As lead singer Maynard James Keenan explains in commentary on aMOTION, his mother Judith Marie suffered a stroke in 1976 that left her partially paralyzed and wheelchair-bound. The length of time between her paralysis and her death was 27 years, or approximately 10,000 days.
10,000 days is also the amount of time it takes Saturn to revolve around the sun, Keenan noted in an interview with Loudwire. "That's the time in your twenty eighth, twenty ninth year when you are presented the opportunity to transform from whatever your hang-ups were before to let the light of knowledge and experience lighten your load, so to speak and let go of old patterns and embrace a new life. It's kind of the story of Noah, and the belly of the whale [Noah built the Ark; Jonah was swallowed by the whale]. You sink or swim at that point. And a lot of people don't make it. Hendrix didn't, Janis Joplin didn't, John Bonham. Kurt Cobain didn't quite make it past his Saturn Return. For me, starting to recognize those patterns, it was very important to start constructing songs that chronicled that process, hoping that my gift back would be to share that path and hope that I could help somebody get past that spot."
In retrospect, Keenan regrets pouring his private pain into the album. "I think probably the stupidest thing I could have done on 10,000 Days was put myself out there as much as I did with the tracks 'Wings for Marie (Part 1)' and '10,000 Days (Wings Part 2),'" he explained. "I'll never make that mistake again. It just took too much out of me – too much emotionally, mentally, physically – all those manifestations. Those songs were exploited and misconstrued, people were flippant and dismissive. I won't be doing that anymore. And technically, 'Wings' is very difficult to pull off. If any one of us is off, it falls apart and makes that thing tragic, and that's not a good song for me to have fall apart. It's just too personal."
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