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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Muchmusic

Date: February, 1997

Transcribed by
Rory Mitchell (rorytate@gpfn.sk.ca)


  page: 
 title: Theresa Roncon
author: Tool Muchmusic spotlight: transcribed interview

Spotlight begins with graphic showing general info on Tool.

- based in Los Angeles
- debut was '92 EP Opiate'
- debut album was '93's Undertow'
- bassist Adam Jones masterminds videos
- latest release is '96's Aenima'

Some live concert footage is shown from Dec '96 performance in 
Toronto. Interviewer starts speaking over top of it.

Interviewer (Theresa Roncon) (May '93): A lot of the people that come 
see you are . . . and listen to your music - it's a crowd that likes 
heavy music, generally, socially aware . . . not necessarily message 
oriented or anything like that . . . but that has insight into the 
songs as well as into the lyrics and that does stay out of the 
mainstream. That seems to be really important, that, you know, maybe 
you make it on college radio or stuff like that, but that you don't 
have a top forty hit on an AOR station or anything like that. Is that 
how you see yourselves as well?

Maynard (the whole band is there): I don't know if it's actually a
conscious effort. I just think that there's just a place where we come
from, and what we understand as being art . . . and something that has
substance . . . to us . . . that doesn't fit into that scheme. So I 
don't think that'll ever be a problem to us, it's not even a 
consideration, you know, trying to stay away from it. We just . . . it 
just won't happen, because it's just not where we're at - it's not 
what we are.

Danny: I mean it could, but if it did, it would be more by accident. 
We play the music that we feel like playing, that's pretty much where 
we stand, and that's why we do it.

(More concert footage)

Theresa: Are you serious about any issues? Is there anything that's . 
. .

Maynard: Yeah there's a lot of political issues that we're serious 
about.

Danny: We all have our separate views about that.

Paul: Personal politics, which in turn makes social politics.

Theresa: What about censorship? There's the one video that we play . . 
.

Danny: Oh, we believe in that.

Adam: Well, we've given up.

Maynard: As you can see here, I've been censored. [holds his shirt up 
to the camera. Depicts one man lying on his back, legs spread, hips 
thrust in the air, with another man above him reaching down, forearm 
half way up the man's ass. The region has something written over it, 
looks like TOOL (tough to make out - sun is shining too brightly on 
half of it).]

Danny: We got our anti-censorship video censored, so . . .

Adam: So give it up. You can't win.

Theresa: We played it all the time on MuchMusic.

Danny: You see, people are free in Canada.

Maynard: Yeah but were we naked, or did we have parental guidance
stickers over our . . . items?

Theresa: We thought it was very smart. We though that was [laughs] 
very cute . . . very funny.

Adam and Paul (In unison): They fell for it!

Maynard: All right!

(Video for Hush is played)

(Feb '94 - inside a pet store, Maynard alone holding a bird 
(parakeet?), petting it as he talks. Pet store noises quite prominent 
during interview, including a voice clearly heard asking, "Have you 
done the filtration yet?") Interviewer (I don't know her name): Does 
your anger come from direct experiences, or is it just anger at . . . 
about life in general?

Maynard: I think it's a combination of things. Sometimes I think in
people's growing experiences, they tend to catch light of something 
that maybe the people around them didn't get to understand. And in 
some cases I think that kind of understanding, rather than helping a 
person, ends up hindering them in the face of everyday realities and 
procedures and stuff. It just ends up being a burden, you know, like 
the kid growing up too fast. It just ends up kinda messing him up a 
little bit. I'm not saying that they shouldn't have those experiences, 
I just think they should be dealt with better . . . I don't know.

(Clip from Sober)

Int: I find the videos in some ways really grotesque. And . . . um . . 
. which I guess is what you want - a little bit of that reaction?

Maynard: I'm not really sure if it's a matter of reaction, really. I
think that they're just images that we've come to be comfortable with 
- the balances of images. I think a lot of people who've been 
sheltered all their life, and ignored realities, tend to not really 
understand the ugly side of nature as being necessary and present. And 
I think it's unfortunate - I think they're essential elements to 
growth.

(Video for Sober)

Theresa (May '93 - with Maynard alone): A lot has been said about your
penchant for real horrific images, and yet you're these really nice
normal guys who love pets. But why do you have such a penchant for
horrific album covers, you know, dark bizarre videos?

Maynard: I think most of us grew up in a pretty sterile environment. A
lot of that stuff just wasn't around. It's all pretty much peaches and
cream . . . flowers . . . everything's nice, ignore all the bad stuff.
And the world's just not like that. And I think that the sooner people
get to the point where they realize that the ugly stuff is just as
important as the beautiful stuff - it goes hand in hand, I think that 
we can get on with evolving.

Theresa: Do you find beauty in horrific images?

Maynard: Yeah. Definitely.

Theresa: How so?

Maynard: It's just there. It's a part of reality, it's a part of life 
- birth/death, light/dark, it's just there.

Theresa: What about your new video Prison Sex? That one has some 
pretty dark imagery, I believe it's all metaphoric for child abuse.

Maynard: Sexual child abuse.

Theresa: Sexual child abuse. Why did you guys write that song? Why did
you make a video about it?

Maynard: Generally we write . . . the music comes first, and then the
ideas come afterwards. And the reason ideas come afterwards is because
the music ends up kinda tapping into something way down deep inside 
that hasn't been addressed yet, or needs to be addressed. And that 
song was written out of need. So . . . thus the video.

Theresa: I think that there may be some question about Prison Sex 
because some of the images are disturbing even though it's an animated 
video. What would you say to people who may question it?

Maynard: They have some soul searching to do. Some people have thought 
it really disturbing, and I've had a few friends who've found out that 
there are some memories that they've repressed - that they didn't 
remember for a long time. And there's some issues that they needed to 
address before they come out the wrong way. I think sometimes people 
repress those childhood memories to the point where they come out 
later in really ugly ways. They pretty much dictate a lot of people's 
behaviour - the way they deal with people on an everyday basis; their 
job situations, you know, everything, it just dictates their actions. 
And unless they can get a handle on what those memories were, and work 
around them and work with them, I don't think they can really lead 
normal functioning lives.

Theresa: Do you think it's a video suitable for a music channel that 
kids should be watching?

Maynard: You know, there's a lot of videos on there that I think are 
far more offensive.

Theresa: Like what do you find offensive, for example?

Maynard: The Robert Palmer girls [split screen showing videos he
mentions]. I think that's out of control. A lot of the gangster rap
videos - although they're saying a lot, they're still treating women 
like dog meat. I think that's *way* more disturbing than our video.

(Video for Prison Sex: Viewer Discretion is Advised warning before it)

Theresa (same May '93 interview with Maynard alone): Why don't you put
yourselves in your videos?

Maynard: Same kinda thing as the words . . . it ends up, people start
latching onto the personalities involved rather than listening to the
music . . . and the artwork that's being presented. I mean like, the 
Mona Lisa, you look at the Mona Lisa, and you absorb the Mona Lisa - 
you don't really worry about where the artist is living, and what he 
looks like . . . and how he drinks his coffee, and . . . who cares, 
you know . . . how he cuts his hair - it's not important. What's 
important is the image he's produced.

Theresa: You don't want to develop a cult of personality at all.

Maynard: No, it's not really necessary.

Theresa: How important is art to this band? It seems like you bring it 
up constantly.

Maynard: It's important . . . it's everything.

(Video for Stinkfist)

Theresa (May '93 - with whole band): Do you guys all have a similar
philosophy about life?

Maynard: Generally.

Paul: Well, if not, we wouldn't be hanging out together, probably.

Theresa: And what is that? [silence for a moment]

Maynard: Live wrong and perspire.

Paul: What he said.

Adam: Shockabreewalker [gives heavy metal salute to the camera].

Maynard: [laughs] Shockabreewalker. Live wrong and perspire [gives 
Spock greeting to camera. Video fades.]

Posted to t.d.n: 05/27/97 17:51:51