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Tool

The last time Tool came through town they brought nekkid people with them. Nekkid people who hung from ropes behind screens and contorted themselves as the band brought their cascading prog-metal down on the screaming Albany masses. Needless to say, a Tool show is not the most orthodox of concert experiences. And unsurprisingly for a band made up of artists with histories in Hollywood special- effects and set-design, this time around—Saturday at the Times Union Center—the band has something completely different in store for us.

Tool’s guitarist, Adam Jones, the man also responsible for the group’s haunting claymation videos, gave Metroland a call to talk about what it’s like being a part of the mysterious art-metal masters, and what to expect from their latest tour.

“If it’s written on the Web you know its true,” laughs Jones, replying to a mention of the fact that obsessive types on the Internet have theorized that the band’s latest album, 10,000 Days, is a decoy that will soon be followed up by the “true work,” once the decoy’s secrets have been analyzed.

“It’s funny, when you don’t give away explanations, when your message is unclear, there is always a group of people trying to find one, and sometimes they will look a little too deep and come up with their own answers.” But Jones says that part of his band’s success has been due to the fact that they are not looking to jam a message down anyone’s throat. And while other bands from the early ’90s have broken up over personnel problems or bloated egos, Jones says his band was founded on an artistic understanding that has kept Tool healthy and creative for nearly two decades.

“It’s great this project opened so many doors for us. It’s allowed us to span out as artists. We all kind of met under that basis. I was doing makeup effects and drawing, Maynard was doing set design and working [on] a lot of movies. That’s the kind of background, that sacred geometry. We were all interested in art and art history and science and how it ties together, and that really made us click as friends. It’s a really fortunate thing. I still feel like I’m me, not this rock-star guy, turned into something else.”

Although Jones turned away from Hollywood to be a part of Tool, he has continued to put his skills in the visual arts to use in many ways. Along with his work on their music videos, Jones has designed album covers, including the one for their most recent, 10,000 Days, which won the band a Grammy. And he has a large hand in their stage design.

According to Jones, the set design for this tour was especially important to the band. “We have been talking about how everything is over the top. It’s just jaw-droppingly over the top. You can see a movie now that cost $200 million to make and at the end it wasn’t great, I don’t remember what I saw. We are so over-stimulated in our culture now; I think there is going to be a break. There is going to be a return to minimalism. And that’s where we went with the show. There is a white stage, white backdrop. People come out and it slowly builds and builds. It’s like we are forcing you to use both sides of your brain. Yes, we put a lot of thought into this.”

Once labeled reclusive and ornery, Tool have found peace with the music industry. They take younger, less-known bands on tour without making them pay to play; they put their own money back into their album covers and videos, and Jones says they have has even started to find inspiration in talking to so-called “journalists.”

“Interviewers would always ask me to describe Tool in one word,” says Jones in a thoughtful tone, “and it used to bother me. But it made me start thinking. I started simplifying what we are. And now I am happy to answer that question. The answer is, ‘experimental.’ Tool is an experiment.”

Tool will bring their “experiment” to the Times Union Center (51 S. Pearl St., Albany) at 8 PM on Saturday (July 14). Tickets are $52.50 and $40. For reservations, call 487-2000.

—David King

dking@metroland.net

 Works by Judith Linhares and James Siena

Guest curator Geoffrey Young has put together an exhibit at UAlbany’s University Art Gallery of two leading contemporary artists, Judith Linhares and James Siena.

Ten large-scale, never-before-shown drawings will be featured alongside other recent work by James Siena. The drawings, originally made to accompany a collection of short poems by Young, are done in India ink, and “employ many of the ideas for which Siena has come to be celebrated.” Namely, his reputation as “one of today’s brightest exponents of abstraction.”

New York City-based Judith Linhares, whose “deliberately crude style has inspired a generation of younger figurative artists,” will be represented by 14 paintings (oils and gouaches). Pictured is Linhares’ Dog (2002).

Works by Judith Linhares and James Siena opens today (Thursday, July 12) at the University Art Museum (University at Albany, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany) with an artists’ reception from 5 to 7 PM. The exhibit continues through Sept. 30; please note that the UAM regular summer hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 AM to 4 PM. For more info, call 442-4038.


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