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A TOOL-Related Article

Publication: Livewire Magazine

Date: February / March 1997 (Volume 7, #3)

Transcribed by 3 people, see below.




Transcribed by:
        Mitch (XPET@aol.com)
        TKcommeau (Travis) (Travis@Webstersite.com)
        Pete Meincke (pete_meincke@net.com)

[All 3 of these guys typed this monster up, and I picked randomly which 
one I used.  But they all deserve credit, this thing is HUGE. -- Kabir]


 title: Angry Jung Men!
author: Loraine Gennaro

Tool let down their guard for a look at the soul and consciousness of 
this complex musical entity.

In a perfect world, artists, i.e.rock stars, would be left alone to hone 
their craft. When they finished creating, they would simply put their 
art, i.e. music, on the market for public consumption. But since this 
isn't a perfect world, things aren't quite that simple. Plenty of stuff 
gets in the way - record companies, for example, and the press. Ah, yes, 
the press. Journalists want pieces of rock stars. Little pieces here and 
there. They chip away until there's practically nothing left. It's a 
parasitic relationship, beyond doubt. Each has something the other needs. 
"It's part of the game. All I can do is kind of just play the game but 
still try to keep some kind of happiness for myself - and my own 
dignity," says Tool guitarist Adam Jones. "You know, we keep trying to do 
this give and take thing - but we don't get to take back. We keep giving, 
and I think you're gonna see Tool kind of like go, 'Sorry, we're not 
doing interviews', and just concentrate on the music." 
There are plenty of artists who refuse outright to play the game. Eddie 
Vedder and his Jammys pop foremost to mind. Then others, like Tool, play 
the game, but _only_ by their rules, _when_ they feel like it (which 
isn't too often), with the players of their choosing. We try to be as 
selective as possible. We try to live our lives instead of talking about 
them," says Tool drummer Danny Carey. To illustrate how selective these 
guys are, when a very popular, highly respected guitar magazine requested 
the honor of Jones' presence, they were refused. Funny, because the 
guitarist says he wishes there was some way people could get inside his 
head - if people really want to get something out of Tool's music. Well, 
one would think that doing interviews (and lots of them) would be a real 
fine place to start. But Jones doesn't see it like that. "It's nothing 
you can do in an interview. It's nothing you can do writing it down. You 
have to like, hang out with someone. It's so hard to get the message 
across. When you're doing an interview, you're stuck into going, 'Okay, 
this is what we're about.' Most of the time, they (press) don't 
understand that. I can defend it, I can promote it, I can talk about it, 
but the only way someone's gonna get it is if I write about it." 
Right now, with the release of AEnima, Tool is a highly sought after 
band. A hot ticket. And they know it. Fact that the album debuted at No. 
2 on the Billboard album charts only compounds matters. One would think a 
band would be happier than a pig in shit about all this, but that's not 
necessarily the case with Tool. Jones says, "And it's like, 'Okay, you're 
No. 2 on the chart so everyone wants to interview Tool now'. And they 
want to compare you to the most popular band at the time. When we first 
started we were a metal band and they were comparing us to Metallica and 
whoever was popular at the time. And then we were alternative when 
Nirvana got popular, so we were an alternative band. Then nine inch nail 
got popular, so we were industrial. And now were this entity. And that's 
the point. People can't categorize us 'cause we have so many different 
influences in our music. Dave Botrill did our engineering, now it's 'Oh 
you guys sound like King Crimson.' Great. So, you know. You can tell I'm 
kind of disgusted by the whole..."
Pity, then, the poor Belgian journalist who, during a telephone 
interview, told Jones Tool sounds like Marilyn Manson. The guitarist hung 
up on him. If you listen closely enough, you can _still_ hear the dial 
tone. "Because to me, all that was was so that he could write Marilyn 
Manson in his interview and put it in bold type," says Jones. "And we 
have nothing to do with those guys. I don't dislike those guys at all, 
but we have _nothing_ to do with them, they have _nothing_ to do with us. 
There was no reason to do that." 
Life's a bitch, and then you become a rock star - or if you're lucky, a 
critic who gets to torment rock stars. Then again, if you were accosted 
by tape recorder-wielding journalists most days of your life - sometimes 
as many as 12 times per day at the height of press season - you'd find 
plenty of reasons to bitch and moan too. Like most bands, Tool says the 
worst part about doing interviews is the repetition. You say the same 
things over and over again. Same shit, different journalist. New bassist 
Justin Chancellor (who replaces Paul D'Amour) says another negative 
aspect about press is not being able to get the words our exactly the way 
you intend them. Right about now, this holds special meaning for him.
Last night was a big party night for Tool for New York City. Psychotica 
is the opener on the current leg of Tool's U.S. tour, and lead singer 
Patrick Briggs invited everyone out to his club, Squeezebox, for a night 
of debauchery after the show. Today, Chancellor and his Tool mates are 
feeling the aftermath; hence, nothing's coming too easily. To top it all 
off, something flu-like is making the rounds of the Tool camp at the 
moment. Carey and Chancellor are for the most part okay, but Jones and 
singer Maynard James Keenan are not. Jones is sequestered in the back of 
the tour bus coughing his head off, while Keenan is quarantined somewhere 
with head over a vaporizer and towels strategically positioned around 
head and throat region. Management informs various people backstage that 
Keenan will not be using his throat for anything until showtime (read: 
all you journalists expecting to talk to him are shit outta luck). 
Tonight is another sold-out show for this band and God forbid Tool has to 
cancel if their singer won't be able to do what he's paid to do. The 
situation at the moment kind of brings to mind Keenan's lyrics: "Sure 
could use a vacation from this bullshit, three-ring circus side show." 
Those lyrics are from the song "AEnema" off Tool's latest album AEnima. 
Look closely. There's a difference between the two - one that very likely 
escaped even the most discerning eye. The album title, AEnima, is 
pronounced like anima which means "soul or consciousness: life" according 
to Webster's dictionary. Also in Jungian psychology (Tool frequently 
draws inspiration from the theories of noted psychologist Carl Jung), 
anima refers to the feminine inner self. Contrast this to the song, 
"AEnema," which is pronounced like enema (as in injecting fluid into the 
rectum). This ever-so-slight, oh-so-clever double-entendre is a very 
revealing glimpse inside the mind of Tool. William Shakespeare said in 
MacBeth, "Fair is foul, and foul is fair." Things are not as they seem.
"Stinkfist," Tool's controversial first single, is a fine example of 
things not being as they seem. By now, everybody's caught wind of what 
the song is supposed to be about, or what everybody thinks the song is 
about. A seemingly uncomfortable sexual act, right? Yes and no. In 
examining the lyrics, Keenan is talking about how he's become 
"desensitized to everything." He's also talking about sticking his 
"finger," then "knuckle," then "elbow deep inside the borderline." What 
the author has done is conceptually brilliant, because he's used the act 
of fist-fucking as a metaphor for what's really ailing him. And, if you 
read between the lines, it's not the need to get laid. Why then has 
everyone chosen to latch onto the hardcore sexuality of the song and 
bypass the deeper (no pun intended) meaning? "Nobody wants to think. 
That's why I don't like printing the lyrics because people don't get it. 
There's a handful of people (who do get it). And it's not important that 
they get it. There's the four of us. It's kind of our expression. We're 
not political, we're not trying to get across a message or anything like 
that. It's just kind of what we're into. We're all very different. We're 
all very individual thinkers and don't agree on a lot of stuff, but when 
we all four come together, we like what is put out. I think the whole 
concept of "Stinkfist" was just excellent, and when we picked it as a 
single, I knew it would cause some controversy," admits Jones. 
And it did. MTV, in their profound morality and infinite wisdom, censored 
the title because they found it way too offensive. As a result, 
"Stinkfist" is now known as "Track Number One" on the music channel. Keep 
in mind these are the same programming geniuses who don't appear to have 
any problem scheduling Michael Jackson (an alleged child molester) 
weekend marathons and providing up-to-the-minute reports on the status of 
Madonna's uterine contractions (an unwed mommy with a fondness for 
grabbing her crotch and publishing pornographic pictures of herself). The 
guitarist quips, "You know, I'm sure if Madonna put out 'Stinkfist,' they 
would have called it 'Stinkfist.' If she put out 'Bloody Cum Fart,' they 
would have called it 'Bloody Cum Fart.' I think MTV was even asked about 
that - what the difference is - and they went "Well, that's Madonna.' It 
comes down to making money. And that's fine. It's their rules, it's their 
game. If they want to play our video, great." 
Certain like-minded, short-sighted radio stations across this great land 
of ours followed MTV's lead and will not announce the song by its proper 
name either. Like all bands, Tool needed to come up with a radio single. 
"We threw that at them because it seemed to be the most mass appeal, 
catchy song. But I don't think we're about that at all. So it's just kind 
of like, 'Here are the formulas, okay? Here's where we'll try to fit in - 
but we really don't fit into that. It's throwing people bones," Jones 
states. 
You might think Tool would be madder that a Pit Bull on the attack over 
certain mediums fucking with their art. But, it's really no skin off 
Tool's collective ass. "You know what? There's nothing you can do. All 
you can do is just try and keep your dignity." Jones continues slowly and 
wearily, "You try and explain things, you try and speak in metaphors and 
poetic ways and prose, and all some people do is try and think of ways to 
prevent other people from getting into it. There's no control over that. 
That's the monster, you know. We'll let the monster rage, and we'll stay 
where we're at and do what we're doing."
For everyone who thinks "Stinkfist" is offensive, Tool actually did one 
better on their previous Undertow album with a song called "Four 
Degrees." The lyrics go: "Lay back and let me show you another way / Take 
it up higher / You'll like this in / Don't pull it out." In the creator's 
own words, as previously explained in Tool's website: "Apparently the 
anal cavity has eight more muscles and is four degrees warmer than the 
vagina." Damn shame they didn't make a video of that gem for MTV. Then of 
course was "Prison Sex" which had nothing at all to do with inmates 
dropping bars of soap in the shower - but that's the image most people 
naturally and automatically conjure up every time the song was mentioned. 
Perhaps we'll never know why the anal cavity rears its head so often in 
Tool songs. And that's fine, because some things are better left alone to 
fester in the dark. In the end, Tool will come out of this "Stinkfist" 
controversy smelling like a rose, and they know it. After all, there's no 
keeping a good thing down. AEnima, the album that Tool fans waited three 
years for, is the shit. Shortly after its No. 2 chart debut, the record 
dropped off considerably. But, no one in this band should be too 
concerned with making next month's rent. While Tool's other two releases, 
1992's EP Opiate and 1993's album Undertow, certainly fared very well 
sales and otherwise, Aenima exploded upon impact. Jones says he was just 
as surprised as everybody else. "I wasn't expecting it. I don't think 
that any of us were expecting it. But we knew that our fans before were 
really kind of in the dark about when we were coming out and what we 
we're doing. I think that's why we debuted at No. 2 and dropped right 
away." Chancellor and Carey both say they also weren't expecting to debut 
at No. 2 - instead - No. 1. "I was bummed. I mean I really thought with 
everything else that was on the market that we would enter at No. 1, 
but..." says Carey. Chancellor says he too was disappointed AEnima didn't 
do better than No. 2, but admits, "We didn't really know how it would be 
taken because it was pretty out on a limb compared to other stuff. When 
we wrote it all, it was a pretty private thing, you know? When you share 
that with everyone else, it's either gonna do well or shit." When asked 
to clarify what he means by "out on a limb compared to other stuff," he 
says compared to what other bands were doing at the time of Tool's debut.

When most albums clock in at just about an hour, AEnima is almost 80 
minutes in length. Tool says they didn't realize how long it was until 
they began mastering the record. Because it was over the limit, they had 
to cut some things. A two-CD set was a place they didn't want to go, so 
they made what they had fit. Don't look for lyrics on the album. The only 
place you're gonna find those is on the internet where Keenan released 
them. The reason for that is the decision to publish them after the 
record's release. 
The band spent two years writing in the South of France at the Renne 
LeChateau. Nice work if you can get it, huh? While most teenagers were 
worried about whether acne would clear up in time for the high school 
prom, and the rest of us were concerned about paying our car insurance 
premiums, these bastard Tool guys spent two friggin' years in the 
playground of the rich and famous. Carey says they chose the South of 
France not for its sinful French cuisine and vintage Bordeauxs, but for 
its power. Power? "It's a power place so we had to stay there as long as 
possible. Certain places on the planet have more power than others, and 
if you can tap into that and take advantage of it, it's to your benefit," 
explains the drummer. When the creative process was complete, Tool headed 
back to the States to record the album - on an 8-track in three days. 
That's quite an extreme; two years to make, three days to record. "Well 
the writing is the hard part with any record. We've always been a band 
where before we even go into the recording process we have everything 
written and ready to go. The recording process is just trying to capture 
what went on," says Carey. 
Once again, the power Tool is supercharged and prepared to do some 
serious dismemberment to anyone who dares come near. Dark and brooding 
with a mind all its own, AEnima is not just an album, it's a way of life. 
Keenan heightens his themes of fear, intolerance and self-loathing. 
"Hooker With A Penis" is a contemptuous tirade aimed at a fan who once 
told the vocalist he thought Tool had sold out ("All you know about me is 
what I've sold you, dumb fuck / I sold out long before you ever even 
heard my name / I sold my soul to make a record, dip shit / And you 
bought one"). There's all sorts of real-life inspired stuff on this 
record. "Message To Harry Manback" (with some parts spoken in Italian) is 
an actual message from Keenan's answering machine. Carey tells the story 
of some Italian guy who showed up at Keenan's house while one of his 
roommates was on the road. This guy claimed he had permission to stay at 
the house. When the roommate was finally contacted, they found out this 
definitely wasn't the case. In the meantime, the unwelcome house guest 
had eaten all their food and run up their phone bill. After they gave him 
the boot, he called the answering machine and left the message contained 
in "Message to Harry Manback." Our of all the segues and songs on the 
album, Carey says that one gets the most inquiries. "No one knows for 
sure if it's for real or not," he says. That and the German segue, "Die 
Eier Von Satan." A spoken word piece in German that sounds very violent 
and Facist, when translated, is actually a recipe for Mexican wedding 
cookies! The dichotomy between the two songs is perplexing. Carey says 
"Message To Harry Manback" sounds like it could be a love poem, when in 
reality it's a death threat, while "Die Eier Von Satan" sounds Facist, 
but in reality it is totally innocent. Once again, things are not as they 
seem. "Fair is foul, and foul is fair." Another funky segue is "Ions." 
Carey and Chancellor used a large sheet of metal to achieve the 
underlying rumbling/thunder like sound. Then Carey recorded a couple more 
tracks on top of that to provide the crackling/static electricity sound. 
The end result sounds like, well, ions. Unusual segues aside, the actual 
songs on AEnima can be summed up thematically in one word according to 
Tool. Evolution. 
"Evolution on a personal and species level," says Chancellor. In layman's 
terms, that means going through the necessary bullshit to get to a better 
place in your life. Carey agrees, "I think that's how people evolve, 
working through their problems." Jones expounds on evolution and how it 
relates to this record. 
"Evolution. Drastic change and evolution. I just think our society has 
kind of slowed down and become numb and a lot of people don't want to 
think. I think a lot of people are scared, they don't want to think about 
their existence, they want to take things for granted because they're 
gonna die, and no one knows what happens when you die. As far as I'm 
concerned, you die. That's it. It's a pretty scary thought. You need 
security. So a lot of those songs are kind of dealing with that."
Comic relief is of utmost importance in life, especially when your brain 
works overtime the way Tool's does. The members are all big fans of the 
late comedian Bill Hicks who is best known for his socially-conscious 
rants and raves about the human condition. He is sampled on the beginning 
of album closer, "Third Eye." Carey comments, "I think he was trying to 
accomplish the same thing we do through music, but his vehicle was 
comedy." It was Keenan who turned his bandmates onto Hicks.
We don't know too much about Maynard James Keenan - and there's a very 
good reason for that. He hasn't told us much. Us, meaning the public via 
the press. 
And that's just how he wants it. For the most part, he refused to do 
interviews. Certain people in his band will tell you that's because Tool 
is a band, so why should the burden of press fall neatly on one person, 
i.e. Keenan. What we do know about the singer is this. He believes in 
taking prudent care of his mind and body. The latter is especially 
obvious by looking at him; he's into Brazilian jujitsu. A former army 
dude who gave three years of his life to the military, Keenan even 
considered enrollment at West Point. But, he quit the military to study 
art, which eventually led to a job in L.A. applying spatial design 
concepts to remodeling pet stores. For further insight into just who this 
guy is, delve into Tool's lyrics. He is solely responsible for all of 
them. The vocalist recently relocated to Arizona from El Lay. "I like 
Arizona. 
It's better in many ways than L.A." That's putting it mildly. In the song 
"AEnema," Keenan wishes natural disasters upon his former home. ("... 
here in this hopeless fucking hole we call L.A. / The only way to fix it 
is to flush it all away / Any fucking time / Any fucking day / Learn to 
swim, I'll see you down in Arizona bay.") The song continues with Keenan 
rattling off a list of fuck-you's to people and things - including but 
not limited to - tattoos, junkies, and L. Ron Hubbard and his clones. But 
by far the best one on the list is: "Fuck all these dysfunctional 
insecure actresses." After writing that song, he probably _had_ to escape 
from L.A.
While Keenan may harbor a certain disdain for The City of Angels, it was 
the place where Tool got its start in 1991. He migrated there from from 
back east. Danny Carey, who came from Kansas and lived downstairs from 
Keenan, worked with the bands Green Jello and Pygmy Love Circus. The 
newest member of the band, Justin Chancellor, is from south of London and 
former bassist for Peach who played with Tool in Europe. Before joining 
Tool, Adam Jones worked as a sculptor and special effects designer where 
he learned the stop-motion camera techniques he would later apply in all 
of Tool's videos. Jones worked for many notables in the special effects 
field. In school, the guitarist says he started out by learning, as he 
puts it, "straight make-up," because he thought it would help (it didn't 
really help all that much, he admits). Of course it was a gamble quitting 
such a lucrative career and going for music. But, as anyone who's been 
there will tell you, nothing comes from not trying. "It has nothing to do 
with money. It has to about being happy (sic). I knew it (music) would be 
successful."
And so, it has been very successful for Tool. However, Jones says a lot 
of the members want to move on and do film, art work or other 
Tool-related projects. "I think the best thing about Tool is we're not 
rock stars. We're not rock stars, you know? I mean, I just think we're 
all artists, and we're in a really good spot to let go and do stuff to 
express ourselves. The music has just opened up doors for us and that's 
the best feeling in the world. I'm so happy how this is going. And it's 
really fun. It's not a job," he says.


kabir/akhtar | kabir@t.d.n