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A TOOL-Related Article

Publication: St. Mary's College Collegian

Date: November 1994

Transcribed by Dave Johnson (djohnson@stmarys-ca.edu) [?]





 title: Down In The Undertow With Tool
        maynard and co. deliver a special show for a Collegian reporter
author: Dave Johnson (Staff Writer)



  When my friend told me that Tool was playing at the Warfield, I just 
about messed my undies.  I had never seen them before, but they are one 
of my favorite bands. Dark, emotional, and in a weird way, beautiful.

  My adventure began with getting rather misplaced in San Francisco.  We 
drove around looking for Market Street and blaring Tool's Opiate CD at 
a high volume and singing along.  As we passed by people on the street, I 
would say out the window, "We're going to see Tool."  For some reason, 
they didn't seem too impressed.  What a bunch of cultural illiterates.  
Eventually, after about 40 mintues of driving around the City, we found a 
garage at 5th and Mission and parked our vehicle.  

  The first really neat thing that happened, when I was standing at 
the box office waiting for my photo pass, was when Danny Carey, Tool's 
drummer and official extra tall guy, walked up.  I said hello and told 
him I was a big fan.  He was cool and went on his way, no doubt amazed 
that he had actually met someone from the Collegian.  The next really 
cool thing that happened was that girls thought I was really interesting 
and artistic because I had a camera.  In fact, at the end of the show, 
one even gave me her address, so she could buy some pictures from me.  
"This media thing is a damn good way to meet women," I thought to 
myself.  And you know I'm right.  Hey, look at Maury Povich!  Finally, 
after a bit of a delay, Laundry took the stage.  Their main claim to fame 
is their drummer-- Tim "Herb" Alexander of Bay Area Lollapalooza loonies 
Primus.  They also featured a "Stick" player.  The Chapman Stick is a 
10-stringed instrument with both bass and treble strings.  The general 
audience consent was that the band was pretty good, but the singer needed 
to go home.  He was a kind of like a cross between Les Claypool, Peter 
Murphy and Maynard James Keenan, only not really as good as any of them.  
I don't know, I thought he was kind of cool...

  Finally, after much impatience on the part of the audience, Tool took 
the stage and opened up with "Intolerance," an uptempo rant which had the 
entire audience singing "Lie! Cheat and steal!  Lie!  Cheat and steal!" 
along with Maynard.  

   The thing about Tool is, the band's entire stage presence is
Maynard.  Guitarist Adam Jones just stands there, sort of a long-haired 
Frankenstein, his Les Paul churning out riffs, spacey textures and 
strange noises.  Paul D'Amour, bassist extraordinaire, as well as the 
show's MC, seems into his playing, but his standard Rock Guy headbanging 
moves are overshadowed by Maynard's quirky movements.  The closest 
approximation I can make is that the man(?) moves something like a cross 
between a monky, a lizard, a chicken, a three year old, and Henry 
Rollins, but that still doesn't quite do him justice.  Let me just put it 
this way-- if you remember the black, alien-like character in the  band's 
"Prison Sex" vidoe, picture it a somewhat more humanoid form.  Can we say 
"eerie?"  Now sporting a clean-shaven skull in place of his once 
trademark mohawk, he seems even more alien and inhuman than before.  
Almost like some sort of android whose programming has gone awry on a 
Black Flag-Cure mixture and could fully blow a circuit at any moment. Fun 
for the entire family!  

  During "Prison Sex" he produced a double-ended marital aid with the 
word "Tool" emblazoned on it.  He made it wiggle and quiver in his hand, 
almost an extension of his body, which is in itself an extension of the 
band's grotesque beauty.  I was rapt, blinking all of about three times 
throughout the song.  Toward the end of the song, he tossed the erotic 
toy to me, and for the rest of the show I used it as a weapon to beat 
crowd surfers with.  I impressed girls with it.  I swung it around.  I 
did the rock thing, only instead of pumping my fist I...anyway, my 
friends were repulsed, yet I knew they were somewhat jealous.  Haha!  
Chalk up one more for the press corps!  

  Musical highlights of the show were "Cold and Ugly," "Undertow," and 
the outstanding cover of Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter," where Maynard ran 
around in circles in some kind of demented attempt to make the audience 
dizzy.  I have to say, though, my personal favorite bit was "4 degrees."  
During that song-- for me, at least, the most intense one on Undertow-- I 
started to fall in love with the girl next to me.  I didn't actually fall 
in love with her, it just felt like it.  I was in a state of total and 
complete euphoric depression, and she was next to me, rather attractive, 
and kind of pissed off.  I just needed something to direct my feelings 
at, so I diveded them between myself, the band, and her.  That's the 
thing about Tool-- they are so intense that they cause 100% sensory 
overload and I can't concentrate on anything except what I'm feeling.  
And that's what's so powerful.  Maynard's hypnotic monkey-on-bad-drugs 
antics, Adam's atmospheric yet crunching guitar, and the propulsive 
rhythms laid down by Danny and Paul just grab my heart and soul and yank 
really, really hard.  (Now back to our regularly scheduled program.) 

  I felt myself getting dragged further into the emotional maelstrom that 
is Tool.  I screamed, I almost cried, both out of elation and depression, 
and I beat crowd surfers time and time again with my gift from 
Maynard.  Of course, I have been known to overreact.  After all, I was 
the one who purposely got Henry Rollins' blood in a cut on my hand at the 
Rollins/Sausage/Helmet show in Berkeley.  But during the show's closer, 
"Opiate," when the whole crowd was screaming "Jesus Christ, why don't you 
come save my life" like they were all devout Christians crying for 
salvation, I didn't think I was alone in my passion for the band's brand 
of dark emotion and beautiful depression.  After the show, I felt okay 
again, but for those last five songs or so, nothing mattered but Maynard, 
Tool, and me.


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