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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: The Melbourne Age

Date: April, 1997

Transcribed by
Dan Steadman (flood@peninsula.starway.net.au)


  page: 
 title: The Crowd Finds The Right Tool For The Job
author: Gary Munro

Tool's Maynard James Keenan twitches, lurches and stamps around the 
stage, painted blue from (shaved) head to toe, and wearing nowt but a 
fetching pair of striped boxers. He's like a freak from Jim Rose's 
circus, kicked out for being too weird...

But when Keenan sings, drawing on the power in those seemingly 
bottomless lungs, the crowd at a sold out Festival Hall listens.

Tool is a remarkable band, the four-piece often giving the impression 
it has twice the number of members, such is the depth of sound.

Danny Carey is one of the finest drummers in alternative rock, and 
when he throws a dozen or so of his sticks into the crowd when it's 
all over, one can't help wondering if he was using them all at once. 
He and bassist Justin Chancellor - sporting a coat of red paint for 
the occasion - are an outstanding rhythm section.

Opening with the sprawling Third Eye, the closing track from it's 
latest album, Aenima, the Los Angeles based Tool sets the tone: no 
short pop tunes here, pal - this band wouldn't know one if it fell 
over it.

In the relatively generous, by 90's standards, 105-minute set, Tool 
plays 10 songs, most from Aenima, a couple from 1993's Undertow, and 
the title track from it's debut, Opiate.

The crowd, predominantly male and following closely what Henry Ford 
almost said - "You can have a T-shirt in any color, as long as it's 
black" - makes the most of the opportunity, and by the time the band 
is halfway through it's second song, last year's single Stinkfist, 
half the hall is a heaving mass. However, Tool's stuttering, 
intelligent rhythms ensure the moshers have ample time to rest in 
between the sweating.

Intelligent, too, is the video back-projection. Sober and Prison Sex 
feature excerpts from their disturbing promo clips, interspersed with 
the mainly black-and-white images.

The momentum stalls briefly during the sweeping, extended instrumental
introduction to Sober, where Keenan sits, unmoving, head bowed, but 
when Adam Jones's familiar guitar riff kicks in and the crowd begins 
singing along, all is forgotten.

The band doesn't bother leaving the stage before the encore - a 
strange sight for those used to rock conventions. Instead, the members 
down tools (doh!) and gather around for a chat - a mid=pitch rock 
conference, if you will - before powering through the title track from 
Aenima and leaving the masses to file out as The Itchy And Scratchy 
Show theme plays repeatedly over the PA. To boot, a sense of humor...

Tool's music is confronting and challenging, and on this evidence, 
rock music needs more bands like it.

Support act Shihad played an impressive 40-minute set, and the NZ 
quartet is likely to find new fans at its Melbourne shows later this 
week.

Posted to t.d.n: 05/03/97 00:40:11