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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I knew I came here for a reason ...

TOOL are playing here, in Auckland, Friday January 19th. They'll be headlining New Zealand's biggest annual concert event, called Big Day Out. The Killers will also be there, and I'm almost as amped for them as I am for Tool. There are a few unfortunate selections, such as My Chemical Romance (blecch) but they can easily be avoided, unlike that time they opened for Green Day. Another big plus is there will be many Kiwi bands there so I can finally get a little more familiar with the 'local' bands. The radio stations around here rarely announce song names or artists, and now that I'm out of the States I'm having a hard time keeping up with the new music and whether or not it's from the US or from here.

Anyways, Big Day Out is one of those huge outdoor concerts, with upwards of a dozen bands playing, on three or four different stages. It’ll be chaotic, loud, and crowded. I can’t wait to be there. This is one of those big events that draws lots of Kiwis every year, and it’ll also be a good chance to finally visit Auckland in an official capacity, as opposed to literally running through it at the break of dawn with six heavy bags not quite balanced on a luggage gurnee in tow behind me (and at one point, nearly on top of me).

Tool is my favorite band, mainly because of the lead singer, Maynard James Keenan. The band has evolved quite a bit over the past 10+ years, and admittedly I’m not an ‘original gangsta’ fan from their “Opiate” days (first EP release). But I have really liked them since about ’96 when their third album “AEnima” was released. Maynard’s lyrics have demonstrated the band's evolution the most as even though their music has changed a bit, their general soundscape is still the same. He’s gone from some harsh, bitter lyrics indicting this or that (Los Angeles, fanboys, religion) to a rather more spiritual bent, first evidenced on “Lateralus” and now especially on “10,000 Days”. I really liked the positivity of “Lateralus” wherein Maynard sings a lot about the potential of the human mind and body. It was a nice if not somewhat unexpected progression from "AEnima" and "Undertow" in terms of subject, although I love the music on every album.

Maynard definitely has a sense of humor and he seems to enjoy misleading the casual listener as well as the fanboy. To wit, his “Die Eier von Satan”, a song with an obviously menacing title, ‘sung’ in a particularly sinister German voice, would lead one to conclude that the band are all devil-worshipping white supremacists. That’s as maybe (they ain't of course), but as far as this song goes, it is a recipe for making round balls of bread without eggs (the title translates to “The Balls of Satan”). The menacing refrain at the end of the track, “Und kine eier!” is not some Nazi-esque raving, but rather an important part of the recipe reminding the cook: ‘And no eggs!’ in this recipe. For another interesting interpretation of this song's lyrics, click here.

Maynard’s “side project” band, A Perfect Circle, also created some great music. In many other ways, the subject matter of his lyrics with this band also resonated with me personally, from unrequited love to views on religion. Unfortunately, after 3 ½ albums APC is done, according to Maynard, but at least he has gone back to Tool and produced "10,000 Days". The title of this latest album is said to refer to roughly the length of time his mother spent being paralyzed before she recently died. It's a solid album, with Tool's usual mix of hard rocking tunes, strange sound effects, a rambling ballad, and some melancholy songs.

That's enough of my amateurish bloviating on Tool, but everyone's got their favorite band. One you'd take days off of work and travel a long ways to go see. This is that band for me! I’d encourage you to check out some of MJK’s music, if you’re interested. However, I know it’s definitely not something that everyone enjoys. This, too, I like about Tool.


Blogger Beechball * said...

You sound just like my boyfriend. HUGE Tool fan, wants to name his first born maynard, lol. I told him i'll leave him unless he changes his mind, haha. Tool just played down south from us in Toronto, Ontario 2 weekends ago and we went down to see the show; I hope you enjoy your concert and your travels! :)

11:50 PM  
Blogger Beechball * said...

me again, hehe. I found you this morning by clicking on 'next blog' while eating my cereal at 6am! And you're right, I won't be telling my boyfriend that there is someone out there that sides with him for naming his first born after a band singer/member - grr, haha!

Thanks for the compliment on my pictures, I really appreciate it, first photo compliment ever! Keep writing and i'll keep coming :)

Take care

7:43 AM  

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