Tool are an art-metal band, although neither half of that descriptor quite approximates the group’s sound. Combining challenging musical textures with metal’s ferocious gloom-and-doom mindset, Tool became one of the most celebrated hard rock bands of the last two decades, famous as much for their cutting-edge videos as they were for their powerfully introspective lyrics and the coiled menace of their songs. Considering the extensive amount of time between their albums, each new Tool release is understandably treated as a major event by the group’s large fan base.
Due to Tool's incorporation of visual arts and relatively long and complex releases, the band is generally described as a style-transcending act and part of progressive rock and art rock. The relationship between the band and today's music industry is ambivalent, at times marked by censorship and the band members' insistence on privacy.
Emerging in the early 1990s, Tool bridged the gap between classic heavy metal and alternative rock, mixing grinding guitars, dark thundering rhythms, and challenging lyrics. The band never appeared in its own videos.
Maynard James Keenan was born the only child of a Baptist family near Akron, Ohio. He joined the army in 1982, after spending his youth in Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. He eventually landed in L.A., where he met guitarist Adam Jones, a sculptor and film special-effects designed who had worked on Jurassic Park and Terminator 2. With bassist Paul D'Amour and drummer Danny Carey, they formed a band, originally called Toolshed.
Within a year Tool signed with Zoo Entertainment, and in 1992 released an EP, Opiate. That was followed a year later with Undertow (Number 50, 1993). During the recording of Aenima (Number Two, 1996), D'Amour quit to form a new band, Lusk, and was replaced by Justin Chancellor.
Long periods between albums frequently led to breakup rumors, also fueled by the formation in 2000 of Keenan's band A Perfect Circle, which released Mer De Noms. Rumors were put to rest when Tool released Lateralus in 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.
In 2006, Tool reconvened for the release of 10,000 Days. The album's packaging was even more elaborate than Lateralus, featuring a pair of "binoculars" that added depth and contour to the album art.
Besides the work developed with Tool, Danny Carey has contributed to various projects. Danny Carey, Kirk Covington (vocals/keyboards), Lance Morrison (bass guitar), and John Ziegler (guitar) get together regularly to play some shows around L.A. as VOLTO!, a jazz rock fusion jam band whose set-list includes both original songs and covers of classic rock and jazz fusion songs.
After the release of 10,000 Days, Maynard James Keenan embarked on another side project Puscifer. He is also the current owner of Merkin Vineyards and the associated winery, Caduceus Cellars, and has part ownership of Stronghold Vineyards, all located in Arizona. In 2009, the first wine made entirely from Keenan's own grapes was produced by his winery, and dedicated to his late mother with the name "Nagual del Judith".