Date: March, 1997
Scott E. Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Scott E. Williams (email@example.com)
page: title: Nobody's tool : Adam Jones on music, God, and nougat author: Chuck Dean Tool hates no, Tool, muthafucking hates most interviews. The whole process is dumb, dull, tedious, and more often than not, insulting. Imagine forever being slammed with the same questions: What are the songs about? What is the band like? What is touring like? Such unchallenging horse hockey has caused drummer Danny Carey, vocalist Maynard James Kennan, guitarist Adam Jones, and bassist Justin Chancellor to be selectively mum in the aftermath of their third major-label outing, AEima. Like its predecessors - the 1992 EP Opiate and 1993's multi-platinum Undertow - their latest is a powder-keg of black vomit ratchet-rock - part of the gurgling evolution that has become Tool's unwavering sound. In fact, it's the very same jam that's fired the Los Angeles-based quartet into unequivocal super-rock status (no matter how much they fight the label) - the same eardrum-rupturing chaos that's made their videos (remember "Sober" and "Prison Sex"?) MTV staples. Sick with the desire to peek behind the curtain for a look at what makes Tool tick, we tracked Adam Jones, Tool's founding father, to the neon confines of Las Vegas. RAGE: What's your take on the Internet? Adam Jones: I don't know. It's exactly what I think it would be if I didn't know anything about it. You know like people communication with each other. It's just information and it can be true and it can be false, you just never know. It's just haywire and no one can control it. I love it, you know? RAGE: That chat lines rock. Jones: [laughs] Well, what you have to do is go on there - it's what my friends do - they always pretend they're women. Then, like guys just go nuts. They're all over that. RAGE: does Tool talk to the press much? Jones: Well, we haven't on this album. We've been really, really selective. RAGE: Why? Jones: How many times can you say the same thing? People asking dumb questions like, "How did you guys get together?" RAGE: How about this one: "What was it like recording the album?!" Jones: Yeah! Exactly, I knew that this interview would be different because it's a pussy magazine. RAGE: Where does a man get mushrooms these days? Jones: [chuckles] Where does a man get mushrooms? RAGE: Or a woman. Jones: I'm talking beyond mushrooms, man. Have you ever done DMT? RAGE: No. Jones: Have you ever done ketamin? RAGE: No. I have to come there. Jones: Come check it out, man. Fucking changed my life. Changed my whole thinking. RAGE: What event in your childhood enhanced or distorted your vision to the degree that it made you who you are today? Jones: Oh, what event? I don't know, the opening of the K-Mart by my house. I don't know. RAGE: You don't know. Jones: you mean one event to sum up my whole existence right now? RAGE: No! No! Things that stick with you. Jones: Oh, man. I grew up in this really fucked-up, like WASP community - like where if you didn't go to church everyone talked bad about you. I went to he dentist's office, and I remember getting in trouble and just being talked shit about for eating a candy bar in the dentist's office. RAGE: Who talked bad about you, the nurses? Jones: Yeah! Everyone freaked out! I was in there eating a candy bar! RAGE: What kind of candy bar was it? Jones: A caramel thing with like little white things in the middle, white nougat in the middle. RAGE: Sounds like and Almond Joy. Jones: No! No! Not an Almond Joy. Caramel! Caramel! RAGE: OK, I'm sorry! Jones: Caramel with white nougat in the middle. Anyway, I'm sitting there reading one of my comic books and eating my candy bar and people are just fucking losing their minds and I got into trouble. I just remember going, "This city is fucked and I"m getting the fuck out of there." RAGE: What were you, around eight? Jones: Yeah, I was really young. I was just doing my thing and I guess it was a real big taboo. I mean, I got into trouble with my parents because they were embarrassed. RAGE: You made them look bad. What was the first 45-rpm record you bought? Jones: I was the youngest in the family so I never really had to buy anything. RAGE: You had hand-me-down 45s? What, Bobby Sherman? Jones: Yeah, hand-me-downs. My sister gave me my first album, Iron butterfly. I can't remember the first 45, but the first album I bought was the Carpenters. RAGE: Wow. That's why you're in this band right now, right? Jones: That's right. RAGE: Karen did it to you. Jones: That's what started it. I'm so skinny, too. RAGE: Were you a popular kid? Jones: No. Not at all. RAGE: People beat you up? Jones: Oh yeah. I was a little misfit. RAGE: What did you want to be when you grew up? Jones: An artist. RAGE: Really? You didn't want to be a fireman or a doctor ore Lorne Green? Jones: Oh, well, I don't know. I remember wanting to be a truck driver when I was really little and my mom getting upset over that. I had high hopes at five years old. I always wanted to be in art in some way. It was really hard because my parents were supportive of what they wanted but not supportive of what I wanted, meaning that if I wanted to go into art they were like, you'll never make it. RAGE: Would going back and fucking with folds who fucked with you be something you'd be up for? Jones: It'd be a nice dream, you know. To go back. There are some teachers that I fucking can't stand that I had as a kid. RAGE: In retrospect, it's good that they were that way, because if they'd paid attention to us then we wouldn't be here. Then again, I'm glad I don't own guns. Jones: The whole point, man, is being happy, and if you're happy right now. Because most people aren't happy and I've learned that people make their own hells, man. RAGE: Really? Tell me more. Jones: People say, "Oh, this happened and this happened and I can't get things together" and I'm like, "You do this to yourself, man." I've always been successful in what I was doing because I do things for me. RAGE: When did you learn what death was? Jones: Pretty young. I had an older relative die. RAGE: Freak you out? Jones: I sort of took it for granted. I had some friends die during grade school and high school. Then my uncle killed himself. That really freaked me out. RAGE: Hoe did he do it? Jones: He lived in Washington, DC, and he, I don't know, there were a bunch of rumors about why he killed himself, but I think it was something to do with the government. The trains there are over a hundred miles an hour. RAGE: Oh, no! He didn't do that?! Jones: he laid down on the tracks. It was really funny because the guy who found him had chased him away the day before because he had tried it. RAGE: Get out of town, really? Jones: They were setting up his wake and I was just a kit - pretty young, 14 or 15 - and I opened the coffin up and there was just this big blue bag in there, so I touched it. RAGE: Did you get in trouble? Jones: If I was causing trouble I didn't get caught. RAGE: Bob Dylan once sang, "Death is not the end." Do you think so? Jones: Totally. I think when you die that's it. That's why I don't take anything for granted. RAGE: When did you first learn what God was? Jones: Real early age! Man, that's the most fucked-up shit. RAGE: They told you that he was going to get you if you didn't do right. Jones: That's right, you know, if you're bad you're going to go to hell and if you're good you'll go to heaven. RAGE: And Santa Claus is always watching you. Jones: I never believed in Santa. RAGE: Growing up, did you have any heroes? Jones: I used to be really turned on to Barbara Billingsley from Leave it to Beaver. I thought she was so hot. RAGE: What about enemies? Jones: God. I hated everybody. RAGE: Hate's a good motivator. Jones: Yeah, it is. Lots of creative juices. RAGE: You can't talk about "creative juices" in a magazine like this. Jones: Creative juices? Well you can! [laughs] RAGE: What are people's perceptions of Tool? Do they think you're a brooding depressed little rock group. Jones: I don't know. I don't worry about that because we don't really try to stay in the public eye. We really squirm when people want to take photos of us. And we're not really in our videos. RAGE: So you don't care what people think about you? Jones: You can't control that. You know, as soon as you start controlling that you're just going to fucking lose your dignity. RAGE: Did you ever think that Tool would get this big? Jones: Oh, no! No. We never started the band to be in a band. We were just doing it on the side for fun. RAGE: Yeah, but the dough's nice, to be able to pay your rent. Jones: Oh, sure! It's a great way of making a living and it's also opened a lot of doors to stuff we were interested in. It's a stepping stone. RAGE: For you personally, that would be film, right? Jones: Yeah. Art and film, man. I love them so much. Those were my heroes growing up. Like the guys in Monty Python. I mean that stuff changed my life, if you want to talk about stuff changing your life. RAGE: I wish I'd experienced then at an earlier age. Jones: God, I was so little, and I'd have to go to bed at eight and they were on Sunday nights in Chicago at 10:30, so I'd have to sneak downstairs, go down to the basement and [whispers] turn the TV on really, really soft and sit really close to it. RAGE: Did Bob Barker have any influence on you in your life? Jones: Bob Barker! I thought he was a jerk. RAGE: C'mon, Adam, he was boffing the showcase showdown models. Jones: OK, maybe I jacked off watching The Price Is Right. When I was little! Now I do it watching The Grind on MTV. RAGE: Patty, the drummer from Hole, she's a lesbian, but during her adolescence she had a major crush on Kojak. Jones: That would've made me a lesbian. RAGE: Hey, what's the question you're always asked that makes you cringe. Jones: Nothing makes me cringe. It's just when they ask me the same stupid shit over and over. This is fun. We're just fucking shooting the shit, but when someone calls me and they've like got their questions all written out. They're without thought and then they're onto the next question. Most people don't give a shit. You should be into what you're doing, not just getting a paycheck. Don't whore yourself out. RAGE: A lot of fans would say that the Tool guys are living the American Dream. What do you think the American Dream is these days? Jones: Fuck, I don't know what that means anymore. RAGE: To do what you're doing now: to be a rock band and to be successful - to most kids that would be the shit. You know that, right? Jones: Yeah, I guess. I don't know. [laughs] RAGE: Adam, you have to know that. Jones: No, you don't because it's so weird, man. It's not like, ah, I don't think that anyone in our band is a rock star. We're all geeks, you know what I mean? We even put that on our album. I mean, when kids come up to us and want our autographs it's just so fucking weird. I really think that 80% of the people in rock and role or in rap or whatever, do it because they want the attention. RAGE: I agree. Jones: And the guys in my band and me, it's really...ah...we're really social misfits. We really don't get along with people. RAGE: So why can't you enjoy your success? Jones: [defensive] No, we do enjoy it! I'm just saying we don't flog it. I mean, you're going "You're living the American Dream and you're in a rock band and you're sold all these albums, and whatever." It's like, to me, it's just being happy. I'm fucking happy with what I'm doing. I love music. I've been playing music since I can remember, you know? Do you understand that? You don't agree with that, do you? RAGE: No, I do agree. It's just that you don't understand why people think these things. Jones: No, I do understand. I'm just saying that I can't think that. And I can't look at them and say, " I can understand why you want this." I don't know, man, I don't know. I'm just glad that people can appreciate the music. We totally make our own rules. We're constantly fighting with the record company because they want us to do it this way because that the way it's done, or market it this way because that's the way it's done, or edit the song this way because that's the way it's done. It's just like bull-shit, man, just let me do what I'm doing. RAGE: I see. Jones: I mean, we took a decrease in money when we signed to get control because if you do that, corporations, they're like, "Yeah, yeah, we'll do that." They're saving money. Now the record company has to get our approval on everything. It's really nice. We can take as much time as we want to get the album out. Do the video the right way. We take like three months to do our videos, not three days. RAGE: It was a tad weird to read that Blues Traveller's John Popper is a huge (pun intended) fan. Jones: Man, that guy likes our band? I had no idea. He's popular with those Dead fans. He's the new Jerry Garcia. RAGE: Last couple of questions. What are all of your songs about? Jones: They're all about eating pussy. No, they're all about the end of the world and evolving. RAGE: How do you guys pump yourselves up before a live show? Jones: We shoot up. RAGE: Do you guys rock? Jones: No, we're very boring. RAGE: Do you drink Zima? Jones: No. RAGE: Do you like Cher? Jones: Love Cher.
Posted to t.d.n: 05/06/97 17:47:09