Date: August, 2001
Atte Karppinen (email@example.com)
Atte Karppinen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
page: 20 title: You can't prevent evil author: Petri Silas This is an article from a finnish publication named "Soundi". Rough translation. Tool was formed in Los Angeles in 1990, when guitar player Adam Jones, who at the time had formed a band with future Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, and bassist Paul D'Amour crossed paths with neighbouring Maynard James Keenan and drummer Danny Carey. Of the latter two, the aforementioned had never even thought of a career as a musician, the latter was on his way to become one of the Hollywood's session players. In the spring of 1995 Paul D'Amour left the band and in November of that same year he was replaced by Justin Chancellor who began playing along Rush and Thin Lizzy. His former band Peach had opened for Tool recently in the USA, so the move was quite natural. Soundi sits down with Maynard James Keenan and Danny Carey around a table at Isle of T÷rnńvń (?) under sunshine a couple of hours before the band goes up on stage in front of 23 000 people. The pale singer, bearing some resemblance to a leprechaun, draws attention with the way he keeps looking around and nervously fiddles with either one of his large signet rings. It's hard to believe that Keenan went straight from high school to military at West Point's cadet school. Looking at the two this career move would have been more obvious for the drummer: tanned Carey is in his sunglasses, shorts and Oakley sandals like a typical in-good- shape kind of guy just coming from a little trip with his mountain bike. As a cult band Tool can be mentioned only in imperfect: while the magnificent previous album Ănima (1996) went straight to nuber two in the home country of the band, the new album Lateralus went stalk (?) to number one. As this article is in the writing both have gone platinum in the US, their predecessor Undertow (1993) over 2,000,000 copies. Tool received a Grammy for Ănima, so no real breakthrough album can be isolated from the gradual growth. Danny Carey: -We've been together for over ten years now, so from our point of view the growth of popularity seems very gradual indeed. The people just getting to know us may think it's been quick, but we see things differently. And besides, nobody knows when it starts to fade... For us the most important thing is to stay true to our visions. I'm hoping that this certain seriousness is transferred to the people , who are looking for alternatives to all that basic shit that's marketed as music now. The music of today is designed to appeal to people with poor concentration, not to people who have some sense in their head. The two admit openly, that the huge success of Ănima was nevertheless a quite a surprise. But as Lateralus shows, popularity never influenced the routines in any way. Maynard James Keenan: -The public or popularity will never affect our songwriting in any way. For us making music represents the communication of four people in a space where every single distraction is left outside. We try to focus on the famous big picture and think what the part is for each member in a song or a part of a song. If we'd let the audience or any outside influence affect our expression, we'd have to compromise. And that won't work for us. Besides, our work continues even after the album is done: we perform the music to the people and watch as the songs evolve. Throughout the existence of the band Tool has been painfully hard to define. The language form of the quartet is close to progressive angst metal, but for the heir of heavy metal bands this group seeking inspiration from existentialism fits badly. Maybe the guys will half-accidentally define themselves, if they're asked to choose a comparative group from the world of music. MJK: -I can't really tell whether or not these artists can be viewed as our comparative. We are possibly delighted if we are thought of equal to them.... Well, anyway: inspiration has been taken from Aphex Twin, Portishead, Massive Attack, Tricky... PJ Harvey. And of course King Crimson. The executive director of the latter, Robert Fripp has complemented Tool's productions for a long time and by the time this paper is out King Crimson has Opened for Tool on six US shows. DC: -I met drummer Pat Mastelotto once when we were playing at his hometown of Austin. He came to see our gig and also introduced me to indian Aloke Dutta, with whom I then started studying tabla playing. As you can propably hear from my drumming Crimson's archdrummer Bill Bruford has been one of my heroes since I was a little boy, so his recent departure annoys me a little bit. Bill's style has some rare beauty, no matter what the frame of reference was. Both he and Pat have also done a lot of pioneerwork for electronic drumming. I think there is a demand for real electronic kits, but most of the drummers are so stupid that they don't know what to demand from the manufacturers. Progressive steps are taken with other instruments. A part of Tool's weirdness can be put on often almost solo performer Carey's account. He started playing drums at the age of 10 and went wild with his brother's Led Zeppelin albums. But even though Tool is an apprecieated unit and it's members are frequntly seen on music magazines' covers, imitators are nowhere to be seen. DC: -Not really, no. What's also odd is that if I've read of someone saying that they've been influenced by us, direct connections have been rather unnoticeable. MJK: -Or then they borrow the most obvious elements from us... Today odd time signatures are "Tool-influences", when the influence could have come from anywhere else... King Crimson, Yes... 10-15 years ago bands using 7/8 time signature had always listened to Rush. DC: -Right. (laughs) Exactly. MJK: -That's right. Not that any of the aforementioned ever invented the odd tim signatures. To counterweigh their seemingly emphasized intellectual - yet catchy and hypnotic - music, Tool has distinguished fooling their fans via media. Disinformation eruptions occur regularly and Danny's enthusiasm for the occult and paranormal phenomenons makes the rumourmill going frequently. The Hellfire Club of the 21st century for the guys with too much time on their hands, or too much X-Files plus opiates? Who knows. Interested in astrology, MJK's other interest is numerology. So, if Opiate and Undertow had one year between them, Undertow and Ănima three years and Ănima and Lateralus five years, the next album by Tool - depending on method of calculation - is out in seven or eight years... MJK: -(laughs) Nice theory. But it took a year and a half in the courtroom battling out with our former manager (Ted Gardner, who has been since replaced by their ex-tour- manager Pete REdding) and our record label. And in addition I took some time to work with A Perfect Circle. So the whole truth isn't in those figures. DC: -The next album isn't likely to be in the works as long as Lateralus. Unless we take some time to do the movie project we've been enthusiastic for years. Adam is naturally the most excited about the project, but the rest of us have spent some time with The Song Remains The Same and The Wall as well. Tool spends more time on their videos as well as their concerts' appearance than your average rock group. This multimedia aspect however will not take time nor strength from the main subject, which is making music. Not even from the main architecht of dark visions Adam Jones, who before joining Tool worked at Stan Winston's effects studio on Jurassic Park and Terminator 2 among others. DC: -The visuals come in after the music is done, so basically they don't take time from the music. In it's own way this division belongs into the same process as rehearsing songs for the tour. In the future making songs might be sped up by the fact that there are a few billets of songs waiting in the archives. MJK: -If some idea doesn't work, we put it on hold. Ticks & Leeches is a good example of a track that needed a little digesting before it was completed. But on the other hand, the lyrics are the last thing to be finished. DC: -Other song on Lateralus that was initially left to grow was Parabola. Thanks to Adam Jones' ambition and vision, each and every Tool-productions' visual aspect is in line with the feng shui of the musical material. As preparing for the tour the inner tensions and emphasized themes of the album need to be fooled around with, so that material can be performed comprehensively. Choosing- and dropping-processes Maynard and Danny see as a necessary evil, but fortunately there isn't much on the records that can't be reproduced on stage. MJK: -Listening to an album for us is a totally different experience than a live show. Gigs are situations for us, in which we judge our material with fresh opinions. We can perform almost every one of our songs live, but of course different choises need to be made every night. I can also reveal that we are saving some of our songs for future tours. For each tour we make a set that varies throughout the tour for maybe two songs or song orded related issue along the way. This way we know exactly what we've played when and where, so next time we go there, we can gather a new set for that area in which there are songs unperformed for that crowd. DC: -Improvisation on stage is a great thing to relieve the numbness of touring. Last year's Salival-package is filled with Tool's dystopic show frenzy and the four first abstract and nightmarish, even a little depressive promovideos. The livepart's covers get a rude judgement. MJK: -Cover songs are insignificant for us. Through them we, at most part, look on what kind of players we are and how, as performers, we react to ideas that have been played before by someone else. The hard-touring band can't make any significant difference between European and American audiences, but a distinction of other kind is found relatively easily. MJK: -The diversion is more between bigger and smaller towns. Regional or national differences don't come to mind. DC: -You have to remember that kids in London, LA or New York are in a way spoiled, since there's a big show in town every week. The audiences in these places aren't as enthusiastic or appreciative as people in Bumfuck, Oklahoma. In this aspect, it's a lot nicer to play in smaller places. Different eras and different courses of actions represented by Carl Gustav Jung, Timothy Leary, Aleister Crowley and Joseph Campbell have strongly influenced the texts by MJK as well as the whole appearance of Tool along the years. But if there's one doctrine found from the band, it's propably best defined in the early t-shirts, with the text "all indians, no chiefs". People following the stronger individuals like sheep are worth nothing in Tool's mind; only the thinking of an individual can take the progress of the collective onwards. MJK: - The theory of the smallest common denominator rules the music business today. Everyone wants to sell a lot of records, but with the least possible amount of energy used. This gives us products, that lower their own standards making compromises with the quality of the music. We wouldn't accept that at any price and we are continuously striving to not to work with the kind of people we can assume or interpret to want to make compromises. That's why from time to time it's hard to give record companies any decisions to make that have anything to do with your career. And that slows everyone's work. Artists who care for their cause should learn to take care of being involved in making decisions that have to do with their music. Because it's us, the artists who suffer from false decisions. Not the record company. We're the ones making the albums, so they'd be out of job if it weren't for us. So it's weird how the media and companies try to direct and advise bands all the time. Let them make the music if they know how to do it! But, again, it's my own people, the musicians who are to blame. They let others walk all over them. Once on a roll, the singer born in 1964 into an ohion baptist family drubs the people who unarguably form the major part of the musicians and performers of our time. MJK: -These people don't exist in my world actually. They are the same as a McDonald's McRibs -sale or Starbucks' Frappucino -discount. Futile people. They're not artists, they're businessmen and politicians. Sponsored musicians should not be on the same list as Aphex Twin or Tricky. They should have their own lists and awards, where the best marketing plans are awarded among other kinds of things alike. Limp Bizkit belongs on the same list with McNuggets! Robert Fripp and Aphex Twin do exactly what they want, when they want. Compromise is not in their vocabulary. And this is what Tool aims at. As is appropriate for their role, Tool hasn't taken any views on mediasexy issues like globalisation. MJK: -Our actions don't have any influence on these issues because we're not politicians. We strive to make the purest possible art... Music that possibly affects young people or even kids. When they some day are in a leading position, they will hopefully make better decisions than their mothers and fathers before them. Challenging the power elite of our time is a waste of time. It's much more reasonable to try to affect on the children of the families ruling the world.
Posted to t.d.n: 05/28/02 20:17:07