Publication: Circus Magazine
Date: August, 2002
page: title: TOOL – New Tour, Single and maybe a New CD.... Maynard Speaks Ou author: Gabriella Tool is one of the bands where nothing is ever normal, nothing stays the same and they are always good for a surprise, their music and lyrics are considered spiritual and loud, and in an ironic, symbolical way true. Maynard James Keenan’s methods are contradictions and paradoxes and pretty often in interviews he prefers speaking in riddles, being as elusive as possible, as he is when he confesses that, “Tool is busy working on a new video,” but claiming that the band doesn’t know which video. Yet after a bit of prompting he finally comes out with the truth, “We know which song, but we don’t want to talk about it now.” At least he is ready to spill the information that it will be completely in the tradition of the previous Tool videos. Just like the lyrics, the Tool videos seem slightly obscure and often almost abstract, fitting for the music that is a hybrid of metal, progressive rock, and psychedelia. While he was with A Perfect Circle he seemed to be the perfect poet; with Tool he is simply using the lyrics as a way to put the music in words, his interpretation of the sound. “Everything we release with Tool is inspired by our music, it doesn’t matter if it is a video or if it’s lyrics. The lyrics for “Schism” are nothing more than my interpretation of the music. Adam does most of the work when it comes to videos and he basically does the same as I do with the lyrics. The videos are his visual interpretations of our music. “Everything revolves around the music when it comes to Tool, music is about listening, the more you play the more the magic spreads. For me life is writing and I can do it anywhere, it doesn’t matter where I am, I listen, I write, I live and if you don’t live you have nothing to write about!” Tool’s emotional, melodic metal opened doors for bands like the Deftones, but Tool has always been tongue in cheek. They started as an alternative band and soon became one of the leading new heavy metal acts of the 90s, influencing countless other bands with their innovative sound and their densely rhythmic style. When Tool was founded in L.A. in 1990 by Adam Jones (guitar), Maynard James Keenan (vocals), Paul D’Amour (bass) (later replaced by Justin Chancellor) and Danny Carey (drums), nobody knew that they’d become something like a landmark in the heavy alternative scene, even if the way they were accepted by other musicians was a fair indication, that Tool were not just “another alternative band.” Despite the fact that Maynard James Keenan does often not want to talk about the music, because he is worried that talking about it would take attention away from the music, and the people behind it would become more important than the music itself, he doesn’t mind talking about shows. “Shows are really strange, sometimes you really don’t know what to expect, sometimes you’re playing in the sunshine, something that just doesn’t seem to go with our sound and it isn’t worse, it’s just different, absolutely different. Then there are some days when we really don’t want to go on stage at all, when we feel terrible and we really shouldn’t play – and pretty often those shows turn out to be absolute highlights.” “So much plays into it, there are so many factors and so many things that all play a part in shows, that you really never know what makes a good show and sometimes we do wonder if we – the musicians – do really play a big part in it or if we can hardly influence it.” During their US tour King Crimson supported Tool, and Tool never made a secret of the fact that they worship King Crimson. One might think it would be strange to have your idols as a support, but since Tool is everything else than your average rock band, their motivation is a completely different one. “I think it was an honor for us and for our fans it was something like an education. A lot of our fans weren’t really aware where we were coming from, what inspired us, I find it a bit sad. I think to share one stage with King Crimson was important, it showed where our roots are, where we are coming from. After all in today’s music scene every band seems to steal from other bands, they’re all stealing from each other and they all claim to be the originals, I think it’s limiting. Limiting for the bands and limiting for the listener!” Tool has created a certain mystery and they seem to be worried about being in the spotlight, and that the focus on them as individuals might distract from their music. Compared to other bands, Tool is probably the most elusive band in today’s music scene. So it is hardly surprising that when they were awarded with a Grammy – something other bands would give their eye-teeth for – for Tool it wasn’t a big issue. Keenan was true to his philosophy, that if artists take themselves too seriously their art is going to suffer. Tool didn’t even bother to show up at the Grammy Awards according to Maynard James Keenan it’s not a big deal. “I think the Grammys are nothing more than some gigantic promotion machine for the music industry. They cater to a low intellect and they feed the masses, they don’t honor the arts or the artist for what he created. It’s the music business celebrating itself, that’s basically what it’s all about.” But considering that Maynard James Keenan sees it so negative and assuming he speaks for the whole band on this issue, he replies: “Why should we refuse it? First of all that would just gain a lot of attention and we are certainly not attention seekers. And if our record company and the music business want to have a party, why should we spoil it for them? Just because we don’t like it, why ruin it for them?” “I don’t care at all! We’re just 4 guys and we are enjoying what we’re doing with Tool. We are eager to learn, to learn about ourselves and to learn about music, about life, about everything. And of course we always hope that we can change something for the better through our music, give somebody else some inspiration. I believe that music is a force in itself, it is there and it needs an outlet, a medium. In a way we are just the medium.” One thing one can’t help to wonder is, how is Tool getting some feedback from their fans? After all they are so reclusive and they keep so much aloof and are not exactly looking for contact and interaction with their fans, but Maynard has a reason for that as well. “We really don’t like it, it’s not arrogance at all, we just consider it slightly unnatural. It’s not that we’re looking down on our fans and that’s why we don’t want any contact, it’s just if we would mix with our fans, they’d most likely would feel that they have to tell us how much they like our music and that can easily get to your head. Look at a couple of bands out there, with a lot of them I always get the feeling their success has gone to their heads. If you start taking yourself too seriously it’s not good for the creative process. I always believed that music should speak for itself, that people shouldn’t see us as heroes, that our fans shouldn’t concentrate on us, that they shouldn’t try to feed our egos. Once your ego gets in the way it is much more difficult to feel music.” How different Tools philosophy is, also is shown in the fact that Tool wouldn’t even change anything about their previous albums. Despite the fact that Lateralus has been released almost a year ago, he wouldn’t change a single thing, not because he considers it perfect – Maynard James Keenan hardly considers anything perfect – but simply because he believes everything happens for a reason.
Posted to t.d.n: 09/01/02 22:40:57