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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: San Antonio Express-News

Date: October, 2001

Transcribed by
william (hldncafld@earthlink.net)


  page: 15H
 title: Tooling with success
author: David Glessner

When words such as "majestic," "eerie," "weighty," and "epic" 
are used to describe a rock band, you can bet your backward 
baseball cap we're not talking about meatheads such as Limp 
Bizkit and Slipknot.
More Pink Floyd than Papa Roach and more disturbing than 
Disturbed, Tool would rather take you to the dark side of the 
moon than meet you in Linkin Park.
While the music industry and mainstream media market 
celebrity over substance, Tool prefers endorsements from 
obscure musical icons such as Robert Fripp and Brian Eno 
instead of Carson Daly and Pamela Anderson. Such 
insistence on integrity would land most bands back at their 
day jobs, but in the case of Tool, it has elevated the shadowy 
group to the top of the charts and into the coveted position 
of dismissing compromise.
"It's totally rewarding," said bassist Justin Chancellor 
following sound check in Fort Lauderdale, Fla last week. "It's 
lovely. It's a beautiful thing. It's pretty wild to still be sort of 
an underground band but still have large recognition."
Not that Tool is overwrought or pretentious. Before arriving for 
a much-anticipated concert at the Verizon Wireless 
Amphitheatre on Thursday, Chancellor wants to make 
something perfectly clear.
"I would just like to say that I promise I won't (urinate) on 
the Alamo," he said with a British accent that distinguishes 
him from American band mates Maynard James Keenan 
(vocals), Adam Jones (guitar), and Danny Carey.
With potty etiquette that shames Ozzy Osbourne, Tool brings 
its sophisticated, multimedia math-rock extravaganza to town 
in support of "Lateralus," an out-of-the-box best seller that 
took five years in the making.
For a band shrouded in faceless mystique, Tool pulls out all 
the stops to make an impression onstage. "Twilight Zone"-
style video footage, creepy lighting effects and the 
chameleonlike Keenan provide a surreal assault on the 
senses.
"Lateralus" follows the multiplatinum success 
of "Ænima," "Undertow," and "Opiate." Since the massive 
success of 1996's Grammy-winning "Ænima," Tool fans have 
had to make do with the multimedia release "Salival" and 
Keenan's acclaimed side band, A Perfect Circle, whose 2000 
debut album, "Mer de Noms," produced the rock-radio 
hit "Judith." Still, Tool's loyal fans  swarmed to record stores 
when "Lateralus" finally hit the shelves earlier this year and 
made it an immediate blockbuster.
"We were really surprised, because it had taken quite awhile 
to do it," Chancellor said. "It's really reassuring that the 
people that are into it are in for the long ride and have the 
patience to let us do our own thing. It's nice to know that you 
can keep  your focus and not have people wander off and get 
distracted."
As always, the sprawling, 77-minute "Lateralus" is 
painstakingly packaged in eye-popping artwork that far 
surpasses more conventional releases aimed at bite-sized 

attention spans.
"We were all really into Pink Floyd and stuff, and they would 
always really give you an extra package when you bought the 
album," Chancellor said. "You could stare at the record 
sleeve for hours. It's just like attacking the other senses 
instead of just the hearing."
Given Tool's success with radio-unfriendly songs that can 
stretch beyond seven minutes and MTV vidoeos that never 
show band members mugging for the camera, Chancellor 
agrees that the music industry underestimates the public's 
willingness to absorb a band more concerned with art than 
airplay.
"I do think they underestimate people and they're going to 
do things however it works easiest for them," he said. "You 
get what you get and there's not a lot of choice, because they 
pick the stuff that works best for them. If you've got 
something good going, you need to keep focused on that 
and just sort of ignore what everyone else is doing."
Before Tool began building a national audience in the 
early '90s, the band struggled to make a name for itself in 
the "great big festering,  neon distraction" Keenan calls Los 
Angeles. He and Carey had previously served as sidemen in 
the GWAR-inspired joke band Green Jello.
Jones, on the other hand, was working in the film industry 
doing special effects for "Jurassic Park" and "Terminator 2." 
Jones' experience later would be the creative force behind 
Tool's nightmarish Claymation videos. Chancellor ultimately 
joined as the replacement for Paul D'Amour.
"I was lucky enough that my brother was running his own 
record label in London and he had met the guy who actually 
signed Tool several years before," Chancellor recalled. "When 
their first demo tape was done, we were probably the first 
people in England to get it. We were completely blown away 
by it."
"After a year or so, me and my brother decided to go to New 
York to check them out. They were playing at CBGB's. We saw 
them two nights there and met them all, and just sort of 
started a friendship, which ended up with them giving me a 
call three or four years later."
As for Keenan's commitment to the platinum-selling "A 
Perfect Circle," Chancellor remains confident that the two 
bands can coexist without the singer's creative energy being 

diverted away from Tool.
"He's done a really good job of making it perfectly clear that 
they're two completely separate things," Chancellor 
said. "There were obviously parts of him that he wanted to 
express in a different kind of arena.
"It's kind of a healthy thing. You can't hold someone down or 
it's going to be for the worst, I think. We're all excited to do 
other things outside of Tool, but when we designate the time 
for Tool, everyone is expected to fully concentrate on that."

Posted to t.d.n: 10/20/01 21:18:40