Tool Biography

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One of the leading US alternative metal acts to emerge from the 90s, Tool was formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1990 by Adam Jones (15 January 1965, Libertyville, Illinois, USA; guitar), Maynard James Keenan (b. James Herbert Keenan, 17 April 1964, Ravenna, Ohio, USA; vocals), Paul D’Amour (b. 8 June 1968, Spokane, Washington, USA; bass) and Danny Carey (b. Daniel Edwin Carey, 19 May 1961, Paola, Kansas, USA; drums). The mini-album, Opiate, was a powerful introduction to Tool’s densely rhythmic style, with ‘Hush’ helping establish a buzz for the band; the accompanying video graphically displayed the song’s anti-censorship slant of ‘I can’t say what I want to/Even if I’m not serious’ as the band appeared naked with their mouths taped shut. European dates with friends Rage Against The Machine and a US tour with the Rollins Band helped to sharpen Tool’s live performances. Their increased confidence was evident on 1993’s Undertow, which featured a guest vocal from Henry Rollins on ‘Bottom’. While the band retained their angry intensity and penchant for difficult lyrical subjects, their songwriting became more adventurous, culminating in the experimental ambient closer, ‘Disgustipated’ - lyrically, however, the track displayed a sense of humour that belied Tool’s miserable image by protesting about a carrot’s right to life, satirizing the politically correct movement. Undertow reached platinum status as the band toured extensively, including a stint on the 1993 Lollapalooza tour.

The highly anticipated Ænima, featuring new bass player Justin Chancellor (b. 19 November 1971; ex-Peach) and dedicated to the late comedian Bill Hicks, was their most assured and most successful album, narrowly missing the top of the Billboard album chart in November 1996. Keenan later formed A Perfect Circle with guitarist Billy Howerdel, who helped record Ænima, while continuing to play with Tool. In December 2000 the band released the limited edition Salival, which featured a DVD/VHS collection of videos, a CD comprising unreleased live and studio material, and a promotional book. Five months later, Lateralus debuted at the top of the US charts.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.