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A TOOL-Related Article

Publication: WARP

Date: (unknown)

Transcribed by (

Rock music is supposed to be about rebellion and honesy and soul,
characteristics that most so-called alternative rock bands sadly lack. And
just as important as those traits is a sense of mystery, a feeling of
dramatic uniqueness, that separates truly talented artists from the rest of
the herd.

From Robert Johnson, the Rolling Stones, and Charlie Parker to Fugazi, Polly
Jean Harvey, and Kurt Cobain, a degree of unintended ambiguity in one's art
has always enhanced the bottom line. Of course, a bit of flotsam-sifting is
necessary these days to find that diamond-in-the-rough musician who possesses
both skill and flavor.

Los Angeles' Tool, led by enigmatic frontman Maynard James Keenan, is a band
whose sense of brutal sincerity and utter lack of contrivance make it one of
the most compelling bands of the day. From Tool's almost accidental creation
to the purposeful if casual effort that's gone into its forthcoming second
album, the band has maintained a strident independence that only serves to
amplify its unsettling messages of exploitation and vehemence.

Between bites of fish and green-tea ice cream at one of L.A.'s homier sushi
joints, Keenan spoke with Warp about his band (which also features guitarist
Adam Jones, bassist Paul D'Amour and drummer Danny Carey), his life, and what
we might expect from the next record.

	Is there a timetable or schedule for Tool's second album?

"We can't really say even a tentative date at this point. we're still writing
songs and letting them progress naturally. What can end up happening is the
powers that be jump in and all of a sudden we're working under the confines
of some deadline or window. We're not obligated to have the record out by a
certain time. there've been hot spots where we end up getting really creative
and we'll pump three or four songs out in a couple of weeks, and then there
are times where it's hareder and you just work through it."

	What direction do you see the band heading in with this album?

"It's really hard to say. You just never really know. It's a different year
now, I've got different things on my mind. I'm a different age, we live in a
different place. There's definitely going to be a signature that sounds like
Tool, but who knows? It might be angrier, it might be more introverted."

	Do you care for the recording process? 

"I don't really like recordings. As for making them, it's kinda fun playing
around in the studio, hearing back the sounds. But it really just doesn't
compare to a live show. So mouch of our stuff is about moments, you know? A
combination of whole lifetime of moments. It's hard to find that in the
studio. It's all about takes and retakes. Live there are moments and energy
and that's what it's all about. I kinda like the Grateful Dead's approach of
just letting people record shows and circulate the stuff themselves."

	In the past, members of Tool have said that the band served
	selfish purposes for them, to channel certain personal thoughts and 
	energies. Does Tool still serve the same purposes for you?

"I think so. It's really difficult once you get wrapped up in the whole
business of making and promoting records, to not lose touch with that. I
think tht's why we were cautious with our contract, so we could always take
the time we neede. When you start to feel that pressure is when most people
buckle under it, and they go with the pressure and try to get the record out
because maybe somebody knows better than they do. We know what's best for us."

	It's been said that Tool stands out from other hard-rock bands
	due to a vulnerability in both your lyrics and vocal style. Do
	you think that's an accurate assesment?

"I don't know, but I do know that compared to a lot of the bands that we get
lumped in with, I do have a more open nature than most of my so-called peers.
This totally-male, angst-filled energy is coming off of a lot of these guys,
which is probably where that kind of statement comes from. As far as the
vulnerability element of my approach goes, I listen to Joni Mitchell, so draw
your own conclusions. Most hard-rock or hard-alternative bands have a very
masculine, linear approach, while I think there's more of a feminine balance
to our point of view. I think that our softer, more compassionate edge is
missed a lot of the time, that people think we're all about hate or
something. That's not it, you know? The songs are very angry, but anger is
a constructive emotion, hate is not. We're not about hate, we're about anger
and emotion and intense releases of feelings, and working through those
feelings. With some bands the cornerstone of the music is that rage and hate,
and you've got to relive it on stage every night. How is it constructive for
you to be hateful every night?"

	You've said that if a song stops having meaning for you, you'll
	stop playing it. Not many bands take that approach, instead they
	keep cranking out the same songs night after night.

"I just don't need to pick scabs. Like I was saying before, a lot of our music
is about capturing those special moments. There were moments, say, in the
practice space when certain specific events were taking place in our lives
that I felt really angry about, things that I really just need to scream
about. So a lot of emotion would come forth in the songs, and then I would
feel better after I was done screaming. But then you get stuck having to
scream it again, trying to relive that moment, and it ends up not being a
release anymore, it's more of a reminder. So you've just got to move on. If
the emotion of the music isn't there, who cares about your story?"

	It sounds like there's a definite therapeutic quality in your
	music for you.

"That's what music really is, you know? All art forms are a way of tapping
into those ideals that may otherwise be unconscious."

	Your music obviously means a lot to you- do you care how fans
	might perceive you? 

"It's difficult to say. I kind of like the idea of someone hearing our music
and being inspired by it. What we're doing is really nothing new. It's guitar,
bass, drums, and vocals working with each other, but I'd like to think that
people are hearing it and are then being inspired to do something because of
it, rather than just being stuck and never going anywhere with the message. I
truly believe that we're not living in a time when we should be looking to
someone or something else all for guidance. We all really need to be moving
on our own accord, finding the messiah within ourselves that's going to lead
us to the promised land, whatever the hell that may be. But I don't think
that a lot of people are doing that. They're turning to other things when all
they gotta do is turn toward themselves and realize that everything that they
need to know is right in there [points toward head], and the more you listen
to the voices outside your head, the farther you are from understanding who
you really are, where you come from, and where you're going."

kabir/akhtar | kabir@t.d.n