Most bands won't even let
their roadies be this ugly.
Chapter IV: Yes, you actually are one of “those” Tool Fans
Where’s the appeal of being a Tool fan? Is it the scavenger hunt for all the Bill Hicks references? Is it the fact that Tool is almost prog-rock, but it’s about 3% less nerdy than liking Rush? Perhaps it’s the desire to be part of the most widely-hated club of music dorks this side of Insane Clown Posse fans (even Tool hates Tool fans: “Ticks and Leeches” and “Hooker with a Penis” come to mind). The amount of zealotry surrounding Tool is legendary. Many of the people who requested that I discuss Tool actually went so far as to imply that there was absolutely nothing bad to be said about Tool. Obviously, this could not be farther from the truth.
The vast majority of the e-mails about Tool had the same general gist. “I love Tool, but I hate Tool fans!” Apparently, not only are there hordes of self-righteous Tool fans who think that only people who understand Tool’s many facets are worthy of Tool fandom, but there are also a huge number of Tool fans who totally don’t get Tool and make all the other Tool fans look bad. Well, this is interesting, because I’ve only ever met the self-righteous kind. You’d think if there were ten times as many phony, retarded sheep-like Tool fans as real ones, I would have received quite a few e-mails saying “do tool their awesome cuz they got a video with a clay dude it was rad and Maynard is my god.”
No. There’s only one kind of Tool fan. The Tool fan who thinks that being a Tool fan lets them into some big secret that nobody else gets. They think that only a select few posses the secret Tool decoder ring. They’d love to believe that all the halfwits who listen to Tool actually don’t get it, but really they’re all listening to them for the same reason. The fact of the matter is, any moron can understand Tool, but the hidden appeal of Tool lies in the fact that they give the illusion of being a band for smart people. They do this, as any Tool fan knows, by throwing in jumbled references to high school psychology, obscure religious references, and miscellaneous meaningless nonsense. Bullshit or not, as long as there’s something there to figure out or interpret, it’s going to make some stoned dropout feel smart.
This is a Tool fan. Do you really
want to be a Tool fan?
Certainly there’s more to like about Tool than just their connect-the-dots pseudo-intellectualism. For starters, there’s Maynard James Keenan’s (second stupidest name in pop music, next to Idlewild’s Roddy Woomble) halting, breathy, nauseatingly affected crooning. He’s like the Morrissey of hard rock. He’s also a deep, poetic lyricist, having made millions of snickering Beavis-clones feel like subversive badasses for playing songs about fisting in their mom’s minivans (to avoid a few angry e-mails, let me just humor you and say “the song isn’t really about fisting, there’s like… a whole other deeper level, man”). Honestly, it’s difficult to imagine how anyone could mistake his ham-fisted poetry for good. “My shadow / shedding skin / I’ve been picking / my scabs again.” It’s certainly a lot closer to Reznor than it is to Yeats. The man is just singing about angst and non-specific malaise, just like every other whiny hard-rock nerd. I’m sure Tool fans like to argue that he poignantly sings about his own traumatic history of abuse, but come on, it’s not like that’s a rare commodity these days; all it does it put him in the same lofty poetic stratosphere as the guy from Korn.
A lot of Tool fans also like to talk about what an amazing drummer Danny Carey is just because he can do weird time signatures and that really fast prog-rock thumpa thumpa thumpa thing. As for the others, from everything I’ve ever heard of them, their guitar player and bassist are little more than passable (in fact, having heard the song “Lateralus” on the radio, I distinctly recall conspicuously bad guitar work). Furthermore, their albums are about as consistent as Russian roulette; for every catchy pop single like 46 and 2, there’s twice the volume of unlistenable time-filling crap. I’m glad the band loves their fans enough to include a German cookie recipe and an angry answering machine message. Lord knows they didn’t buy the record expecting too many actual songs. Maybe their record label gives them some sort of bonus check if they make their CD exactly 79 minutes long.
Claymation is dark and mysterious
They’re the ultimate hybrid of the two most nerdy and worthless styles of music: heavy metal and progressive rock. They barely manage to walk the fine line between complimenting the listener’s intelligence and insulting it. They’re responsible for introducing a level of hilarious faux-satanic mysticism to pop music that we haven’t heard since Hotel California by the Eagles. Their crimes against humanity have not gone unpunished, though; they’re forever cursed to have an unbearable fanbase, terrible haircuts, and videos so gloomy that they verge on hilarious. If you’re a Tool fan and disagree with my summary, feel free to keep your worthless trap shut for once in your whining, self-involved life.