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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Reuters

Date: June, 2001

Transcribed by
Jonathan (

 title: Tool making up for lost time with ``Lateralus''
author: Gary Graff
DETROIT (Reuters) - It's Tool time again.

Five years after its last album of new material, the Los 
Angeles-based hard rock quartet has emerged with 
``Lateralus,'' a 79-minute collection of sprawling, metallic 

And if there was any question that Tool's absence made fans' 
hearts grow fonder, the answer came in first-week sales that 
propelled the album to No. 1 in the United States, Canada 
and Australia, and into the Top 10 in six other countries.

Or consider that fans snapped up tickets in just minutes for 
four small-venue U.S. concerts Tool performed before 
heading over to Europe for a series of festival appearances.

``I can't believe what the vibe is at the moment. It's really 
mad,'' says Justin Chancellor, Tool's British-born bass player, 
as he lounges backstage at Detroit's State Theatre.

The strength of the Tool's studio work, Chancellor says, is 
that the band turns its focus inward and avoids ``trying to 
please other people.''

``We lock ourselves away, and we concentrate on what we're 
doing and try not to think about the madness that's 
surrounding it, and all the hype.''

There has certainly been plenty of both as anticipation built 
for ``Lateralus,'' which follows 1996's Grammy-
winning ''Aenima'' (''Salival,'' a rarities and video project, was 
released last December).

Founded in 1991, Tool -- which also includes singer Maynard 
James Keenan, guitarist Adam Jones and drummer Danny 
Carey -- won its audience with an ambitious, aggressive 
approach that draws from classic heavy metal and expansive 
progressive-rock influences, as well as some jazz-fusion 

The group also has drawn in fans with its visual approach, 
including surreal, dark promotional videos (such as a close-
up of an eyeball being poked and prodded) directed by Jones 
and live performances that mix more video footage with 
Keenan's flare for dramatic costuming.

But the years between ``Aenima'' and ``Lateralus'' proved 
difficult. A volatile group of personalities by nature, Tool's 
members were tested by legal wrangling with its label, 
Volcano, which underwent a series of ownership changes that 
delayed the new album.

``I think going through all that legal stuff really kind of hurt 
us,'' Keenan says. ``It's just exhausting when you're having 
to cover your ass from the posturing of the lawyers; here you 
are, caught in the middle of trying to make art and dealing 
with that.

``So I think after all that kind of settled, we just needed a 
break. We just needed to kind of live our lives, so to speak, 
and a couple of the guys had just gotten married. So we 
decided to enjoy life, just let (the band) go for a second and 
take a rest and get back to it.''

By that time, however, there was another distraction -- 
Keenan's involvement in another band, a Perfect Circle, 
whose debut, ``Mer de Noms,'' went platinum and kept that 
group working for nearly a year.

Keenan continued to swear loyalty to Tool -- and the other 
three members gave him their blessing for the outside 
project -- but Chancellor acknowledged the situation was 
sometimes unnerving.

``Their tour went a little longer than anyone really thought it 
would, so that got a little frustrating towards the end,'' the 
bassist recalls. ``And there was the odd moment of 
insecurity, obviously, where you're like, 'What's he doing?'

``But as soon as he got back, we could tell he was 
completely committed to Tool,'' Chancellor says. ``And I 
think it helped us all come closer together in the end and 
realize the value of what we have as four musicians.''

Keenan says the collaborative spirit of Tool is important to 
the band.

``We really concentrate on listening to each other and 
playing music that we're all responding to in some way and 
trying to be as honest as we can about it,'' the singer says.

But it's also clear that the time Jones, Chancellor and Carey 
spent working together in his absence brought a stronger 
instrumental focus to ``Lateralus.''

``Well, we definitely did a lot of experimentation,'' says 
Chancellor. ``But we always think of Maynard as another 
instrument, anyway; it's like four people doing four different 
things rather than really (loud) vocals and the music 

``A lot of the ideas (on 'Lateralus') are a lot more personal. 
They're a lot more about the four of us and what we do and 
the relationships that we have and the way we communicate 
with each other. I think (Keenan) probably did a good job on 
the other records; he was angry, and he vented about it and 
he feels much better now. And there's other emotions to 

After its sweep through Europe, Tool plans a more extensive 
North American tour supported by King Crimson, the veteran 
rock outfit that the Tool men admire a great deal. A previous 
band of Chancellor's even received a note from Crimson 
founder Robert Fripp after it covered his band's song ``Cat 

And while Tool plans to spend a good deal of time on the 
road, Chancellor promises fans won't have to wait another 
five years for the next album.

``We've got tons of material that we didn't use,'' he 
says. ''That was kind of an added bonus of the time that we 
took writing this stuff. There's a lot that we didn't get to put 
on this album and a lot of ideas that we're really excited 
about. So I think it's gonna come a lot quicker, the next 

Posted to t.d.n: 06/16/01 21:40:10