the tool page

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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: San Jose Mercury News

Date: August, 2001

Transcribed by
Ak-Rev (

 title: Tool, King Crimson remind audiences how rock should be
author: Brad Kava

Tool, King Crimson remind audiences how rock should be
Mercury News 

Heaviosity. Maximum heaviosity. The heaviest heaviosity.

OK, so Woody Allen's rock 'n' roll critic coinage was supposed 
to be a joke.

But somehow, it fit Friday's pleasing show at the Berkeley 
Community Theater by ``nuovo metal'' rockers Tool and King 
Crimson -- three hours of throbbing electric music at its 
darkest, thickest and yes, heaviest.

This was the kind of bill that shaped the great early years of 
rock, when Bill Graham would team up a veteran, such as 
Muddy Waters, with an upstart, like Jimi Hendrix.

Big rock promoters, now largely owned by multinational 
corporations, don't take many chances like this, limiting 
everything to certain demographics and fearing, sometimes 
correctly, that anyone over 30 doesn't spend much time 
listening to young bands, and those under 30 don't care 
much for music from the 1960s.

This sold-out show put on by a smaller promoter from Los 
Angeles, Goldenvoice Concerts, proved otherwise.

In an audience that was dominated mostly by Tool fans, 
many hadn't heard of King Crimson, yet they gave the 31-
year-old band a standing ovation after its hourlong set.

And Crimson fans, who may not have spent time with the 
aggressive but very musical Southern California band, which 
started in 1990, couldn't help but be pleased hearing 
influences from the old progressive rock masters.

``King Crimson is pretty much who we ripped off over the 
years,'' Tool's singer, Maynard James Keenan, said toward 
the end of his two-hour set. ``Don't tell anyone, especially 

There were those who had no patience for Crimson's well-
crafted, edgy opening set, particularly with dispassionate 
band leader Robert Fripp sitting in a chair facing his 
musicians (Trey Gunn on bass, Adrian Belew on guitar and 
Pat Mastelotto on drums) for the entire performance. Some 
yelled for Tool during Crimson's quieter moments.

And, surprisingly, there were quieter moments. This was more 
melodic than some Crimson shows. Two new songs, ``Level 
5'' and ``Dangerous Curves,'' seemed like throwbacks to 
early 1970s elegiac Crimson. They were like what Black 
Sabbath might sound like if covered by Miles Davis -- dark, 
sensual, passionate, soft.

Tool fans probably would have been more comfortable with 
1995's throbbing, anti-melody Crimson, songs like ``Thrak.'' 
They did get some edge with ``Red'' and ``Lark's Tongue in 

``I appreciated their talent,'' said Patty Marks, 29, of 
Sacramento, who had never heard of King Crimson before the 
show. ``No, I wouldn't buy their albums or see them again, 
but they were good.''

In any case, there was never any doubt who was headlining. 
The audience was on its feet throughout Tool's sci-fi tinged 

Keenan proved himself as much an odd bird as Fripp. The 
singer had his own little stage in front of a video screen, 
where he performed mostly in darkness, like a character in 
the videos that accompanied the entire set.

First, he wore a skeletonlike bodysuit, like a junior Michelin 
Man, which fit in with the clone-like characters in the videos 
that brought to mind Aldous Huxley's novel ``Brave New 

Later he played practically naked, wearing only a small pair of 
Lycra shorts.

To a first time Tool listener, this music might sound like 
Black Sabbath covered by a mix of Cirque de Soleil and Nine 
Inch Nails. It's dark and brooding, but it pulses with angry life 
and mystical, literate imagery. Adam Jones on guitar, Justin 
Chancellor on bass and Danny Carey on drums built a wall of 
sound from which Keenan's screams leaped into the 

They mixed strong songs from the latest album, 
``Lateralus,'' including opener ``The Grudge,'' ``Schism'' and 
a brilliant trilogy: ``Disposition,'' ``Reflection'' and ``Triad.'' 
They also covered ``Eulogy'' and ``Sober,'' the kind of 
unlikely radio hits that restore some hope in radio.

Fripp joined Tool during a quiet part of the trilogy and the 
elder master's ``soundscape'' gave background to Jones's 
pulsing guitar notes. It was the kind of cross-pollination you'd 
want to see more of. Maybe the two bands could really break 
out: Tool could try ``21st Century Schizoid Man'' while 
Crimson tackles ``Schism.''

Even without that, this tour is already showing fans that there 
is more to music than the demographic boxes the industry 
tries to lock it in.

For an interesting take on the tour, check out diaries of King 
Crimson members (www.disciplineglobal


Posted to t.d.n: 08/28/01 01:54:39