Founded in Los Angeles in 1990, Tool is an enigmatic Progressive Rock/Metal group mostly known for their use of unconventional time signatures and rhythms, long songs, Mind Screw-tastic imagery, and emphasis on personal interpretation of their music.
Like many bands in the 90s music scene, Tool started out as an underground group, and was signed by a record company after only three months of playing together. On March 1992, their debut EP Opiate was released. Since then, five full-length studio albums have been released, all of which have gone platinum and achieved widespread success worldwide.
Tool incorporates many different styles and influences in their music, but the one theme they keep constant is the importance of personal interpretation of their songs (to quote one of their own lyrics: "try and read between the lines"), making them possibly the only band that runs solely on The Walrus Was Paul. To emphasize this even more, they have only released official lyrics with one of their albums, Fear Inoculum, so that what the lyrics actually mean (or even are) never gets in the way of what the listener thinks they mean.
A few factors remain constant throughout their work, however. They love using weird time signatures that shift throughout the song; one track ("Lateralus") even has the rhythm and syllables of the lyrics arranged in a Fibonacci sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13). The members of the group have unique styles, and Maynard James Keenan's vocals are instantly recognizable, not only for his voice but for his skill with the Metal Scream. Danny Carey is also one of the most acclaimed contemporary drummers going, and Adam Jones's guitar tone on Opiate, Undertow and Lateralus is just as iconic as Keenan's vocals. Not to mention Justin Chancellor's strong bass lines (and on Opiate and Undertow, Paul D'Amour), which often make a Tool song instantly recognizable.
Another important part of the band's music is the inclusion of collaborated works of art and music videos that echo themes presented in their songs and albums. These pieces of art usually involve disturbing (if not straight-up horrifying) imagery, play with the Uncanny Valley, and aren't necessarily supposed to tell an actual story but rather evoke certain feelings from the viewer. They definitely succeed.
Over the band's career, they've addressed many diverse topics such as religion, the music industry and media censorship, child abuse, drug use, transcendence, and even Fan Dumb from their own fans who started giving them the "It's Popular, Now It Sucks!" treatment. This varied subject matter has also made Tool the subject of much controversy and censorship, including one incident with their song "Stinkfist," which was renamed and edited to run on MTV due to "offensive connotations," as well as Walmart not selling their first LP Undertow with the original cover art. Despite (or possibly because of) that controversy, they have remained a hugely successful group and continue to actively tour both in the United States and internationally.
Three of the group's songs ("Schism," "Parabola," and "Vicarious") also appeared on Guitar Hero: World Tour as playable tracks.
Their latest release — their fifth studio album Fear Inoculum — was released on August 30, 2019. It is the band's first album in 13 years, failing to meet numerous and very tumultuous release dates over several years, much to the confusion and ire of their fans. It had previously been revealed that familial commitments and an ongoing lawsuit had severely delayed any work they could have done, and Adam Jones stated that any new music of theirs wouldn't be released unless they were satisfied with the final product. A little while earlier on August 2, 2019, their back catalogue was made available to streaming services.
Tool have won four Grammy Awards in their career: Best Metal Performance in 1998 ("Ænema"), 2002 ("Schism") and 2020 ("7empest"), as well as Best Recording Package in 2007 (10,000 Days).
- 1991 — 72826 (demo)
- 1992 — Opiate (EP)
- 1993 — Undertow
- 1996 — Ænima
- 2000 — Salival (live box set with an 8-song CD and a DVD or VHS with the videos for "Sober," "Prison Sex," "Stinkfist," "Ænema," and on the DVD version, "Hush")
- 2001 — Lateralus
- 2006 — 10,000 Days
- 2019 — Fear Inoculum
Tool provides examples of:
- Album Filler: Since Ænima, the band has been known to sprinkle tracks into their albums that serve as interludes between some of the songs. They usually take the form of ambient soundscapes and often include spoken word performances or recordings. Given the length of Tool albums, these tracks are generally considered to be "bonus content" rather than a replacement for "real songs." The CD version of Fear Inoculum actually excludes all of these except for "Chocolate Chip Trip"; three additional interlude tracks, "Litanie contre la peur", "Legion Inoculant", and "Mockingbeat", only appear on the digital release (plus the LP version for the latter two).
- Alien Abduction:
- "Lost Keys (Blame Hofmann)" / "Rosetta Stoned" has this as a central theme, although it's also possible that the person in question is just having a really bad hallucination.
- "Faaip de Oiad" also mentions it, as part of a subversive societal takeover.
- all lowercase letters: Their name is stylized like this on this very wiki, though it is more likely to be displayed in all caps, TOOL, in most other places.
- Ambiguously Human: Their music videos tend to feature characters of this kind.
- Anaphora: A mostly symploce example in the second verse of tool's "Ænema".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 contract, and
Fret for your car
- Arc Number: 7 on Fear Inoculum
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence:
- Sort of the point of "Forty Six & 2," which combines Jungian philosophy with an eccentric take on human evolution.
- Lateralus as a whole is heavily influenced by transcendentalism.
- As the Good Book Says...: Because "Right in Two" is based on the premise of two angels talking about humans, there are several references to Biblical stories. The song title comes from the story of King Solomon threatening to cut a baby in half, and it also refers to the Garden of Eden.Don't these talking monkeys know that Eden has enough to go around?
Plenty in this holy garden, silly monkeys
Where there's one you're bound to divide it
Right in two
- Awesome, but Impractical: Danny Carey's all-bronze drumkit made completely out of recycled cymbals◊. They may look cool, but they can't be used for overseas travel due to the sheer weight of the shells. According to The Other Wiki, the bass drums themselves weigh 93 pounds!
- Big Word Shout: The second verse of "Parabola" is just one of these."ALIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE...!!!"
- Bilingual Bonus:
- If you pay close attention you can hear Maynard whispering "Chupa minha pica, bicha" in the interlude of "Stinkfist", which translates as "Suck my dick, faggot" from Brazilian Portuguese.
- "Message to Harry Manback" features a lot of extravagant swearing in Italian, though you can assume as much based on the rest of the message, delivered in English.
- "Die Eier von Satan" features vocals by Marko Fox delivered in an angry tirade of German. It features a heavy industrial production and a roaring crowd in the background, bringing to mind something resembling a Nazi rally to a non-German speaker. The lyrics are actually Fox's grandmother's recipe for cookies made with Turkish hashish. She called them die Eier von Satan, which means "The Eggs of Satan," with "eggs" being common German slang for testicles. With this in mind, one could alternately translate the title as The Balls of Satan. The singer also frequently quotes "und keine Eier" ("and no eggs"). So basically, The Eggs of Satan contain no eggs.
- One of the bonus tracks on the digital edition of Fear Inoculum is titled "Litanie contre la Peur", which is French for "Litany Against Fear".
- Bizarre Instrument: Pianos... being shot with shotguns and smashed with sledgehammers in "Disgustipated," a hydraulic press (or something that sounds like one) on "Die Eier von Satan," a breathing tube in "Parabol," and Maynard's cat in "Mantra," possibly among others.
- Blatant Lies: Maynard has an obvious distaste for the pretense of encore performances, where the band pretends to end the concert when everyone knows they'll come right back out to play some more. At the end of Tool concerts, he'll announce that the band won't waste everyone's time by pretending to leave and instead just go ahead and play the show closer. He does this in A Perfect Circle concerts as well.
- In later concerts, the end of the main set is followed by an explicitly mentioned 12 minute intermission, with the house lights turned back on and a countdown played on the video screen.
- Body Horror: Their music videos are absolutely crammed to the gills with it, from the pipes in the creepy manor in "Sober" being filled with pulsing, flowing pink meat, to the nightmarish biomechanical beings with sandlike skin that peels back over raw flesh in "Stinkfist", to the bizarre albino creatures unplugging parts of their body in "Schism".
- Bowdlerise: When the band officially released their music online in 2019 to accompany the release of Fear Inoculum the YouTube releases of the videos had all the swearing muted outnote . While this didn't affect most of the songs too much (some like "Lateralus" didn't miss a single word), "Ænema" was really badly hit, particularly the entire verse that is repeated iterations of "Fuck [a thing they hate]". "Sober" also used the original censored radio edit again, replacing "Jesus won't you fucking whistle" with "Jesus won't you try and whistle".
- California Collapse: "Ænema" is basically a wish that this would happen out of disgust with the culture of Los Angeles, with inspiration from Bill Hicks. The album artwork of Ænima features "before" and "after" maps that show most of California gone, the latter of which currently provides the trope's page image.
- The Cameo:
- Singers: Henry Rollins in the breakdown of "Bottom," Marko Fox on "Die Eier von Satan," Statik on "Disgustipated" and "Triad," and Lustmord on "10,000 Days (Wings Pt 2)."
- Musicians: On Salival, additional musicians include: King Buzzo on "You Lied," Vince DeFranco playing synths on "Third Eye," Alotte Duka playing tabla on "Pushit," producer/keyboardist David Bottrill on "Message to Harry Manback II."
- Can't Live with Them, Can't Live without Them: "H," on the surface, is about a relationship which is poisonous to the subject but which they can't bring themself to leave.
- The Chosen One: Subverted in "Rosetta Stoned"—the narrator describes being abducted by aliens who have chosen him to deliver a message to the human race... but he forgot to bring his pen to write it down.
- Concept Album:
- Regardless of whether or not the band views any of their records as such, 10,000 Days is cited as an example all the same.
- Lateralus is debated to be one too, with the big interpretation regarding transcendentalism or about a mathematician going mad.
- While the band is less inclined to give interpretations, they did describe Fear Inoculum as one.
- Cover Drop: In the music video for "Vicarious", the sequence that comprises most of the climax and ending is set in a CGI version of Alex Grey's "Net of Being", the main artwork used in the cover and packaging of 10,000 Days.
- Cover Version: "No Quarter" by Led Zeppelin, "Demon Cleaner" by Kyuss, "You Lied" by Peachnote and "B'Boom" by King Crimson.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Several songs, especially "Hush," "Hooker with a Penis" and "Ænema." "Rosetta Stoned" alone should have earned 10,000 Days a Parental Advisory label, but the heavy distortion and layering on the vocals may have fooled the ratings board.
- Drugs Are Good: The studio version of "Third Eye" has samples of comedian Bill Hicks extolling the virtues of drugs, particularly psychedelics.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: The band's first music video, "Hush", is their only music video to center around the band members themselves (with "Sober" only briefly depicting them and all other videos leaving them absent), as well as their only video not to include surreal animation.
- Epic Rocking: Since Ænima, the band has become virtually synonymous with long songs. Some songs are so long that they are split into multiple tracks.
- If considered as one song, "Disposition"/"Reflection"/"Triad" would be Tool's longest song at around 22:40 (not counting two minutes of silence at the end).
- "Wings for Marie" also deserves an honorable mention, being 17:25, but divided into two tracks.
- Their longest individual track is "7empest" at 15:43.
- Notably, "Fear Inoculum" is the longest song to ever reach the Billboard Hot 100 (peaking at No. 93) at 10:20. As a whole, the entire Fear Inoculum album stands out, with every non-instrumental track clocking in at over 10 minutes long and the digital version note having a runtime of 86 minutes, making it Tool's longest album to date.
- Extreme Omnisexual: The second friend described in "The Gaping Lotus Experience," up to and including inanimate objects.
- Fading into the Next Song/Siamese Twin Songs: Quite a few songs, such as "Intermission"/"Jimmy," "Eon Blue Apocalypse"/"The Patient," "Parabol"/"Parabola," "Disposition"/"Reflection"/"Triad," the two halves of "Wings for Marie," "Lost Keys (Blame Hofmann)"/"Rosetta Stoned," and so on. Many of these could really be considered one song divided into two or three tracks; "Wings" is actually explicitly labelled as such.
- First-Name Basis: The singer of the band is usually referred to simply as "Maynard." It's an alias that dates back to his ROTC days. In "Disgustipated," the speaker refers to himself as "Reverend Maynard." His full stage name is typically written as "Maynard James Keenan," with "James Keenan" being his real name.
- Foreign Language Title:
- "Die Eier von Satan" from Ænima, which can be translated from German either as "Satan's Eggs" or "Satan's Balls."
- "Faiip de Oiad" from Lateralus. It's Enochian for "The Voice of God."
- "Viginti tres" from 10,000 Days. It's Latin for "Twenty-Three." This is also a possible reference to the 23 enigma.
- "Litanie contra la peur" from the digital version of Fear Inoculum, which is French for "Litany Against Fear." Which may be a Shout-Out to Dune's Litany Against Fear. Or maybe not. They're that kind of band.
- For Inconvenience, Press "1": "LAMC" is nearly 9 minutes of someone's struggle with the Los Angeles Municipal Court's automated telephone response system. The options get increasingly bizarre over the course of the song.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: "Lost Keys" / "Rosetta Stoned" has a lot of fun with this. The subject may have had a sanity-breaking encounter with aliens, or he may have just OD'd on hallucinogens. The lyrics make either completely plausible.
- Good Feels Good:
- "The Patient" suggests that being a kind and loving person is its own reward, even when it's difficult.
- Most of the Lateralus album appears to be hinting that the alternative (choosing to be bitter) won't make things any better.
- Gratuitous German: "Die Eier von Satan" seems to be trying to invoke Music to Invade Poland to. The angry German ranting is actually the instructions for a cookie recipe.
- Gratuitous Italian: Both parts of "Message to Harry Manback" feature a lot of Italian swearing.
- Gratuitous Latin: "Viginti tres" is Latin for "Twenty-three."
- Ænema is pronounced as "anima", which is the Latin word for "soul".
- Grief Song: Both parts of the "Wings for Marie" suite. The song is Maynard's eulogy to his mother Judith Marie, who passed away between Lateralus and 10,000 Days, with it being a tribute to being a strength for him and how, in his eyes (despite assumed being not religious), she truly deserves a spot in heaven for keeping her faith despite spending twenty-seven years in a paralyzed state.You were my witness, my eyes, my evidence,
Judith Marie, unconditional one.
- Heartbeat Soundtrack: The opening of the studio version of "Third Eye."
- Hidden Track: "The Gaping Lotus Experience" at the end of Opiate and "Maynard's Dick" on Salival.
- Indecipherable Lyrics:
- The lyrics of "Rosetta Stoned" are heavily layered and electronically distorted (in addition to the first verses involving Motor Mouth), and are only comprehensible after multiple listens.
- The first lyrics of "Forty Six & 2" and sections in the middle of "Stinkfist" and "Eulogy" are also buried underneath the music, making them difficult to decipher.
- Instrumentals: The interludes on Ænima, Lateralus, 10,000 Days, and Fear Inoculum are this, plus "Triad" for a normal-length song.
- Intercourse with You: "Maynard's Dick," the hidden track on the CD of Salival.
- Last Note Nightmare: Tool likes making these out of entire songs:
- "Disgustipated" from Undertow: Maynard relating a very weird dream about an angel allowing him to hear the terrified screams of carrots facing harvest leads to a harsh sort-of song leads to 7 minutes of Chirping Crickets leads to a ominous-sounding voice message.
- "Faaip de Oiad" from Lateralus: A harsh, droning wall of electronic noise with Danny furiously drumming in the background and accompanied by a frantic caller to Coast to Coast AM rambling about the government being taken over by aliens.
- "Viginti Tres" from 10,000 Days.
- Lead Drummer, Lead Bassist: As is commonly the case with progressive metal bands, Danny Carey and Justin Chancellor probably get as much acclaim for their instrumental skill as guitarist Adam Jones does, probably qualifying both Carey and Chancellor as virtuosos and genre leads (Types A and D under the lead bassist trope). Carey is arguably the most noticeable member of the ensemble on Fear Inoculum, given the reduced role of vocals on the album.
- Lighter and Softer: The band has been gradually getting lighter and softer throughout its run. Opiate features the band's harshest, most in-your-face songs, and is the closest Tool has ever come to sounding like a punk band. Undertow continues the angry, critical themes, but the lyrics start to get more inventive and introspective and the music becomes more complex. Ænima has a few songs on the melodic and melancholy side, though all with hard-rocking sequences. Themes tend to focus on criticizing people, situations and aspects of society that are holding you back. Starting with Lateralus, their songs have been noticeably longer, softer and more melodic, with themes concentrating more on becoming a better person and achieving enlightenment, though they haven't completely abandoned their angry, critical roots.
- Limited Lyrics Song: "Disposition" has only a few lines of lyrics, repeated throughout the song. Several other songs also have relatively limited lyrics, but probably not to such an extreme extent.
- LOL, 69: There are 59 blank tracks between the second-to-last and last songs on Undertow, such that the last song is track 69.
- Loudness War: Most of their work averts it, but Salival and 10,000 Days are borderline cases, as are a few tracks on Ænima (although the album as a whole still has dynamics). Unusually for this trope, Lateralus, released in between Salival and 10,000 Days, is barely affected and is actually quiet for the time it was released (2001). Fear Inoculum is also very quiet by contemporary standards, being DR9 (at least the digital version) with only two tracks even coming in below DR8. It still clips a little bit, but not too badly.
- Lyrical Cold Open: "The Pot" opens with what sounds like an oddly melodic spoken line, until the music comes in and Keenan continues singing in the same cadence, revealing the song just has a very unique rhythm.Who are you to wave your finger? You must have been out of your head.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Message to Harry Manback" is a melancholic piano piece while the "vocals" consists of a man with a heavy Italian accent swearing and threating someone, apparently through an answering machine.
- The Man Is Sticking It to the Man: Self-admitted in "Hooker with a Penis," which then mocks the listener for assuming otherwise.I sold my soul to make a record, dipshit, and then you bought one.
Shut up and buy - buy - buy my new record // Buy - buy - buy - send more money!
- Madness Mantra: The "Don't know, won't know..." chant at the end of "Rosetta Stoned," as the narrator bemoans his inability to convey the aliens' message.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Did the narrator of "Rosetta Stoned" just have a particularly bad trip, or did he really have a sanity-shattering encounter with aliens?
- Metal Scream: Type 1. Maynard really likes this, particularly the 25-second scream in "The Grudge" and pretty much all of his singing in "Ticks & Leeches."
- Mind Screw: A lot of their songs, and just about all of their videos ("Hush" being the notable exception), employ this.
- Minimalistic Cover Art: The censored cover of Undertow consists of a big barcode on a white background. The regular cover counts as well, depicting only a stylized, deep red ribcage against a black background.
- Miniscule Rocking: A lot of the interludes. "Useful Idiot" takes the cake at thirty-nine seconds, though.
- Mood Whiplash: Can be induced by the middle tracks of Ænima, transitioning from the introspective "Forty Six & 2" to the head-scratching "Message to Harry Manback" to the venomously snarky "Hooker With a Penis" to the bouncy, cheerful "Intermission," which is the main guitar riff of the next song, the rather somber "Jimmy," played on an organ.
- Motor Mouth: Part of what makes "Rosetta Stoned"'s lyrics so hard to decipher is that the first verses are delivered at a rapid-fire, all-in-one-breath pace, giving the impression that the song's subject is spewing his experience to the doctor from "Lost Keys."
- Mushroom Samba: ZigZagged in "Rosetta Stoned." The subject first attributes seeing the aliens to "the Deadhead chemistry," but later in the song he says "See, the Dead ain't touring / And this wasn't all in my head."
- Music to Invade Poland to: "Die Eier von Satan" seems to invoke and satirize this.
- Non-Appearing Title: "H," "Jambi," "Ænema," "Hooker With A Penis," "Lateralus," and many other songs.
- Number of the Beast: Played with on Salival, as "Maynard's Dick" comes in at the 7:06 mark on "L.A.M.C.", or 6:66.
- Odd Friendship: Maynard is friends with several members of the 1990s alternative comedy scene, including Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, and Jack Black. This led to Tool having a cameo in Mr. Show as the band "Puscifer," which was eventually used as the name of Maynard's solo project. Tool also toured with Tenacious D as an opening band before the comedy duo was widely known.
- Parental Abandonment: Several of Tool's songs are about Keenan's mother, who suffered an aneurysm and was partially paralyzed when he was still a child, and about his parents' divorce and the stress he dealt with when his mother re-married. Just about all of his endeavors reference her at some point, "Jimmy" is essentially Maynard's angst about his parents' divorce, and the A Perfect Circle song "Judith" is a scathing indictment of his mother keeping her Christian faith in spite of her predicament. She died in between Lateralus and 10,000 Days, and "Wings for Marie" and "10,000 Days (Wings pt. 2)" are essentially his eulogy to her, praising her for being essentially the bedrock of his life and saying that after all she endured while still keeping her faith, it would be an outrage for her to not enter heaven.
- Precision F-Strike: "Pushit"note , "Ticks and Leeches"note (it's actually the only song on Lateralus that has any cursing), "The Pot"note , and "7empest", whose F-bomb is actually in the spoken part before the song begins.note
- Protest Song: "Hush," which is broadly about censorship, and "Right in Two," which is essentially two angels looking at humanity and pondering how such a fundamentally nasty race gained such favor with God.
- Pun-Based Title:
- Ænima is an allusion to Jungian psychology (the "anima" archetype, or the feminine unconscious). The song "Ænema" is a pun on this, referring to the medical procedure, which is what the singer wishes would happen to L.A. (getting irrigated with water and flushing out all the crap).
- "Rosetta Stoned" on, well, the Rosetta Stone and being stoned.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: In "Stinkfist": "I'll! Keep! Digging! ... Till I! Feel! Something!"
- Punny Name: Harry Manback in "Message to Harry Manback."
- Quicksand Sucks: "Swamp Song."My warning meant nothing
You're dancing in quicksand [...]
I hope it sucks you down
- Rearrange the Song:
- The verse melody and some of the lyrics to "Sober" can be traced back to "Burn About Out" by C.A.D, a group Maynard James Keenan was singing with in the late eighties. The C.A.D. song has a very different, almost early Post-Hardcore feel due to having a much faster tempo and a much looser structure than "Sober."
- The title track of Opiate was re-recorded for a single release titled "Opiate2" in 2022, with extended instrumental bridges originating from live performances.
- Reincarnation: Arguably a theme to "H."
- Religion Rant Song: Several, most prominently "Opiate," which takes its name from Karl Marx's frequently misunderstood dictum that religion is the opiate of the masses.
- Rock Me, Asmodeus!: Subverted; while Satan is mentioned a handful of times, these instances are mainly for shock value and not about the devil at all.
- The title of the band's demo, 72826, spells out Satan on a telephone keypad.
- "The Gaping Lotus Experience" features Maynard singing "Satan, Satan" (foregoing any backmasking at all), although the song itself is about people doing strange things while high.
- "Die Eier von Satan" translates as "The Eggs of Satan" or "Satan's Balls", though it's actually a recipe for hash cookies.
- Sarcastic Clapping: Used tongue-in-cheek as the applause dies down at the end of "Pushit" on Salival.
- Schmuck Bait: "Hooker with a Penis" contains the line: "I sold my soul to make a record, dipshit / Then you bought one!" This can be interpreted to mean that no true fan would ever believe in the band's stance against overt consumerism — because in order to have heard the song, (presumably, as this was before YouTube) one would have first had to have bought the album!
- Signature Headgear: Maynard's white cowboy hat, which he is occasionally seen wearing in photos and in the page image.
- Signature Style: Complex (and often polyrhythmic) drumming, heavy guitars and bass, and the Perishing Alt-Rock Voice of Maynard James Keenan make up a lot of the band's songs, making them one of the most distinctive bands in the metal community.
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: The final lines of "Vicarious" are a very on-the-nose example of this.Credulous at best your desire to believe in
Angels in the hearts of men
Pull your head on out your hippie haze, give a listen
Shouldn't have to say this all again
The universe is hostile, so impersonal
Devour to survive, so it is
So it's always been
- Speak Ill of the Dead: "Eulogy" speaks mockingly about someone who tried and apparently failed to be seen as a martyr in their death, complete with references to Christian imagery, and per Word of God is a direct potshot at L. Ron Hubbard.Not all martyrs see divinity // But at least you tried
Come down // Get off your fucking cross
We need the fucking space to nail the next fool martyr
- Spoken Word in Music: "Faaip de Oiad," "Disgustipated," "Lost Keys (Blame Hofmann)," "Bottom," and "Third Eye" all use this. "Bottom" even drags Henry Rollins in for a cameo.
- Stage Names: James Keenan began using "Maynard" as an alias in ROTC, based on a character in a story he'd written. He continued the tradition as frontman for Tool, often writing his full name as Maynard James Keenan.
- Stealth Pun: The final lyric of "Stinkfist" is "relax, turn around and take my hand." Since the song is metaphorically about opening up and literally about fisting, the hand that the speaker is telling you to "take" could be to squeeze for moral support during an uncomfortable situation, or the hand that you're literally taking into your body.
- Surreal Music Video: Among the reigning kings of this trope. With the exception of "Hush," all of their videos contain trippy, Mind Screwy images and scenarios that the viewer is left to interpret.
- Symploce: The second verse of "Ænema":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 contract, and
Fret for your car
- Take That!:
- A good chunk of their earlier catalogue is built on this, such as "Hush"note , "Eulogy"note , "Hooker with a Penis"note , "Ænema"note .
- The Church of Happyology gets several direct shots: The sheep bleating in "Disgustipated" references Maynard doing the same on-stage when Tool played at their Celebrity Centre in 1993, "Ænema" contains "Fuck L. Ron Hubbard and fuck all his clones," and Word of God indicates that "Eulogy" is also directed at Hubbard.
- Title Drop: Very few of their songs do this, but the ones that do make it mean something, such as "Eulogy:"You've claimed all this time that you would die for me.
Why then are you so surprised when you hear your own eulogy?
- Too Dumb to Live: Not the band members themselves, but a fan. When you run onto a normal stage, security will take you down. When you run onto a stage where Tool plays, Maynard James Keenan himself will take you down and keep on singing while he holds you down.
- Uncommon Time: Many of their songs, namely "Schism," which has up to 47 meter changes. Starting around Ænima, it's very rare for a Tool song not to contain at least one instance of this trope (and even before then, they used it a lot).
- Visual Pun: One of their logos, first introduced in the 72826 demo, has "Tool" spelled out on a wrench that has two sockets at one end, making it look like a penis and testicles.
- Word Purée Title: Tool likes to make up words to title albums and songs:
- Album Ænima and song "Ænema" are combinations of the words "anima" (animating spirit) and "enema" (a rinsing of the rectum).
- Album Lateralus and song "Lateralus" are both based on the word "lateralis," which means "pertaining to the side," and is meant to refer to "lateral thinking."
- "7empest" is a Letters 2 Numbers version of "Tempest" featuring the Arc Number of Fear Inoculum.
- The band exploited its reputation for made-up words with the decoy album and song names they released shortly before Lateralus. The album name was Systema Enecephale, and song names included "Riverchrist," "Numbereft," "Encephatalis," "Musick," and "Coeliacus."
- Word Salad Lyrics: Most of their songs mean something, but it's usually pretty oblique.
- You Won't Feel a Thing!: "Stinkfist," which uses fisting as a metaphor for desensitization.Knuckle deep inside the borderline
This may hurt a little, but it's something you'll get used to
Relax, slip away