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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Esky Magazine

Date: June, 2001

Transcribed by
Simon Fazio (

  page: 28
 title: Tool come out of the Closet
author: Dan Lander and Danny Keenan

In 1996, Tool released the mega-selling Aenima. Then they 
disappeared. Five years on, a  triumphant return beckons...

It was a cold pale night in Canberra in 1997 : pale moon and 
that sort of chill that soaks its way through the warmest 
clothes. But even though a cold night in Canberra is colder 
than most, it hadn't stopped a massive crowd filing into the 
UC's Union Bar.
Resplendent in beanies and hoodies, the punters were there 
to see the brightest new hope in heavy rock, well, since 
anything : Tool. The LA quarter - Maynard James Keenan, 
Adam Jones, Danny Carey and Justin Chancellor - were 
touring in support of Aenima, one of the most successful 
heavy albums of all time, and expectations were high. Tool 
represented the perfect combination of hardcore aggression, 
twisted imagination and brilliant musicianship, and the world 
was lapping them up.
When the show started, Maynard - everyone’s favourite little 
man - appeared on stage painted an incandescent blue, and 
eerie figure in a dimly lit room, the perfect thinking guys rock 
god. He spent the first two songs facing the wrong way, 
amazingly shy despite that incredible voice. It didn't matter. 
The music spoke for itself.

Not a soul walked away disappointed - the show had 
exceeded all expectations and Tool has cemented their 
reputation as the premier metal band in the world. Six 
months later, they had disappeared without a trace...

It was the classic rock & roll story. Five years after releasing 
their debut EP, Opiate, Tool had finally realised their 
immense potential. They'd stunned the world and were 
poised to deliver the knockout punch; a band ready to write 
their name in stone next to the likes of Black Sabbath and 
Led Zeppelin.

Then, like the script of a bad movie, they were thrown into 
the sort of chaos only a corporate world can create. Their 
record company, Zoo, went broke and was taken over by a 
new batch of businessmen. The executive types didn't 
approach Tool about recording another album - the band's 
old contract said the record company had seven months to do 
so - and so Tool thought they were free agents.

The started to make plans for the future, as you do, but 
when Zoo (now known as Freeworld) got wind of it, the record 
company sued for breech of contract. Thinking they were in 
the right, Tool sued back. Things got messy, and before any 
clear sort of deal was sorted out, it was the year 2000. Tool 
hadn't released an album in four years, and most people 
feared the band were history.

But good things come to those who wait. Tool eventually 
sorted a deal with their label that suited everyone, and the 
last 12 months have seen an unprecedented level of activity 
from their camp laying all fears to rest.

The frenzy started with Maynard’s side project, A Perfect 
Circle, which saw the vocalist and Tool guitar tech Billy 
Howerdel produce Mer De Noms, a whole album of tunes that 
defiantly came from the same cerebral stomping ground as 

This was followed at the very end of the year by Tool’s 
Salival, a box set of live and previously unreleased material 
with a collection of the band’s gob smacking video clips. Their 
first official release in four years, Salival was closely guarded, 
but not closely enough according to Keenan.

“I had to yell at a few websites,” laughs the 
frontman, “because we had a few surprises in the Salival box 
set and they post them on their website as soon as they 
heard a rumour about them. Whatever happened to being 
surprised? Whatever happened to a kid going and buying a 
thing and taking it home and going ‘Wow! There’s extra in 
here for me that I didn’t expect.’ If you read these websites, 
your presents are open before Christmas comes. It’s fucked.”

[Note from Kabir:  Heh.]

And Tool have always wanted to surprise, to challenge, to 
deliver their message with maximum impact. Artistically, the 
band are very pure about their vision, a fact which extends 
beyond the music and into the whole presentation of ideas. 
As guitarist Adam Jones explains, part of the beauty of tool 
is defiantly the fact that they have avoided overexposure 
despite their immense success.

 ”It’s where society is right now with music” says the 
guitarist. “There’s no mystery. It’s all about VH1 specials and 
there’s no vulnerability. There’s a reason why we don’t push 
our images and we push the music, although it’s really hard 
to try and conform to that and I don’t think we will.”

Of course, the level of mystery surrounding the band has 
reached a high point with their extended absence, and this 
has only fuelled interest in what may be the album of the 
year: their third longplayer and first new material since 1996, 

“It’s four years later, so we’re more mature,” reveals Maynard 
of the record. “We’ve seen a lot more things. When you get 
to a certain age, you start to get a better perspective You get 
more hindsight and you write from that place, and it’s 
certainly going to be a different place, but a natural 

As one of the most anticipated comeback albums of all time, 
Lateralus has been more carefully protected than the pope in 
public. Tool wanted to kick the world in the teeth with 
maximum force – anything that might destroy that had to be 
avoided. But Maynard did manage to maintain a sense of 
humour about the whole thing.

“Because blotter acid can’t be downloaded, we figured we’re 
gonna do the whole cover as a big blotter acid, and if you eat 
the cover, something strange will happen.” Lateralus was 
released worldwide on May 15th – and it has been certainly 
worth the wait. It sees Tool – already one of the most 
challenging and progressive bands in the world – taking 
things to the next level of sophistication. Hard Rock should 
prepare itself for a new revolution. Like Aenima before it, 
Lateralus sees Tool throw down the rock & roll gauntlet.

“I hope that it would open a bunch of doors for people to see 
music a different way and, maybe, start writing a different 
way,” says Maynard. “That’s all you can hope – that you’re a 
stepping stone for a higher consciousness or something. That 
people be really conscious with what they’re doing with music, 
rather than just be a series of one commercial after another”

Posted to t.d.n: 06/07/01 00:07:58