The Governors Ball decision to put Tool’s name as the headliner came as a shock to many people who have no idea what they’re talking about. In fact, it led the Oberlin College third-year Aidan Gilbert, to blurt out in the middle of the library “Why the fuck is Tool headlining Gov Ball?”
Well, let me fucking tell you why.
Tool came into the L.A. Rock scene during the early nineties. At the time the band represented the counter culture of the Sunset Strip Hair-Metal bands like Mötley Crüe and Guns N’ Roses. Founding member and vocalist Maynard James Keenan was specifically fed up with the lack of musicianship he saw within the bands in his neighborhood. After finding Adam Jones, a classmate of Rage Against the Machine’s guitarist Tom Morello, Jones and Keenan’s like minded philosophies birthed the band Tool. Adam Jones is ranked number 75 on RollingStone’s acclaimed 100 Greatest Guitarists list, just above Eddie Van Halen at number 70, and just below Pink Floyd’s David Gilmore at 82. While Adam Jones cringes when their music is described as Metal, Joni Mitchell doesn’t particularly come to mind... Tool’s sound combines Pink Floyd’s long psychedelic instrumentals with Black Sabbath-like guitar intensity. Their love for odd time signatures went so far to bring them to base the composition of the song “Lateralus” on the Fibonacci sequence. Tool released their debut LP Undertow in 1993, which is certified double platinum. Tool would continue to remain counter culture yet be wildly accepted through their fourth and last studio album 10,000 Days released in 2006. The Grammy award-winning band has stayed fairly dormant ever since, playing only sporadic, short tours.
Governor’s Ball has become the third most talked about American music festival behind Coachella and Lollapalooza. Governor’s Ball has a statistically lower average age of attendance due to the festival’s central New York City location, where youth of all ages are able to attend. This makes the backlash against Tool’s headlining slot more understandable yet still not reasonable. Tool’s Gov Ball appearance has to do with the release of new music planned for 2017. This will be their first music in over ten years which is long for a band that carry’s as much fame and notoriety as Tool does.
We can blame Tool headlining Gov Ball on only one thing, their large fan base, their millions of album sales (over 10 million in the U.S. alone), their virtuosic musicianship, and their song-writing genius. History has shown us that when we see counter culture bands that consistently make it into the Billboard 200, we can be pretty sure that they’ll have longevity and influence.
Here are three songs for getting into Tool:
“Sober” - Undertow (1993)
“Schism” - Lateralus (2002)
“Vicarious” - 10,000 Days (2006)
Keep calm and John Frusciante.