The band also received negative publicity however. With the release of the 1994 single "Prison Sex" and its respective music video, directed and created by Adam Jones, the American branch of MuchMusic called the band into question by deeming the video too graphic and offensive,while MTV stopped airing the video after a few viewings both due to a symbolic dealing with the sensitive subject of child abuse. Maynard James Keenan, who wrote the lyrics, has been quite clear about his antipathy towards his stepfather during early interviews about the song,and therefore, during a meeting with MuchMusic that was supposed to clarify the situation, the only subject covered was Keenan's past and childhood.
Their overall sound has been described as "grinding, post-Jane's Addiction heavy metal" as well as "a primal sound as distinct as it is disturbing" most simplified categorizations of the band's genre are often dismissed (see: Arguments About Genre & Categorization). They are known for addressing philosophical and spiritual issues in their lyrics, such as evolution ("Forty-Six & 2"), organized religion ("Opiate") and transcendence ("Lateralus"), as well as for songs that feature "complex rhythm changes, haunting vocals, and an onslaught of changes in dynamics" which often result in a greater-than-average track length.
Undertow went platinum in August of 1994, and their next video, "Prison Sex," landed a Best Special Effects nomination at the 1995 MTV Video Awards. In September of 1995, Tool went to Australia for the Alternative Nation Music Festival, and the band's lineup changed slightly.
Once together, Tool rose to fame at breakneck speed. In March of 1992, they released Opiate, a seven-song EP of extremely dark songs, that would serve as the primer for the band's new brand of heavy metal. They hit the road with the Rollins Band, and in April of 1993, released their first full-length album, Undertow, a deep journey into the dark recesses of Keenan's psyche. Much more melodic than Opiate, it included such blistering tracks as "Sober," "Prison Sex," and the stunning album closer, "Disgustipated"
In 2006, Tool reconvened for the release of 10,000 Days. Though not as universally well-received as Lateralus, the record still found the group exploring the fringes of heavy metal. The songs were long and exploratory, confronting both televised violence and human mortality with the same grim tone.
Rumors were put to rest when Tool released Lateralus in mid-2001. The record was a commercial and artistic triumph, reaching the top of the Billboard charts, netting the best reviews of the band's career and garnering the group their second Grammy. Tool followed the album — as had become the norm — with a period of relative hibernation while Keenan occupied himself once again with A Perfect Circle
Emerging with a groovy heavy industrial sound on their first release, when the genre was dominated by post-punk, they were later seen at the top of the industrial metal movement with the release of their second full-length studio album Ænima in 1996, the first recording the band made after original bassist Paul D’Amour left the band, replaced by Justin Chancellor. After an ongoing evolution of their sound and continuous efforts to unify musical experimentation, visual arts, and a message of personal evolution on Lateralus (2001), their most recent album 10,000 Days (2006), as well as respective tours, they are generally described as a style-transgressing act and part of progressive and art rock.
Formed around 1990 in Los Angeles, California, United States, by drummer Danny Carey, guitarist Adam Jones, vocalist Maynard James Keenan, and original bassist Paul d’Amour, Tool is a band that is most noted for combining alternative metal with a wide variety of progressive structures, irregular time signatures and lyrics that range from angry diatribes to meditations on philosophical and social matters.
Maynard quit the military to study art, which eventually led to a job in LA applying spatial design concepts (called "Feng Shui") to remodeling pet stores. While Maynard was in Michigan, he attened the Kendall College of Art & Design, which is one of the best in that area. His artwork is rumored to be very abstract.
Maynard was a member of the United States Military Academy ("West Point") prep school class of 1984. He was member of the cross country and wrestling teams, the glee club, and the "Knight Crier." References to the Honor Code "I will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do"; and to the term 'tool' probably came from this experience.