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A TOOL-Related Article

Publication: RayGun Magazine

Date: April 1994, Issue #15

Transcribed by jere (

 title: Tool Rules
author: Moon Unit Zappa

RAY GUN is really weird -lots of overlapping words, capital and lower 
case letters used interchangeably, etc. They even call Maynard "KM" 
instead of "MK" at one point. So I did my best to transcribe it into 
readable form. Enjoy. 

They're not Scientologists. They're not in any cult of any kind. They're 
headlining, for the first time, at a venue near you. With the release of 
the controversial "Prison Sex", the second video off of their 
platinum-any-minute album Undertow, this interviewer managed to bask in 
their humor, wisdom and tostadas pre-and-post earthquake in sunny 
Southern California. I love these guys.

MOON UNIT: So are you a person who keeps reading material in the 
bathroom? MAYNARD JAMES KEENAN (Vocalist): It's a decorative thing. No, I 
mean a lot of those things in there are books I have not really read. I'm 
not really one to sit on the john reading a lot, but I found now that 
it's a quiet time alone and I'm taking advantage of it by forcing myself 
to sit down and read for a while. The colors of the books...this is gonna 
sound dumb, the colors of the books that are in there did not seem to sit 
on that new bed very well, didn't seem to blend in with the way the color 
scheme of the bed was and their odd shapes...I sound gay as hell, huh? 
But they're good bathroom books, most of them, like The Portable 
Crumudgeon for the quotes and Deeper Thoughts by Jack Handy, this kind of 
thing, and the Joseph Campbell big book. 
It's The Power of Myth transcripts that's really cool because you could 
just read the pieces of it...Zippy The Pinhead's always a good bathroom 

MK: I'm an opportunivore.
DANNY CAREY (Drums): Life's been very good for me since I quit my day 
Now that I don't have that annoying boss, like a gnat on a camping 
trip... PAUL D'AMOUR (Bass): All Indians and no chiefs. ADAM JONES 
(Guitar): -(not available for comment) 

MK: Granted, there's definitely a sense of humor that is sewn in. That's 
what people are kinda missing. I think a lot of times when people are 
listening to what we're doing, they see this really intense band, young, 
Tool, and they think of this big, heavy wrench phallic thing. It's like 
we're gonna cut through everything like a wedge, like a missile, like 
some kind of cockstrong rock band, but there's totally this sense of 
humor and the other side, the serious approach to the world around us. 
There's humor sewn in to all the songs. Everything, even if it comes down 
to something that a friend said that we thought was really funny and we 
completely write an entire verse surrounding this one statement that this 
person said, but then amongst this poetic dissertation, there's still 
that humor in there, but on the other side, there's also some real ugly 
things taken straight from nightmares in there, too.
Tool is exactly what it sounds like: It's a big dick. It's a wrench. It's 
also what it sounds like: It's a verb, it's a digging factor. It's an 
active process of searching, as in use us, we are a shovel, we are the 
match, we're the blotter of acid, your tool; use us as a catalyst in your 
process of finding out whatever it is you need to find out, or whatever 
it is you're trying to achieve.
PD: I think it's that ode to the "Kashmir" beat on "Sober." All the 
classic rock stations are grabbin' it, "That reminds me of my old days, 
man..." DC: The whole reason I started playing music, in general, I 
guess, was just to try to find some value in myself. Where I grew up and 
all that, it was kind of like a River's Edge type of thing. Everyone just 
smoked dope all the time. There was no emotional value in anything we 
did-it seriously was about that grim-people would die or whatever and you 
were just like, "You know, just burnout's." It's great for me to find 
something that has feeling or emotional value. That's my goal.
PD: You could have become a Christian, though, you know? DC: I doubt it.
PD: Yeah, I think that is where all of us came from in a weird way, like 
little white trash American towns. I came from Spokane, Washington, which 
is like the sound stage for America's Most Wanted. I swear to God, I 
watched that show like four times and every time there's been somebody 
found in Spokane...unreal.
I think we try to treat the studio as a separate thing. So many people 
are too busy trying to capture their live sound. We try to do something 
different for the record, so it makes it a little more interesting for 
the people that come to the show. If you wanna hear the record, stay home 
and listen to the record. Playing live is a lot more physical, just 
having that interaction with the crowd.
DC: Yeah, when you're doing one, you always want to be doing the other. 
DC: In the summer, you always wanna play in the snow. 

PD: It's happening all over again. Remember when glam rock started and 
all these really horrible metal groups started coming out? DC: A little 
more eyeliner.
PD: And then they went away for awhile? See, now they're coming back 
It's called grunge rock.

PD: I love Taco Bell, only 'cause it's close, and it's always open. DC: I 
used to be able to eat there, but it's harder... PD: Nothing like a 
little heated lard to make your day. Del Taco's better, though.
MK: I can't eat those things. It's pre-digested. I think there is like 
this little fat guy in the back room that like takes real food, eats it, 
pre-digests it, and they take it out rights before it's finished and like 
put it in this big vat of stuff, roll it up in a flour tortilla, and 
there you go. I think they should have revolving toilets at the counter; 
you just walk in, you order your food, you eat it on this toilet that's 
moving down toward the end by the door, just eat it, it comes out, and 
you leave. 

PD: I don't believe in Holidays. Thanksgiving? The biggest lie. When the 
Indians and Pilgrims got together and were friends? When they sat and 
thought of manifest destiny and the destruction of the United States. 
When rats laden with small-pox crawled off the boats... 

KM: Fuck that guy-2000 year old Arabian folk tale should be buried. 

PD: I don't believe in karma, I think you create your destiny as you go. 
I mean, you bring a lot of negative energy in to yourself, I think you'll 
put it out on the wrong person, they're gonna get to you eventually... 
DC: I don't know, I've always looked at it as a very personal thing. I 
mean, I think everybody has that little thing that works whether you know 
what's right or wrong, and if you're feeling good about what you're doing 
then even if you're murdering someone and you feel good about it, I don't 
think it's gonna slow you down. Honestly, some people just don't know the 
difference, and I can't believe their ignorance is gonna be a detriment 
to them in the end.
PD: Look at those flesh eating native tribes in South America. That is 
their like, you know, they couldn't have bad karma. DC: But if they have 
that bad feeling inside, it's definitely gonna come back...
PD: It's good for them, though-they become men after they get their first 
DC: Were you a man after you got your first head? 

MK: I'll tell you something. I was in the army, and half of the people I 
knew were gay, and they were the ones that were running the fucking 
thing, running it better than the other idiots who were drinking cases of 
beer a night. What the fuck is the surprise here? You know? "We don't 
want no fags in our military." Bullshit! They're already there, and 
they're doing a better job than you are! Go work on your Camaro, and let 
them take care of it. Just 'cause they have a different sexual motivation 
than you doesn't mean they can't shoot a gun or defend our country or do 
a good job with what they're doing. We need to get on evolving to the 
next step, whatever the next step is; most of us have our thumbs. 

MK: I'm hoping that those images are going to trigger in other people the 
same kind of emotions that I would try to get to with the music-it's 
definitely about being trapped in a situation, in a cycle, and the 
constant need to re-live that cycle and try to fix it. People focus on, 
in a video, what the people look like, so they're going, "Okay, let's 
develop this person's personality." What the fuck does my personality 
have to do with what this song is saying? I don't want to do that. I 
don't want people to latch on to my movements or the way I sound or the 
way Danny hits his drums. That's a distraction from the piece at hand. 
When you look at the Mona Lisa, I don't have any idea what the artist 
looks like or what he's about. I have no idea what that guy is up to, 
what his personality is. I don't care looking at that piece. Is she 
smiling? Is she frowning? What is she doing? All these things are 
entering into it, and that's the same way you should look at a piece, a 
video like "Sober" or "Prison Sex." You should be looking at it in terms 
of the music and the medium that's being presented to you. Don't worry 
about the rock guys that are doing that shit. It's not really important. 

MK: There's nothing being hidden. I think it gives a person more, giving 
them less is giving them more. They can experience it for themselves. 
There's certain images that I think come up for people if they don't have 
everything spelled out for them. Eventually, they'll have two different 
songs, they'll have what they heard and I'll give them a new one that 
might take them farther, might not have taken them as far as they went. 
If it takes them farther, that's great, but I'd much rather like the idea 
of them having gone farther than the song went. I'd rather take that risk 
that they're gonna be mad at me for not seeing the lyrics. 

PD: I expect them to sit down, behave themselves, no smoking, and hush 
up. DC: Act like ladies and gentlemen, be attentive. 

MK: Man, I hope that this thing just totally turns him upside down to the 
point where he writes some fucking amazing songs. I'm sick of him being 
padded. I'm sick of him putting out shit music. There's no connection 
between Michael's life experience and his fucking music. He has all the 
studio genius a man needs, he has some amazingly bad, ugly experiences 
that could really lend to do some passionate songs. Fuck him. I hope he 
goes to jail.

MK: Me and Michael, out of the question. 

MK: I'm more apt to love than I am to marry. 

MK: I had one the other night. Standing in my backyard while the entire 
fucking earth was shaking; shit's breaking all over the place, and my 
dogs come running up to me in my backyard completely scared about what's 
going on, but after a while we forgot there was even an earthquake going 
on. We were just sitting there together.

MK: You don't need to be a super genius to do some things. What is smart? 

I think everybody has that genius seed in them for something. All genius 
is to me is somebody who has latched on to something and taken it as far 
out as they could take it. Ask Einstein his phone number, he couldn't 
tell you, he had to look it up. That's not where he's at. If you were to 
ask him about Led Zeppelin, he probably wouldn't have any fucking idea 
what you were talking about. So being a genius doesn't have anything to 
do with being a completely social functioning being completely 
understanding of everything. 
It has more to do with finding something, a voice in yourself, and taking 
it as far as you can take it. Hopefully, it takes you down a road where 
you understand you don't need to hurt people to get to wherever it is 
you're looking for.

MK: I think that a lot of the time there's this delicate balance between 
people showing the film to capitalize on a need to see that and the other 
half that are making the film hoping that somewhere in it there's gonna 
be a brick that's laid toward a solution. They don't know what it is, 
they're hoping that they're just gonna accidentally fall on it while 
they're doing this film. Maybe they have an idea in mind that they have a 
solution for it. 

PD: I'm a people person, and I like to work with my hands. DC: Yeah, the 
fact that I can work with my hands. 

MK: It's really difficult to distinguish between real power and unreal 
power when your head's on the ground and there's somebody's hand behind 
your neck. 
It's really difficult to distinguish whether you can go, "Well, that's 
not real power." You know, but my neck sure fucking hurts. 

MK: I think the reason that show is so popular is because for so long, 
you've seen bad videos on MTV and you wanted the VJ to come on, you 
wanted J.J. Jackson, "Well that was a really horrible video by so and so. 
Didn't that suck? We're gonna play it again, soon. Sorry, but it's just 
the way that it is." Here is a genius situation: You've got these 
cartoons, well, what are you worrying about? It was a cartoon saying that 
your video sucked. 
What do you care? They're two completely derelict-they're not even 
derelict kids, they're derelict cartoons, they're cartoons of derelict 

PD: Our album. It's a good record, but to me it doesn't warrant a million 
copies sold.
DC: What does warrant that?

PD: Our album.
DC: Gobs and gobs of musicians, people who can't make a dime. There's 
just countless artists that people are too blind to understand what 
they're doing. 
That's always so sad.
PD: They don't get a chance to see it because they're just too busy 
watching Candlebox videos or whatever this new band that's on there, this 
crap that's on MTV.

MK: Somewhere along the line somebody taught me some things about getting 
what I need to survive and also along with it, a creative edge to just 
kind of go off while I was doing it.
PD: I want a Ralphs endorsement.
DC: I want a Minute Maid Orange Juice endorsement. PD: I want Top Ramen, 
all the Top Ramen and Campbell's soup I can tolerate. DC: Actually, I 
would take a basketball shoe endorsement. That's where all my money goes 
now. It's the only expensive thing I have to pay for anymore. PD: We 
already have endorsements for all our music stuff now. DC: We want food 
and clothing now.
PD: Then to get our rent paid by somebody else besides us. PD: Endorsed 
by Melco.
MU: What's Melco?
PD: My landlord.

MK: Happiness is something you achieve, a constant thing. A constantly 
turning over thing, like a small plant that has flowers constantly 
blooming and dying on the same stem. It's not like you achieve happiness 
this one time and it just stays with you forever. You don't bake a cake 
because a cake makes you happy, you don't bake that one cake because you 
baked this cake or bought that car you wanted to get. You've always 
wanted this car, you got the car, now you're happy 

PD: Musically, I think we have a lot of ground to cover. Striving to hit 
that fine line between physical perfection and self-destruction. When you 
get that certain point, you're just ready. DC: That's what I want to get 
out of it. Just to keep growing. What else is there?

kabir/akhtar | kabir@t.d.n