the tool page

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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: The Evening Post

Date: April, 2002

Transcribed by
Katie the Article Transcriber (

 title: Tool send out to transcend the mainstream
author: Mike Houlahan

Chart-topping US band Tool know where they are wanted. 

The band's upcoming New Zealand tour is their third, and 
their second visit in recent times  a welcome surprise for 
local fans who might have feared they would have had to wait 
for their heroes to release another album before seeing them 

"We always intended to come back so soon," Tool bass 
player Justin Chancellor says. 

"It's always nice to come over, do a couple of shows, build up 
the profile a little bit, and if people like it things are set up 
for another visit. We're going to go wherever people want to 
hear us." 

Chancellor is being unduly modest. In New Zealand  like the 
United States and Australia  Tool's most recent album 
Lateralus debuted at No 1 on the album charts, and tickets 
for their last Australasian tour sold out in minutes. 

Perhaps fans are so keen on Tool because they've had to 
wait so long to hear them again. After forming in 1991, Tool 
released the acclaimed ep Opiate in 1992 and a year later 
followed up with Undertow. 

Even more fans for their dark and angry but also mysterious 
and sometimes beautiful take on heavy alternative music 
were won by 1996's Aenima  by which time Chancellor had 
replaced original bassist Paul D'Amour. The album topped 
charts everywhere, and the world appeared to be Tool's 

However, while a host of pale imitators emerged and new 
metal attempted to steal Tool's much more original thunder, 
the band were locked in a tedious, two-year legal battle with 
label Volcano Records. 

In 1997, Volcano filed a $US25 million ($NZ58.32 million) 
suit against the band, which was later upped to $US40 
million  alleging Tool were trying to get out of their deal with 
the label. Tool in the meantime were suing Volcano, saying 
the label didn't pick up an option on the band and hence 
they were free to leave. 

The band embarked on a busy touring schedule to try and 
ensure people didn't forget about them, while eventually a 
deal was hammered out whereby Tool were given their own 
record label via Volcano. 

"All that stuff is sorted out now, we're all happy, and we're all 
happy to be able to work how we want to," Chancellor says. 

Contractual issues sorted out, the stop-gap collection of 
mostly live tracks, Salival, was put out and Tool were able to 
retreat to the practice room to craft last year's comeback 
album Lateralus. They had plenty of songs to get out of their 
system: a five-year wait was far too long between records and 
won't happen again, Chancellor vows. 

"We already have a lot of new stuff as well, and as long as 
we don't have the bad luck we had last time we won't have 
any distractions and we can bang it out a bit quicker. For us 
though, however long it takes is however long it takes," he 

It is to be expected Tool might need to take their time 
writing their songs, as they are a band who redefine the 
word "epic." With some songs weighing in at a healthy 
quarter of an hour, Tool make music for people with attention 
spans longer than a Blink 182 single. 

"Mind expanding music" Chancellor calls it. 

The bassist, lead singer Maynard Keenan, guitarist Adam 
Jones and drummer Danny Carey are all songwriters and 
each comes up with ideas, but don't develop them 
individually, Chancellor says. 

"We come into the practice room with a bunch of riffs or beats 
or harmonies, and from that point on, once we get together 
we'll really start to jam and we'll hammer away at an idea for 
basically hours and hours and hours, record it all, and take it 
home and listen to it. 

"When you're jamming there are those moments when it just 
feels completely right, like you've found the missing link, but 
other times it's more like a jigsaw puzzle. 

"Although things do start from individual ideas we do try not 
to develop them too much because we know what as a band 
we can do when we start making music together. It never 
ceases to surprise us, once you bounce an idea off someone 
else there's a whole bunch of stuff you never would have 
thought of yourself  that's what we're really looking for, 
something beyond our individual expectations." 

Once the music is in place, the brooding presence that is 
Maynard Keenan adds his lyrics. They're often dark, 
frequently furious, but always pointed. To quote Keenan 
himself: " The music may be about pain, and it may be 
about anger, but it's not about hatred or violence". 

The contrasts between darkness and light are the essence of 
Tool, Chancellor believes. 

"I think there's both, it's all in there. Personally I find it 
uplifting, but I can understand that there's a darkness in 
there, an element of the unknown, that people are not used 
to. However dark it is though, there will always be those 
pinpricks of brilliant light." 

Those shafts of light are best appreciated on concert, 
Chancellor believes. Maybe because of the years where all 
the band could do was play live concerts, a Tool concert 
aspires to be some sort of transcendent experience, 
Chancellor says. 

"For me, playing live is what it's all about," Chancellor says. 

"Recording an album is just like sending home a postcard of 
a moment in time, while the whole live thing is more vital. 
It's happening then and there, you can't change any 
moment, you can't go back and fix it. 

"Little surprises happen you never could have planned, and 
that's what I think it's all about  the search for that moment 
where the four of you are communicating and there's an 
understanding between you and the audience, kind of a 
communion almost." 

Posted to t.d.n: 04/18/02 20:49:44