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A TOOL-Related Article

Publication: Winnipeg Free Press

Date: November 7, 1996

Transcribed by Melissa Dupuis (adupuis@MTS.Net)



 title: Tool of the trade: Unpredictability
author: Sal Caputo of The Arizona Republic

Tool's pounding mix of industrial and metal styles, and the 
heart-of-darkness lyrics of such tunes as Prison Sex, won a large 
audience for its 1993 album, Undertow.

The group's current album, Aenima, seems to constantly strain at the 
boundry between the sacred and the profane. Noise and fevered monologues 
provide segues between the songs, some of them unwinding in long 
declamations, like the closing 13-minutes opus Third Eye. 
Woven into the fabric of clashing guitars and drums are world-music 
touches. A Middle Eastern feeling touches the spiritual side, offering 
some shelter from Tool's storm.

Conflating the words "anima" (the soul or spirit) with "enima" shows the 
extremes that preoccupy Tool.
Thos extremes were precisely what attracted Justin Chancellor to the 
band. The Englishman and the American group hit it off when his old band 
Peach opened for Tool on a british tour. 
When Tool's original bass player, Paul D'Amour, departed last year, 
Chancellor was one of about a dozen people asked to audition, and he was 
floored when he passed it.
"More than just friends," Chancellor says from a Los Angeles office. "Its 
like playing with you hero: How do you fit in with them?" 
He didn't have time to ponder the question because the band was in 
process of recording Aenima.
"It was like jumping in the deep end," he says, chuckling over his 
original trepidation at playing with the other members of the 
band-drummer Danny Carey, vocalist Maynard James Keenan and guitarist 
Adam Jones.
"It was like, 'OK! You're in the band now! Start writing!'... It was 
exciting. You know why that is? Because you don't have any time to think. 
So you're just kind of like, 'Oh! OK! Well, what're we gonna do? Hmmm? 
OK! Let's do it!' "

Tool had no qualms about experimenting on this sophomore album (the band 
also had released an extended-play single called Opiate in 1992), and 
called on David Bottrill to be producer. 
Bottrill, a begind-the-controls vetteran of work by King Crimson and 
Peter Gabriel, seemed an odd choice to work in Tool's heavy style. 
"The whole thing for Tool is that it's not a metal band, " Chancellor 
says. "It's a band that's very open to interpretation of what you want to 
perceive it to be.
"The choice of David as a producer was because he's someone who comes 
from that musical-sensitivity background instead of being a rock guy, and 
there was a sensitivity there that this album, this music, neeeded that 
interpretation."

Bottrill's ear for experimentation and world music brought out those 
elements that Tool, particularly Carey, had been experimenting with. 
The band's current show is a misture of world from all three recordings, 
Chancellor says.
"We try to vary the set every night so that is doesn't become boring for 
us," he says. " We opened the other night with Third Eye, which is a 
13-1/2-minute song. So that might or might not be in the set. We write 
the set virtually on the day."
And the songs might also be fleshed out from the recorded versions: "We 
have variations or extensions, like a good haircut." 
With Aenima's parental-advisory sticker and fittingly nightmarish artwork 
(which Chancellor says "germinates from Adam's deep dark recesses"), 
there is a tendancy to think of Tool as morose and morbid. Yet Chancellor 
comes across as jolly.

"We're not dark and brooding or anything like that, but I think the music
reflects what we feel is life as we know it today. It's a little bit
Brazil," he says, referring to the satirical movie. "Maynard (who writes
lyrics) is writing about stuff that he sees happening to us today, and a
lot of it is not pretty and it isn't Nickelodeon."  Then, he adds as an
aside about the cable network:"Good cartoons. We don't get cartoons like
that in England."


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