the tool page

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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: High Times

Date: April, 1997

Transcribed by
Lyndon Beckner (

Posted simultaneously by
Heidi Pierce (

  page: 12
 title: Tool Rule!
author: Janiss Garza

Hard rockers hail comic genius Bill Hicks.

Back in 1993, Tool thanked Bill Hicks on their Undertow album and the
comedian introduced the band at the Lollapalooza stop in their 
hometown of Los Angeles.  Three years later, in the booklet of AEnima,
the group,s latest CD on the Zoo label, Tool pay tribute to Hicks with
a painting of him titled: Bill Hicks--Another Dead Hero.  And at the
start of the album's final track, "Third Eye," there's a snippit of 
Hicks that goes:
 "If you don't believe drugs have done good things for us, do me a 
favor, go home tonight and take all your albums, all your tapes all 
your CDs and burn 'em, 'cause you know what?  The musicians who made 
all that great music that's enhanced your lives throughout the years
were real fuckin' high on drugs."
     Hicks died of cancer in 1994 at the age of 32.  Dennis Miller 
calls him a "genius."  "One of the best," wrote John Lahr, who 
profiled Hicks in The New Yorker.  Often compared to Lenny Bruce, his
vicious "comedy of hate" spewed venom at everyone from bureaucrats to
babies.  On February 25, Rycodisk will make four Hicks albums 
available: Dangerous and Relentless, both previously released; and 
Arizona Bay and Rant in E Minor, both previously unreleased.
     While Hicks is the only one of Tool's many inspirations-- the 
list includes Carlos Castaneda, Edgar Cayce and Terence McKenna-- 
there's a special connection between the two.  Both Hicks and Tool
have made intelligent use of their abilities to raise people's 
awareness about altered states of consciousness and to fight the 
narrow-mindedness and false assumptions of the War on Drugs.  Hicks 
did it through comedy; Tool have been doing it very powerfully through
hard rock since their '92 debut EP, Opiate.  The sophisticated twists 
and turns of their heavy sound alone are mind-bending.  For Tool, the
use of substances--pot and mushrooms-- goes far beyond recreation.  
Says lead singer Maynard Keenan, "There's a responsibility that comes
along with exploring those different perspectives and those different
     Keenan adds that Hicks didn't do drugs to "hang out and sit there 
at the television. He was doing it in an exploratory nature. He really
was trying to see another side of things."  Hicks had a soft spot for
'shrooms, but was sober at the time of his death following alcohol and
cocaine rehab.
     About "Third Eye." Keenan stresses, "You have to understand that 
the song isn't necessarily going through a beautiful process.  The 
chorus 'Prying open my third eye' refers to what you do when you take 
chemicals.  If you're not prepared to see once it's open, it's going 
to be a horrible experience for you."
     Like Hicks, Tool battle the forces of censorship.  "The most 
complaints we've had pertain to our single, "Stinkfist!" which is so
silly," says Keenan.  "Industry people think the song is about 
fist-fucking.  Madonna can finger herself on national television, but
we can't say 'stinkfist'!"
     Will people will ever truly acknowledge the the mind-enhancing
capabilities of drugs?  "It's not gonna be tomorrow." Keenan asserts.
"There'll be a time when it comes full circle and everything works 
out.  Education and truth are the essence of our evolution.  Put the
fear aside  and go with passion and understanding and you'll be a lot
better off.  Bill would say the same thing."  Just funnier.

Posted to t.d.n: 05/08/97 01:27:59