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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Kulture Deluxe Magazine

Date: Sometime, 1996

Transcribed by
Irene Macabante (irene@weirdness.com)


  page: -
 title: Tool: Justin Chancellor/Tool
author: Kristian Dunn

ìItís just playing with words,î says Toolís new bass player Justin
Chancellor when I ask him about his bandís enigmatic new album titl,e
Aenima..  ìAnima [pronounced ah-ni-ma] literally means the female side of
your psyche, but it basically represents a balance thing. Whatever youíve
been neglecting, the shit that you try to avoid thatís always there that
youíve got to confront and deal with.  Itís that.  The Enema part of it is
a slightly different theme that runs throughout a lot of the songs and is
more self explanatory.  A lot of the songs are about evolution and trying
to pry open your third eye.î

Toolís latest and third record was three years in the making and the
bandís fans could hardly stand the wait.  Aenima entered the billboard
charts at #2, selling almost 150,000 units in its first week of release. 
Almost universal critical acclaim came next and, at press time, their
current US tour is almost completely sold out.  Not bad for a bunch of
guys who formed a band just for fun and to blow off steam.  Without any
desire for commercial success, Tool created an extremely honest and
original brand of dark, heavy, radio unfriendly rock that would
eventually, oddly enough, make them one of the most popular bands in the
world (their first two records have sold approximately two million copies
worldwide).  It was this honesty in music that originally attracted then
London resident Chancellor to the band.  Little did he know he would
eventually land a spot in the band. 

ìYears ago I heard Toolís demo tape through my brother who was living in
America.  It just kicked my ass!  Eventually I came out and saw and met
them in New York.  We got on really well and kept in touch.  A couple of
years later my band in England, Peach, did a tour with Tool when they came
over to Europe.  When shit went down with Paul [DíAmour, the bandís
original bass player who played on their first two records, then left to
play guitar in Lusk] they gave me a call to see if I wanted to try out. 
At first I actually turned them down.  Peach had broken up about six
months before and I was forming a new band with the guitarist.  It was
pretty tough.  I felt really loyal to this friend of mine who Iíd played
with since I was fourteen.  But then I decided that I canít deny myself
this opportunity.î

Chancellor eventually flew to America, auditioned, a got the job.  He beat
out some stiff competition that included Filterís Frank Cavanagh, Kyussí s
Scott Reeder, and Pigmy Love Circusí Marko Fox.  Now the songwriting
process could begin, and Chancellor was pleased to discover an extremely
democratic working environment.

ìIíve been in bands pretty much since I was fourteen and this is the most
equal, four-way thing Iíve been involved with.  Everyone pulls their own
weight and motivates each other.  A lot of people assume Maynard is the
main songwriter since he gets so much attention as the singer.  But that
is more of a problem for him than us.  Rather him than me [laughs]! 
Outside any public eye there is total mutual respect amongst each
individual.î

With Chancellor in the picture, Tool began to develop their original sound
into a new, more experiments and epic-sounding musical state.  In order to
capture this sound on tape, the band felt that they had to find exactly
the right producer.  They could have gone with just about anybody in the
industry, but chose King Crimson and Peter Gabriel producer Dave Bottrill. 

ìWe met a lot of people who were kind of the hot producers of the moment,
and they all seemed to be able to do a good job, but they had a lot of
front and attitude that was irrelevant to feeling comfortable and being
able to do the job well.  Weíve [members of Tool] each had our time really
liking King Crimson and we wanted someone who could push the sounds a bit. 
Thatís how we came up with the idea of using David.  This new material is
a bit broader and sonically challenging, so we wanted to avoid using
someone who would just nail down a ìheavy rockî sound, or whatever.  We
wanted someone who would really try new shit.  So he was really the right
person.î

The first single off of Aenima is ìStinkfist,î a lovely little ditty about
anal sex which twists elements of heavy metal into a new, darker, less
perceivably tongue-in-cheek form.  Chancellor guarantees the video, which
was directed by the bandís guitarist, Adam Jones, and is being edited as
we go to press, will be as engaging and disturbing as the other videos
Tool has made.  ìThere is actually live action in this one mixed with stop
motion animation.  Itís really fucking crazy.î

Toolís videos are just one of many elements that reveal their above-
average rock band intelligence.  From their artwork to their lyrics to
even their liner notes, Tool proves they are not just about moshing. 
ìForty Six and Two,î the probably second single from Aenima , points to
the next level of manís genetic evolution.  Chancellor explains, ìIt
refers to your DNA, which at the moment is 44 and two: two pairs of 22 and
the x and y chromosomes.  46 and two is supposedly the next stage of our
genetic makeup that we will evolve to.î

Equally thought provoking is the albumís second track, ìEulogy.î
Lyrically, it is a return to the bandís condemnation of Christianity that
was so evident on their first record, Opiate.  ìYouíve claimed all this
time that you would die for me.  Why, then are you so surprised when you
hear your own eulogy?î sings Maynard.  ìCome down off your fuckiní cross. 
We need the fuckiní space to nail the next fool martyr.î The lyrics seem
to be an obvious sarcastic nod to Jesus, but Chancellor claims that isnít
necessarily so. 

ìIt should be left up to the listener to interpret the lyrics.  ëEulogyí
is pretty vague, but the crux of it is itís about fallen idols.  If you
know that then you should be able to read a little more into it.  ëHooker
With a Penisí [one of the albumís more humorous tracks which documents a
fanís accusation that the band has ìsold outî] is the same way.  It isnít
really about a single incident.  Itís a generalization...a sentiment.î

ìAenima,î the albumís title track, seems to be more specific.  It
apparently advocates the flooding and destruction of Los Angeles, Toolís
current residence.  ìSee you down in Arizona Bay,î Maynard screams.  Even
the inside cover of the CD has a picture of California sinking into the
ocean.  So the band must be ready to move to a new residence, right? 
ìMan, I donít know,î says Chancellor, ìMy future is totally un-mapped out. 
LA is a pretty fucked up place, but Iím very lucky in that I donít really
have to deal with it.  I have a great job and the people I work with are
exceptional characters and musicians.  Itís not like Iím ëan Englishman in
LAí or ëan Englishman in Toolí or something.î

Hopefully LA will continue to provide Tool with the artistic fodder that
makes Aenima such a towering musical achievement.  With Chancellor
involved in the infectious brew, Tool have taken a massive artistic step
forward from their last album, Undertow.  It seems as though they are
designers of their own fate, always doing exactly what they want and
exercising complete artistic control.  In this day and age of
genre-specific bands and artists, their noise is a welcome one. 


Posted to t.d.n: 12/12/97 17:16:13