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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: n/a

Date: April, 2001

Transcribed by
cebul (

 title: TooL WebCast

TOOL WEBCAST -- 4.17.2001
[this was an audio webcast broadcasted over 
during april 2001, the voice which asked the band questions 
was one of those computer voice-simulation programs]


thank you for joining us today, we are here with maynard, 
adam and justin, they will be answering the questions that 
you emailed about their new album, "lateralus"

adam: hi
maynard: hi
justin: howdy

how does lateralus fit into the tool epic, is it a continuation of 
aenima, or a separate event altogether?

maynard: i think its definitley a continuation from aenima... 
we've learned how to communicate better and... it fits into 
that mold somehow.
justin: it's a logical progression.
maynard: there you go, see i told you you should've 
answered that question.

is there a theme to lateralus?

maynard: yeah, we all wear doctors outfits, and take orders 
on clipboards... and... its kind of a "doctor" theme, with uh, 
[laughs] bedpans and... go on.
adam: it's... there's a James Bond theme...
justin: [laughs]
adam: it's from "man with the golden gun".
maynard: and it's happy hour between 6 and 7
adam: this is when the kids go: "they are such fuckin dicks!"
justin: [laughs]
adam: but yeah, i guess, the thing to me is that it's alot 
more personal, kind of a more retrospective, you know, kind 
of band and personal politics, and ah... .. me out.
maynard: definitely kind of a "saturn return" theme, in some 
way, re-evaluation and re-assesment of personal and group 
patterns, introspective... retrospective, definitley.

is lateralus the equivalent of metallica's "black album"?

maynard: i think that what they might be asking is... in a 
way, metallica kind of... they did their own thing and they 
really held their ground about their approach to music and 
their exposure in the world of music, and i think finally all 
their efforts paid off when they finally put out the black 
album. it was kind of like they had arrived and their crowd 
had kind of followed them the whole way, and in a way we've 
been around for quite awhile, and we've kind of 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 was 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 band in a way, thats been 
around, and there's gonna be a new "something" coming up, 
who knows what it's gonna be, but it'll be something that's 
influenced by our peers, and a whole new thing, but we are 
definitley like... i dunno i kind of see us - that this as being 
our "black album".
justin: also that album kind of led alot of people, new fans, 
back to their old albums, so that could be the same with this 
album for us.

how do you feel it will mesh with the current music scene?

justin: 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.
maynard: yeah hopefully it will re-teach kids how to have an 
attention span, hopefully.

did you guys put alot of pressure on yourselves during 
recording, knowing it was the follow up to aenima, or did the 
long wait basically take away that pressure?

maynard: yes
justin: [laughs]
adam: actually, the album has alot of reflective elements of 
that whole process in it that come out in the words and music, 
so, the answer is yes.
justin: yeah, i mean we just... pressure was put on us by 
ourselves, in other words we pretty much shut ourselves 
inside and tried not to pay too much attention to anyone 
elses expectations.
adam: yeah i don't think we were really worried about the 
commercial aspect...
justin: no...
adam: ...just reaching our own personal, you know, standards 
of what we like and what we're trying to get out.

will aloke dutta be on it?

adam: aloke dutta, will not be on it.
maynard: he's not on the record, but there is some tabla, 
and i think that danny was instructed by aloke, so in a way 
alokes influence will be there.
adam: yeah dan's... you know, he's been studying tabla and 
most of the times 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 

did you guys experiment with different measures, and how 
did this change the sound?

justin: 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, alot of 5, a bit of 6, and it 
does tend to like make for a different kind of soundscape, 
especially sticking different ones together and trying to keep 
the flow in there. 
maynard: yeah 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 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.
adam: but 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 5 again" not that we were trying, going "let's write a 
song in 5" or "let's write a song in 6", you know, so...
justin: it's like a weird type of kicking, you know...
adam: right
justin: ...some new weird ingredients...
adam: right
justin: ...just trying to get the recipe right.
adam: it's exciting, you know, leads you to the end, it's 
something where it just kind of came out in playing where 
you just kind of seek new territory, seek new grounds and 
you go down a path, and you're like "wow, i'm here".

is lateralus a more pyschological or emotionally charged 

maynard: i would say that our earlier records were a blend of 
that but more physical, and i think this is definitley more 
toward a blend of the psychological and the emotional.

since most of the songs exceed the "radio friendly 3-minute 
formula" will you be editing songs to use as singles in order 
to get more airplay?

maynard: the answer is no.
adam: yeah we've always kind of taken a stand on what is 
tolerable, and how much time, you know, just kind of let 
things flow, we want people to experience that. and we've 
found through other bands that when they have edited their 
songs the radio stations have edited the edited songs, and if 
you guys remember, maybe not everyone will remember this, 
but during aenima when stinkfist came out, KROQ in L.A. and 
new york edited the song, they took out the whole middle 
part, and 2 weeks later, thanks to you guys calling in, they 
started playing the entire song. so that's the kind of 
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. 
justin: yeah, MTV even changed the name.
adam: right... track one...

why are you so protective of your music as to prevent any 
songs from leaking out before the release date of your 

adam: we're not, you can download it right now, it's on 
maynard: at ""
adam: [laughs]
maynard: ""

do you feel you've accomplished everything you set out on 
this record?

adam: i think it's very fulfilling, there's alot of still little open 
holes that i'm personally feeling, but i think they'll get 
worked out through touring, you know, developing, when you 
just start playing the songs over and over and over and 
you've played 60 gigs in a row, or 100 gigs in a row the songs 
start becoming so fine tuned and we always kind of go "oh 
god i wish we had done that on the album" or "oh i wish we 
could've played the songs for like 3 months before we 
recorded them", but that's just part of the process, you have 
to look at the songs as a snapshot, like a photograph, 
polaroid of that place in time...
justin: yeah at some point you have to make a decision, but 
we dont limit ourselves to just that, it's kind of like a seed we 
can take on the road then, just have the freedom to let it 
change and take different direction and grow... turn into 
different.. you know, like we reworked pushit, and just 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 was just getting it done and staying together.

have you taken a different approach this time round and 
written about things more personal and internal like 

maynard: well i think all the songs we've ever done have 
been about relationships, just because a relationship is with, 
you know, between larger bodies of people or someones 
perspective on what's happening in the world or whatever, it's 
still a relationship and it still affects you as an individual, and 
intimately, so, ah, hard question to answer i guess, yeah i 
mean these are definitley about more intimate, personal 
relationships than, say, a britney spears album... so... yeah, 
justin: yeah there's some attention to the relationship 
between the music and the words too, i think, it's a little 
different than before.

with lateralus will you head in the direction that you seem to 
be exploring with pushit and third eye?

adam: i guess so, i think all of our music is kind of handled 
like that, you know, if it wasn't then justin would just walk in 
with a song and go "here's the song", or maynard would walk 
in and go "here's the song", you know, 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?"...
maynard: ah, no i think they're comparing to songs like 
sweat or hush, which are far more quick and to the point, 
third eye and pushit are far more exploratory, and have alot 
more of a soundscape and depth.
adam: but we explored in those songs too...
maynard: i mean as far as like length and movement there's 
alot more, you know, there's definitley alot more. 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. 
justin: [laugh]
maynard: yes
adam: sure...
justin: [laugh]

the cover art of the new album is much different from the 
past 2, what ideas did you run through in order to arrive at 
this concept?

maynard: i think the artwork for this album is kind of one 
those "as above so below" sceniarios where alot of the album 
concept is kind of dealing with communicating more and 
letting go of things, and all those kind of midlife concepts. 
and i think that having brought another artist in for the 
designing of the cover art was kind of a step in that direction, 
where we 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 and what 
they hear. and so in that way it was different because it was 
done by an outside person rather than done within the band.

who designed and created the cover art?

adam: it was alex grey. 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 and 
the organs and the nervous system and the circulatory 
system, and i thought it would be really kind of appealing to 
strip like ideas of the songs and the band in that manner, 
so, we had a conference call with alex grey and the band, and 
talked to him about ideas and maynard sent him the lyrics, 
and 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 
paneling, clear plastic, peeling away the surface levels. and 
what he came back with was just mind-blowing because he is 
truly a modern master in any rights of art history, and he will 
completely be remembered as such, we just are still blown 
away that he wanted to do something for us.
justin: thanks
adam: yeah thanks, alex

which album does lateralus sound most like, or is it a new 
tool sound once again?

maynard: it's kind of a cross between 'plasmatics coup d'etat' 
and 'i like big butts'... wait, what was the question again?

did you ever feel you could never top aenima?

justin: i don't think it's about topping it really, just exploring 
some new ideas, perhaps trying to compliment it...
adam: we're not writing pop songs, you know, it's not 
something that we're trying to top, there's definitely 
resources of challenging yourself, but it's just exploring 
music, and to go to places we haven't gone or thought of, so 
we have to look at it like that, and i personally look at all 
those albums as completely different... so, if you mean that 
topping, i don't know if you mean in sales, so... we'll see.
maynard: i think they meant: did we want to put whipped 
cream on it, like as a marketing tool...
adam: right
maynard: ...with a cherry
adam: right... then, yes

did the record company want to change anything on the 
album, and if so how did you guys deal with that?

maynard: originally they wanted us to do a covers record, but 
all the songs we picked out i couldn't understand what britney 
spears was saying so i couldn't really undertsand that, and 
adam had a hard time figuring out the chord progressions to 
some of the ricky martin songs so we just kind of abandoned 
it and decided to just write our own record.

will lateralus be released on vinyl?

adam: no, PVC
maynard: PVC... [laughs] 8-track
adam: yes, it will be
justin: it'll be thick vinyl

did you use analog tape for any of the recording, mixing or 

maynard: yes
justin: yes

do Jungs theories: shadows, male and female, positive and 
negative, etc have any influence on your work?

maynard: yeah, uh.. i guess so... ah
adam: yeah he was over here like yesterday
maynard: [laughs] we channeled him, it was a weird thing, we 
were making jello and had the hot water running and i spilled 
some water on the floor and in an electrical charge, and i 
channeled Jung, and he told me that i was fuckin up the jello.

who engineered and produced the new album?

maynard: carl jung  ...i mean david bottril
adam: dave bottril did, and tool did, and you read that 
sometimes and you think "oh the band just puts that on 
there for their own ego" but we really, the 4 of us, while 
dave's working, breathe down the back of his neck the entire 
time, the entire process, and it's bad cuz we all have bad 
justin: david's really essential in kind of consolidating all of 
our different ideas, really kind of glues everything together in 
a cool way.
adam: yeah, i think

do you feel that your music is over-analyzed by some of your 

adam: just the ones that kill themselves.
maynard: 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 over analyzed by all the 
other ones, the safe ones that aren't armed.

do you think that tool is fulfilling its potential as musicians?

justin: definitley, i think that's the most important thing to all 
of us and what we do, is just to push further and further the 
sounds that we're trying to create, just kind of mastering, like 
anyone, you know: master your trade, strive to get better 
and better.

could tool survive the loss of one of its members?

maynard: well that 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 would be able to play guitar, but if danny lost 
like a hand or a limb... that particular member would, ah...  
what's the next question.
justin: [laughs]

any new bands you guys like and respect?

maynard: i love buddy holly, you guys like anybody other 
than buddy holly?
justin: not really...
maynard: [laughs]

when you look back at your past work are you happy with it, 
or do you think you could've done a better jb?

maynard: i think we always could do a better jb, a jb well 
done is the best way to do a jb.
justin: [laughs]

what do you want people to get out of your music?

maynard: 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.
adam: 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 doing 
something really fast that just kind of marks just that  
second, you know, something that's 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 on the long term side of thinking 
and remembering, instead of the short term.

what do you think are some common mis-conceptions about 
you guys?

adam: we're not gay
maynard: we're not brazilian
justin: i'm not australian
adam: and we're not scientologists
maynard: we're not scientologists or republicans, i get that all 
the time...
adam: we're not christians
maynard: ..."youre a republican, right?" [laughs] no, i'm not.
adam: we're not sober
maynard: are you a republican?
adam: nope
maynard: you're a pedestrian
adam: no, believe in nothing
justin: i'm republican

do you think it is possible for any one band to save the 
music industry and the direction that it is going?

maynard: um
adam: 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 crap...
maynard: [laughs]
adam: ...ah, ok let's not answer the next question
maynard: [still laughing] oh come on!
adam: ok, ok ask the next question

have you ever considered performing with an orchestra?

maynard: ah... [laughs]
adam: yeah! but we, the 4 members will each have their own 
orchestra... at the same time.
maynard: we were talking with... we were hangin out with 
metallica and uriah heep, and we did like the 'paper- scissors-
rock' to see who was gonna do the orchestra album... and 
metallica won [laughs]
adam: kevin willis told me that everyone plays that game 
wrong, that it's 'paper-scissors-rock-dynamite', and i was 
playing with him and then he said its 'paper-scissors-rock-
dynamite-and-cameltoe', and cameltoe beats everything.
maynard: [laughs] so metallica pulled out cameltoe and they 
got to do the orchestra album...
adam: mmhm
maynard: ...and we didn't get to do it.
adam: mmhm

do your songs take on new meaning for you as time goes 
on? how!?

maynard: [laughs]
adam: [laughs]
justin: [laughs]
adam: wait do it again... do it again, do it again

do your songs take on new meaning for you as time goes 
on? how!?

adam: [laughs]
justin: [laughs]
maynard: [laughs]
justin: ...and how
adam: yeah that one needed a comma there
maynard: ..yeah, well i think, you know, the we write things 
kind of evolve, as adam said earlier, as time goes on we re-
evaluate 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 ah...
adam: yeah, when maynard writes lyrics, he writes them in 
prose, and they take on different meanings and they can 
affect all of our lives in different ways, and you have to look 
at the music like that, too, 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, when you first heard it you had a certain reaction, and 
then when you heard it 5 years later you have a different 
reaction, you know, or you may have the same reaction i 
don't think so though, but still it's all just a stimulous and a 
way of thinking and it kind of reflects time, just like, kind of 
like.. i guess like a tattoo or something.
justin: it's kind of mixed that way too, i think, where you can 
really delve inside the music and find different layers with 
time, with each new listen you can explore, like a new.. you 
might catch a new relationship between 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.

what impact do you feel your music has had on the industry, 
if any?

maynard: well hopefully we've, like we said earlier, hopefully 
we've expanded the attention span of people, that's the 
biggest problem it seems nowadays is just everything's such 
a fast-paced, disposable society as far as music, television, 
you know, 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 feel the subtle 
nuances of life in general.
justin: and hopefully 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 somehow.

i have a hard time keeping a good flow in my songs while 
adding changes to keep it interesting, how do you wedge 
together ideas that change the parts of the song yet 
maintain the overall melody of the music?

maynard: acid
adam: i don't know, come jam with us, can't explain it...

have you considered doing an acoustic session?

maynard: do they still have rainbow gatherings? are those 
still going on? ok then yeah, as long as there's a rainbow 
gathering we'll do an acoustic set.

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've accomplished this goal?"

maynard: yes
adam: well i'm not gonna answer that
justin: [laughs] the fun has only just begun...
maynard: and our final question?

did you really record aenima using a tascam 8-track?

maynard: yes, and thank you, goodnight.

end transmission
transcribed by cebul 

Posted to t.d.n: 07/30/02 17:15:10