Publication: The Daily Telegraph - Seven Days Liftout
Date: April, 2002
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 attention. 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 through. "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