Sunday, March 27, 2011

Why Tool is not my favorite band

Aloha everybody!

In another brazen stroke of ego, I am going to use Al Gore’s tremendous internet to share a bit about Tool. Though they have cranked out some awesome music, there are a plenty of things hold me back from loving this band.

In case you have unplugged yourself from the music scene since 1990 (and it seems like a lot of people have), Tool is a Los Angeles-based progressive rock band. They have released 4 albums and an EP, earning three Grammy awards along the way.

Tool’s rabid fan base (more on that later), assert that Tool’s music is genius, the lyrics are brilliant poetry and nobody has better performance skills.

Well, on some level I agree with parts of this. Over the years, Tool has honed their craft. They have some truly great songs, and their production is slicker than snot on a doorknob. I think they are all first-rate musicians, and that Danny Carey is a brilliant drummer that really holds everything together.

1993’s Undertow was the breakthrough album for the band, and was very good as a whole. All of the songs had plenty of anger yet were still listenable. I really think this album was their high-water mark, and we have seen a steady increase in self-indulgent offerings from Tool.

Their 1996 album, Aenima, won the band their first Grammy award. And it certainly is a slick album, with some sort of deep concept throughout. By the way, I think the concept of the album is that the recording industry and their fan base are mindless sheep (chew on that for awhile, fainbois). But this album is also where Tool started working in a lot of non-musical crap into their content. And, of the actual songs they recorded for this album, there are only a few stand outs.

And, their latest two albums, Lateralus and 10,000 Days, complete their spiral into the Hubris Hut. I think there are only about 3 good songs in the bunch. I attended a few of the shows for the Lateralus album tour, and their performance gave me the same cheated feeling that I get from these later albums. They played very little of their older material, but they found time for Maynard to stand like a statue for 15 minutes while a pre-recorded synthesizer track and light show played. Come on…

But Tool fans continue to eat this up and ask for more. Why is this? The short answer is that Tool fans are insane.

Because Tool’s music is more progressive than anything else played on the radio, their fans have deluded themselves into believing that the music is deep and intelligent. This could not be farther from the truth. Writing songs about religion, violence, sex and abuse does not put them in a terribly exclusive club.

But, because the fans have “discovered” this deep and intelligent band, they feel that they should be exclusive members of a club that should only include deep and intelligent persons such as themselves. This is personified by the Tool Army, their official fan club ( which charges members fees from $40 to $99 to join. This is the ultimate indication of zealous these fans are, not to mention how the band really feels about their fans.

Of course, true fans think that they are the only ones who “get it”, and that the vast majority of other Tool fans do not “get it” and are therefore unworthy to be fans, and should not be included in the club. Of course, the sad truth is that anybody can understand Tool’s music if they step back and realize that a lot of what the band does is for their own entertainment, at the expense of people who buy their records and who pony up for concert tickets.

Anyway, step back a little and think about why you really like this band before sending me hateful e-mails. And, look at the bright side: if you are a Tool fan you are probably not a Rush fan!



  1. I like Tool alot.... not as much as Rush though. :)

  2. Your comments about the fanboy's feeling of "getting it" -where others do not- reminds me of all the arguments I heard from Pink Floyd fans when "The Wall" came out.