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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Melody Maker

Date: March, 1994

Transcribed by
melissa (mjf195@psu.edu)


  page: 27
 title: Dream Warriors: Tool
author: Cathi Unsworth

{transcriber's note: My apologies to the writer if a couple words may 
have been inadvertantly changed, as I was reading this off a 
blurry microfiche machine in a dark corner of PSU's library...)

"Dream Warroirs: Tool"
Cathi Unsworth
Melody Maker Mar 5, 1994 (v.71 n.9) p 27

The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA

	Rarely has a band been as misunderstood by their audience as 
Tool playing provincial America. If the seething, drunken mass of 
dubious humanity that turn this riverside warehouse into a Turkish 
sauna are to be believed, Tool "Kick Ass!!" and there's a mother of a 
mosh pit to prove it.
	Maynard James Keenan sports tattoos and a fierce mohican, he 
takes the stage with a devil horn salute. His wide, neverblinking eyes 
stare deeply into the audience: he is a scary, sineous, volatile guy. 
And his first lyrical utterance, a tearing, yet restrained scream, 
rises over the liquid metal of Tool's dark, sensuous sound.
	"I am frightened, too," he sings, his voice shot through with 
a tremor that tells you This Is Real. However, to the longhairs in the 
front row, he may as well be screeching Ozzy-esque lines about lancing 
Lucifer.
	"Sorry," lies Maynard, "we don't have time for the Iron Maiden 
meadly tonight."
	Tool's power is deadly. "Undertow" and "Opiate", their two 
albums to date, paint  black-on-black pictures of the decline of 
American civilization seen through  those same, staring eyes. The 
stories are all personal, all about relationships that are destroyed 
before they've even begun, all about isolation, self-hatred, and, in 
the case of their new single "Prison Sex", child abuse and incest. 
Like the work of Rollins, the front-line despatches could also speak 
metaphorically for the spiritually bereft, morally bankrupt society 
they live in.
	Maynard's voice expresses all this with a strange kind of 
ravaged dignity. No punk rock hollers for him. Similarily, Tool's 
music ebbs and flows, rumbles and crackles, its power lies in its 
grace and sensitivity, not just the volume coming through Adam Jones's 
guitar, Danny Carey's thunderous drums, or Paul D'Amour's throbbing 
base. when the former's six string gives up the ghost halfway through 
the searing "Sober", the intensity of Tool's performance holds the 
song together so convincingly that the breakdown doesn't seem to 
matter. And the heart-stopping vocal pause in the middle of "Prison 
Sex" has the hairs standing to attention on the back of my neck, 
conveying all the prelude into horror with chilling accuracy.
	The kids have got their lighters out by now. This in congruity 
only makes Tool's performance more cutting-- for those about to rock, 
we salute you, but you've gone and missed the whole goddamned point. 
As Keenan whispers softly, "I never knew I was speaking to them."
	With "Undertow" approaching platinum status in America, it 
seems, however, that he is speaking to them. Another nightmare to add 
to their collection-- Tool, the band that are trapped deep in the 
country's uneasy sleep.

Posted to t.d.n: 11/13/97 19:00:45