Tool (band)

From Academic Kids


Cover of the Salival box set.
Cover of the Salival box set.

Tool is a rock music group formed in the United States in 1990 by vocalist Maynard James Keenan, guitarist Adam Jones, bassist Paul d'Amour, and drummer Danny Carey. Paul d'Amour left the band in 1995 and was replaced by Justin Chancellor of the UK band Peach shortly after recording for their third major release, Ænima, began.

Their music includes elements of heavy metal, progressive rock, psychedelia, and art rock. Indicative of their various influences (King Crimson, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Rush among them), Tool's music features a firm grasp of musical structure and unconventional time signatures

Tool has long clashed with conventional television and radio due to their dark musical content and dry disposition: the "Prison Sex" single from Undertow came under fire when the Canadian branch of MuchMusic deemed it too graphically offensive in spite of its abstract nature. Although the video was directed by Adam Jones, it was Maynard James Keenan who was summoned to argue the song's redeeming value. Keenan was bluntly interrogated about his childhood and was never given a chance to illuminate the video's meaning or that they needed to talk to Jones for a full explanation. "Stinkfist", the first single from Ænima, was initially shortened for radio play until overwhelming fan response compelled them to play the track uncut. The music video for the song was also renamed by MTV America to "Track #1" for its offensive connotations. Though the singles for Ænima received significant radio play, 2001's Lateralus featured songs averaging six-and-a-half minutes in length, unwieldy for even the most ambitious disc jockeys. The length of the music video for "Parabola" clocked in at an unheard of ten-and-a-half minutes, almost condemning it from being aired on mainstream music channels. In addition, the members of Tool avoid press, rarely grant interviews, and have only appeared in two of their music videos: in "Hush" and, very briefly, in "Sober".

All of the members of Tool have their own side projects that exist both during and after Tool's own time for recording and touring. Most notable is Maynard James Keenan's band A Perfect Circle, which was formed during the legal limbo Tool encountered with their record label during the late 1990's. A Perfect Circle has since become a band of its own and Maynard has devoted ample time to them. Danny Carey works as a major player in both Pigmy Love Circus Volto!. Adam Jones has had several collaborations with The Melvins, and Adrian Belew on occassion. As well as collaborating with other musicians, Justin Chandcellor runs his own bookstore, called Lobal Orning, with the help of his wife.

Tool has currently been working on their fourth full-length album. Tourmates Fantmas and Meshuggah have been cited as influences. There have been some rumors about the new release, including a possible title (Teleincision), a possible DVD release, and several potential release dates. Considering the rumor mill preceding the release of Lateralus in 2001, these reports are not likely to prove true. Still, the release is widely expected for the third quarter of 2005, although this has never been confirmed.



The name "Tool" was alleged by drummer Danny Carey in a 1994 interview to mean that the band served its fans as a tool through which those people would come to understand lachrymology, a pseudophilosophy that the band has alleged was founded in 1949 by Ronald P. Vincent after the death of his wife in a snow plowing accident. However, it is more likely that the band made this up in order to create a unique backdrop for their own beliefs.

Lachrymology teaches the simple belief that crying is the best emotional release and should be encouraged as therapeutic. Tool's lyrical message often reflects this in their candid expressions of anger and frustration. People who endorse lachrymology often believe that it is only through pain (both physical and emotional) and recovery that an individual can advance him or her self, adopting a slight "whatever doesn't kill me only makes me stronger" mentality.

Other beliefs about the origin of Tool's name besides lachrymology theories include a nickname for certain types of army cadets and the obvious possible reference to male genitals. It is very possible that the name could stem from all of these things.


Previous members

Guest musicians

Joined Tool on stage:



Year Title Label
1992 Opiate EP Zoo/BMG/Volcano: US
1993 Undertow Zoo/BMG/Volcano: US
1996 Ænima Zoo/Volcano/BMG: US
2000 Salival (CD/DVD/VHS boxset) Volcano II/Tool Dissectional: US
2001 Lateralus Volcano II/Tool Dissectional: US

Singles (Note: Could be incomplete.)

Year Title Label
1992 Hush Zoo/Volcano/BMG
1992 Opiate Zoo/Volcano/BMG
1992 Sweat Zoo/Volcano/BMG
1993 Undertow Zoo/Volcano/BMG: UK
1993 Sober Zoo/Volcano/BMG: UK
1994 Prison Sex Zoo/Volcano/BMG
1996 Stinkfist Zoo/Volcano/BMG
1997 nema Zoo/Volcano/BMG
1997 Forty Six & 2 Zoo/Volcano/BMG
1997 H. Zoo/Volcano/BMG
2000 Part of Me Zoo/Volcano/BMG
2001 Schism Zoo/Volcano/BMG
2002 Lateralus Zoo/Volcano/BMG
2002 Parabola Zoo/Volcano/BMG


  • The band's singles and accompanying music videos include: "Hush" from Opiate, "Sober" and "Prison Sex" from Undertow, "Stinkfist" and "Ænema" from Ænima, and "Schism" and "Parabola" from Lateralus. "Hush" is the only video where the band members appear prominently, although they appear briefly in "Sober" as well. Although the videos are directed primarily by guitarist Adam Jones, many were created with the help of outside artists, like the interpretive dance duo Osseus Labyrint and others such as Cam de Leon and Alex Grey.
  • Singles for which no official music videos were made include: "Opiate" from Opiate, "Eulogy", "Forty-six & 2", and "H." from Ænima, and "Lateralus" from Lateralus.
  • The 2001 CD release Lateralus produced pressings that misspelled the title track as "Lateralis" instead. This was corrected on subsequent copies. However, the differentiation between 1996's Ænima and its 13th track "Ænema" is intentional.
  • Initial pressings of Ænima had a lenticular cover. Later editions, with a regular case, included album covers for a fictional sixteen-album discography within the liner notes.
  • On Tool's second full-length album Ænima, there is a track titled "Message to Harry Manback", which, according to drummer Danny Carey, is "a recording of the words of an uninvited Italian guest who came to Maynard's house one day. A so-called friend of a friend of a friend of Harry's ... Before we finally managed to figure out that nobody really knew him, he had already emptied the fridge and run up a huge phone bill. He got kicked out of the house." Harry Manback is a pseudonym for the real recipient of the message, presumably a past roommate of Maynard's: Hotsy Menshot of Green Jell. [1] (
  • Comedian Bill Hicks has influenced and is well respected by the band. Samples of his comedy are featured on "Third Eye" and the booklet for Ænima features a painting of him entitled "Another Dead Hero".
  • Timothy Leary has provided an influence on Tool: his "Think for Yourself, Question Authority" monologue (sampled from Leary's video, "How To Operate Your Brain") introduces the live version of "Third Eye" on Salival.
  • Tricky appears, uncredited, in the video for "Parabola." He has also joined Tool on stage, on songs such as "Reflection" and "Opiate".
  • The String Tribute to Tool: Third Eye Open is a tribute album released in 2001. A number of Tool songs are rearranged for classical music string instruments (violins, viola, cello and a double bass) with at least three musicians. The lack of percussion is sometimes countered with "clicking" col legno and other bowing techniques. Tool's songs are mostly multi-sectioned, and the band's sophisticated grasp of harmony allows for an interesting instrumental interpretation. A second volume of string tribute titled The String Tribute to Tool Volume 2: Metamorphic was released in 2003 featuring two groups of musicians, including the group from Third Eye Open. Other tributes to Tool include: Finding Beauty in the Dissonance: A Piano Tribute to Tool, Chamber Made: The Baroque Tribute to Tool, A Gothic Acoustic Tribute to Tool, and the simply named Tribute to Tool which features various rock artists.
  • The Opiate EP contains a hidden song called "The Gaping Lotus Experience." It fades in at six minutes, six seconds on the sixth track ("666").
  • The final track of Undertow, called "Disgustipated," appears as track 69 on early pressings of the US copies of the disc, on others it appears at track 30 (the intervening tracks are all 3 second blank tracks). On European and other releases, the song appears as track 10 after a period of silence following "Flood."
  • Behind the CD tray on Undertow is a picture of a cow licking itself.
  • The inside cover of Undertow depicts two nude figures (a small man embraced from behind by a large woman), a profile of the same woman in a semi-fetal position, and an X-ray of a rear entry vibrator. The profile of the woman, held up to a light source, displays her encased in the rib cage sculpture on the front of the liner. These photographs were deemed too graphic, causing Wal-Mart to ban the explicit version of the CD and stock only an edited version with liner art featuring a giant bar code and a cynical note from the band.
  • For the most part, Maynard James Keenan requests that the band not perform "Ticks & Leeches" live if possible due to the immense strain on his voice. However, they have performed it before in spite of this, Maynard using heavy vocal effects and distortion.
  • In 2005, Tool's web domain ( was rerouted to a gateway to the known official Tool websites. According to Distortion Online, the Tool logo seen on the gateway page is not a new logo, but an invention by web designer Joshua Davis, who has reportedly been asked by Adam Jones to take over the Tool websites.
  • Tool have performed songs by other artists occassionally in their live sets. These songs include: "Spasm" (Peach), "You Lied" (Peach), "Stranglehold" (Ted Nugent), "Demon Cleaner" (Kyuss), "No Quarter" (Led Zeppelin), and "Commando" (The Ramones).
  • Tool have a long history of staging outlandish April Fools' Day jokes on their fans and the press, such as a falsified bus crash in 1997. On April 1st, 2005, Maynard James Keenan sent word via e-mail to his close friends and to MTV that he had "rediscovered Jesus" and that Tool would have to "take the backseat." Maynard later clarified that Jesus was a drunkard and "a total punk" whom he encountered while "location scouting" in Los Angeles.

Reading list

Tool have listed the following books as recommended reading in their official newsletter. Reading these books is encouraged by the band as they provide a stronger insight to Tool's music and inspiration, and the philosophies used in their music.

External links

Template:Toolbandde:Tool (Band) es:Tool fr:Tool (groupe) it:Tool nl:Tool no:Tool pl:Tool fi:Tool


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