Being a musician always has its fair share of hangups when it comes to the press. This is still an industry that revolves around promotional material, and having to sell something that came from your heart and soul is never going to be an easy thing to handle. Some may handle it diplomatically, but don’t be surprised when some musicians decide to fly off the handle as well.
Throughout rock’s history, there have been countless musicians who have worked as hard as they could to either keep a low profile or make music on their own terms, only to find themselves dealing with the journalists in the press time after time. When you’re part of that media circus for so long, it can sometimes feel like a pot boiling over, and these artists came to a boil more than a few times, going on long tirades in the press or paying them very backhanded compliments about the way they’re doing their work.
Even if it seems like diva behavior half the time, you can see why some of these people were upset, seeing their albums and songs being turned into a spectacle onstage, when most of them were originally supposed to be art projects that were meant solely for themselves to understand. Having fans adore you is always special, but the corporate pigs have to have their time in the sun as well, and none of these musicians were having it for a second.
Once grunge started to die in the mid '90s, metal music was starting to slowly become glamorous again. As bands like Korn and Deftones offered a new sound to what most of us were hearing out of the likes of Metallica, the nu metal explosion seemed to bring back the party vibe that you got back in the '80s, with the Family Values tour looking like one of the biggest parties in the world. And throughout all of metal's time in the spotlight, Tool was around for absolutely none of it.
Part of the appeal behind Tool's music has always been a certain mystique, and the band took a more hands off approach to the media machine, always making in house music videos with animated shorts from Adam Jones and not even doing a proper interview with the entire band until the release of the album 10,000 Days. Then again, this might have been just another draw to them, as fans ended up doing the extra leg work to find the intricacies behind a song like Lateralus or spending more time internalizing the bass line of a song like Forty Six and Two or Schism.
Even though Maynard James Keenan has started to open up both with Tool and A Perfect Circle, don't expect him to be a tabloid magnet either, spending most of the time at Tool shows trolling the audience, either hinting at every song being their last and singing as a silhouette from the back of the stage. They might not have wanted to play the game, but that's because this wasn't your average metal band. There was something more sophisticated here, and that was worth more than any Limp Bizkit song could hope to be.