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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Rave

Date: April, 1997

Transcribed by
Tim Cederman-Haysom (vision@innocent.com)


  page: 
 title: These Aenima Men
author: Chris Rodda

Tool's latest record, Aenima, is dedicated to and contains material by 
that late Bill Hicks, the band's affinity for the Texan comic is well 
and truly emblazoned on their collective sleeve.  
"Maynard (Tool's voxman) and Adam (guitar) and that lot went to see 
him a bunch of times," Justin says.
"I think a lot of the ideas are consisten with a lot of ideas that we 
have.  He was the inspiration for a lot of stuff too.  He was one of 
those guys who was just really fucking honest about the way things are 
and the ability to be able to laugh at that is a great ability to 
have.  to find the ridiculous, funny side of it.  He just seems to say 
things really straight up and he says things in such an honest way 
that they're fucking hilarious."
While the ideas may be in common, comedy and music are inherently 
different, he explains.
"Performing comedy is pretty much using your voice and communicating 
with word. Our stuff, because there's music involved it's a different 
medium. It's like looking at a paintning or something. People try and 
describe them with words but it's harder to do." 
"We're talking about things straight up but they're a little more 
shrouded in mystery because they're a reaction to the music and 
they're a sonic thing as well.  You're not necessarily suppposed to 
hear them and go: 'Oh! I get what he's saying.'  You can but it's also 
part of the music."
Tool have been on the road since well before Christmas and things 
don't look like letting up for several months yet. Justin joined the 
band in November '95 with the departure of Paul D'amour and had only 
been playing with the rest of the band for a short time when they 
recorded the smash record Aenima. In the time since then, the band's 
constant touring schedule has seen him dig firmly into the lineup both 
in playing the songs from before he joined and as a bona fide 
songwriting member.
"When we did this album I'd just moved out (from the UK to America) 
and we had to spend a certain amount of time finding our feet with 
each other. I guess we hadn't played for all those years and you have 
to find that tightness again. So we did spend quite a bit of time 
doing that while we were writing and recording. The hope is that you 
get better and better.  That's the motivation for doing something is 
to excel yourself every time you come back to something new."
When he joined the band, Justin brought the baggage of a different 
background and  different musicla influences.
"I sink myself into the stuff I like pretty deeply. I'm never lacking 
for stuff to listen to but it's always a joy when something comes 
along that blows you away. It hasn't happened for a little while 
recently.  I'm sure it will."
when asked what the most recent thing was which blew him away he gives 
an uncomfortable laugh and admits: "Probably Tool".
Citing the likes of Fugazi, dEUS, Swervedriver and "a bunch of sixties 
stuff," he points out that his influence has added to the diversity of 
the band's music.
"It's a four way thing," he says about Tool's songwriting process.  
"So there's definitely different stuff in there and I think the new 
recipe that that (sic) made made between the four of us in turn 
created more original stuff."
Similarly, Justin points out, the lyrical content of the band has 
continued to develop.
"A lot of songs talk about evolution and movement and unity and 
change. That wasn't always the subject matter at all. That evolution 
process has been evident in the band albums itself.  There's a bunch 
of ideas in there but mainly I guess our main theme is the concern 
with the way the world is which should really be everyone's concern.  
There's songs that deal with that on the huge global level and there's 
stuff that's more personal. Has more personal applications."
Justin's continual references to evolution and development, combined 
with the darkly trippy artwork on their 3D "winking lady" style CD 
packaging call to mind the likes of Timothy Leary and Aldous Huxley 
with their concepts on the development of the human mind towards an 
evolutionary quantum leap.
"I don't think any of us follow anything really exclusively and 
fanatical," Justin says when the subject is broached.
"It's more about accumulating a mass of different ideas and you start 
to see that they start to relate to each other. What Timothy Leary's 
taken out that was his own little exploration was involving the 
functions of the mind and obviously that involved experimenting with 
all sorts of chemicals and we're not averse to that either," he 
concludes with a tonal nudge and wink.
At the moment, the band are concentrating on playing live shows and 
keeping their heads together amidst the turmoil of globetrotting 
tours, and chances to thnk about new songs are few and far between. 
"We're playing every night and we all have our ideas and sometimes at 
soundcheck we'll all jam something out but the downtime outside the 
gig is generally keep your head together and get enough sleep.  We 
write when we're all together in one room so it really needs 
everyone's head to be in the same space at the same time.  It doesn't 
really work, writing on tour. We've tried it a little bit but it's 
kind of a lengthy process when we're writing. It's kind of introverted 
as far as the four of us go. e need to be detached from everything. 
Alone and isolated in a room. this is more like a farming career d'you 
know? Gathering up, absorbing any ideas, any music or art anything 
from places you go. Hopefully you'll be inspired to come up with other 
ideas from doing this. We're trying to nail down our ideas, at the 
moment we're more like just keeping our minds open. Essentially 
working, doing the gigs every night and enjoying that and when we're 
done - which might not be until September or something - think about 
getting together some new ideas."
Exactly where those ideas lead waits to be seen and Justin feels no 
pressue to rush things.
"There's not a long term plan as far as that goes because I think that 
limits what's going on now if you nail down exactly where you're going 
to go next. It's all about the time and the place and how things feel 
then."
When I ask Justin what Australian audiences can expect from the show 
he is hesitant to share.
"We pretty much mix it up every day," he appeases.
"Obviously we play a bunch of the new stuff but it's probably about 
half and half actually split up stuff with Undertow and Opiate as 
well. Just for our sake really we change it every night and keep it 
fresh."


Posted to t.d.n: 05/03/97 00:12:27