Zane Lowe, Keenan dug into how there was more loaded into that #bummer than you might expect. “[W]hen I make a statement like ‘#bummer,’ it has nothing to do with him,” he said. “It has to do with—I know that the ocean of shit that’s going to follow because he couldn’t just be a quiet Tool fan, he had to say it out loud, and now I know the flood’s coming from the people that don’t get it, and the people that think they do, and they’re going to argue with each other. And it’s going to be stupid. And it doesn’t matter. And this poor kid’s caught right in the crosshairs, as he was, as he is.”

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What he seems to be acknowledging here is that someone occupying Bieber’s place in the cultural sphere publicly touting a band such as Tool is going to trigger the band’s (very) vocal fanbase, which will then trigger Bieber’s (very) vocal fanbase, resulting in lots of very, very dumb conversations about music and who’s allowed to like what. That conversation would’ve happened whether Keenan responded to it or not, though his resounding “#bummer” undoubtedly added some fuel to the fire.

After all, it’s not even like Keenan himself has a problem with Bieber. “He’s probably a good kid. It’s the crap that surrounds him,” he said. “He was never armed with the tools to handle it. And the people surrounding him are monsters... So he’s, God bless him, he’s a product of those things that we’ve spoken about numerous times on every project I’ve ever done.”

Keenan is echoing Bieber himself here, and one wonders if he saw the words the pop star posted to his social accounts the other night. In it, Bieber owned up to his alienating behavior over the past several years, and acknowledged that he was thrust into stardom before he learned the “fundamentals of responsibility” or how to manage his emotions.

Anyways, we hope the Bieber household is enjoying Fear Inoculum. They’d just be wise to keep that to themselves. 

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[via Consequence Of Sound]

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About the author

Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.