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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Drum Scene

Date: August, 2002

Transcribed by
Nick (wilson@vision.net.au)


  page: 40
 title: The Driving Force Behind Tool: Danny Carey
author: Alex Deegan

In today’s times of mass produced, processed music, Tool is 
a shining light of non-conforming artistic expression not 
confined to marketing fads and the all mighty dollar. Tool 
experiment openly with their music, inviting the listener, 
bored with the norm, to expand the comfort zones and 
experience something totally fresh.

What age were you when you started playing, and what 
influenced you to take up the drums?

I guess I was around 10 when I got my first snare drum; it 
was at that age that I started playing with the school band. It 
was the first time my parents were willing to sacrifice their 
peace and quiet I think. I guess up to that point, I was just 
listening to ‘Beatles’ records, the ‘Who’, and my older 
brothers records. That was kind of what got me into music.

Do you come from a musical family?

My dad was somewhat musical, he played saxophone and he 
always had music playing around the house, mostly classical 
and big band …He’d buy us records once in a while when we 
bugged him enough, y’know, like rock’n’roll records, which 
was pretty cool.

What prompted you to get serious about music as a career? 
What were some of your goals and dreams?

Well, I guess one of the most inspiring things was probably 
the first time I went to see a full-on concert, I went and saw 
Lynyrd Skynyrd play, just seeing the glory of the lights, and 
the huge sound system, I was just …flabbergasted. It blew 
me away, and from that point, I knew I really wanted to try 
and do something like that. The biggest force I had pushing 
me was my desire not to have a boss (laughs) you know, I 
was never to into working for somebody who seemed like a 
nitwit orhaving a regular type job or anything. It always made 
more sense to me to keep on going to school and keep 
pursuing music. I started getting more and more into the 
artists and reading about them and looking to take it to 
another place and start building bridges.

Can you talk a little about your schooling?

I studied at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, they 
have a pretty good sized conservatory of music there, and a 
big Performing Arts Centre that had just been built a few 
years before I graduated. It was great! A great environment 
to be in, I mean, it was dance and theatre and music and art 
and everything all close together, so …it was great, you’d get 
to play for dance classes. There was all the legit music there, 
orchestras and all that, and also there were jazz programs 
and percussion ensembles. It was a really good environment.

How do you think that has helped you throughout your career?

Well, just all the training and technical part helps your facility 
a lot on the instrument; any of that discipline that you put 
pays off. The pig pay off is when it starts happening, when 
your not conscious of it. That kind of stuff is best forgotten, 
at least, when you’re playing improvisational music or 
something that’s a little more free than classical music. I 
think it pays of also  in the arranging part of our bands 
music. It gives you sensibilities, and when your exposed to a 
lot of great modern composers music, day in and day out, 
you hear a lot more possibilities, I think …in rock 
arrangements also.

What made you decide to move to LA?

I played in bands during college and stuff in Kansas City, and 
I felt like I had finally gotten about as far as I could go, we 
were packing out clubs, but it didn’t seem like there was any 
potential of taking it to the next level.

Were these all original bands?

Original and cover bands. We’d do original things, and it got 
to that point where we were packing out clubs, but never 
made any money. So I’d  have to play in cover bands at the 
same time. That was kind of dull, nothing to interesting 
usually, but it was better than stacking dishes or something 
like that. I did that ‘til I saved up enough money and made 
the move. I just bailed out to LA, I got a day job for a while 
and just started going through the ‘wanted’ ads out 
there, “Bands looking for drummer” and all that.

Did you know anyone there?

No, I didn’t know anyone there. It took a while to develop a 
circle of friends that I felt I had something in common with. 
A  lot of times I’d go in to auditions, and usually they’d want 
me to play with them. But usually there’d be one person 
there that seemed worthwhile. So I’d go to  maybe three or 
four of these things and then kinda pick out the best players 
I thought were there and give them a call and say ‘hey, come 
and jam at this rehearsal space’, and see if something 
worked out. I put together a couple of bands like that. Then 
after  awhile you just meet  enough people and start falling 
into some studio gigs, playing for sitcoms, doing the 
changeovers when they’re moving their cameras for the live 
audience and stuff like that. I ended up meeting some of the 
guys from Carol King’s band and then I ended up getting to 
play with her a little bit, it all kinda snowballed from that.

And more and more session work from that?

Yeah. A lot of it was just demo work for people that never 
really amounted to anything. But you still make your bucks 
buy going in and laying down some tracks, which was kinda 
cool. Finally I met some of the bands that were playing 
around in Hollywood and I ended up playing with the Green 
Jello guys, and Pygmy Love Circus…

Can you tell us abit about that?

The Green Jello band was kind of a cabaret type thing 
almost, I mean there were lots of big costumes, I guess 
Slipknot would probably be the one that people would 
recognize that are around now. Lots of costumes, it wasn’t all 
Heavy Metal, it was more Pop and Disco, just all sorts of 
styles, it was really a wide variety of things going on and it 
was more about the show, really, than the music. They ended 
up getting a record deal and they even had a kind of a hit for 
a while called the ‘Three Little Pigs’ that got played quite a 
bit. They got their deal, I guess a couple of months before 
Tool got theirs, and of course Tool was definitely more to my 
taste. I just saw more potential in Tool to express myself as 
an artist, so I had to go with that.

I understand that Maynard had moved in next door to you?

Yeah, that was how I met Maynard, he actually moved in to 
the loft next door with the Green Jello guys.

Was Maynard Singing for the Green Jello guys?

He would come out and do different things, I don’t know if 
you’d really call it singing, a lot of it was more like acting, or 
comedy or something like that, it was pretty much of a big 
variety show, but actually , he did sing on the Three Little 
Pigs song, that was him (mimics) “Not by the hair of my 
chinny, chin, chin” (laughs)

So, that’s how the two of you first met up? Doing gigs 
together?

Yeah, we met before we ever did music together just cause 
he was my neighbour, and he knew Adam through Tom 
Morello from ‘Rage Against The Machine’. Finally he decided 
he wanted to get a band going and I had the rehearsal space 
right next door  at that point where I could play 24 hours a 
day of I wanted to, we could make all the noise we wanted. 
First he was trying out things with that, y’know, he just wanted 
to use my space, but so many of the drummers in Hollywood 
are just flakes, a lot of times if they don’t think it’s a paying 
gig, they don’t want to move their drum sets. My drums were 
there and when a guy would flake out I kinda felt sorry for 
them and went ahead and jammed with them. That 
happened like two times, but  the second time, when it was 
the actual line-up, with Paul D’Amour and Adam and 
Maynard, there was definitely chemistry in the air! I knew it 
was something special so we continued doing it, kinda on a 
weekly schedule, and it kept going.

Can you talk a bit about the early years with Tool? How things 
started to happen for you with the band?

 It was one of those things, when that chemistry happens 
between four members who have a conviction, I think it’s 
kind of inescapable. I mean, we started out playing in this 
little place called ‘The Gaslight’ that later turned into a club 
called ‘The Opium Den’, in LA. But the first time we played 
there, there would’ve been like six, or eight people, then 
next time those guys would always show up and they’d bring 
all their friends, and it just kept snowballing like that. By the 
time we had done five or six shows at diiferent little clubs, 
like ‘The Coconut Teaser’, ‘The Central’, all these places 
around Hollywood started packing out.

The word had spread.

Yeah, and then once the word spreads in LA, the record 
companies are like sharks, they start circling, looking for a 
piece of the action. They don’t want something to get away 
from them. By the time we had done our seventh gig out in 
the clubs, they were there, inviting us to come and have 
meeting with them and wanting to sign us. But we were just 
laughing at them at first, because we weren’t really looking to 
do that, it was really more like we were doing it just for own 
sake. It wasn’t like we were out looking for a deal. Because 
at that time I was playing  for a TV show, I was playing with 
Carol, and I was playing with the ‘Pygmy Love Circus’,  which 
was one of the biggest bands in Hollywood. They were 
packing out clubs too.  I had so many things going on, I was 
playing with Jeff Buckley at that time too, and kinda doing a 
country thing. Jeff was an amazing musician. I felt lucky that 
I got to know him.

How long were you involved with Jeff?

Probably about a year or so, and then I think he had gotten 
tired of the LA scene, and decided to move to New York. It 
wasn’t long after that that he ended up making his ‘Grace’ 
record. I remember some of the songs, I still have weird old 
demo tapes that he gave me of some of those songs that 
ended up on that record.

Can you talk about some of your influences?

Well I guess the main ones that forged a lot of my style are 
the fusion guys in the 70’s, cause that was when I was really 
learning by leaps and bounds on the instrument. It seems 
like, as you play longer and longer, those plateaus you hit 
get longer and longer before it seems like you have 
breakthroughs. 
I remember when I first got turned on to ‘Return to Forever’ 
with Lenny White playing, you know I really dug his sound 
and his style. Of course Billy Cobham, and Tony Williams; I 
started hearing his drumming and that just blew my mind, 
too. I got into a lot of the art rock drummers, too, around the 
same time. Some of the early ‘Jethro Tull’ stuff that 
Barrymore or Barlowe do,  I like both those guys playing a 
lot. I think they always gave the music just what it needed, 
and did it with good taste. Alan White, the guy that replaced 
Bill in ‘Yes’, I always thought he was a great player too. I 
loved his sensibility to the song. I listened to lots of ‘Yes’. 
Carl Palmer, was a big influence too, I used to listen to his 
playing a lot.

‘King Crimson’ is one of your big influences. What was it like 
touring with them on the ‘Lateralus’ tour, and actually getting 
up and playing with them onstage?

Oh! Yeah, it was a surreal experience almost, it’s the only 
way I can describe it. But it was one of the most educational 
tours I’ve everbeenon, that’s for sure. Just being exposed to 
Robert and Adrian and Pat and Tray all four of those guys are 
such fantastic players, y’know that it can help but tub off. 
Robert’s been such a legend, such a brilliant role model, I 
think for any rock player to follow, that the experience is hard 
to describe. To look over your cymbals and see him smile at 
you is beyond words …(laughs). I’m sure  I was grinning from 
ear to ear …plus, it was really cool, they let me play ‘Fame by 
Fame’ which is one of my  all time favourite ‘King Crimson’ 
songs.

I read that you’re having lessons with a particular percussion 
Tabla player?

I ‘ve been studying with Aloke Dutta and am still taking Tabla 
lessons from him. Actually when we played in Austin, Texas, 
that was where Pat Mastelotto lives and he came out to our 
show, him and Terry Bozzio. God, I wish I hadn’t known they 
were there, I was so nervous, there  were those guys watching 
me, but after the show though, they were nice enough to 
stick around. I asked Pat  if knew of anyone and he told me 
of Aloke who was live there in Austin at that time. So the next 
day I had  enough time to go over and take a lesson, and 
then it just turned out that he was moving out to LA three 
months later, so it was just a really great deal. I’ve continued 
taking lessons from him and trying to get that part of my 
playing developed a little bit.

I saw ‘Tool’ on the ‘Lateralus’ tour in Melbourne: it was an 
incredible show. I must admit it’s the best sound that I’ve 
geard in the Tennis Centre.

Thanks. It’s a hard thing to find, you’re so reliant upon 
interpreter of your music. It can sound like one thing on the 
stage and something completely different out front. I hear 
good responses all the time and it gives you a good feeling 
to know you have someone at the helm you can have 
confidence in.

Your playing, and Tool’s writing has progressed a lot over the 
years, especially between ‘Undertow’ and ‘Aenima’. Can you 
talk a little bit about the transition, how your playing changed 
between those two albums?

(sighs, pauses) Well, being so far on the inside if it, it’s hard 
for me to say. it seems like it’s been a gradual thing since I 
was a kid (laughs). I don’t really remember doing anything 
different between those two records that I didn’t do through 
out the rest of my career. maybe  there was a boost of 
confidence or something from knowing that at least we  had 
sold a few records of ‘Undertow’, and I wasn’t gonna be  back 
working for an Audio Visual company again. it gave  me the  
freedom to know  I’d made it. I am a professional musician, 
so I can really dedicate to this. I think I did practise a little 
more between that time and earlier, just because I didn’t 
have a boss. That was the point when I got  to dedicate my 
time  to music, when music could be my profession, I 
suppose.

It sounds like it was a real turning point. The writing seem to 
be even more progressive. 

I think the communication among the four band members 
started really developing a little more too. Before it was kind 
of our little project we just did for fun, and then all of a 
sudden it turned into a real viable job, and a real beautiful 
vehicle for artistic expression. We all kind of recognized that 
and let it grow to its fullest potential, hopefully …well we’re 
still working on that, that’s for sure, but it’s getting better all 
the time. 

On ‘Aenima’ and ‘Lateralus’ you’ve developed a distinct drum 
sound, adding triggered percussion that brought in more of 
an African/Eastern ‘tribal’ influence.

I was always into that sort of thing but it was always hard to 
find a way to do it beforehand, until I was able to afford 
something like the Simmons SBX that has a sampler and all 
that stuff in it. But up until that point I had some Octobans 
and lots of different things. But God, to haul all that crap 
around was just insane. At least now I can load hundreds and 
hundreds of different percussion instruments and drums and 
things into this sampler. So they’re all right at my fingertips 
rather than carrying around all that stuff which is just 
impossible, especially when you’re a support band. now it just 
seems like such a part of my kit, I don’t know how I could 
get by without it. I always wanted to have access to all those 
instruments. I kinda got hooked on them, when I was playing 
in percussion ensembles in school. You hear all these 
textures and possibilities and ways you can accent music. It’s 
nice to be able to have a tool you can do that with.

The electronic influence, how did that come about? Was that, 
maybe, Bill Brufords influence?

Ah, definitely Bill. Bull would be the biggest influence on that 
department. Like in 1980 when that ‘Red Discipline’ record 
came out. He was  using Simmons Drums and all of a sudden 
it had this huge power, I felt, he took it to another level. That 
record really fried me, I think it fried a lot of people in the 
drumming community. It was just such a cool thing. Hardly 
using any cymbals at all and just lots of great drumming. It 
complemented the guitars so well cause all of a sudden you 
could hear all their transient picks on the strings instead of 
hearing cymbals drown everything out, it just made it such a 
communal vibe that was really appealing to me. I can still 
listen to that record.

And so, it kind of grew from there?

Yeah, then the instruments grew too, I mean that little SGS5 
that was on those records is pretty funny sounding when your 
hearing it now, but it still has a couple of things it does better 
than anything else. But then once the got the Simmons up 
where it was sampling and you could load in all your stuff, 
you know, your own sounds, that’s when it became interesting 
for me, because  almost everything I have in my sample 
library I did my self. I think that’s what everyone should do 
as soon as they get any kind of  an electronic instrument, I 
think they should  just dump all the presets out of it 
immediately otherwise you just sound like any other clone. 
Start building your own sounds, and then you might have 
something original.

Most of the electronics these days are trying to capture the 
real sound of the drum kit.

Yeah, I was always really happy with the way my drums 
sounded, I was into the thicker shelled toms and all that stuff 
that Sonor made for years. but to me they’re just great 
sounding drums, and I had no reason to emulate that with 
electronics. The electronics were always something to add to 
that sound and embellish furth upon that rather than trying 
to replace it.

With the introduction of David Botrill as producer for ‘Aenima’ 
and ‘Lateralus’, how much influence did he have  over 
particular sounds and the overall picture for Tool?

Well as far as our sounds, almost none. We really have 
everything kind of arranged and written over 90% by the time 
David comes in. His magic is finding the right space to fit 
things in where it’s all audible and it’s not stepping on each 
other through E-Qing and whatnot. He’s got such a great ear 
for placement and panning and everything that he could fit 
everything into the mix where it’s comfortable with each other 
and we’re not treading all over each other. I think that’s his 
great asset. As our relationship develops more and more 
David’s opinions are welcomed and we listen to him a lot. He 
has some good suggestions about changing timbres of 
sounds and things like that that have really helped in the 
process.

‘Aenima’ and ‘Lateralus’ have such a rich sound. “He’s really 
captured the band beautifully.

Yeah, it’s great because David doesn’t rely on weird tricks or 
anything. It seems like his goal is to really capture what is 
there and not mould  it into something. All these other 
producers we met with before David, were like “oh yeah, we’ll 
do this and this” they already had all these little plans 
figured out, and you know, this is what the ‘happening sound’ 
is nowadays, ‘you compress this, this way, and …I don’t know, 
it just seems sounded like a bag full of gimmicks rather than 
someone trying to capture a sound that we had that was 
already special, or at least it was in our eyes.

One of the hardest things about being a drummer is nailing 
correct tempos live and maintaining consistent timing 
throughout. With your progressive drumming style and Tool’s 
songs with the constant time signature changes, how have 
you developed that skill? Do you practice with a metronome? 
Do you record with one?

No, actually, I never have. That’s one thing, I’ve had lot’s of 
teachers telling me that I should practice with metronomes 
(laughs) …But I don’t know, I’ve never really had a set-up, 
y’know, when I was younger, practicing where I could do that. 
I think a lot it is playing with people that also have good 
time, too. When a groove starts you naturally fall into it and 
it’s hard to pull the tempo away from that once it gets 
established. There’s definitely places on the record where the 
tempos speed up and slow down and they breathe a little bit, 
but I think it’s all a natural thing  and it’s only because of the 
excitement of the song, so it makes sense. Every time I’ve 
tried to actually record with a click-track or something, it 
always sounded uncomfortable to me, and I never liked that 
feel so I never have really done it that way. A lot of it is really 
once you establish a pulse in yourself then the song takes on 
a life of it’s own. If you just play for the music, that seems to 
work for me. 

One thing I noticed about the ‘Lateralus’ show was the visual 
aspect of it. It seemed to be in perfect sync with.

Yeah, that was due to a couple of good friends of ours. 
Adam’s wife, Camilla, who operates all our video stuff now, 
and a friend of hers, Brett, who worked at the Sound 
Company a couple of years back in Los Angeles, developed 
the software. We used to have a bunch of VHS machines 
going with like 2 or 3 tapes and just have a switcher to switch 
in between the videotapes. Now we’ve got a system where we 
can load it all on to hard drives on a Macintosh and then she 
has an actual Midi keyboard in front of her with lots of labels 
on it and ahs all these loops for every song, so right on the 
down beat, she is actually hitting keys on the keyboard so it 
does trigger right with the music. There’s no way to go wrong 
when you have that sought of technology working with you 
and someone good operating it.

So Camilla is like a 5th member?

Yeah, definitely. And it’s a really important part of what we do.

It’s so mesmerizing, during the show it’s hard to know where 
to look.

That’s kind  of the idea. That’s why we keep the lights 
somewhat low down on us, so people aren’t  just staring at 
Maynard, y’know, singing, like a lot of time ends up 
happening. It’s better, I think to get this whole show and 
make people take it all in at once and then it becomes larger 
than life.

It certainly works, because you do find yourself looking at all 
the members of the band.

I think it’s kind of the same thing when your mixing albums 
too, some people want to turn the guitar up, or turn the 
drums up, or make the vocals louder and all that does is 
make everything else sound smaller. It’s when everything is 
right in it’s space and at the right speed and level, that’s 
when you get the real size illusion going where it really gets 
large.

When you’re working on specific drum parts for a song, how 
much detail do you personally go into when compiling your 
ideas? Do you plan out exactly what you’re going to play, bar-
for-bar, or is ti more spontaneously constructed?

 The grooves of the verses and the choruses are pretty 
planned out. We rehearse a lot before we go into the studio. 
The fills and things can change all the time, because to me 
that’s not so critical, as long as aesthetically they’re leading 
one part to the next, that’s what a fill needs to do. But the 
grooves are pretty consistent, they don’t change too much 
unless we go ahead and add a whole other bridge or 
something like that, which we do on some of them just to 
keep it interesting, and have a little bit of a jam session 
which keeps it fun. Other than that, they’re pretty set out or 
thought out and set in stone.

Do you go away on your own jot anything down? Do you 
practice it by yourself?

No not really, usually I just practice it with the guys because 
that’s the situation that it has to work in, especially texture 
wise, it’s hard to know what will work and what won’t if your 
not playing it with them. I mean, if there was some beat I 
heard in my head that I think would really work but it’s to 
technically difficult to pull off, then I might ‘woodshed’ on 
something like that. Bu that would be the only case if it’s just 
something I can’t play, technical-wise I might rehearse I little 
on my own. But usually I just try playing what I have under 
my belt with the songs at that point in time and that way I’m 
more sensitive to the song rather than trying to practice over 
the music the other guys are paying with me.

Do you ever get into a rehearsal room with a particular 
pattern or groove and say, “OK, let’s jam on this and see 
where it takes us”?

Oh, definitely. A lot of songs got started like that. Anyone of 
the four of us will come in with a riff or idea and we’re all 
open enough, and we just turn on a tape machine and just 
jam on it as far as we can. After we get hours and hours of 
these weird space jams then we go back and listen to them 
and try to find the little jewels that popped up along the 
journey then find ways to plot, y’know, arrange them and put 
them together and that’s what turns into a Tool song.

That must be the difficult part.

Yeah, that’s when the real work starts, that’s for sure. I’m 
always amazed at how many things always seem to pop up 
out of those jams when the invention is really kicked up into 
high gear. That’s the fun part definitely, all that exploration it 
always seems to pay off in such a cool way it’s funny a lot of 
the time when you listen back it’s the parts that you didn’t 
even realize it when it was ging on that are interesting! 
Sometimes it’s the train wrecks that almost occur, if you can 
reproduce those and learn them with each other then it really 
does pay off.

What about, for example ’46 and 2’ thinking of the main 
breakdown where you do that drum solo. Was that 
spontaneous or did you have a basic road map of where you 
wanted to go with that?

Um, well that part, we knew we were going to break it down, I 
told and Adam and Justin that they had to hold it down, so I 
could just wail over the top of it. But that was one of those 
things where it would change every time. And then once it got 
recorded, I played it like it is on the record a lot of times live, 
some nights I’ll just go ahead and do something different on 
it, but it always gets a little scary for the other guys when I do 
that because they’re so used to hearing that part and 
knowing when to come in, if I start really going for it 
sometimes, they really lose it (chuckles) or sometimes I lose 
it, but  it’s all good, it’s what keeps it fun and keeps it 
interesting. it’s fun to experiment a little bit here and there, 
even in front of a huge crowd. If you blow it, you blow it, it’s 
OK.

You still have room to be able to mix things up live. I noticed 
with the live performance of ‘Schism’ that you inserted a 
different part in the middle, it went somewhere else.

Oh, yeah. We try to keep re-arranging things all the time 
whenever we have an idea about something like that we’ll do 
it. Like ‘Stink fist’ we added a little part also, especially on 
the tunes that we’ve played for a while we try to go back and 
do things to them to keep them fresh.

The Paiste Cymbal Shell Kit that you have had constructed: 
have you used it live yet?

Yeah, I have. I used it in America on the last couple of tours, 
but it weighs so much I think it would have cost a fortune with 
all the flying we had to do on the gig over here going to 
Japan and New Zealand and Australia, so I couldn’t afford to 
take it. Maybe next time I’ll bring it over.

What’s the big difference you found between that one and 
your regular kit?

The overall volume of the toms is quite a bit louder, I think. 
Just a transient attack off the toms is really intense, they cut 
through almost anything. The sustain isn’t as warm sounding, 
but it is so harsh, it’s like an industrial kit. It’s a great Heavy 
Metal rockin’ kit (laughs). I mean I definitely prefer the wood 
drums on some of the more sensitive songs, they just have 
such a beautiful warm sound. But there’s certain tunes that 
are the heavier ones, where that kit just destroys anything 
else I ever played on.

Your kit, live, sounds beautiful. I know sometimes in the 
studio you’ll tune your toms to suit the key of the song you 
are playing.

Yeah. It’s almost impossible to do that live, I mean, I try 
somewhat, but you don’t want to take five minutes between 
every song, and it only takes one song, really, to knock a 
head out of pitch when you’re really slamming. But I think 
the drums sound best when you hit them hard, so I’m hitting 
pretty hard all through the set.

In between Tool’s commitments, have you had the chance to 
pursue any session work? Is that something you’ll look at 
doing?

I a friend calls me up or something, or a lot of people give 
me things. I would be willing to play on them if I like them, 
but now if I don’t really like the songs when I hear them on a 
demo I just don’t see any reason to play on it anymore. So 
I’m pretty picky about things like that. One of my side 
projects, actually, the ‘Pygmy Love Circus’, we just finished a 
record, just got it mastered this week, So that one will 
probably be coming out within a couple of months. I’m 
hoping, anyway.      

Is there another project you have that’s electronically based?

Yeah, ‘Zaum’. There’s actually a good chance I may start 
doing some work on that at the end of the tour also, and 
maybe even during the breaks we have. My friend Chris who I 
was doing that with, has finally finished off a job that he’s 
been working on with some other player’s that’s been taking 
up a lot of his time. I think we’ll be able to dedicate a little 
bit of time to that project again which I’m really looking 
forward to.

Is that a cross section again of acoustic and electronic?

Yeah, you know, I may almost end up going all electronic on 
that one now. I have a friend of mine who’s a great inventor, 
Vincent DiFranco, and he’s developing a Midi Trigger Interface 
where instead of using the old  Simmons brain that’s a 15 or 
20 year old computer, which can be really scary. Now I’m 
gonna be able to use this program called Reactor  that’s kind 
of a virtual synthesizer recording program and load in 
samples just on a G4 Mac. So my whole electronic system is 
going to be updated pretty soon, and I’m looking forward to 
kind of breaking in that new equipment on the ‘Zaum’ project 
of it all works well.

Is that something you could possibly play live, and do a tour 
with? Or is it more of a side project?

It could go live. We played live a few times just around LA, 
like at friends parties and things like that. We’ll kind of have 
to see where it takes us. But all the music we have done so 
far is live based, from improvisations together, kind of the 
same way Tool stuff is, but it’s left a little bit more up to the 
environment I guess. We don’t edit it down and go back and 
rearrange it as much, so it really is left in a more 
improvisational pure state.  

With Tool’s success,  and your own as a drummer at the top 
of his field, what do you see for the future both with yourself 
drumming-wise and also with Tool?

I feel like I’m pretty much still an infant , (laughs) in a way, 
God there are so many players out there, guys doing these 
clinics, they have like total monkey shows and stuff going. 
It’s pretty incredible what people can do, at least technically-
wise, behind a drum kit. I feel that I have hardly scratched 
the surface there. I think that usually the place that those 
guys lack is that their bands suck, and it’s really too bad 
because it doesn’t have much emotion to a lot of it, it’s


kabir/akhtar | kabir@t.d.n