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A TOOL-Related Article

Publication: New York Daily News

Date: October 1993

Transcribed by "Steve Reed" (

        A quick question: Who benefited most from last summer's 
Lollapalooza tour? You don't find the answer anywhere near the top of the 
bill (crowded with the acts like Primus and Alice in Chains). You won't 
even find the answer on the tour's main stage.

        Instead, a group that spent half the tour shunted off to a second 
stage designated for up-and-coming bands wound up with the most dramatic 
sales boost. The debut album by Tool (a metal-leaning band that manages 
to work in melody without compromise) started selling during 
Lollapalooza. Now "Undertow" has inched up to No. 52 on Billboard's 
latest Top 200 album chart and, according to Soundscan, has sold nearly 
300,000 copies, making Tool one of the biggest alternative breakouts of 
the year.

        "It was really satisfying for us during Lollapalooza to pull 
thousands of people away from the main stage," says group drummer Danny 
Carey. "We knew those people really wanted to see us."

        Adventurous types have been just as hot to eyeball the group's 
video. In the midnight hour, MTV has been screening Tool's disturbing 
clip for "Sober," a grisly piece of animation influenced by the nightmare 
style of the Brothers Quay. "We like the darker images," says Carey. "It 
expresses what our music says about life."

        Which isn't pretty. Lines like "trust in me and fall as well/ I 
will find a center in you/ I will chew it up and leave" tell you what 
these guys think of relationships. But Carey says the group explores 
hideous emotions for a purpose. "It's not about being negative, it's 
about working through your anger to get to a better place." Tool's music 
mixes the punishing with the redemptive. Dense, midpaced guitar riffs 
take precedence over metal's usual thrashing beats or wild leads, making 
Tool's music more of a slow burn than a hot flash. "On our first EP 
["Opiate"] we were more slam and bang," says Carey, "Now we're using more 

        In fact, vocalist Maynard James Keenan stands as one of the few 
alternative metal frontmen who sings more often than screams. The unusual 
sonic result meant "this was a hard record to get on the radio," 
according to Lou Maglia, president of Zoo Records, which signed the band.

        Drummer Carey says the group chose Zoo over other bidding labels 
because they guaranteed them creative control. The bargain paid off for 
the company when Tool devised its own twisted album graphics. Maglia 
thinks the macabre art work significantly boosted sales. "A lot of kids 
would have taped this album off their friends' were it not for those 

        The band was just as shrewd in choosing their video director, 
Fred Stuhr, a friend who knew how to work on the cheap. His $35,000 clip 
looks like a million, and it has been worth nearly theat much in 
promotion. Last week Beavis & Butt-Head declared the clip "cool," which 
inspired one of L.A.'s key radio stations, K-Rock, to add the song after 
eight months of resistance.

        Having stuck to their creative guns, Tool now wants to push the 
bounds. For the follow-up single to "Sober," Carey says the group favors 
a song called "Prison Sex." "It will annoy a lot of people," Carey says, 
"which is half the fun."

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