the tool page

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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Dallas moning news

Date: July, 2002

Transcribed by
Michael staats (

 title: Tool continues to set its own rules 

Review: Tool continues to set its own rules 

FORT WORTH – Keeping it simple, stupid, is the prevailing 
ethic in contemporary music, but exceptions do exist. Those 
include Tool and opening act Tomahawk, two pleasingly 
complex rock bands that performed Tuesday at the Fort 
Worth Convention Center. 

Tool was back in town after a show at Reunion Arena last 
year; though officially still promoting its 2001 disc, Lateralus, 
the quartet incorporated treasured older tunes such 
as “Sober,” “Stinkfist” and “Forty Six and 2.” One of the 
artiest, most deliberate bands in rock, Tool doesn’t play by 
the usual rules; but its music and vision are so potent, they 
render the rules irrelevant. 

Singer Maynard James Keenan was the biggest rule-breaker. 
In black bra and black underpants, his head mostly shaved 
clean, he stood not in the predictable front-and-center spot 
but in a niche in the back, next to drummer Danny Carey, 
leaving guitarist Adam Jones and bassist Justin Chancellor to 
the front positions. 

Lighting broke another rule. No harsh spotlights; instead, the 
stage was lit subtly, in massive washes of red, teal, magenta 
and purple – all the better for creating mood. 

The goal was to go beyond the usual pedestrian rock 
experience, to avoid cliches. Sometimes it was challenging. At 
the beginning, when Mr. Keenan was not standing where he 
was “supposed” to be, a vacuum arose. People shook their 
fists to the music, but the lack of an obvious point of visual 
reference – a guy up there to roar at – had a cool effect: It 
seemed to force the crowd to cycle its energies inward, to 
generate reflection rather than basic aggression. 

That Tool can instigate both contemplation and aggression is 
an indicator of its depth, of the levels of interpretation it 
affords, for everyone from the surface folks who just like 
noise to those seeking profoundness and even inspiration. 

The musicianship was awesome, both in the complexity of 
the music and the precision with which it was played. The 
band’s stop-on-a-dime beginnings and endings were 
breathtaking. “Schism,” from Lateralus, contained a beautiful 
guitar solo, pure electricity transmitting big fat bubbles of 
sound. The addition of Mr. Keenan’s vocals – always pure and 
clear – created a sonic exchange that was picked up by the 
fierce drums. The quartet seemed to barely acknowledge 
each other on stage, yet their interplay was flawless. 

Accompanying the performance was an endless stream of 
video images, some primal, some disturbing: floating heads, 
twitching statues, “shocking” close-ups of red-rimmed eyes 
and dissected body parts – the scientific equivalent of Tool's 
obsession with what lies beneath. 

Posted to t.d.n: 07/24/02 18:00:38