Publication: St. Mary's College Collegian
Date: November 1994
Transcribed by Dave Johnson (email@example.com) [?]
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.