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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Date: November, 1996

Transcribed by
Ryan Anderson (rjanders@artsci.wustl.edu)


  page: 
 title: Some Light In The Dark: Tool adds optimism to gloom and doom
author: Matt Fernandes

Tool's unique brand of dark, disturbing rock left a packed American 
Theater crowd in a totally unexpected temperment: optimistic and 
enlightened.

Since the band's formation in 1991, Tool has been on a fast track
to fame, winning fans over with its aggressive sound and lead singer
Maynard James Keenan's graphically haunting lyrics. During this
performance, Tool retained this edginess and added a toned-down, 
cerebral element found on its recently released album "Aenima."

A "three-minutes-per-song" pop group, this is not. Mirroring the new 
album, the songs played live were prolonged, epic-like wanderings with 
many twists and turns. 

For the most part, the crowd remained engaged in the music, aided
by the strange animated visuals displayed above the band on two large
screens.

On songs such as "Pushit," though, the band's digressions into
industrial noise left some fidgeting to find space in the elegant but
cramped theater. Songs such as these are meant to be digested with
headphones in a darkened room.
       
Guitarist Adam Jones provided the octane for the band, maneuvering
his way through countless chord progressions and powerful riffs.
Influenced by bands such as Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, Jones helps 
to give Tool's songs a complexity not found in similar acts today.
        
Danny Carey's work on drums was spirited and inspired. Hoisted on a 
high platform and surrounded by an astounding drum kit, Carey was one 
of the main focal points on stage (second only to the huge video 
screens above him.) Carey nearly lived up to the promise of his 
menacing drum set, displaying a talent that would grab the attention 
of Tim "Herb" Alexander (formerly of Primus) or Rush's Neil Peart any 
day. 
        
Although Tool shows shades of metal bands such as Metallica, Alice
in Chains and even Pantera, the musicians distance themselves with 
their frequent breaks with the rapid-fire single chords that are 
prevalent in the genre. A more likely comparison would be with 
Soundgarden, yet Keenan's lyrics are far more dramatic and dreary than 
those of the often one-dimensional Chris Cornell.
        
Keenan enamored the crowd throughout the show and surprised many
with his thoughtful discourse between songs. A duality of moods 
persisted as songs featuring nightmarish lyrics were often followed by 
Keenan's positive philosophies. Most telling was his brief discussion 
leading into "Aenima" and the ending of the song itself, which is a 
diatribe on California's materialistic culture:

        "I wanna watch it [California] go right in [the ocean]...
         Don't just call me a pessimist.
         Try and read between the lines."

Like a college professor, Keenan addressed the crowd on such topics as 
the "collective unconscious" and the corruption - but ultimate 
worthiness - of the world's religions. The American Theater at times 
resembled a monstrous lecture hall as the crowd clearly appreciated 
this rare sight of an angst-filled singer espousing optimistic views.
        
Of course, as long as Tool was pounding out its violently loud hits, 
such as "Opiate" and "Sober," Keenan could have recited romantic
poetry between songs with no complaints.

Posted to t.d.n: 05/03/97 00:47:33