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A TOOL-Related Article

Publication: M.E.A.T. Magazine:
Canada's #1 Hard Music Magazine

Date: May 1994

Transcribed by Shane M Brouse (smbrouse@superior.carleton.ca)



  page: 19
 title: TOOL w/ Flaming Lips and Failure (5/18/94) Varsity Arena, Toronto
author: George Tsao

	"We are the next Beatles," plainly stated bassist Paul D'Amour of
Tool. "I even have a rock stage name--'Of Love.'" (I eventually learned it
was his actual family name.)

	Thus began the meeting with D'Amour of Tool--a band so smooth that
you'd never know they were bullshitting you 'til you were already shit upon.

	The bio reads that guitarist Adam Jones found himself through an
epic novel based on the study of Lachrymology (crying). Later Jones shared
his new found intellectual supplement with friend and vocalist Maynard
James Keenan. Keenan at the time had just moved from Michigan to Hollywood
and quite enjoyed his job at Satan's Pizza, and was not exactly jumping at
the idea of joining a band, let alone studying crying. In time, Keenan
gave in, and in 1990 they were joined by D'Amour and drummer Danny Carey,
a precussionist previously credited to the likes of Green Jello and Pygmy
Love Circus. Thus Toolshed was founded, or simplified to what we know now
as just Tool.

	Much of what has been written about the band still remains to be
determined as fact or fiction. I had mentioned earlier that the boys had
crafted the art of bullshit (info tipped off by T.M. from RATM), which was
explained by D'Amour as a simple intolerance to ignorance. "It's the dumb
questions,"' he stated matter of factly. "The stoned college kid from some
fanzine asking, 'Like, are you an alternative band?' At that point it's
like we're gonna have some fun with this guy. The answer, by the way, is
unlikely when you've sold 700,000 records. Alternative rock--a nice,
loose, dumb term."

	Tool surfaced en masse when Lollapalooza '93 brought them firstly
on sidestage, and then to the mainstage as the band became the talk of the
village. Keenan's gargoyle-like persuasion and commanding vocals, joined
by the fury of the band, soon became the drawing point of the annual
convention. However, D'Amour seemed rather indifferent to the whole Lolla
trip. He acknowledged it as a great experience and more or less a one time
deal. "I don't like venues like Lollapalooza because it's just too big,"
he contested. "The vibe was good, but there were too many fans and
creative people. In a smaller venue it becomes a personal experience where
I can see the kid in the back row, and touch the people and sweat on each
other."

	Undertow, their brilliant 1993 full-length release, harvests a
hidden track, as well does Tool's 1992 EP debut Opiate--a song of sorts
that follows the last track featuring Keenan's "potty mouth." The hidden
track "69" from Undertow also follows the final song on the album, and has
Keenan's evangelical voclas mixed in with the haunting cries of farm
animals. The song was set to a satirical religious overtone as Keenan
preached about the injustice of the slaughtering of carrots. D'Amour
explains it as "getting together three pianos and shotguns smashed with
sledgehammers and recorded to a six beat." Funny how an ode to carrots
could become so damn disturbing and guilt laden.

	Being quite a resourceful lot, Tool made use of their very own
pets by having one of Adam Jones' potbelly pigs photographed upon a bed of
forks for the adornment of the traycard and inner sleeve of their CD. To
further their art, their CD booklet contains explicit nude photos and an
x-ray indicating anal penetration. "The big fat person is a woman,"
D'Amour clarified. "The images work with the rest of the album--soft and
womb-like...an example of the beauty of atrocity. At first you'd say, 'ooh,
she's fat,' but if you keep looking there's something about it."

	The disturbing nature of what Tool represents is best understood
through their lyrics and videos--the latter of which for the song "Sober,"
and most recently for "Prison Sex," were instrumental in Tool's climb to
success. By excluding lyric sheets and putting incredibly graphic visuals
to their songs, they've created cryptic imagery that burns deep into the
viewer's and listener's mind, an achievement much welcomed by the band.
D'Amour remembered building the video set for "Sober" with friends and
pulling the concepts together. "Adam directed them--it's something very
awesome and we're very proud. Stop motion animation--the pinnacle of what
video is today."

	It's the mysterious allure and untangible force that holds
audiences to a Tool show where thousands are drawn to witness their
unnerving yet cut-throat vigour and attitude. To see Tool is an
experience--one of unpredictable proportions both musically and visually.
Because Tool is not just about being in-your-face, but about being under
your skin--a seething coercion that both appeases and/or assaults,
depending on how you allow it to move you...much like the bullshit they
choose to dish.


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