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A TOOL-Related Article

Publication: Scene Magazine

Date: November 14-20th, 1996

Transcribed by

        Scene magazine is a free weekly entertainment
        (mostly music) newspaper in Cleveland OH.

Since emerging on the alt-rock scene in late 1991, Tool has earned a 
reputation for doing things their own way, at their own pace. bands 
unique creative genius has taken it to the forefront of the heavy 
alternative scene on the strength of the epic full-length debut, 1993's 
Undertow, which spawned hit singles and award-winning videos in the form 
of "Sober" and "Prison Sex," and gave Tool dedication towards following 
thei creative muse, wherever it may lead them. With Aenima, the follow up 
to the platinum smash Undertow, the L.A. quartet has shot straight back 
to the top of the charts, good for a number two debut on the Billboard 
Top 200. With their latest video, for the new "Stinkfist," alreeady 
causing a stir with the newly conservvative MTV, Tool bandmates Maynard 
James Keenen (vocals), Adam Jones (guitar), Danny Carey (drums) and 
newcomer Justin Chancellor (bass) have embarked on a sold-out U.S. tour, 
which brings them to the Agora TTheatre Monday, November 18th, with 
special guests Psychotica. The show is, of course, sold out, but Jones 
phoned from soundcheck in Houston with an inside look into the wide world 
of Tool.

[BSCENE: What do you make of the album taking off so strong out of the 

Adam Jones: We haven't been around for a while, and we've had lots of 
proble an[Bd setbacks and time off, all that bullshit, so people were 
just waiting and waiting and waiting. So there was this big load up of 
energy, and when it finally came out, everybody just went out and boought 
it. We were like numb[Ber two on the charts, which was really goocrazy. I 
knew it would just drop instantly. (He exaggerates; in it's fourth week o 
the charts, the album currently sits at number 26).
SCENE: The shows are sellling out a a pretty good clip, too. AJ: It's 
blowing our minds. We just did this little tour as a kind of warm-u and 
we kB[
new the video wouldn't be out until we were in mid-tour, so we didn' 
really book big places. We'll do an "official" tour next year. But yeah, 
it' been like [Bthat all over. Our minds are blown, you know. 

SCENE: What's been the reaction to the new material live? AJ: It's good, 
its good. When we play old stuff, people yell for the new stuff, and when 
we play new stuff, they yell for the old stuff. So that's cool.

SCENE: You've got a pretty strong presence on the Web as well. That's got 
to have an effect.
AJ: We opened up our own official Web site. There's two to four Tool Web 
sites. It really gets people to know you a lot better than just 
advertising and getting your album out there. It's great. 

SCENE: How did Justin [formerly with the U.K. band Peach] come to replace 
your former bassist, Paul D'Amour?
AJ:Paul kind of wanted to do his own thing. So he started a band called 
Lusk and they just recorded an album on Zoo. That'll be coming out. 
People go, "Why did Paul leave?" and I go , "As soon as you hear Lusk, 
you'll know eexactly why Paul left. He's doing his own thing and he's 
happy and we're happy, and I'm glad he was actually unhappy, because we 
got Justin and Justi just completely couldn't fit our band any better. It 
was such a good move. 

SCENE:You guys are such a tighlt woven unit, it makes sense that if one 
piec wasn't fitting...
AJ: It was a flat tire kind of thing. THere definitely needed to be four 

SCENE: Five years, three albums, endless touring-- how has your 
songwriting process progressed over time?
AJ: It' sjust on a very experimentlal basis. It's just evolving, you 
know, s keeps changing and changing--we don't follow formulas. There are 
a lot of people that like our first album that don't like our other 
albums. There's people that only like the new album that don't like the 
album before. So, I don't know. To me its just our own expression, and 
we're not following any formulas. We're just doing it for ourselves, so 
it's going to keep changing. 

SCENE: Tool have virtually complete creative control-- that's pretty much 
unheard of. Band's just don't get that opportunity to develop these days. 
AJ: This is the whole point of our band: We're not rock stars. When we 
got the offer to get signed, we were like, "What? Get the fuck out of 
here." We were just doing it for fun. We started taking it more seriously 
when more people started coming after us with contracts. 
Working in Hollywood for as long as Maynard and I did, we kind of got to 
know the business. We knew a lot of corporations will, if you go, "Hey, 
if you give me this, you can keep some of that money you're offering me," 
they'll take that. So we went, "You keep your money, and give us 100 
percent control." They went, "OK." Just, without a doubt, thinking...I 
don't know what they were thinking. But it was kind of that mentality, 
that they can save their corporation a lot of money. 
But it's really helped us in the long run. Our record label's really 
cool. They just bought themselves out from BMG. 
The president of the record label's just an amazing guy. I don't kno 
about the investors. They want results right away. That's not what we're 
about at all. But like you said, we've got a sweet deal. It keeps us 
right where we want to be.

SCENE: Whereas with most bands, if they score a platinum album, the label 
pushes them to get more product out in a hurry. You guys take your time 
and work at your own pace, and it shows in the final product. AJ: 
Exactly. I don't ever look back on Tool and go, "Ughh." I look back on 
everything with us and go, "God, I'm really fucking proud of that." 
That's the point. Im making myself happy.

SCENE: You directed the new Tool video, which I just caiught on "120 
Minute the other night. What was your vision with this one? AJ: I've been 
doing make-up effects for seven years. I;ve worked on a lot of stupid 
movies, and a lot of good movies. I've really gotten to know the 
business. I've always dreamed about what I wanted to do. I've always 
wanted to do stop-motion this time, but we didn;t have enough time, so we 
weren't going to do a video.
At the last minute, me and my partner Kevin [Willis] who's basically my 
partner in everything I do and also helped with a lot of the album artwor 
we said, "Let's go for a live action thing, and animate it." I was like, 
"Ye yeah. Totally."

SCENE: Did that prove easier to do, or harder? AJ: We thought it'd be a 
lot easier. It just turned out to be a bigger nightmare. When you're 
doing animation, it's like, four people. You set the camera up, and these 
guys would go do bongs and come back. You're over there playing video 
games and you're like, "OK, we're going to shoot." Then you talk about 
ideas and just sort of flow. This is like, camera rentals, lights 
insurance, stage, catering...the price just goes up and up. 
And just because you're Tool, you know, we walk in and they go, "A 
million dolalrs." So it's kind of a nightmare. As far as the concept of 
the video, it's a surrealist treatment of my own personal interpretation 
of the song.

SCENE:What's the deal with MTV editing the song title? AJ: They think 
people are going to be offended that it's called "Stinkfist." That really 
kind of upset us because the songs a metaphor of that kind of thing -- 
it's not about that. What upset us was, it's kind of contradicting 
because "Beavis" and "Butt-head" talk about, you know, "ooh, fist up your 
butt." and "Stick it up your butt." And then there's the Butthole 
Surfers, which they say with no problem.
So they had this problem with this and they said, "OK, we'll put 
'Stinkfist,' but you've got to change the lyrics." And we're saying, 
"We're not changing *anything*." If you play it, it's fine. So they 
called it "Trac One" or something. A lot of things -- Primus wasn't 
allowed in one of their videos to show somebody tied up, but Madonna was. 
I don't understand it. I guess it comes down to money. I guesss someday 
if we have more pull, we'll show people getting fucked and tied up. 

SCENE: You mentioned a full-sized tour in the new year. What's the game 
plan at this point?
AJ: I guess after Christmas we're going to go to Austalia, Japan, New 
Zealan Southeast Asia and India. I think. And then we're going to come 
back for an American tour-- like, a big one. Not maybe bigger venues, but 
just a lot mor areas.

SCENE: That'll give the Stateside audiences a bit of a break before you 
hit them the second time around.
AJ:We don't want to sock it down peoples faces. People from the label are 
already asking me about the next video--they want to get it out right 
away a Christmas. We're in the limelight and they want to stay in the 
limelight. To us, it's just like, "No, man." Let's do it right, let's not 
be down peopl throats. Let's make some quality stuff and just keep the 
ball moving, but not so fast.

SCENE: The record maintains its energy -- it's not going to burn out 
AJ: It's nice and complex. I think the way we did it-- I'm really sick of 
hearing bands going, "We recorded our album in two days. Mixed it in two 
days." And it's like, "What, you take pride in that? " We took a long 
time, and what you're talking about, that's why. 
Listen to our album, and you can pull something different out of it. You 
can listen to the bass, you can listen to the drum by itself. You can 
listen to the guitar by itself. You can listen to Maynards vocal by 
itself. You can listen to all the stuff in between. 
It will lastt, and it's our favorite music. We make what we like, an we 
like what we make. We've never tried to get in the spotlight or do 
anything popular.

Copyright 1996, Scene Magazine.

kabir/akhtar | kabir@t.d.n