*Brown blood of courage

*What sound will be on the radio in 2008?

*Like its fierce

*See you

*Make me this anxious

*Just play for the love of playing

*When she needs me

*Writing mushy notes and passing them to her in cla...

*Tell him Hof sent ya

*Best looking readers


1. I ask you to do one effing thing
2. Did you?
3. The socks betray him
4. There will be none of that
5. Leave notes in his shirt pocket
6. Trained in the gentle art
7. Put me in coach
8. Our species may, in fact, survive
9.Swarm Swarm
10.During the wooing
11.BUT not private enough
12.The bottomless appetite
13.The first time we forget
14.This is a nice litmus test
15.To get the ball rolling
16.She invited you back to her place for coffee
17.Mary Magdalene or Eva Braun
18.It will only smell and make you queasy


   Thursday, June 01, 2006

My lamb and martyr, this will be over soon.

When people describe a hard rock band they rarely use the word "intelligent". It is even more rare to not hear that word when describing the band that comes in at number two in our rankings. Tool is welcomed as the second most important band with a debut album released in or after 1990.

In 1990 an unknown drummer, Danny Carey, arrived at his vocalist neighbor Maynard Keenan's house to jam. Guitarist Adam Jones and bassist Paul d'Amour where already there. The rest is history.

The path to their sound is interesting. Whenever you first listened to Tool you immediately threw them in the hard/heavy metal category. When you keep listening you realize they are more than followers of Led Zeppelin. What other heavy metal bands owe much of their sound to bands like King Crimson, early Yes, Rush and even Pink Floyd?

What heavy metal bands have songs about religion, transcendence, Junian psychology, evolution and the reality separation of current society? What heavy metal bands with less than two decades of music and only five or so albums have had the impact of Tool? Each member is considered the premier musician for their instrament. Each so innovative and each so ahead of their peers that they create a sound that forms an experience.

Tool is innovative. Tool is as wide as it is deep. Tool is engulfing. Tool is intelligent.

Their first release was an EP called "Opiate". This exposed the raw center of the band. Its hard, it rages yet the songs are not what you are use to hearing coupled with the themes. "Hush" deals with conformity and censorship ("I can't say what I want to, Even if I'm not serious."). "Part of Me" takes the theme of the Police's "Every Breath You Take" up a notch by taking us into the mind of an obsessor (" You can't speak, you don't judge. You can't leave. You can't hurt me. You're just here for me to use").

The title track "Opiate" is the star of the album. Tool turns the mirror on organized religion and pulls no punches....

Opiate by Tool


Choices always were a problem for you.

What you need is someone strong to guide you.

Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow,

What you need is someone strong to use you..

Like me,
Like me.

If you want to get your soul to heaven,
Trust in me .
Don't judge or question.
You are broken now,
But faith can heal you.
Just do everything I tell you to do.


Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow.

Let me lay my holy hand upon you.

My gods will
Becomes me.
When he speaks out,

He speaks through me.
He has needs
Like I do.

We both want
To rape you.

Jesus Christ, why don't you come save my life.

Open my eyes and blind me with your light
And your lies.

Their debut album spread locally in Los Angeles but national recognition would come a year later (1993) when they released their first full album, "Undertow". Like the albums to follow, "Undertow" is not a collection of singles; it is a complete album as much as any King Crimson or Pink Floyd record.

It is an album of cycles. The cycle of substance abuse (Sober), hate (Intolerance), sex (4 Degrees) and, most notably, the nasty never ending cycle of pedophilia (Prison Sex).

When you first hear "Prison Sex" you think it is fresh from the mind of a pedophile. After a few more reviews you realize the attacker was once a victim himself...

Prison Sex by Tool

It took so long to remember just what happened.

I was so young, vestal then, you know it hurt me.
But I'm breathing so I guess I'm still alive

Even the signs seemed to tell me otherwise.


Got my hands down, and my head down,

And my eyes closed, my throats wide open.

I do unto others what has been done to me.

Do unto others what has been done to you.


I'm treading water. I need to sleep a while.

My lamb and martyr, you look so precious.

Won't you, won't you come a bit closer.

Close enough so I can smell you.

I need you to feel this.
I cant stand to burn too long.

Release in sodomy. the one sweet moment I'm whole.


I do unto you now what has been to me.

I do unto you now, what has been done.

You're breathing so I guess you're still alive.

Even the signs seem to tell me otherwise.


Won't you, won't you come on up closer.
Close enough so I can smell you.

I need you to feel this.
I need this to make me whole.

Relief in sodomy.
have you witnessed that blood and flesh can be trusted.

Have you witnessed the blood and, this cant be trusted.

Only this one holy medium brings me piece of mind.

Got your hands bound, and your head down,

And your eyes closed, you look so precious now.


I have found some kind of temporary sanity in this.

Shit, blood, and cum on my hands.

I've come round full circle.

My lamb and martyr, this will be over soon.
you look so precious.
You look so precious now...

I dare you to find me a song with this complexity and thought. It is raw, it is powerful, it is offensive and it is honest. Real fucking honest.

What I believe is their greatest album came next. "Aenema" solidified Tool as this generation's Pink Floyd. Each song is tied to the next. Each song stands as a masterpiece that transcends any musical category.

The opening track "Stinkfist" takes on the idea of sexual self discovery wrapped in deviancy. Tool takes us down the path of perversion that only escalates and is never satisfied. "Eulogy" is a tribute to an unknown hero of the band. "Forty Six and 2" deals with Jungian ideas of self-discovery and exploration (" My shadow. Change is coming through my shadow. My shadow's shedding skin. I've been picking my scabs again.")

My favorite Tool song is the title track "Aenema". If you've ever wondered what Tool thinks of Los Angeles, shallow people, materialism, Scientology and hypocrisy, you've never listened to this masterpiece....

Aenema by Tool

Some say the end is near. Some say well see Armageddon soon.
I certainly hope we will. I sure could use a vacation from this
Bullshit three ring circus sideshow of
Freaks

Here in this hopeless fucking hole we call LA

The only way to fix it is to flush it all away.

Any fucking time. any fucking day.

Learn to swim, I'll see you down in Arizona bay.

Fret for your figure and
Fret for your latte and

Fret for your lawsuit and

Fret for your hairpiece and

Fret for your prozac and

Fret for your pilot and

Fret for your cable and

Fret for your car.


Its a
Bullshit three ring circus sideshow of Freaks

Here in this hopeless fucking hole we call LA

The only way to fix it is to flush it all away.

Any fucking time. any fucking day.

Learn to swim, Ill see you down in Arizona bay.

Some say a comet will fall from the sky.

Followed by meteor showers and tidal waves.

Followed by faultlines that cannot sit still.
Followed by millions of dumbfounded dipshits.


Some say the end is near.
Some say well see Armageddon soon.

I certainly hope we will cuz

I sure could use a vacation from this Silly shit, stupid shit...

One great big festering neon distraction,
I've a suggestion to keep you all occupied.
Learn to swim.
Moms gonna fix it all soon.

Moms comin round to put it back the way it ought to be.


Learn to swim.

Fuck L Ron Hubbard and

Fuck all his clones.

Fuck all those gun-toting
Hip gangster wannabes.

Learn to swim.

Fuck retro anything.
Fuck your tattoos.
Fuck all you junkies and

Fuck your short memory.


Learn to swim.

Fuck smiley glad-hands

With hidden agendas.

Fuck these dysfunctional,
Insecure actresses.


Learn to swim.
Cuz I'm praying for rain

And I'm praying for tidal waves

I wanna see the ground give way.

I wanna watch it all go down.


Mom please flush it all away.

I wanna watch it go right in and down.

I wanna watch it go right in.

Watch you flush it all away.

Time to bring it down again.


Don't just call me pessimist.
Try and read between the lines.


I can't imagine why you wouldn't

Welcome any change, my friend.

I wanna see it all come down


Here the lyrics do not convey the experience of the song. The drums and rhythm changes, the guitar as an accent around the center bassline. The voice as much an instrument as a lead.

Kids, this is a great fucking song.

Record contract disputes tied the band up for five years and was ended with the release of "Laterus". A great album but the weakest of the lineup, it was the first album to get wide radio play with the infectious bassline in "Schism".

It is a great album but it took me awhile to love it. I was afraid that Maynard's side project Perfect Circle was distracting the band. I was afraid they were not experimenting. I was afraid they were writing songs and not albums anymore.

All fears were destroyed with the latest release, "10,000 days". I cannot stop listening to this album. It not only brings back the full album experience, it takes the band into new territory. Lyrically one of their most complete releases, it has the engulfing sound to go with it. It is tied with "Undertow" as the second greatest release by the band.

Don't make the mistake of dismissing Tool if you don't normally listen to heavy music. Tool is as much a heavy metal band as Pink Floyd is Classic Rock. We know Floyd is more than Classic Rock and Tool is much more than heavy metal.

Take the time to listen. Don't own Aenema yet? Go buy it then email and thank me.

If you don't think Tool deserves the number two ranking, go find me a band that has more members listed in everyone else's influence list. Drummers site Danny Carey, bassists site d'Amour and Justin Chancellor, Guitarists site Jones and everyone admires Keenan. They have done more in five albums than any other band.... except one.

Radiohead is the most important band and gets the number one spot. Stay tuned for their post.

Here is our final list...

1) Radiohead
2) Tool
3) Beck
4) Dave Mathews
5) Ani Difranco
6) Rage Against the Machine
7) Smashing Pumpkins
8) Tori Amos
9) Eminem
10) Pantera

there are 8 doodles

At 10:31 AM, Blogger A* said...

Sooo...

You're a fan of Tool, huh? Never would have noticed. ;)

Good post babe. Mybe we should send the link to Rolling Stone.

 
At 12:34 PM, Blogger Miss Tasha said...

Bravo Hof... Bravo!

 
At 4:01 PM, Blogger Anshu Anand said...

Wow ..really nice review !

 
At 6:01 PM, Blogger arnheim Lieber said...

Tool is a great band that I used to admire...sadly enough I grew out of them...to me they represent teenage agnst... albeit "intelleigent" agnst they just don't do it for me anymore and instead they lead me to my current favorite band The Melvins.

Tool and the Melvins have toured together and colloaborated with each other on several occasions and the results are always....incredible.

...but The Melvins are heavily misunderstood, their comical approach to making music has always led them to experiment with new sounds on every single fucking album! Yet they still manage to master their truly unique style..which was actually what lead the whole grunge thing that has long past...and I'm sure they would be contenders for your list but they never reached, or desired the commercial success of all the bands on your list...

 
At 10:38 PM, Blogger VegasGustan said...

I actually agree with a*, you should send this to Rolling Stone or Blender. Well damn written. If Tool evokes this much passion from you, I can't wait to read what you think about Radiohead.

Humbled before you,
VG

 
At 11:37 PM, Blogger Cyrus said...

Hof,

As you might guess, my top ten list of influential artists would have been very different, simply because the musical trajectory I would be interested in unearthing and documenting would begin at a significantly different locale.

But, sir, you succeeded in proving the deservedness of each and every placement in the top 10 (so far) AND left me in total awe of your talent for conveying your passion.

Oh yeah, and you got a 30-something, post new-wave, post-rave disco fag to take a serious listen to Tool.

 
At 5:10 AM, Blogger hofzinser said...

cyrus,

These words coming from a writer that I ADMIRE so much means a ton. When you coming to visit A* and me in NC?

 
At 1:33 AM, Blogger Cyrus said...

*blush*

I was actually in the Charlotte airport the other day for a layover. Does that count? Even a little?

 

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