the tool page

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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: TIME OFF

Date: April, 1995

Transcribed by
Scott Rowan (

  page: 15
author: Craig Ross

On Thursday, April 13, the Alternative Nation juggernaut rolls into 
town. On the bill that day will be L.A. hard rockers TOOL, making 
their first appearance on Australian shores. Speaking from L.A., TOOL 
drummer Danny Carey said the band could hardly wait to hit Australia, 
although the only havoc Danny might cause will be restricted to the 
golfing greens.

"I'm really looking forward to it - to actually go to some place for 
the first time. I know Herb from Primus and he said they've gone down 
there. We usually keep in pretty good touch with them. He told me 
there's some nice golf courses so I think I'll try to play a little 

TOOL's live show is noted for it emphasis on pure, naked aggression.
Danny is adamant that this aggression serves a positive function on 
their records and on tour.

"A lot of our songs are just fuelled by the frustrations of daily
existence - especially in a city like Los Angeles which can get kind 
of tedious at times. We are, I suppose, a product of our environment. 
We just try to be as honest with ourselves as possible at all times. I 
mean, we don't try to put on an act like some of the metal bands do. 
It's all very real to us and we try to keep it that way. I think it 
eliminates barriers between us and the people. Our music, and the 
moods of our music translate a little better."

"It's aimed to be more of a realising thing. Sometimes we've gotten 
press like, you know, they build it up to be kind of negative. It's 
never a negative thing at all, although some of the topics that we 
deal with in the band may be heavy.  But it's all about change and 
bringing these things out into the open for us and moving through 
them. It's definitely more about change than dwelling on these things. 
It's a very positive movement we're trying to keep with."

Perhaps it is inevitable that a band based in L.A. is going to see
aggression as the catalyst for positive change. To what extent has 
L.A. life made an impression on TOOL's songwriting and live 

"Some of that's definitely in there. But I think, for the most part...
well the L.A. riots and all that, kind of occurred after we had 
already written the UNDERTOW record. But the L.A. vibe - we couldn't 
escape that anyway. It's where we all met and we are a product of 
that. That comes into play definitely. But it didn't have that big of 
an impact on my plane specifically. I try to keep my mind on art and 
things like that, more than on political issues. Politics is not a 
very good thing for art. I think it kind of drags it down to a lower 
level. All the best art was made by people who were completely 
transcendent on topic like that. But I do think some of the art has a 
valid purpose. Some of the bands that take on issues, they have their 
place, but it's not what inspires me at all."

While steering clear of political sloganeering, the band still wants 
to reach out to kids through their music and establish a relationship 
with them before the garbage on television does.

"It's sad but I think people will watch whatever's thrown up in front 
of them. There's plenty of room to uplift through that medium, it's 
such a powerful thing, you could put lots of things on there to try to 
push people forward instead of dragging them down to that lowest 
common denominator. It's all about money. At least in America that's 
the only concern - how they can pull the advertising dollar between 
programs. They underestimate the people in general and I think that's 
really sad. They should try to push the other threshold rather than 
just go for the dollar. We'd have a lot healthier society I think."

TOOL's distrust of mass media conglomerates is exemplified in their
insistence upon total artistic control on everything from the artwork
on their upcoming album to their amazing animated videos for recent

"We do the videos ourselves. Adam, our guitar player, has a background
doing effects in films and things. That was his job before we started
doing the band full-time, so he took that ball and ran with it. We 
kind of worked with him. We ended up shooting the videos in our 
friend's garage, calling on all our friends for favours and it worked 
out really well. I feel really lucky that we were able to do it 
ourselves rather than just palm it off to a production company and 
losing touch with it."

But it's through the avenue of aggressive live performance that TOOL 
can best get their messages across. Danny admits that it is on stage 
where it really all comes together for the band.

"We still are definitely a live band. I think it translates a little
better live than it does on record at this point. Hopefully we can 
equal these mediums out in future as we record a few more times and 
get better at it."

Somehow I think they'll manage.

Posted to t.d.n: 05/27/97 01:10:10