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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Hit Parader

Date: July, 2001

Transcribed by
heidi (

  page: 70
 title: Tool: Ear Candy

"Our goal remains to touch our audience on a deep, psychological 

It takes a powerful, secure band to continually play with fire and 
not get singed by the flames. Quite obviously, Tool is just such a 
band. In their case, the "fire" of which we speak deals with the 
inordinate amount of time this bizarre member of the metal community 
has taken between each and every one of tehir album releases. It's 
now been more than four years since the band's last album, Aenima, 
graced teh rock world-the same amount of time that separated that 
disc from its predecessor, Undertow. While during that period the 
band's members have remained in the public eye to varying degrees 
(most notably vocalist Maynard James Keenan who recently fronted A 
Perfect Circle on their maiden voyage through the rock world), it has 
been a long,long time since the contemporary music masses have been 
allowed to come face-to-face with Tool. Sure other successful bands 
have taken nearly half a decade between releases- the likes of Rage 
Against The Machine and '80's mainstays Def Leppard spring instantly 
to mind- but as often as not sucha recording schedule has left those 
bands in a state of almost toatl disarray.
     That is obviously not a problem for Keenan, Danny Carey, Adam 
Jones and Justin Chancellor. While it is true that an entire 
generation of hard rock fans have grown to maturity since this 
unusual act last graced us with new music, as proven by the immediate 
success of their latest studio offering, Lateralus, the almost 
mysticals appeal of their hgighly individualistic approach remains as 
compelling as ever. Indeed, it almost seems that during their time 
away from the spotlight, the aura that has always surrounded Tool has 
grown even stronger. Today, the band finds itself wallowing in 
abundance of riches, with their long time followers still chomping at 
the bit, ready to devour the group's latest musical product, while a 
new generation of fans seem able and willing to turn their attentions 
Tool's way. 
     "We've always attempted to reach our audience ina different way 
than a lot of other bands," Carey said. "Our goal remains to touch 
them on a deeper psychological and subconscious level. It's almost 
too easy to get them to stand up and respond to what you do ona basic 
level- but we want something more than that. We want to touch their 
     Tool's soul-searching approach has certainly served them well. 
Infact, of all the bands that sprung to life in the convoluted, often 
confusing rock and roll scene of the 1990's, Tool may well rank as 
the most unusual. With their penchant for creating the most haunting, 
probing and deeply disturbing odes that human ears have ever 
experienced- and then compounding that aural experience by producing 
videos that only serve to heighten the creative tension their music 
puts forth- this Los Angles-based quartet has won universal acclaim 
for both their bold artistic spirit and their off-the-wall rock 
sensibilities. Now with the release of their latest disc, this 
distinctive unit seems primed to take their netherwordly musical 
approach to an even more prestigious and influential level.
    "We're not doing this to become famous," Keenan said. "We're 
doing this because it's what we do. It's a natural extension of who 
we are and what we are. If people find that a little different or 
mysterious, then I guess that's good."
     Clearly one would be hard pressed to name a major band that has 
ever been more cloaked in mystery and intrigue than Tool. From their 
earliest days in 1992, following the release of their debut disc, 
Opiate, the band began perfecting their unique formula for success; 
create some of the most thought-provoking, experimental and downright 
distressing music in the world, dress it in an array of 
superficially "metallic" trappings, and then release it on an 
unsuspecting scence. At first, the band's approach was met with 
reactions ranging from confusion to outright disgust. Abut slowly and 
surely, as they relentlessly toured the North American continent, 
Tool began the difficuld task of winning over the uninitiated. By the 
time their second disc, the aforementioned Undertow, hit the streets 
in the spring of 1993, the ground-swell of support the group had been 
cultivating began to evolve into a seething swarm of fanatics, all of 
whom were addicted to Tool's dark musical stylings.
     "Our music has to inspire us and make us think- and it has to 
inspire everyone who hears it. It must make them think too," Jones 
said. "If it doesn't do that, then what was the point of making it in 
the first place?"
     Indeed Tool's music did serve to inspire, while raising the 
thought quotient of all who encountered it. Through such ground-
breaking songs as Prison Sex and Sober, Tool managed to bring and 
entirely new sound and style to the rock front line, proving in the 
process that there were truly to be no artistic bounds geared to 
constrict the creative intent of any band. Their videos further 
fueled their fame, with their unique stop-motion animation approach 
winning awards both for its creativity and its content.
     But dispite their success, which was furthered by the platinum 
status of 1997's Aenima, and despite their many industry awards, 
there were those within the music community who did little to hide 
their outright hatred for Tool, believing the band's approach was too 
dark and dreary for public consumption. But for every individual who 
was turned off by the group's style, there were more who loved the 
band for their brazen unpredicability and overt boldness, rallying to 
their cause like buzzards to a dead carcass. It seemed the stranger, 
more bizarre and more grotesque Tool became, the more both their fame 
and infamy seemed to grow. It was uniquely contemporary rock and roll 
formula- disgust your audience to the point where they demanded more!
     "Every aspect of what we do, wheather it be each song, each 
video or each album cover, is tortured over by each of us," Jones 
said. "Nothing comes easy for this band."
     Certainly with the arrival of Lateralus, any lingering suspicion 
that Tool may now be softening their harsh artistic stance has been 
quickly discarded. This is an album that takes all the concepts 
presented on the group's previous efforts and makes them look 
positively commercial in comparison. Few albums in recent rock 
history have been so unwaveringly intense, so continually perverse 
and so unfalteringly focused on the mission-at-hand. This is a band 
that clearly enjoys existing in the dark, dank musical hole, and 
according to Keenan, no amount of fame, fortune and attention is 
going to lure Tool out of their dungeon of creative passion.
     "Once you release an album you're a product," the singer 
said. "That's a fact of life. You can deny it to yourself, but deep 
down you know it's true. I heard fans say we sold out when the last 
albums became successful. I had to agree with them. We are a product. 
But we're also true to what we believe."

Posted to t.d.n: 05/27/01 19:34:14