Feature: Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, Korn, Mastodon, Gojira and More Talk Tool
Wed, 06 Feb 2013 08:18:48
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Some bands raise the bar.
They set the standard just a little bit higher for everybody else to follow, and an entire crop of younger artists follows suit until somebody else comes along to lead them. It's an endless cycle. One band generates a trend which ignites more bands. It's like organisms multiplying under a microscope. That's the way the music industry works, for better or worse.
Tool just broke that proverbial bar and refashioned it. They never followed anybody, and they shot off into a space of their own. That's why their influence continues to resound throughout rock music. As much as fans love the cathartic lyrics and sonic pummeling, they're most attracted to Tool's honesty and unwillingness to compromise their vision.
It was never about fame, money, or any of the material trappings genuinely associated with stardom. For Maynard James Keenan, Adam Jones, Justin Chancellor, and Danny Carey, it was and is about art. With honesty and heart, Tool held up a mirror to true darkness on Opiate (EP), Undertow, and Ænima, keeping their sense of humor in tact amongst the mind-blowing rhythms and enchanting riffs. Lateralus spiraled deep into an introspective place, encouraging self-reliance and "thinking for yourself". Meanwhile, most recently, 10,000 Days saw Tool at their finest and most evolved yet. Whether or not these interpretations matter is up to you. Tool don't shove a message down anybody's throat and what you get from the band isn't necessarily the same as what anyone else will. That's another reason they're so impactful.
Tool remain the most important, innovative, and invigorating band of the 21st century, and most of your favorite acts would even agree…
Since Tool's influence stands out as so prevalent and powerful, ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino talked to everyone from Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, Korn, and Iron Maiden to Mastodon, Gojira, Five Finger Death Punch, Machine Head, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Periphery, Flyleaf, Hollywood Undead, and more about the band.
See what the artists had to say about Tool below!
Also, Keenan's Puscifer will release the Donkey Punch the Night EP February 19, 2013. You have to get that. Go to the official site and follow him on Twitter!
Can you share your thoughts on Tool? Do you have a seminal Tool experience or memory? When did you first hear them? What do they mean to you?
Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine
Tom Morello: I saw Tool at their very first show. There was a band called Green Jello, who later changed its name to Green Jelly, and Danny Carey was the drummer. Maynard sometimes worked with them and lived in this loft where a lot of musicians lived in Los Angeles. Tool actually had their first show in that loft! A couple of the other guys from Rage Against the Machine were at the gig too, when we had just started writing songs. Maynard had been my roommate for a while, and I had grown up with Adam. I'll be frank. We did not have the highest expectations for what was going to occur at that loft gig and we went kind of as "friend rock" [Laughs]. They were devastatingly awesome from the very first show though. There's no other way to say it. They were just awesome. It was unbelievable.
Robert Trujillo of Metallica
Robert Trujillo: My little boy loves Tool! When I take him to school, we're playing Tool all the time, so I definitely connect with them. There's a lot of bass in that group, which is nice. They're a great band for a bass player to listen to. So believe it or not, my son and I are going through a big Tool phase! It includes every record too.
James "Munky" Shaffer of Korn and & Fear and the Nervous System
James "Munky" Shaffer: There are so many great elements that Tool has. I like that they'll sit and simmer on one or two riffs for a while. It makes your imagination start to grow like a bacteria. It takes you to these dark places, and you start to visualize a lot. I think Adam Jones syncs up with what he's seeing visually. I always loved that they kept everything quiet. There aren't very many interviews. It's really hard to find any press on them. We toured with them on Lollapalooza 1997. I got really sick with Meningitis, and we had to drop off the tour. Each night they'd go on, Maynard would quiet the whole crowd down to send me some positive energy to get me better. That was really nice. When I heard about that, I started to feel better.
Bill Kelliher of Mastodon & Primate
Bill Kelliher: I had never really seen them live until we started touring with them. When I was a kid and they first came around, there was a lot of hype in the underground about them. There was no information on them though. They didn't do any interviews. I was like, "These guys are so secretive!" It reminded me of the old days when I used to listen to Dead Kennedys a lot. Obviously back then, there was no Internet and none of that shit to follow your favorite bands on. I really liked Tool's mystique. There songs are great. Maynard is a fucking monster. He's awesome. I was always very intrigued by Tool. When we got the offer to do the tour, I was more than excited for sure. Undertow would be my favorite Tool record. There's something really special about all of their records. Their songs keep getting longer and longer, which is really crazy. They play them on the radio. Every time we do a song, someone is like, "That's your single you have to cut it up into this formula". I'm always like, "Why? Tool doesn't do that!" [Laughs]
Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch
Ivan Moody: I saw Tool at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. Tool has to be one of the most phenomenal bands. I don't even think there are words for it. I'd love to leave people speechless in that manner. You can sift through a thesaurus and you can't find the right word to describe what they do. That's worth the money of the ticket. That's why the fans are so loyal. Maynard has such a great way of executing sarcasm with seriousness. Undertow was phenomenal. That parted the seas. It separated all of the bullshit that was sifting at the top of the music industry and brought it right down to the bottom. It was just perfect. Everybody needed it. That was a musical enema, no pun intended [Laughs]."
Joe Duplantier of Gojira
Joe Duplantier: I saw the video for "Sober" on TV, and I was like, "Wow, what is this?" I'm a big Tool fan.
Johnny 3 Tears of Hollywood Undead
Johnny 3 Tears: The reason we love them is because they made us think the impossible was possible within the world of music. They made it possible to be dynamic and successful without selling yourself short. Their best song is "Ænima", and the best album has to be Undertow.
Jeff Kendrick of DevilDriver and co-founder AllAxess.com
Jeff Kendrick: Undertow was the first Tool record that I had the privilege to hear. I was in eighth grade, and I will never forget when "Sober" came on the radio. I was instantly mesmerized by Maynard's vocal tone and the catchy, yet heavy sound. It was slower and more down-tuned than Metallica was. It really took my interest from thrash metal and shifted it to this new and exciting band.
Robb Flynn of Machine Head
Robb Flynn: I saw Tool open for Rollins Band at The Warfield in San Francisco. They blew my mind. They were killer and just super intense. I went and saw them play the Berkeley Square probably a couple of months later. It's a 500-capacity club, and it was sold out. I remember Maynard. We call it "mad dogging", if you're staring at somebody super hard. You like you're going to fight them. Maynard picked this one dude in the crowd and "mad dogged" him for the entire show. It was so intense. Opiate had some great stuff. I think they're an incredible band, and I still love them. That early shit was so pissed-off, angry, and weird. I love it when bands are weird. You look at them and go, "Those dudes have got problems!" [Laughs] I'm attracted to that. If you look at some of these heavy bands nowadays, there's nothing scary about them at all even if they're playing the heaviest music in the world. You go see Rollins back then and you're like, "Holy shit, this guy isn't going to beat some dude's ass in the crowd any minute now!" Something could happen.
Mark Tremonti of Tremonti, Alter Bridge, & Creed
Mark Tremonti: I first discovered Tool when I saw the "Sober" video. That was my first exposure to the band, and I was instantly hooked on Maynard's vocals, Danny's drumming, and the incredible creativity in their music videos. It is impossible for me to choose which album is my favorite because each album has its own unique vibe and memorable moments in them."
Steve Harris of Iron Maiden
Steve Harris: They're a good band. I've heard a few songs, but I don't have any of their albums! We've done festivals together before.
Greg Puciato of Dillinger Escape Plan
Greg Puciato: The first time I heard them was the music video for "Sober". I watched so much MTV at that time. I was enamored with all of the bands coming out. Being a kid watching MTV, that time period was amazing. There was one great band after another Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Rage Against the Machine, and Pearl Jam. Every day there was a new exciting band coming out. Being 10 to 13-years-old, I was like, "Oh my God!" I didn't really get into Tool until Ænima though. When I heard "Stinkfist", I thought, "Wow, this is really next level musically!" They were the first band that I saw really trying to preserve themselves artistically. I latched on to how much they didn't do. They didn't do anything normally. They weren't in their videos. They never did whacky tours with shitty bands. They refused to do anything that wasn't exactly in line with their aesthetic. That really stuck with me more so than it musically influenced me. I realized what you don't do is as much if not more important than what you do.
Aaron Lewis of Staind
Aaron Lewis: I remember the first time I saw Tool at Lollapalooza at The Meadows, which is now The Dodge Center in Hartford, CT. That year, Rage Against the Machine played at like 12:30 in the afternoon. Tool played at 3:30, and Alice in Chains played at 5. I don't even remember who headlined. I think it was Red Hot Chili Peppers. Maynard James Keenan was on stage with nothing on but a pair of tighty whities that looked like he'd been wearing them for five years [Laughs]. His whole curled up Spina bifida-looking stage presence that he had going on—he was all rolled up in a ball. He was really skinny, and his spine was sticking out of his back. What he looked like up on stage is so visually burnt into my memory. I was a huge fan from that moment on. I think I might have heard "Sober" before that…maybe. I think I saw the band before I started hearing the song on the radio. It was amazing. The usual Lollapalooza stuff happened where people were ripping up the back fence and burning it. There were big bonfires everywhere too.
Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach
Jacoby Shaddix: I got into them on Undertow. I remember tripping out on that song "Prison Sex". It was dark. I remember the photo shoot where Maynard James Keenan has his mouth pulled open and the dude has pins in him. I looked at that like, "These guys are interesting". They had this mysteriousness about them. Their playing style is a lot different from anything out there. They have that prog rock element, but it's palatable. It's not so far out there that it's strange. I remember being intrigued by Maynard as a frontman. He doesn't approach it as anyone else does or will.
Devin Townsend: I just started getting into Tool. I listened to them during Opiate. That's when I was first introduced to them, but I feel out. I heard Lateralus the other day, and I was like, "That's a really good record!" It's taken me a long time to get into them though.
Misha Mansoor of Periphery
Misha Mansoor: I love Ænima and Lateralus. The first time I heard them was when I was around 14- or 15-years-old. I started out on drums, and I remember thinking Danny Carey was God's gift to drumming. I was like, "What the hell is this guy doing?" I still love his playing. I think that band is awesome.
Sameer Bhattacharya of Flyleaf
Sameer Bhattacharya: I heard "Stinkfist" in high school. One of my band nerd buddies was a big Tool fan. She was in percussion, and she had the Tool sticker with the two nuts and the wrench. I was like, "What is that?" [Laughs] She said, "The best band ever!" I listened to Ænima, and it was mind-blowing. I'd never heard anything like that before. It really impacted me.
Andy Biersack of Black Veil Brides
Andy Biersack: I remember the first time I saw Tool was late at night on MTV. My cousin was babysitting me, and it was a video where my Maynard was all fucking crazy looking. I thought that was really awesome.
Joel Birch of The Amity Affliction
Joel Birch: I first heard them in 10th grade. A friend showed me Opiate, and it was good! My girlfriend is a ridiculously huge Tool fan. She cried when she saw them [Laughs].
Adam Gontier [ex-Three Days Grace]
Adam Gontier: I heard them around my first year of high school. I was about 14-years-old. "Sober" was the song. In the small town we grew up in, there were 1500 people, and there was only one radio station close by. They had a show where they'd play what they called "alternative music" back then at 11 o'clock at night. It was a classic rock station. I heard "Sober" on that show, and I loved it.
Tom Huestis of SoulSwitch
Tom Huestis: I remember hearing Tool back in the early '90s when their first full-length album, Undertow, came out. They have had it right from the beginning. It's an unbelievably unmistakable sound unlike any other band. I don't know if it's Maynard's lyrics and amazing voice or Danny Carey's insane drumming, but I don't think there are many bands like them out there. I've seen them live four times, and the visuals of their live shows almost supersede the music—almost. I would have to say Undertow is my favorite album but my favorite song is "46 & 2" off Ænima.
Jimmy Kwong of SoulSwitch
Jimmy Kwong: I first heard Tool in high school, and the song was "Sober". I really dug the drumbeat! I thought the bass and guitars were genius and loved the groove. My favorite songs would have to be "46 & 2" and "Sober".
Jesse Hasek of 10 Years
Jesse Hasek: Anything Maynard touches is amazing as far as I'm concerned. They'll always be a band that I come back to.
When did you first hear Tool?