the tool page

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The Tool Page: An Article


Date: January, 2001

Transcribed by
H.B. Abels (

 title: Retooling the Music
author: Matt Pinfield

Retooling The Music
Tool's front man talks about the new box set and upcoming studio 
With their new studio album due in mid-April, alternative metal 
outfit Tool has released an interim box set that should keep fans 
happy until the band issues what will surely be one of next year's 
most eagerly awaited albums. The lavish package, which contains a CD 
and a DVD or a videocassette, features live performances, a few new 
studio creations and four videos.

In this exclusive interview, press-shy Tool front man 
Maynard James Keenan talks with Matt Pinfield about the new release, 
the upcoming studio album and the band's touring plans. He also 
offers his take on the value of music videos, cites some of the 
current music that he's listening to and talks about his other band, 
A Perfect Circle.

MATT: How many hours of tapes did you have to go through in order to 
pick the live tracks for the new release?

MAYNARD: Well, it wasn't that difficult to do, 'cause it's close to 
impossible to really capture a live show. So we went through and 
eliminated quite a few of the tapes right away because they're just 
useless. There's no way we could have used them because the recording 
was bad. So we only ended up choosing from maybe a handful of tapes 
and just kind of went through and found the best performances that we 
had available.

MATT: Was there a particular reason for the tracks that you picked -- 
songs that you felt came across the best live?

MAYNARD: Some of 'em were just a little different approaches to the 
songs. We don't really wanna put out a greatest hits record with live 
tracks. We kinda wanted more to put out some various versions of the 
tracks...different arrangements, different approaches.

MATT: Whose idea was it to cover Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter"?

MAYNARD: We all kinda decided on that one. It was between that 
and "Nobody's Fault But Mine."

MATT: What about the tracks "LAMC" and "Message To Harry Manback II"?

MAYNARD: "LA Municipal Court" is definitely a tribute to life in L.A. 
If you've ever been in L.A. trying to go down and take care of a 
parking ticket, or call and try to get some information as to how to 
take care of a parking ticket, or a jaywalking ticket, or something 
as ridiculous as that, you really realize how sick the red tape is 
out here. It's retarded. Most people who've ever been in that 
situation can relate to that song, and I think we did a pretty good 
job of capturing the tedium that goes along with that, to the point 
where people go, "That was a great song. It really summed up that 
feeling, and I never want to hear that song again [laughs]."

MATT: Because it hits too close to home [laughs].

MAYNARD: Yeah. And they're just sittin' there goin', "This is killin' 

"Probably in a year or so, we'll actually put out some backstage 
footage, some behind-the-scenes making-of-the-videos footage, and our 
new videos as well, and really do more of an interactive DVD."
-- Keenan 
MATT: What about "Message To Harry Manback II"?

MAYNARD: That's just the second message from the gentleman leaving 
that message.

MATT: When it came time to put together the video portion of the box 
set, how did you feel working in the DVD medium?

MAYNARD: It's definitely one of those things where I'm sure we'll end 
up coming up with some other footage and different stuff that we 
haven't put out and really explore the DVD a little farther. But at 
this point in time, we just figured we'll put out this and we'll put 
out some live stuff. But probably in a year or so, we'll actually put 
out some backstage footage, some behind-the-scenes making-of-the-
videos footage, and our new videos as well, and really do more of an 
interactive DVD that involves your computer and your Internet service 
and all that.

MATT: Was part of the decision to release the videos based on the 
fact that you felt that MTV and other video outlets had never given 
the videos the exposure they deserved and you wanted your fans to 
have them?

MAYNARD: Yeah. And if I had any advice to younger bands that are all 
starstruck with the whole industry, I would say, "Don't make a 
video," because there's no outlet for them. Unless you're gonna make 
some crazy, awesome video that you don't care if it ever gets played 
on MTV...if it's more of a thing that you're gonna sell, go for it. 
Do something like that, go nuts. There's no longer any real actual 
outlet for your video to promote your record -- unless you're just 
gonna do it on your web page, and most people don't have the computer 
or the technology necessary to really get a decent view of the video.

You're better off utilizing the web to promote your videos. But by no 
means should you go nuts and do huge budgets at this point, unless 
you're an established band and you just want to. 'Cause at this 
point, there's no way to really make your money back on those videos 
and they don't necessarily promote your record nowadays. It's not 
like a make-or-break situation, and the way things are going, budgets 
for videos are huge now. Nobody's being real creative with their 
budgets. 'Cause it really comes down to ideas. If you have cool 
ideas, you can make it work with 100 bucks. But nowadays everyone's 
going for the big budgets and I think the creativity is lacking 
because you give yourself so many choices that you kinda get 
paralyzed in a way.

MATT: How are the sessions for the new Tool album going?

MAYNARD: Done. We're mixing.

MATT: Have you picked a name for it yet?

MAYNARD: No. We'll just name it after it's out.

MATT: What was it like going back into the studio with the guys?

MAYNARD: Well, we've been writing that music for several years. A lot 
of those riffs we've been kinda exploring on and off for the last 
four years. The whole litigation thing, and all the new Volcano court 
stuff kinda put a hold on all that back in the day. But we just kinda 
jumped back into what we were working on and completed it and here we 

MATT: When you finish mixing the record, you're going to tour with A 
Perfect Circle.

MAYNARD: Yeah. We're gonna go two months throughout the states.

MATT: After you're done with that tour, is there talk about doing a 
Tool trek?

MAYNARD: Yeah. We're gonna do a few dates in Europe, and then head 
back and do a fall tour of the states.

MATT: Are you going to do a multimedia show like you did at 

MAYNARD: Yeah, I think so, with both tours. With the Perfect Circle 
tour and the Tool tour, we're gonna be exploring. Of course, they'll 
be different experiences, but definitely Billy [Howerdel of A Perfect 
Circle] is a very visual person, so he's exploring some interesting 
stuff for the show. And for Tool, of course, we'll be exploring some 
new ideas.

MATT: You've talked in the past about some of the bands that you 
love. Have you heard anything recently that you think people should 
check out?

MAYNARD: Yeah, definitely. Massive Attack and Tricky and Portishead, 
all that stuff. The new PJ Harvey record is amazing, and the 
Radiohead record is amazing. And I still always go back to Nine Inch 
Nails' "The Fragile." I don't think enough people have heard that 
one. That's definitely a sleeper that's gonna creep up on people if 
they just give it a chance. It's gonna be one of those records you're 
never gonna want to take out of your stereo.

MATT: We've talked about all of the things that you're doing with A 
Perfect Circle and Tool. Are you going to keep writing with Billy?

MAYNARD: Yeah. He's got a bunch of songs ready. I just haven't 
allowed him to give them to me yet. My head is in the Tool camp so I 
wanna really focus on where I'm at, and once this record is mixed and 
done, then he's gonna drop a bunch of songs in my lap to work on for 
the next year. 


Posted to t.d.n: 01/11/01 17:35:21