Monday, April 23, 2012

"T" is for Tool

I will continue with my music thread for one more day, and today I talk about Tool. This band has been on the top of my musical list since their 1996 album, Aenima. I had listened to them since Undertow and backtracked to Opiate, but Aenima introduced their true creative vision. Tool's artistry is not for everyone, I can appreciate that, but they are undeniably accomplished and incredible musicians.

They have one of the most talented rhythm sections, often times not keeping to typical time signatures, creating truly unique sounds and songs. And then there is Maynard James Keenan, the voice of Tool (and A Perfect Circle and Puscifer). In my opinion, he has the best voice in rock -- from melodic to screaming, studio to concert, he's just amazing. The interesting thing in live shows is that Maynard no longer plays the role of a rock front-man, under the spotlight, front and center. He is usually positioned back with the drums without a spotlight, as just another instrument in the band. Everyone is an equal member. Vocals, drums, bass, and guitar -- four guys producing surreal sonic landscapes that reach the boundaries of Heaven and Hell.

Tool is a very secretive band. They have never released an official live video, it usually takes a few years to get official lyrics posted online (they're never printed on the albums), and their songs are still not on iTunes. They use a lot of occult and mystic imagery in their lyrics and performance videos flashing from large screens behind the band. They are such a strange and unique band, I could talk about them forever, but I just need to shut up and let you listen to some music.

I love this song, from 10,000 Days, broken up into two tracks on the album, but flowing together as one epic journey. An official video was not released, so this is just something a fan put together. It is decently made and I like the fact that it has the beautiful lyrics interlaced into the video. This song is written about Maynard's late mother, Judith Marie. Part 1 is basically an intro. Part 2 starts at about 6 minutes in. My favorite segment is from about 9:45 to 12 minutes (and if it's you're first time listening to it, shut your eyes and just listen to the music, then go back and follow along with the lyrics).


  1. Beautiful and haunting. I am familiar with a few of their songs, like Sober and Schism (which I had to look up the names for) but not with what you posted. I did enjoy it.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. They sound very mysterious which aside from the tunes, is probably their draw. Cool.

  3. I remember the first time I saw the video for Sober- very disturbing and fascinating at the same time.

  4. Although they are not known here I loved the haunting theme.
    Wonderful Michael.


  5. When I just arrived on your blog and began reading this post, I started to hear some music playing. Thinking that it was related to this post, I kept on reading about Tool while thinking "hey, the lead singer sounds oddly like the guy from Placebo."

    It wasn't until I scrolled down to the post just before this one that I realized that I *had* been listening to Placebo, from their "Sleeping with Ghosts" album. :P (I like their cover of "Daddy Cool.")

    I might have to make a soundtrack for my own novel. I find that setting the right music soothes me enough to write as well.

    -Barb the French Bean

  6. That was incredible! I also like R--I too was introduced to Elliot Smith in a coffee shop--not literally unfortunately. Glad I found you on A to Z.

  7. Heather, you named some classic Tool, especially live!

    Mina, they rarely appear in their own videos.

    Alex, that was my original draw.

    Mary, thanks!

    Yvonne, hopefully one day they will be.

    Barb, that's funny. I totally forgot about that since I have the volume off on my laptop.

    Bethie, Thanks, it was great of you to visit! :)

  8. That was gorgeous. They are epic.

    I loved the skeletal structure in the eye, for me, that sums it up.


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