Here we review some of Tool´s influences that have marked the band of Maynard James Keenan (voice), Adam Jones (guitar), Justin Chancellor (bass) and Danny Carey (drums):
What is Tool? Is a leading experimental and progressive metal band that is characterized by meditating a lot (about 13 years) on its structural musical proposals, proposing dense existentialist concepts and a very “particular” aesthetic.
Which are Tool´s influences?
Of all the influences that Tool has, here we will mention five:
- King Crimson: Is one of the influences that fans stand out the most, going so far as to detail which Tool songs have been inspired by which King Crimson songs. Both bands propose an instrumental and melodic progression in their music that makes them an obligatory comparison. Getting down to the historical detail: Tool chose producer David Bottrill for his popular 1996 albums Ænima and 2001’s Lateralus, as he had recently worked with King Crimson and on Robert Fripp‘s solo albums. Bottrill at first thought they were wrong to want to work with him, but Tool let him know that they intended to sound different from any other band on the alternative scene in California.
- Melvins: Not minor point: Melvins frontman Buzz Osborne is a very close friend of Tool. Above all, on Tool’s first albums, the Opiate EP and their first LP, Undertow, Melvins‘ dark, aggressive and fierce sound is present. . Then, from Ænima, that those led by Keenan aim to broaden their musical palette. Which also explains the departure of bassist Paul D´Amour to be replaced by Justin Chancellor.
- Rush: Danny Carey has expressed his admiration for Rush’s drummer, Neil Peart. Just like Peart used to, Carey uses an expanded drum kit to get his complex percussive machine going. Additionally, guitarist Adam Jones often incorporates a live intro from A Passage to Bangkok to the Tool classic Cold & Ugly.
- Pink Floyd: Another of the great references when talking about Tool. According to Keenan, one of his key albums is Animals (1977). On the other hand, the members of Tool have expressed that they understand the comparisons with Pink Floyd since they do not consider themselves as a metal band. Pink Floyd provides a narrative, aesthetic and conceptual template for Tool that goes from Meddle (1971) compared to Lateralus, going through the progressive influences of Dark Side of the Moon and the hyper classic The Wall.
- Joni Mitchell: Another mention of Maynard James Keenan, of which the album Blue (1971) stands out. Joni Mitchell’s vocal style, as well as her approach to unorthodox rhythms, has been an inspiration for Tool‘s music.
Honorable mentions: Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, as inspirations for their heaviest riffs. Also other references of alternative 80s / 90s era such as Jane’s Addiction or Faith No More paved the previous path for Tool. Failure, Peach and Soundgarden could also appear more extensively here.
Four artists inspired by Tool:
- System of a Down: When I saw the Spiders video from the first System of a Down album (1998), I automatically thought of Tool. And I’d say a song like Aerials, from the acclaimed Toxicity (2002) too. Both for the aesthetics and the sound of the song. SOAD‘s former singer Serj Tankian has performed live with Tool for Sober. Additionally, System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan has expressed his admiration for Tool.
- Chevelle: Their comparison with Tool is well known. Just listen to them since their debut with Point # 1 (1999), and especially watch their stopmotion video for the song MIA. Much simpler when composing, they are a more “accessible” version: without bizarre tempo changes, but with a similar voice and Undertow and Aenima-style guitar dynamics.
- St. Vincent: Prolific and talented guitarist, St. Vincent has recognized that Forty Six & 2 is one of the riffs she wishes she had composed. Although the artist moves within pop, her guitar inspirations have several influences, such as Pearl Jam, within alternative rock.
- Mastodon: Their drummer Brann Dailor has recognized Tool’s influence on Mastodon as a whole. Specifically: both bands use unusual tempos, tend to modify them during the development of a song and take their time to make decisions in the composition, arrangement and production process. In full: two bands that really meditate on the directions to take in their music.
Among the recognized fans of the band we find: Limp Bizkit, Korn, Staind, Breaking Benjamin … and another Tool adept is Justin Bieber XD