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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: rollingstone

Date: July, 2001

Transcribed by
sarah cooney (sarah@blackmilk.org)


  page: 41
 title: "tool bring the pain"
author: keith harris
tool bring the pain
hammerstein ballroom
may 20th, 2001
new york
"restraint" isn't a word generally associated with tool, who are 
so enamored of expansive compositions they could barely 
cram fourteen songs into their two-hour set.  but in fact these 
thundering prog-rock technicians thrive on self-imposed 
limitation.  bald, leather-encased frontman maynard james 
keenan was imprisoned on a small, elevated platform that 
mirrored danny carey's drum riser with symmetrical severity.  
keenan, crouched and clenching his microphone with two 
hands, barely moved around the platform.  bassist justin 
chancellor and guitarist adam jones anchored themselves 
stolidly on either side of the stage, all but motionless.
from the opening spasm of "the grudge," off the band's new 
disc, lateralus, the music exuded the same sense of austere 
discipline.  throughout a set divided almost evenly among 
tool's three albums, the quartet largely remained in drum-
bass-guitar lock step, forgoing the impressionist tangents of 
past concerts.  on new songs like "schism," jones' solos didn't 
so much break out of the grind as roil about inside their 
labyrinthine constriction.  the visuals displayed on screens 
above the stage were just as deliberately constipated in their 
repetition:  various sexless, claylike beings twitched in time 
with the nuanced bombast to genuinely creepy effect.
keenan's few between-song comments were as open to 
interpretation as those visuals.  "we'd like to thank all of you 
who, in effect, voted for us this week," he said.  then, after 
wishing rage against the machine well, he 
concluded, "hopefully, we can erase all this bad shit that's 
happened in the past three years," leaving listeners to 
wonder whether he meant bush in the white house or carson 
daly on TRL.  whatever the case, keenan diplomatically gave 
the audience an opportunity to cheer.  tool's assault may 
thrive on mathematical precision, but they also know when to 
leave their options open.

Posted to t.d.n: 06/14/01 21:03:13