Artist and Musician Biographies


In this video, you can hear music by Tool

Characterized by deep, moody, rhythmic, tones and complex lyrics, the music of Tool gained initial popularity in the early 1990's as a part of the alternative metal rock wave that swept much of the U.S. As with many other music acts of the time, the group displayed a penchant of anger, hostility and sarcasm, often poking fun at arguments over censorship and political correctness that characterized the times. However, unlike metal music counterparts of the time, the music of Tool shows similarities in lyrical subject matter and musical style to rock forefathers Pink Floyd and Blue Oyster Cult.

The combination of art-rock and progressive rock influences with a definite post-punk attitude, soon made them immensely popular in the rock underground. Embracing the often ponderous, anti-song aesthetic of progressive rock, and combining it with the angst of alternative rock in the early 1990's, Tool found a formula that led to critical and commercial success. Their work is often intellectual, occasionally relating to science and math. Humor and cynicism often find their way creatively into Tool's lyrics, (one of the songs on "Aenima" sounds like a Nazi rally but is really a cookie recipe read in German through a megaphone) and the song "Disgustipated", is the group's protest to a carrot's right to life.

And the angel said unto me, "These are the cries of the carrots, the cries of the carrots! You see, Reverend Maynard, tomorrow is harvest day and to them it is the holocaust." And I sprang from my slumber drenched in sweat like the tears of one million terrified brothers and roared, "Hear me now, I have seen the light! They have a consciousness, they have a life, they have a soul! Damn you! Let the rabbits wear glasses! Save our brothers!" Can I get an amen? Can I get a hallelujah? Thank you Jesus.

Formed in Los Angeles in 1990 by founding members Maynard James Keenan (vocals), Adam Jones (guitar), Paul D'Amour (bass) and Danny Carey (drums), Tool's album "Opiate", released in 1992, provided audiences with an appropriate introduction to this style. Keenan was born in Ravenna, Ohio in 1964 and joined the Army right after high school in 1982. He attended the United States Military Academy for two years, but quit to study art at the Kendall College of Art and Design in Michigan. Jones was a former movie special effects artist who worked on "Terminator" and "Jurassic Park". This background in visual art and film by two of the band members seems to have strongly influenced the critically acclaimed stop motion videos produced by the group.

In 1993, Tool released "Undertow", which helped land them a spot on the Lollapalooza tour as well as other tours that included groups like the Rollins Band and Rage Against the Machine.

"Aenima" (1996), prior to "Lateralus" (2001) was arguably one of Tool's best efforts. It reached the Billboard's top 10 and combined the stylings of new bass player Justin Chancellor and guitarist Billy Howerdel. The five-year period between albums spawned a number of rumors of the band's demise, as did Keenan's involvement in a side project called "A Perfect Circle". In 2001, Tool released its first new music in almost 5 years. "Lateralus" debuted in May and within the first week the first song "Schism" went to #1 on the Billboard charts. In doing so, the band had resurfaced for fans who were surrounded by all of the sticky sweetness of boy bands and over-produced and under-talented artists, but wondered where all the angst had gone. Tool has stayed true to their art and metal roots. By doing this, they have kept a loyal fan base while winning over a new generation of listeners, who flocked to their very successful tour in 2001. This mainstream popularity was accompanied by rave reviews from the critical press, who have even proclaimed the group to be the future of rock music.

Page author: B.A.