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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Daily Bruin Magazine

Date: Sometime, 1995

Transcribed by
Barry Toma (nlco3929@capitolonline.nl)


  page: 
 title: REPLICANTS PRODUCE UNIQUE SPIN ON COVER-TUNE COMPILATION
author: Vanessa VanderZanden

REPLICANTS PRODUCE UNIQUE SPIN ON COVER-TUNE 
COMPILATION

Ken Andrews, lead singer of the Replicants, has been stuck in a 
"Warehousy loft-type space" for about a year. Tired of the white-walled 
complex and its "big air conditioning ducts," he wants to be out and on the 
road. But the tortured musician must continue mixing and producing in his 
"utilitarian" studio.

"I'm really sick of it. I really want to play live now," complains
Andrews.  However, the current band member of Failure and frontman for his
side project the Replicants manages to remain laid back and positive. And
with good reason. The Replicants have just released a self-titled album of
covers of tunes ranging from the Beatles to the Cars. Snatching countless
enthusiastic reviews, the project includes the talents of one Tool member
(Paul D'Amour), one Eye In Triangle musician (Chris Pitman), and one other
Failure member (Greg Edwards). And, once Andrews' soon-to-be-released
Failure album hits stores, he will be able to return to his beloved stage.

In fact, live shows are partly responsible for the creation of the Replicants. 
Back in 1992, when Failure and Tool paired up to deliver a small tour of 
the West Coast, the two bands instinctually clicked. "We would just make 
fun of them constantly and they did the same," recounts Andrews. "It was 
good." Later, after Tool played Lollapalooza, the two bands toured again, 
this time in promotion of Tool's album "Undertow." The only difference was 
that this time, the stakes had grown. "The crowd were about 3,000 people 
bigger," Andrews says.

With the friendship that had developed between both Tool and Failure, 
some members combined forces to create original works. This plan was 
foiled, though, by prior commitments. "Our other bands were taking up too 
much of our energy so we'd just occasionally get together and have some 
beers and play a cover song for fun," Andrews says. He never thought 
the jam sessions would amount to much. "It was kind of like a little vacation 
in a way. It was fun for me to play bass, because I don't usually play 
bass."

Strangely, a four-track demo tape of the haphazard group landed on a 
desk at Zoo Entertainment. Before they knew it, the Replicants were an 
official band with an offer to record an entire album of cover songs. "At that 
point, we had no idea what to do," explains a baffled Andrews. "Everyone 
would just bring up songs and either we would all agree or we wouldn't 
and I think everyone sort of got their one song that maybe other people 
didn't want." However, they could all agree on one thing: The Replicants 
would have their own musical freedom.

"We like doing the Replicants because we could do different versions of 
these songs in ways that Failure or Tool wouldn't," Andrews says. For 
instance, neither spawning ground for the creative forces of the Replicants 
would think to record Missing Persons' "Destination Unknown" with an 
industrial/techno spin. Each song was dealt with individually, following no 
preconceived notion of the album's overall sound. This system provided a 
good musical balance for Andrews and his associates.

Ironically, the decision to record both John Lennon's "How Do You Sleep" 
and Paul McCartney's "Silly Love Songs" reflects a balance of a different 
nature. "They were both sort of written in response to each other," 
explains Andrews. Apparently, the feuding friends took harmful jabs at 
each other in each work's lyrics. Andrews feels the move to remake both 
pieces was an important one, as "You gotta show both sides."

Most songs, though, were chosen on no specific thematic basis. From Neil 
Young's "Cinnamon Girl" to Gary Numan's "Are 'Friends' Electric?" it's 
clear that the Replicants worked, in Andrews' words, "without prerequisites 
for the kind of songs we picked." "Of some of the songs we honestly loved 
the music and of some... it's sort of a novelty thing," Andrews says. "Some 
of them we didn't change very much, either out of laziness or we couldn't 
find another idea."

The four covers from the demo track made it to the album, and for a few 
others, the group took a new approach. "We just said OK, we're throwing 
out the original music," Andrews says. "We're just gonna come up with our 
own thing. It almost took the same amount of effort as writing a song from 
scratch." Yet, it proved a labor of love, since this aspect of the album is 
what attracted the members to the project in the first place. "As we got 
further along, we became more and more bored with doing similar 
versions. We got more excited with coming up with different, weird ways of 
doing the songs," Andrews says. "It was fun coming up with the ideas, 
though the execution got a little tedious."

The entire album, recorded in Failure's studio, was produced piecemeal. 
"We were hardly ever all there together at once," recalls Andrews. Laying 
down guitar tracks one at a time and devising their parts somewhat 
individually, the Replicants sometimes would take a week to return to 
half-finished songs. "I ended up spending the most time on it 'cause I did all 
the engineering and mixing," Andrews says. "I got a little burnt out 'cause 
I'd been in the studio six months previous to that as well."

Though both creative sessions began to blur together, definite differences 
between the two musical episodes were evident. "The Failure album was 
a totally different way of working for us because we decided to just get all 
the equipment and move into this house," Andrews says. The group had 
only written one song, but all the other tunes were created and recorded 
on the spot. "At least with the Replicants, we already had a map of the 
lyrics and what the song was," Andrews says.

Regardless of all the success he's been having between the two outfits, 
Andrews doesn't consider himself a rock star. "Musically, I'm looking to be 
able to live and make records and play," Andrews says. "About three 
years ago I realized it was a definite possibility and basically for the last 
couple of years it's been the reality." This doesn't necessarily mean that 
Andrews has given up on his childhood dream of being "a combination 
between probably Eddie Van Halen and Rick Ocasek," though, he doesn't 
feel these aspirations have greatly influenced his work. Perhaps a greater 
emotional drive to create music stems from a somewhat touchy subject, his 
rejection from UCLA's film school. "I just think it's really stupidhow... the 
only way that they filter people out is by, like, grade point average which is 
the dumbest thing ever," Andrews says.

Graduating from Cal State Los Angeles as a film major, he received work 
in editing shortly after school. "I've always been familiar with electronic 
boxes," Andrews says. "Once you understand one, you understand them 
all." Fortunately, he's been able to apply this knowledge in his musical 
occupation. Currently producing a small Canadian band's album in his 
studio, ever-busy Ken Andrews reflects on the possibility of a second 
Replicants' compilation. "Maybe in a year or so," he says. "I've already 
thought about a couple other songs that I might want to try."

-by Vanessa VanderZanden for Daily Bruin Magazine

Posted to t.d.n: 08/02/98 18:01:36