Publication: The Evening Post
Date: April, 2002
Katie the Article Transcriber (email@example.com)
Katie the Article Transcriber (firstname.lastname@example.org)
page: 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 again. "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 oyster. 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 says. 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