Date: August, 1997
Joe Mulligan (email@example.com)
Joe Mulligan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
page: 41 title: Never wanted to be Rock Starts but they Are author: Edward Fruchtman Underneath a fog of hypnotic three-tone, fat bass line and a midtempo drumbeat, Maynard James Keenan whines through a distant yet rapturous megaphone effect on the album's lead-off track and first single from Tool's Aenima. "Something has to change/undenialbe dilemma/ boredom's not a burden/ anyone should bear" he sings in "Stinkfist". As that message barely penetrates the listener, Adam Jones ventures a ferocious guitar assault on the song's blinding hook while Keenan hollers his statement home for the chours. "I need more/ nothing seems to satisfy/ I don't want it/ I just need it." Within the fisrt minute-and-a-half of Aenima, the band has already mapped out their master plan of the 78-minute album. "It's all about change and evolution individually as well as universally. It's all about unity," the 32-year-old father said, pointing out hhow the world could improve if people cosider the entire picture rather than its components. He targets the destruction of, all other places. Los Angeles as a future turning point because the "miscommunication" in that city causes tension. "here in this f**king hole we call L.A./ the only way to fix it is to flushh it all away...learn to swim," the vocalist cries out. Tool's adamant belief in change spills into the Aenima tunes. With the brilliant dynamics in "Eulogy", like the marathon finale "Third Eye" and "Push*t" form Aenima, each tune alternately flows into sections of disturbing heaviness and unsettling quietness. Even at songs' end, there's no peacefulness or resolution - a possible Tool statement on our society. Applying the album's theme to the status of the band, Tool realizes how important the whole band surpasses the sum of its parts - Keenan, Jones, drummer Danny Carey, and newly-recruited bassist Jusin Chancellor. "I think it's important to have a global concept together but I find it important to have our own individual ideas as to what we should, or shouldn't be doing as a band," Carey told Circus Magazine. This philosophy has benefitted them for the long run, wiht Aenima debuting a #2 on the Billborads last October and their co-headling stint onthe Main Stage at Lollapalooza 97. If there's anything last on Tool's mind, it's maintaining their recent breakthrough success. Both albums (Aenima and 1993's Undertow) have already exceeded a million in sales and their first release, 1992's EP Opiate was certified gold Status in the U.S. Also, Tool, who have toured with Rage Against the Machine and Rollins Band, Participated in Lollapalooza '93 perfoming on the second stage, but where later promoted to the Main Stage later that Summer because of their increasing popularity. According to Jones, Tool have never wanted to be rock stars - or to make music a full-time occupation. "When we started th band we all had our own jobs," said Jones, an ex-Hollywood special-effects designer. "we did this as a side project, we never intended to get signed. It was all about the music, music that inspires and music that creates thought." Formed in April 1991, all four original members of Tool migrated to Los Angeles from various parts of the country. Adam Jones was raised in a conservative Christian community in Libertyville, Illinois and moved to the City of Angels to work as a sculptor and special effects designer (among his credits are Terminator 2, Predator 3 and Jurassic Park). He met Keenan (who's migrated from all over the country) and D'Amour, who just moved from Spokane, Washington, through mutual friends. A former music student for three years at University of Missouri, Carey lived downstairs form Keenan and hooked up with D'Amour through former high school buddy, guitarist Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine. Incidentally, Carey was the only Tool member who played music full-time before their conception, drumming with local country bands Pygmy Love Circus and Green Jelly (Known for their infamous novelty hit "Three Little Pigs"?) By New Year's Eve 1991, they signed up to Zoo Entertainment and recorded a private gig, from which two song ended up on opiate("Cold And Ugly", "Jerk-off"). The quartet led the mid-90's Los Angeles scene with their art- metal/industrial inflected sound and on-stage graphic presentations. Through his experience in filmmaking. Jones became obsessed with methods of film trickery, including stop-motion camera techniques - a skill he exercised in the "Sober" and "Prison Sex" claymation videos. Their arty videos, most of which were directed by Jones - transcend the many "breakthrough" clip rotated regularly on MTV's electronica- orientated "Amp" seris. They gain full controll over thealbums' artwork, creating Aenima's deluxe 3D "Multi-Image" packaging. The group pride themselves in being one of the few metal or industrial bands not to "play any lame fashion games." "We've always been able to put art first," Carey said, adding that they've drawn from many sources for their songs, including their reading of metaphysics, mythology, Hinduism and ritual magic. Tool consider themselves as steadfast, determined artist who only play ball - as long as the ball's in their court. "We try to keep our egos out of our music as much as possible and just let thing happen," Carey told one paper. "We're just lucky that we met each other and have someone [we] can share ideas with and just let things flow." In fact, if you're looking for any spokesperson of the group, your search will be in vain. Each of the members have eqaul weight over all decisions, and their relationship is more or less the same when composing their tunes. Carey told Modern Drummer that their songs are developed after hours of jamming on an idea presented by one member, and could be a rigorous process. "It's real organic and it all pretty much happens right here, just from going nuts in this room. " Carey said. "There are very few parts, if any, that are written outside rehearsal." Their resistance to interviews and media coverage is also part of their anti-rock star persona. All four participated in encounters with journalists, but at least at half of them, especially Keenan, are too timid to discuss their personal lives (Carey is the most outspoken). Though he write all the lyrics and is considered the group spokesperson, Keenan's the least enthusiastic to describe the inspiration for his tune and the motivation behind his theories. Much of Keenan's words are semi-autobiograpicial and arise from turning points in his life. An only child in a Baptist family in Akron, Ohio, he was translocated throughout his childhood, living in no fewer than six states. He admitted around the release of the "Prison Sex" video that he was a victim of child abuse, addressing the issue in the song and clip. Later, Keenan was educated at prep school and served in the Army for over three years. The band encourages their audience to interprect their tunes the way they wish, leaving a lot to the imagination. Lyrics are not printed in the album booklets and have only been recently been posted on the Internet. The individual band members don't even show up in their unusual videos. Though they admit they don't care about their audiences' perception to their music, the fans obviously touch a sensitive spot in Keenan. In the rolling headbanger "Hooker with a Penis," he directs his anger at the typical alternative fan with body piercings and 501s jeans who accuse the band of selling out after Opiate. "I've got some advice for you/ little buddy/ before you point the finger/ you should know that/ I'm the man." As integral as the concept in on Aenima, gradual evolution in the buzz phrase for Tool's sound. The half-hour long Opiate EP is the most derivative of their influences, stemming from boogie/bluesy rock reminiscent of Aerosmith to early Metallica speed metal passages on "Sweat" and "Part of Me". The expanding experimentalism on Undertow was forshadowed by the EP's ambitious title track, but has a life of it's own. Tunes like "Intolerance" and "Bottom" elaborate on Keenan's themes of self- hatred, loss of identity and drowning, while "Swamp Song" and "Crawl Away" resemble the earlier compact tracks filled with brooding Black Sabbath riffs and Carey's insistent tribal-tinged rhythms. With Aenima, the tighter four-minute songs are de-emphasized, in favor of epic existentialist rockers. Co-produced by King Crimson/Peter Gabriel whiz Dave Bottril, the record delivers the multiple punch of an alt-metal/prog rock trip - from the flawlessly-shifting time-signatures of "Fourty-Six & 2" and the overamplified guitar lines of "H" to the lightweight segues of circus organs and digital sratches ("Itermission" and "Ions," respectively). Written during two years in the south of France but taped in a couple of week, Aenima is the by-product of their evolving sound and an uneasy transitional period marked by the departure of founding bassist Paul D'Amour. The Bassist, who left to spend more time with his side progect Lusk, contributed to the writing of five Aenima tunes. The replacing bassist, Justin Chanxcellor, who's come from London and formerly of Peach (which toured with Tool on an European Tour), completed the gap in time for the Aenima recording session. Ironically, it is the new guy who best understands the group's chemistry, after peering in from the outside scine his introduction to the band through a demo tape. "I've never come across or been a part of a collection of souls so diverse in character and beleif that possess the ability to mutually accommodate those differences and evolve them into positive creativity," Chancellor said.
Posted to t.d.n: 07/12/97 21:39:37