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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: SLUG (SLC, Utah)

Date: November, 1996

Transcribed by
Trent Nakagawa (trentn@aros.net)


  page: 8
 title: Tool
author: Newman

     Tool was born in April 1991.  With the exception of new bassist
Justin Chancellor, the band has not changed that much.  The band has
evolved though.  The Opiate EP (1992) marked Tool's territory as the new
heavy monster in town, and solidified it with the highly acclaimed
Undertow in 1993.  Tool is voted "Number One Artist" readers think SPIN
should be covering instead of Green Day, Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins. 
No shit.  Oddly enough, you rarely hear Tool on the radio.  One week after
their new record AENIMA was released, I spoke with Tool's singer Maynard
James Keenan.  He is one of my favorite vocalist.  He is NOT one of my
favorite interviews.  In fact he was kind of a dick... 

SLUG:  Well thanks for doing the interview at such short notice.  So its
kind of impromptu because I didn't really have all my questions ready. But
that's okay. I'm quite a fan of the band, I quess we'll just wing it. 

MK:  You're not familiar with our work or? 

SLUG:  No, I said, I'm quite a fan of the band so we'll just wing it. 
 Actually I saw you guys at the Bar & Grill in Salt Lake City a long, long
time ago.  Its a really small club it has... 

MK:  You're a local paper? 

SLUG:  We're regional.  We're distributed nationally but we're based out
of Salt Lake City.  Lets talk about the new record.  What's the deal with
the new bass player? He came from Peach, an English band I quess, I've
never heard of them. 

MK:  Oh, its just a small local band around London. 

SLUG:  How did you guys hook up with him? 

MK:  They opened for us when we were playing in London.

SLUG:  So, no problems, everything is working out pretty well.

MK:  Yeah, we're putting out an album.

SLUG:  Can you kind of go over the concept of the album maybe a little
bit. 

MK:  Well, I don't know if there is a concept to it. 

SLUG:  Well, maybe concept is a bad word.  There seems to be a theme
though.  You know the inside on the J-card the anesthetic state thing. 

MK:  Oh, I think a lot of the album is about change and evolution and
unity. 

SLUG:  There seems to be a kind of underlying, I don't want to say the
word psychosis, but there is some mental depth things you know of your
records, it seems like.  It is the dark side of human nature kind of
coming out.  At least it seems that way on some of the songs and... 

MK:  We just seem that way, it is not necessarily, not that dark. 

SLUG:  Maybe its not dark as opposed to like... 

MK:  It requires effort I think is what you're looking for. 

SLUG:  Well, it's not songs about cars and girls.  But still your still on
the side of non standard song writing.  It's not what everybody else is
writing about. 

MK:  I don't know, I think there are a lot of people writing songs about
similar things. 

SLUG:  You do? 

MK:  Yeah, Tori Amos.  She writes songs about similar topics.  From a
woman's point of view. 

SLUG:  Hmm.

MK:  Even Perry Farrell has been writing these things for a long time. 
 Jim Morrison, Rollins,...

SLUG:  So are some of those guys partial influences upon you or?

MK:  No, its just I'm just...

SLUG:  Comparisons of people who do the same.

MK:  Soundgarden is writing about similar stuff to some degree, you 
know.

SLUG:  How about the hooker with a penis song?  Who wrote that?

MK:  We all did. We all write the music.

SLUG:  So you all write the music and how do you go about the lyrics.

MK:  I write all the lyrics.

SLUG:  Well then that's what I'm talking about as far as the lyrics to 
that song.

MK:  That song once again is about unity.

SLUG:  I noticed there is a drawing of Bill Hicks?  Great comedian.

MK:  Good man.

SLUG:  Did you know him well?

MK:  Yeah, I did.  I knew his relatives well.

SLUG:  Who did this painting?

MK:  Kevin Willis.

SLUG:  Who is the person sitting down?

MK:  I don't know.  Probably me.

SLUG:  Is it suppose to be you?

MK:  I think that's what Kevin had intended.

SLUG:  So how did you meet Bill Hicks?

MK:  Just stumbling across a tape of his and liked it a lot.  Listed 
it as an influence on our last
album.  Called him up and sent him a copy.  We talked on the phone 
quite a bit.

SLUG:  He died of cancer, right?

MK:  Pancreatic cancer.

SLUG:  I always thought he was a really gutsy guy.  You know, I mean he
didn't give a shit about people.  He smoked and he, you know he didn't
care.  He wasn't a politically correct guy. 

MK:  Yeah but, in some ways he was more politically correct in most of 
his meanings.

SLUG:  Was he.

MK:  Absolutely.

SLUG:  Why do you say that?

MK:  I don't know of any other comedians that are really pushing the idea
of evolving thoughts and unity

SLUG:  What about Dennis Miller?

MK:  Dennis Miller ripped off Bill Hicks.

SLUG:  No, not really...

MK:  Oh, sorry, I thought you said Dennis Leary. Sorry.

SLUG:  No, Dennis Miller.

MK:  Yeah, Miller, he's doing some good work but he is doing it post 
Hicks.

SLUG:  Bill Hicks was a funny guy that's for damn sure.

MK:  I think Dennis Miller is a funny guy and I really enjoy his work but
I think a lot of his material, he doesn't sincerely write all the
material, he has a lot of good writers, where Bill Hicks is completely on
his own. 

SLUG:  I wished I could have actually met of talked to him because he is
one of those guys where you really thought he had some great ideas but all
you could really get was what he did on stage which was good, but still
one of those guys that you might find interesting to talk to anyway. 

MK:  Yeah, and that's why his work kind of needs exposed to people to his
work, give people a better perspective on what we're talking about if they
see a different point of view.  Similar subjects. 

SLUG:  I wish there was more tapes available of stuff he did.

MK:  Its coming out on Rykodisc in February of March.

SLUG:  Cool.  The only one I've seen I had live at the Improv thing about
a half hour and then I had that HBO comedy, full hour. 

MK:  They have an HBO thing and then there is also a comedy central 
tribute.

SLUG:  Is that you in the blue on the inside of the J card.  Who is 
that.

MK:  Its a statue.

SLUG:  Is it?  Its freaky.

MK:  Its a sculpture.

SLUG:  Wow, it looks like a guy.  I'm just going to rattle some stuff off
and you tell me what you think.  Fair? 

MK:  Sure.

SLUG:  Do you believe in God?

MK:  I believe in the spirit that moves through everybody.

SLUG:  Do you believe in any specific religion?

MK:  No.  They are all the same religion.

SLUG:  You don't think it has anything to do with spirituality, but 
money.

MK:  Well it depends on how much power that particular has.

SLUG:  How were you brought up?

MK:  I've been a part of several religions.

SLUG:  Where were you born anyway.

MK:  In the Midwest.

SLUG:  Who were your early influences as far as song writing, not so 
much musically, but song
writing, thinking about song writing, things like that.

MK:  How old are you?

SLUG:  34.

MK:  Basically the same stuff that you were influenced by because I was
pretty say whatever the mainstream basic industry was feeding you. 

SLUG:  How old are you?

MK:  32.  Whatever you can decide is being popular at that particular 
time throughout the
Midwest is pretty much what I got exposed to.

SLUG:  Beatles, Rolling Stones.  Was there anybody though, I quess what I
am trying to figure out is that I think that I know you named these other
guys off as far as people that write about the same types of things that
you do but was there somebody when you were young that influenced you to
maybe go away from your standardized girl and car songs.  I guess that's
my question. 

MK:  Joni Mitchell and the Swans...Tom Waits.

SLUG:  I'me a big Tom Waits fan.  Have you seen him?

MK:  Yeah.

SLUG:  Are you on tour now?

MK:  We're going to start a tour next week.

SLUG:  Then you're coming to Utah on November 3rd.  The record was 
released two weeks
ago...

MK:  Last Tuesday.

SLUG:  And how long exactly has the new bass player been in the band.

MK:  Since October or something like that.

SLUG:  So, about a year.  And how much touring have you done with him?

MK:  Half a dozen shows, maybe a dozen shows.

SLUG:  Any difference.

MK:  Well yeah.  Its a different person.

SLUG:  I'me aware that it's a different person but I mean difference 
as far as performing live.

MK:  Not that much.  I mean its hard to say.

SLUG:  There was some question as to when you were here the last time
there were a bunch of people who said you did something and a bunch of
people who said you didn't do something.  And I thought maybe if I got a
chance to ask you that you could tell me the truth. 

MK:  What did I do.  Fuck with my 12-year-old sister.

SLUG:  No, that's not what I was thinking.  You played at Saltair, and a
bunch of people said you took your pants down and did the little girly
thing where you put your... 

MK:  I don't know if I did that or not.  I've done that, I don't know 
if I did it then.

SLUG:  Well, I guess we don't know.

MK:  Yeah, its hard to say.

SLUG:  You've got a pretty interesting tattoos on your back.  Who did 
that tattoo.

MK:  Jill Jordan.

SLUG:  Where is she from?

MK:  She's from here.

SLUG:  I mean you got it done in LA?  And its a copy or your spine kind
of, right?  Whose idea was that? 

MK:  Mine.  Its my body.  I have a choice of what is going to go on it. 

SLUG:  Sure, but it could have been a great idea from somebody else.  How
long are you guys going to be touring this time? 

MK:  This particular tour is only going to be two months and then take a
break at Christmas and then back on the road again. 

SLUG:  Whose is going to be playing with you on this tour?

MK:  Its hard to say.  It keeps changing everyday.

SLUG:  Different people?

MK:  I can't answer that question right now.  I don't know the answer.


Maybe Maynard was tired of doing interviews, or maybe he's not good on the
phone.  Even though it wasn't the easiest interview, it turned out to be
interesting.  It doesn't matter, his band kicks ass.  That's what matters. 

-Newman



Posted to t.d.n: 09/08/97 22:55:17