the tool page

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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: The Daily Telegraph - Seven Days Liftout

Date: April, 2002

Transcribed by
K. (

  page: T19
 title: Handy Work
author: Dino Scatena 

Justin Chancellor knows he could be a rock star if he wanted 
to. "Obviously if we fancied it, we could get well into that 
scene." he says matter-of-factly. "It's just not what we're 
really about."
Instead, what Chancellor and his bandmates are into, he 
explains, is being "normal people,” "not massive 
personalities,” "just musicians in a band that makes good 
music". All this is made so much easier by the fact that the 
band they're in is called Tool.

You can be as cool or boring as you like when your latest 
album debuted at the top of the charts in nations as far apart 
as Australia and the United States.
The members of Tool are very serious about this anti-
celebrity stuff. Take this year's Grammy Awards. Despite 
being previous winners and up for another best metal 
performance award for their song Schism, the first single from 
last year's Lateralus CD, singer Maynard James Keenan and 
guitarist Adam Jones didn't even bother showing up.
So when the band won, it was left to Tool's drummer Danny 
Carey and bassist Chancellor to accept. Carey thanked his 
parents and Satan. Chancellor thanked: "Alex Grey for doing 
the artwork and my mum for doing my dad."
By the time the Grammy Awards went live into television sets 
across the world, Carey and Chancellor had already left the 
venue and were on their way home.
"It was cool," says Chancellor of his brief attendance at the 
glitzy night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in late 
February. "We pretty much left after we had our thing 
happen. It's not really my scene. We had a drink, had a 
quick shot of tequila with Danny and then we left. It was all 
very surreal. I'm not too experienced with that world. I had to 
go, just to check it out for the novelty factor.
"It's somewhat a personal choice. If you want to be a big rock 
star and go to all the parties and stuff, then I guess it's there 
for you. But it's all a little distracting. And the way the four of 
us are, we'd rather just get on with it. Have a private life and 
then, when it's time, go out on the road and do our thing.
"Somehow, that maintains the whole structure of Tool. We're 
able to go out and deliver and then just come home and be 
normal people."
When the English Chancellor, formerly of a band called 
Peach, was invited to audition for Tool in 1995, the band was 
already well on its way to international success. Its 1992 
debut album, Opiate, drew an immediate response from 
American audiences, while 1993's Undertow got the world's 
Chancellor's first album with Tool, 1996's dense and obtuse 
Ænima, moved Tool into the supergroup ranks, debuting at 
No. 2 on the US charts and selling nearly two million copies in 
its first couple of weeks out.
Last year's equally dark and heavy Lateralus -- which came 
after a protracted battle with their record label regarding 
creative independence -- suddenly had Tool vying for the title 
of the biggest rock band in the world. An indication of the 
scale of things is that next week's Australian tour is their 
second in less than a year -- they were here playing sold-out 
shows last July.
"It's always been a really good experience there," Chancellor 
says of the band's loyal following. (Tool have been regular 
visitors to our shores since 1995.) "There seems to be a 
large amount of people that are really open to it and open to 
being challenged a little bit maybe."
But apparently world domination means as little to the band 
as another Grammy Award. "We don't play any attention to 
the standard rules and practices of the music industry," says 
Chancellor. "Starting with the record label -- then we 
struggled and struggled to get what we wanted.
"First of all, you've got to make sure you can protect your 
creativity and have it delivered without being f...ed with.
"I think it's just been a full-on commitment to the way we 
want to do things and not getting distracted. Just really 
keeping our heads down and working at what we're best at.
"We're not massive personalities -- we're just musicians in a 
band that make good music. We just keep the concentration 
on that rather than anything else."
Away from his Tool duties, Chancellor says he enjoys nothing 
more than spending time with his wife, visiting his family in 
the UK and working on his musical side projects.
Like singer Maynard -- who fronts the band A Perfect Circle in 
his free time -- Chancellor makes very different music away 
from Tool. In the bassist's case, it's experimental electronic 
music that tickles his muse. Not that he's had too much time 
to explore that side of things.
"I'm going to leave that for a bit," he says. "I've been pretty 
all consumed by the Tool thing for the last few years. 
Eventually, when I've got enough of my own time to do that, 
I will. Generally, the way we do it is we brainstorm on our own 
at home and then bring in a bunch of ideas, not trying to 
develop them too much until we're all together and then 
bounce them all together."
Chancellor expects the next album won't take anywhere near 
as long to make as Lateralus. "Everything seems to be good 
now," he says. "We've probably got another five months of 
touring this year, get back, take a little break.
"To be honest, we've already got a ton of material, including 
stuff left over from the last album. And we tend to develop 
ideas over the touring period as well, during sound checks. 
You're just stuck in the venue all day so you might as well 
make use of having that massive sound system to jam 
"It could happen a lot quicker this time, hopefully. We all 
hope it does."

Posted to t.d.n: 04/18/02 12:14:50