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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Tool Webcast

Date: April 17, 2001

Transcribed by
Stella S. (

 title: Lateralus Webcast
Thank you for joining us today. We are here with Maynard, Adam, 
and Justin. They will be answering the questions you e-mailed 
about their new album, Lateralus

Adam Jones: Hi.
Maynard James Keenan: Hi.
Justin Chancellor: Howdy

1. How does Lateralus fit into the Tool epic? Is it a continuation 
of Ænima or a separate event altogether?
AJ: Um, I think it’s definitely a continuation from Ænima. We've 
learned how to communicate better and it fits into that mold 
JC: It’s a logical progression.
AJ: There you go. See, I told you you should have answered that 

2. Is  there a theme to Lateralus?
AJ: Yeah, we all wear doctors outfits and take orders on 
clipboards. And it’s kind of a doctor theme with bedpans and, go 
MJK: There’s a James Bond theme,  it’s from “Man with the 
golden gun.”
AJ: And it’s happy hour between 6 and 7.
MJK: See, this is when the kids go “They’re such fucking dicks”. 
But I guess, yeah, the theme to me is it’s a lot more personal, 
kind of more retrospective, kind of band and personal politics 
and, uh…help me out…

AJ: Definitely kind of a Saturn return theme in a way. A 
reevaluation and reassessment of personal and group patterns. 
Introspective, retrospective, definitely.

3. Is Lateralus the equivelant of Metallica’s "Black Album"?
AJ: I think what they might be asking is, in a way Metallica kind of 
they did their own thing and really held their ground about their 
approach to music and their exposure in the world of music and I 
think finally their all their efforts paid off when they made the 
"Black Album". It was kind of like they’d arrived and their crowd 
had kind of followed them the whole the way. And in a way we’ve 
been around for quite awhile and we’ve established ourselves 
on our own terms.  And a really interesting pairing was watching 
Metallica and Nine Inch Nails at Woodstock, kind of watching the 
old guard and the new guard kind of exchanging time on the 
stage; where you have Nine Inch Nails had kind of  like been the 
child coming in in the new year and Metallica had been like the 
old wizard kind of handing the torch over. I think that we’re kind of 
that way, we’re kind of like this more established a band, in a 
way, that’s been around and there’s gonna be a 
new…something coming up. Who knows what it’s going to be, 
but it will be something that’s influenced by our peers, and a 
whole new thing. But we’re definitely like, I don’t know, I kind of 
see this as being our "Black Album".
JC: Also, that album kind of led a lot of people new fans back to 
their old albums. So that could be the same with this album for 

4. How do you fel it will “mesh” with the current music scene?
JC: Hopefully it will pull it wide apart. Kind of push boundaries 
back further and I don’t think it really has to mesh with anything 
else, just kind of stretch the horizon a bit.
MJK: Yeah, hopefully it will reteach kids how to have an attention 
span. Hopefully.

5. Did you guys put a lot of pressure on yourselves during 
recording, knowing it was the follow up to Ænima? Or did the 
long break basically take away that pressure?
MJK: Yes. (Pause) Actually the album has a lot of reflective 
elements of that whole process in it that come out in the words 
and music, so the answer’s yes.
JC: Yeah, I mean the only pressure was put on us by ourselves. 
In other words, we pretty much shut ourselves inside and try not 
to pay too much attention to anyone else’s expectations.
MJK: Yeah, I don’t think we weren’t really worried about the 
commercial aspect, just reaching our own personal standards of 
what we like and what we’re trying to get out.

6. Will Aloke Dutta be on it?
MJK: Aloke Dutta will…
AJ: He’s not on the record.
MJK: …Not be on it.
AJ: But there is some tabla and I think – Danny was instructed by 
Aloke so, in a way, Aloke’s influence will be there.
MJK: Yeah, Dan’s gone from…he’s been studying tabla and 
most of the time he’s taken samples and played them on his 
Simmons, and a couple times on the album he actually played 
live tablas and it’s really, really good; it came out great.

7. Did you guys experiment with different measures, and how did 
this change the sound?
JC: Yeah, a little bit; mostly just looking for sounds and patterns 
that we hadn’t heard before, and they tended to come out in 
different measures. A lot of five, a bit of six and a half, and it does 
tend to make for a different kind of soundscape. Especially 
sticking different ones together, trying to keep the flow in there.
MJK: Which is, it’s a difficult task when you’re hearing things in a 
strange rhythm, to somehow translate it to ears who don’t really 
have a frame of reference for it, so it was quite the challenge. 
But, I think once you hear the record I think you’ll see that we did 
a fair job at that: keeping the rhythm and the flow going and at the 
same time still having some strange time signatures 
occuring…but not obviously.
AJ: But it was, it was kind of a natural process. I mean, it was 
amazing to me how many times I kept going “Oh my god, that’s 
in five again!” Not that we were trying, going, “Let’s write a song 
in five,” or “Let’s write a song in six and a half”, or “Let’s” – 
JC: It’s like a weird type of cooking, y’know. Some new, weird 
ingredients, just trying to get the recipe right.
AJ: It’s exciting and…leads you to the end. It’s something that, 
y’know, just kind of came out when playing where you just kind of 
seek new territories and seek new grounds, and you go down a 
path and you’re like “Wow, I’m here.”

8. It Lateralus a more psychological or emotionally charged 
MJK: I would say that our earlier records were a blend of that, but 
more physical; and I think that this is definitely leaning more 
toward a blend of the psychological and the emotional.

9. Since most of the songs exceed the “radio friendly” three 
minute formula, will you be editing songs to use as singles in 
order to get more airplay?
AJ: The answer is, NO.
MJK: Yeah, we’ve always kind of taken a stand on what is 
tolerable and how much time,  just kind of let things flow and 
want people to experience that. And we found through other 
bands that when they edit their songs, the radio stations have 
edited the edited songs. And, if you guys remember - maybe not 
everyone will remember this, but - during Ænima, when 
“Stinkfist” came out, KROQ in LA and New York edited the song. 
They took out the whole middle part and, two weeks later, thanks 
to you guys calling in, they started playing the entire song. So, 
that’s kind of the approach we go at, is we just send them the 
song, cuz we can’t stop them from editing it. So if you hear an 
edited version of our songs, we didn’t do it, it’s the radio station.
JC: Yeah, MTV even changed the name.
MJK: Right (laughs), “Track 1.”

10. Why are you so protective of your music as to prevent any 
songs from leaking out before the release date
AJ: We’re not! You can download it right now, it’s on Napster.

11. Do you feel you accomplished everything you set out on  this 
AJ: I think it’s very fulfilling. There’s a lot of still little open holes 
that I’m personally feeling, but I think they’ll get worked out 
through touring, y’know, developing. Y’know, when you start 
playing the songs over and over and over; and you’ve played sixty 
gigs in a row or a hundred gigs in a row, the songs start 
becoming so fine-tuned and we always kind of go “Oh god, I 
wish we had done what on the album” or “I wish we could have 
played the songs three months before we recorded them.” But 
it’s just part of the process, you have to look at the songs as a 
snapshot, a photograph polaroid of that place in time.
JC: Yeah, a some point you just have to make a decision to get 
down that point that you’ve got to. But then, y’know, we don’t limit 
ourselves to just that. It’s kind of like a seed that we can take on 
the road then, and just have the freedom to let it change and take 
different direction and grow; turn into different, y’know. Like we 
reworked Pushit, and just to keep the whole process alive. But 
as far as the album you do have to stop at some point and make 
a decision that it’s done and that’s what that is at that time. I think 
the biggest accomplishment is just getting it done and staying 

12. Have you taken a different approach this time around and 
written about things more personal and internal like 
MJK: Well, I think all the songs we’ve ever done have been about 
relationships. Just because the relationship is with – between 
larger bodies of people, or someone’s perspective on what’s 
happening in the world, or whatever, it’s still a relationship and it 
still effects you as an individual and intimately. So, uh, hard 
question to answer…I guess, yeah, I mean these are definitely 
about more intimate, personal relationships than, say, a Britney 
Spears album. So…yeah, okay.
JC: Yeah, there’s some attention to, like, the relationship 
between the music and the words too. I think it’s a little different 
than before.

13. With Lateralus, will you head in the direction that you seemed 
to be exploring with “Pushit” and “Third Eye”?
AJ: I guess so. I mean, I think all of our music is kind of handled 
like that, y’know. If it wasn’t, then Justin would just walk in a go 
“Here’s the song,” or Maynard would walk in and go “Here’s the 
song.” But, all of our songs have gone through that same 
process that those songs have – if I’m getting that question right. 
Unless they mean, is it gonna change?
MJK: Um, no, I think they’re saying that like say compared to 
songs like “Sweat” or “Hush”, which are far more quick and to 
the point, “Pushit” and “Third Eye” are far more exploratory and 
have a lot more of a soundscape and depth.
AJ: Well we explored those songs too.
MJK: Right. But I mean, as far as, like, length and movement, 
there’s a lot more, there’s definitely a lot more. It’s like, those 
songs are more like Apocalypse Now and probably the songs on 
Opiate are more like Reservoir Dogs, where it’s pretty direct and 
minimal, still explored as much. So maybe that’s what they’re 
saying. And I guess…yes. Yes.
AJ: Sure.

14. The cover art of the new album is much different from the 
past two; what ideas did you run through in order to arrive at this 
MJK: I think the artwork for this album is kind of one of those “as 
above, so below” scenarios where a lot of the album concept is 
kind of dealing with communicating more and letting go of 
things, and all of those kind of mid-life concepts. And I think 
having brought another artist in for the designing of the cover art 
was kind of a step in that direction, where we’ve kind of like just 
let the music itself be pure and heard by someone and then 
letting them interpret it. Someone who’s a master at their art 
interpreting it in what they hear, so in that way it was different 
because it was done by an outside person, rather than done 
within the band.

15. Who designed and created the cover art?
AJ: It was Alex Gray, and I basically had the idea of, looking at any 
average encyclopedia, in the A section, under anatomy, they 
usually have a plastic, clear-coated anatomy breakdown of the 
different layers of the body; y’know,the organs and the nervous 
system and the circulatory system. And I thought it would be 
really kind of appealing to kind of strip ideas of the songs and 
the band in that manner. So, I had a conference call with Alex 
Gray and the band and talked to him about ideas, and Maynard 
sent him the lyrics - we  didn’t really send him too much of the 
music. But from that conversation we told him just to take what 
he’s heard and the lyrics and go off, basically, and to stay within 
that, the paneling, clear plastic, peeling away the surface levels. 
And what he came back with is just mind blowing because he is 
truly a modern master, in any rights of art history, and he will 
completely be remembered as such, and we just are still blown 
away that he wanted to do something for us.
JC: Thanks.
MJK: Yeah, thanks Alex.

16. Which album does Lateralus sound most like, or is it a new 
Tool sound once again?
MJK: It’s kind of a cross between Plasmatics “Ku De Ta” and “I 
like big butts.” (pause) Wait, what was the question again?

17. Did you ever feel you could never top Ænima?
JC: I don’t think it’s about topping it really, just exploring some 
new ideas, y’know, perhaps trying to complement it.
MJK: We’re not writing pop songs, y’know, it’s not something that 
we’re trying to top. There’s definitely resources of challenging 
yourself, but it’s just exploring music to go to places we haven’t 
gone or thought of, so you have to look at it like that. I personally 
look at all those albums  as being completely different, so I 
don’t…if you mean that topping. I don’t know if you mean in 
sales, y’know, so, we’ll see.
AJ: I think they meant did we want to put whipped cream on it like 
as a marketing tool, with a cherry.
MJK: Then, yes.

18. Did the record company want to change anything on the 
album, and if so, how did you guys deal with that?
MJK: Originally, they wanted us to do a covers record. But I 
couldn’t really…all the songs we picked out, I couldn’t 
understand what Britney Spears was saying, so I couldn’t really 
understand that; and Adam had a hard time figuring out the 
chord progressions in some of the Ricky Martin songs. So we 
just kind of abandoned it and just decided to write our own 

19. Will Lateralus be released on vinyl?
AJ: (laughing) PVC – eight track!
MJK: Yes, it will be.
JC. It will be thick vinyl.

20. Did you use analog tape for any of the recording, mixing, or 
MJK: Yes.
JC: Yes.

21. Do Jung’s theorems (shadows, male and female, positive 
and negative, etc.) have any influence on your work?
MJK: I guess so.
AJ: Yeah, he was over here like yesterday.
MJK: We channeled him. It was a weird thing: we were making 
Jell-O, and had the hot water running, and I spilled some water 
on the floor, and there was an electrical charge, and I channeled 
Jung and he told me that I was fucking up the Jell-O.

22. Who engineered and produced the new album?
MJK: Carl Jung (pause) I mean, David Botrill
AJ: David Botrill did, and Tool did. And you read that sometimes 
and think “Oh, the band just puts that on there for their own ego.” 
But we really, the four of us, while Dave’s working, breath down 
the back of his neck the entire time, the entire process. And it’s 
bad cuz we all have bad breath.
JC: He was really essential in kind of consolidating all of our 
different ideas. Really kind of glazed everything together in a cool 

23. Do you feel that your music is overanalyzed by some of your 
AJ: Just the ones that kill themselves.
MJK: Yeah. Actually, not by the ones that are armed; those are 
cool, those guys are cool – the ones with knives and whatnot, 
they’re fine. But, yeah, it’s overanalyzed by all the other ones, the 
safe ones that aren’t armed.

24. Do you think Tool is fulfilling its potential as musicians?
JC: Definitely. I think that’s the most important thing to all of us, in 
what we do, is just to push further and further. The sounds that 
we’re trying to create, just kind of mastering like anyone. Master 
your trade, strive to get better and better.

25. Could Tool survive the loss of one of its members?
MJK: Well, it depends on the member. I mean, if it was me and I 
lost a leg, I’d still be able to sing; if it was Adam and he lost a 
leg, he could be able to play guitar. But if Danny lost like a hand 
or a limb, that particular member would, uh…what’s the next 

26. Any new bands you guys like and respect
MJK: I love Buddy Holly…you guys like anybody other than Buddy 
JC: Not really.

27. When you looked back at your past work are you happy with it 
or do you think you could have done a better job (note: The 
computer program reading the questions pronounced “job” as 
MJK: I think we always could do a better jobe… a jobe well done 
is the best way to do a jobe.

28. What do you want people to get out of your music?
MJK: I would hope they were just inspired and kind of do things 
for themselves in whatever line of work or art they’re into, it would 
just be like a catalyst for them to expand their horizons more.
AJ: Yeah, and just appreciate the music as much as we do. And 
the work that went into it. It’s like working on a sculpture or a 
painting a really long time instead of just, y’know, doing 
something really fast that just kind of marks just that second. 
Y’know, something that has been really kind of scrutinized and 
the effort that went into it and the thought that went into it and the 
movement that it caused; instead of “does it got a good beat and 
does it hold my attention?” I think it’s more of uh, um…I don’t 
know, it’s more in the long term side of thinking and 
remembering instead of the short term, I believe.

29. What do you think are some common misconceptions about 
you guys?
AJ: We’re not gay.
MJK: We’re not Brazilian.
JC: We’re not Australian.
MJK: Right.
AJ: And we’re not scientologists.
MJK: We’re not scientologists; or Republicans. I get that all the 
time – “You’re a Republican, right?” No, I’m not.
AJ: We’re not Christians, we’re not sober.
MJK: Are you a Republican?
AJ: Nope.
MJK: You’re a pedestrian.
AJ: I believe in nothing.
JC: I’m Republican.

30. Do you guys think it is possible for any one band to save the 
music industry and the direction it is going?
AJ: The music industry has always had it’s bad side, there’s 
always the Yin and the Yang, there’s always gonna be just 
complete…complete crap.
MJK: (laughing)
AJ: Uh, yeah let’s not answer the next question.
MJK: (still laughing) Oh, c’mon.
AJ: Okay, okay, ask the next question.

31. Have you ever considered performing with an orchestra?
MJK: (coughs) Uh. (starts laughing again)
AJ: Yeah! But the four members will each have their own 
orchestra, at the same time.
MJK: We were hanging out with Metallica and Uriah Heap, and 
we did, like, the paper, scissors, rock to see who was going to 
do the orchestra album, and Metallica won.
AJ: Kevin was telling me that everyone plays that game wrong; 
that’s it’s paper, scissors, rock, dynamite. And then I was playing 
with him and he said it’s paper, scissors, rock, dynamite, camel 
toe. And camel toe beats everything.
MJK: So Metallica pulled out camel toe and they got to do the 
orchestra album and we didn’t get to do it.

32. Do your songs take on new meaning for you as time goes 
on? How? (note: type how into Simple Text [or a program similar] 
and have the voice “Victoria” read it; you’ll understand)
(loud laughter)
AJ: Wait, do it again, do it again. Do it again!

32. Do your songs take on a new meaning for you as time goes 
on? How?
(more laughter)
JC: And how!
AJ: That would need a comma there.
MJK: Yeah. Well, I think the way we write, things kind of evolve as 
Adam had said earlier, as time goes on. And we reevaluate the 
songs and play them live repeatedly, we start honing in on 
different areas of the song that have room for adjustment and all 
that, and so, uh…
AJ: Yeah, cuz when Maynard writes lyrics, he writes them in 
prose, and they take on different meanings and they can effect all 
of our lives in different ways; and you have to look at the music 
like that too. It’s, um, y’know, you’re in a headspace when you’re 
writing it, and then you’re in a different headspace when you’re 
playing it after a year, so, absolutely. And the same thing with 
listening to music, if you’re a fan of some band. Y’know, when 
you first heard it you had a certain reaction, and then when you 
heard it five years later you have a different reaction – or you may 
have the same reaction, I don’t think so though. But it’s still, it’s 
all, uh, it’s just the stimulus and a way of thinking, and it kind of 
reflects time, just like, kind of like, I guess like a tattoo or 
MJK: (mocking Simple text voice) How?
JC: It’s kind of mixed that way too, I think, where you can really 
delve inside the music and find different layers with time. And 
you can explore a new – you might catch a new relationship with 
a phrase and what’s happening in the music that you might 
miss the first time. It’s got a depth to it that allows that to happen. 
And it’s…ehn.
(mild laughter)

33. What impact do you feel your music has had on the industry 
– if any?
MJK: Well hopefully we’ve, like we said earlier, hopefully we’ve 
expanded the attention span of people. I mean, that’s the biggest 
problem it seems nowadays, is just everything’s such a fast 
paced, disposable society as far as music, television, fast food, 
everything. So I think if we’ve had any impact at all, I would hope 
it would have something to do with consciousness expansion 
and getting people to take a moment and take a deep breath, 
and just take a deep breath and feel the suddle nuances of life in 
JC: And hopefully, like, inspire people to be true to what they 
believe in, and just ignore what everyone else is saying and just 
plow straight ahead with your own idea and try and fulfill it 

34. I have a hard time keeping a good flow in my songs while 
adding changes to keep it interesting; how do you branch 
together ideas that change the parts of the song, yet maintain the 
overall melody of the music?
MJK: Acid.
AJ: I don’t know, come jam with us, I can’t explain it.

35. Have you considered doing an acoustic session?
MJK: Do they still have Rainbow Gatherings? Are those still 
going on? (Pause) Okay then, yeah, as long as there’s a 
Rainbow Gathering we’ll do an acoustic set.

36. Adam said of Lateralus in the new Guitar World, “We just 
wanted to go further than we had before and have fun doing it.” 
Do you as a band feel you accomplished this goal?
MJK: Yes.
AJ: Well, I’m not going to answer that.
JC: The fun has only just begun.
MJK: And, our final question:

37. Did you really record Ænima using a Tascam 8-track?
MJK: Yes, and thank you, goodnight.

Thank you for joining us today. Please come back in two weeks 
to hear a special preview of Schism. The spice…must…flow.

Posted to t.d.n: 05/05/01 19:44:31