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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Arizona Republic

Date: March, 1998

Transcribed by
Ray Paskus (xcuauntiex@aol.com)


  page: 36
 title: Tool Aims to be Band for Thinking Man, Woman
author: D.Parvaz

      Few bands manage to mix intelligent lyrics with blistering hard
rock.  Tool has been doing just that since it released its first EP,
"Opiate", in '92.  Following up with "Undertow" in '93 and "Énima" in '96,
Tool's message can be summed up in one word: T hink. 
          "Every time a scientist, philosopher, artist or athelete pushes
out thresholds to new ground, the entire race evolves. ...Beliefs are
dangerous.  Beliefs allow the mind to stop functioning.  A non-functioning
mind is clinically dead.  Believe in nothing," reads the mission statement
on "Énima's" jacket. 
         
The band's sound is heavy.  Pulverizing drums, strong bass and a power
guitar sound somehow land it in the heavy-metal category, although really
Tool is a far cry from most bands in that genre. 
          
Tool is far more cerebral in it's approach to music than any metal band to
hit the mainstream in years. 
          
Nonetheless, one listen to "Opiate" and "Undertow" and you'll see why Tool
was placed in the heavy-metal category.  The band is too hard to be just
plain old rock, yet too rock to be punk.  And at the same time, it's hard
to put the band in the same group as Def Leppard, Motley Crue and Guns N'
Roses. 
          Case in point:  Where bands like the aformentioned viewed Los
Angeles as a cocaine-sprinkled party playground, Tool laments the city's
existence. 
          "Fret for your figure and / fret for your latte and / fret for
your lawsuit and / fret for your hairpiece and / fret for your prozac and
/ fret for your pilot and / fret for your contract and / fret for your car
/ it's a (expletive) three-ring c ircus sideshow," sings front man Maynard
James Keenan in "Énema". 
          While some mightt find all the literary and scientiffic
references in the band's music annoying (what the heck is that bit about
anesthetics in the "Énima" jacket about?), Tool fans revel in digging up
the meaning of each reference and connectin g the dots. 
         Then again, Tool fans are a breed unto themselves. 
         They researche and trade information at
http://toolshed.down.net/, where, for example, you'll find that the
anesthetic Tool is referring to is Ketamine (sold as Vitamin K on the
street), a dissociative drug that tragically has found its way into rave
culture as a recreational drug in recent years; that a quote from Marx is
behind "Opiate"; and that the shadow in "Forty Six And 2" is a Jungian
concept. 
          And that's just a drop in the ocean of Tool trivia.  As one of
the headliners at Lollapalooza '97 in August in Phoenix, Tool put on a
humdinger of a show, satisfying even those who'd gone only to see Snoop
Doggy Dogg or the Prodigy. 
          The Melvins are opening for Tool at Saturday night's show, so
there will be nowhere to run to and nowhere to hide from the hard-core
element. 


Posted to t.d.n: 03/27/98 17:42:16