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 (email@example.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.