Enlarge Photo Credit: Travis Shinn

Tool’s Danny Carey: “I Don’t Think That We Were Ever a Metal Band”


Ask a thousand different fans to define “heavy metal” and you’ll get a thousand different answers. It seems like for every Slayer who are inarguably metal, and would never want to be categorized any other way, there are a dozen bands who metalocity appears to be in dispute. Readers routinely bitch and moan to MetalSucks about bands we cover that we wouldn’t dream of not covering, ranging from Guns N’ Roses to Faith No More, because those bands “aren’t metal.” And yet we can pretty much guarantee that if we did stop covering those bands, just as many readers would be like “Why aren’t you publishing this news about Alice in Chains?” or whatever. Point being, none of us can agree on fucking anything.

One band whose categorization as “metal” seems to draw both maximum passion and maximum disgust is Tool. And it seems like you can strike one for the “Tool aren’t metal” set: Classic Rock has re-published a previously-much-overlooked interview with Tool from 2006, when 10,000 Days was about to be released. Said interview contains at least one passage which is sure to send the web into a frenzy.

“’I don’t think that we were ever a metal band,’ says Danny Carey. ‘I can understand that maybe we’d get compared with Pink Floyd…’ ‘It depends what you mean by heavy metal,’ argues Justin [Chancellor]. ‘I always think that we’re a heavy psychedelic band.’

“’Yeah, it’s all about language,’ says Maynard. ‘So were Black Sabbath a metal band?’

“Well, er, yeah. Of course.

“’Oh, okay. But if Black Sabbath are a metal band, then I guess that we are, too. But when I listen to things like ‘Master of Reality,’ I hear sort of heavy political rock’n’roll. I guess I don’t really hear them as heavy metal.’

“’Heavy metal just makes me think of Whitesnake,’ says Justin.”

First of all, let me just say that if Tool ever played a show with Whitesnake, Vince and I would be the first in line. Somebody PLEASE make that happen while David Coverdale is still semi-mobile.

Second of all, the mere fact that Chancellor called Whitesnake “heavy metal” will surely piss off some who don’t see that particular style of metal as “actual” metal, but, rather, as hard rock or glam rock.

Third of all, holy shit, did Maynard seriously question whether or not Sabbath are a metal band? Is it possible he and Brent Hinds are in cahoots?

Fourth of all, honestly, who gives a shit what label is put on the music of Tool, or any other band for that matter? The only thing that really matters is whether or not you like it. There is an undeniable metal influence in Tool’s music; not for nuthin’ have they attracted “that crowd” and been part of inarguably metal bills such as Ozzfest. But they clearly have a lot of other influences too, and unlike, say, Testament, their appeal extends beyond the world of extreme music. So the metal media covers them and the non-metal media covers them and isn’t that fortunate?

But the band could categorize their music as zydeco at the point and, like, whatever. It wouldn’t stop many of us from listening to Lateralus ever again.

Needlessly debate whether or not Tool are metal in the comments section below. The band is on tour now; get dates and tickets here.

[via Metal Injection]

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