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Members include Danny Carey (born Daniel Edwin Carey in Paola, Kansas, May 10, 1961), drums; Justin Chancellor (replaced Paul D'Amour; born Justin Gunnar Walte Chancellor, November 19, 1972), bass; Paul D]Amour (born Paul M. D'Amour in Spokane, Washington, June 8, 1968); Adam Jones (born Adam Thomas Jones in Libertyville, Illinois, January 15, 1965) guitar; Maynard James Keenan (born James H. Keenan in Ravenna, Ohio, April 17, 1964), vocals. Addresses: Record company--BMG Records, 6363 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028.

Created around the idea of lachrymology, or the "study of crying," Tool became both a symbol of success in the music world and a tribute to the concept of channeling negative energy toward positive means. With early hits such as "Sober" and "Prison Sex," the band propelled its mission to use the intellectual and musical influences of its members to inspire its own listeners. Ted Drozdowski wrote in a review of Tool in Rolling Stone: "Their songs about the living hell that humans create connect with the seething frustrations of an audience who have seen the cynicism of their parents' generation devour the fruits of opportunity."

Unlike the flood of bands who targeted the angry youth of the 1990s, Tool set out to stimulate thought, rather than simply complain about the state of the world. "Evolution didn[t stop with us getting thumbs," singer Maynard James Keenan told Jon Wiederhorn in Rolling Stone. "There are a lot of metaphysical, spiritual, and emotional changes going on right now, and we]re just trying to reflect that."

From Tool[s inception, they drew inspiration from authors and philosophers, as well as their own personal experiences. The group referenced concepts and themes from writers such as Joseph Campbell, Aleister Crowley, William Gibson, Carl Jung, and Ronald P. Vincent. In fact, it was the latter who inspired the concept of the band from the beginning. Guitarist Adam Jones read Vincent]s book A Joyful Guide to Lachrymology after he moved from Illinois to Los Angeles. He had been working as a sculptor and special effects designer for film, working on movies like Jurassic Park, Terminator 2, and Predator 2. Vincent[s ideas about feeding off of pain and using its energy in a positive way sparked Jones] desire to bring musicians together to direct their own frustrations into art. "The philosophy of that book is basically using your pain to a profit, rather than letting it drag you down," drummer Danny Carey told Scott Schalin in BAM. "A lot of people who can[t master that art end up jumping off buildings."

In 1991 Jones met Carey through their mutual friend, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello. He also met bass player Paul D]Amour through the movie industry. At the time, singer Maynard James Keenan lived upstairs from Carey. When they all got together, they took Jones? idea and gave it a life in a group they called Toolshed, later simplified to Tool.

All four members of Tool moved to Los Angeles from different areas of the United States. Keenan was born near Akron, Ohio, an only child in a Baptist family. His mother died when he was just eleven years old. Before moving to L.A., he lived in Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and Massachusetts, and had served three years in the Army.

Danny Carey was the only member of Tool to have played music full- time before the band[s formation. He was the drummer for an L.A. band called Pigmy Love Circus in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and he played in a band called Green Jelly. Even after joining Tool, Carey played in another band on the side, called Zaum. When he joined Tool, they hadn]t developed a success strategy, nor had they planned the rapid launch they received.

"It began as a self-satisfying thing for us," Carey told Schalin. "Our music was a release and a vehicle to get out whatever tensions we were feeling at that time." "When we started the band, we all had our own jobs," Jones said to Edward Fruchtman in Circus. "We did this as a side project. We never intended to get signed. It was all about the music--music that inspires and music that creates thought."

Before the end of Tool[s first year together, they had signed a record contract with Zoo Entertainment, distributed by BMG Records. (The label later changed its name to Freeworld.) In 1992, Tool released an EP titled Opiate to introduce their loud, aggressive sound. "Everyone thought we were a hard metal band," Adam Jones recalled to Chuck Crisfulli in Guitar Player, "but our tastes run through Joni Mitchell, King Crimson, Depeche Mode, and country {music}. We]re not a metal band, rock band, or a country band. We[re Tool."

By July of that same year, they had the opening slot on a tour with the Rollins Band. Then, the following year, they released their debut full-length disc, Undertow. The first single, "Sober," began getting exposure on several regional music video shows across the country. Adam Jones had designed the video using stop-motion camera techniques with claymation. Soon, the video became a hit on MTV.

In May of 1993, Tool began its U.S. tour, opening for bands such as Rage Against the Machine, Living Colour, and Fishbone. By the summer, they had landed a slot on the second stage of the Lollapalooza tour. Mid-way through the tour, they moved up to the opening band on the main stage.

Tool began receiving more and more exposure and critical acclaim. David Browne wrote in Entertainment Weekly, "What put this L.A. band a notch above the rest are better songs (with actual verses, choruses, and hooks--check out the terrific 'Prison Sex]) and the hints of vulnerability in Maynard James Keenan[s voice."

The next single and video, "Prison Sex," was also designed by Jones in the same claymation style. The notoriety they received on the Lollapalooza tour and the popularity of their music videos, launched Tool]s Undertow to platinum sales status before the end of 1994. The following year, the group[s progress was slightly interrupted by the departure of bassist Paul D]Amour. The foursome had already started recording their next record, when D[Amour decided to move on to form his own band called Lusk.

However, Tool didn]t waste much time. Bass player Justin Chancellor, whose previous band Peach had performed with Tool in Europe, soon filled the empty position. He jumped right into the studio, and Tool[s next LP, Aenima was released in 1996. It debuted at number two on Billboard]s album chart, and went platinum within the year. The album, which included the single "Stinkfist," was co- produced by Dave Bottril, who had previously worked with artists such as King Crimson and Peter Gabriel. Adam Jones continued to express his visual artistic talent on the 3-D "multi-image" packaging for the disc.

Some reviews commented that Aenima had an even harder edge than Tool[s previous releases. "Dense and looming, Aenima spirals through a bleak landscape of metallic rhythms and industrial textures, mutating at will like a sadistic demon from an H.R. Giger sketchbook," Jon Wiederhorn wrote in Rolling Stone. "One of the goals of the record, among a lot of things, was to make it obvious to all the materialistic idiots that energy is primary and the illusion of matter is secondary," Danny Carey told Carl Hammerschmidt in Hot Metal.

By the summer of 1996, Tool had returned to the Lollapalooza tour, this time as its co-headliner. They performed on the bill with Korn, Tricky, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Orbital, and James. Chancellor, their new bass player, fit in without missing a beat. His fresh approach to the ideas of Tool gave him a unique perspective of the group. He described his impressions to Edward Fruchtman in Circus. "I]ve never come across or been a part of a collection of souls so diverse in character and belief that possess the ability to mutually accommodate those differences and evolve them into positive creativity."

Even through all of the recognition and success, Tool stayed true to their original mission inspired by Ronald P. Vincent. After the platinum records and headlining tours, they still included a reading list of their favorite recently read books in their fan club mailing list, and they have said that they want the band to serve as a "tool" to understanding the concepts and benefits of lachrymology.

by Sonya Shelton

Tool's Career

Band formed in Los Angeles, California, and signed to Zoo Entertainment/BMG, 1991; released debut EP Opiate, 1992; released debut LP, Undertow, 1993; bassist Paul D[Amour replaced by Justin Chancellor, 1995; released Aenima, 1996.

Famous Works

Further Reading


Tool Lyrics

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about 15 years ago

by the way his mother... judith marie... may sound familiar. judith -- apc song wings for marie-- 2(3) part song from tool 10000 days. 10,000 days is a rough estimate of how long she was paralyzed.

about 16 years ago

Keenan's mother did not die when he was 11. She suffered a paralyzing brain aneurysm. This did not take her life until 2003.