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Tool is a progressive rock band whose music spans the genres of alternative metal and progressive rock. Tool has four members: Danny Carey on drums, Justin Chancellor on bass, Maynard James Keenan performing lead vocals and Adam Jones on guitar. Tool’s sound ranges from banging heavy metal to a distinct progressive rock sound, and their music is heavily influenced by King Crimson, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Rush, among others. Tool’s lyrics often address philosophical and spiritual issues.
Tool was formed in Los Angeles, California in the late 1990’s when Danny Carey began playing with Maynard James Keenan, Adam Jones and Paul D’Amour. Prior to forming Tool, Danny Carey was a professional drummer who played with Carole King. Keenan, Jones and D’Amour had their own band. Carey was introduced through a friend and eventually wound up joining a rehearsal held by Keenan, Jones and D’Amour. The foursome formed Tool which began to tour very soon thereafter. At first, Tool toured with bands like Rollins Band, Fishbone and Rage Against The Machine. They released their debut EP, Opiate, in 1992 and it was an almost instant success. Tool’s first full length album, Undertow, was a huge success as well. The success of Undertow was boosted by the band’s appearance at Lollapalooza in 1993. Soon, though, Tool engendered much controversy, however, for the themes of its music video for the single “_______” which was deemed to be graphic and offensive.
Around the mid 1990’s, Justin Chancellor replaced Paul D’Amour. Tool soon released Ænima which also contained a controversial song, “Stinkfist.” Ænima is dedicated to Bill Hicks, a satirist who had recently died at the time of the album’s release. Ænima ultimately went on to win a Grammy Award for Tool.
Tool ran into some legal troubles when Volcano Records claimed that the band had violated its contract by looking at offers from other labels. Eventually, Tool and Volcano Records settled and went on to sign a new contract together. Around this time, Keenan also founded another band called A Perfect Circle with Tool’s guitar tech, Billy Howerdel.
Tool released Lateralus in 2001 amid controversy about the popular search engine Napster and its impact on the record sales of smaller artists. After the release of Lateralus and the completion of an extensive “Lateralus” tour, Tool’s activity slowed for awhile. Eventually, Tool released 10,000 Days which sold over 500,000 copies in its first week.
Besides Keenan’s involvement with the band, A Perfect Circle, the other members of Tool also have a variety of side projects. Justin Chancellor is also a member of the band Peach. Adam Jones designs art for Peach and has made collaborations with The Melvins and Adrian Belew. Maynard James Keenan performs vocals with A Perfect Circle and has appeared in a number of movies.
Music / Albums
Tool’s albums include: Opiate (1992), Undertow (1993), Ænima (1996), Salival (2000), Lateralus (2001) and 10,000 Days (2006). Opiate includes the singles “Opiate” and “Hush” and contains very hard sounding metal songs. The music video for “Hush” showed the band members without their clothes on in an effort to protest censorship (but the video was ironically censored). Undertow includes the controversial single “________.” Ænima contains the controversial single “Stinkfist.” Salival includes the recording “Merkaba,” a cover of a Led Zeppelin song called “No Quarter,” a cover of a Peach song called “You Lied” and additional unique live recordings. Salival also contains a DVD with popular Tool videos and a bonus video of the track “Hush.” Lateralus contains songs that are around six and a half minutes in length, but reached a No. 1 spot on the Billboard Top 200 album charts. 10,000 Days was released in April 2006 and has been a commercial success, although its critical reception was not as positive as Lateralus.
Tool has released a number of popular, and sometimes very controversial, music videos including: “Hush” (1992), “Sober” (1993), “________” (1994), “Stinkfist” (1996), “Ænima” (1997), “Ænima (Uncensored)” (2000), “Schism” (2001) and “Parabola.”
Tool won a Grammy Awards for its album Ænima.
Over the years, Tool has performed a number of popular tours. This includes Tool’s “Opiate” tour in 1992, their “Undertow” tour in 1993, their “Ænima” tour in 1996, their “Lateralus” tour in 2001 and their “10,000 Days” tour in 2006. The “10,000 Days” tour commenced in April 2006 with the release of the album 10,000 Days. At first, the “10,000 Days” tour played at a number of smaller venues in the United States and Canada and then at a few festivals in Europe. During the fall of 2006, Tool continues its “10,000 Days” tour in North America.