10 Best Tool Videos
Tool are one of those bands that gets people talking, and a lot of times that talk is about their striking music videos. Most of them are full of abstract imagery that seem to be culled from some strange dreamworld. Guitarist Adam Jones directs a majority of their clips and uses many different visual techniques to breathe life into creatures and worlds far removed from our own.
The human mind is wired to find stories in its environment. When presented with a string of images and scenarios, the brain will try to tie them all together into a narrative. Tool’s videos play with that human instinct, often to unsettling ends. Keep your mind open and enjoy as Noisecreep presents the 10 Best Tool Videos.
While ambiguity and mystery are now considered fundamental aspects of Tool videos, this wasn’t the case with their first video, ‘Hush.’ The anti-censorship message is delivered loud and clear as the band members pose nude, their only cover being ‘Parental Advisory’ labels. ‘Hush’ is one of only a few Tool videos that features the band members and doesn’t have any stop-motion animation.
This unofficial, fan-made video for ‘The Pot’ is definitely influenced by the unique visual style that Tool guitarist Adam Jones has developed over the years. Numerous fan-made videos exist and this video for ‘The Pot’ is one of the best efforts around. A woman rises out of a cardboard box to be entertained by an insect-winged magician. A strange man off to the side seems to be controlling everything, but, like most of the 10 Best Tool Videos, nothing is truly certain.
‘Vicarious’ was the first single Tool released from their 2006 album, ‘10,000 Days.’ It is one of only three videos the group has made that doesn’t include stop-motion animation. Instead, the entire video is done in CGI. It features a person with transparent skin bearing witness to many strange occurrences in a faraway desert leaving the viewer to interpret what it all means.
This video for the song ‘Bottom’ off the album ‘Undertow’ is the second fan-made video to make it on our list of 10 Best Tool Videos. This one, unlike the video for ‘The Pot,’ features hand-made puppets. The animation style, while a little rough, has a certain child-like charm that only highlights the video’s weirdness. Within a vaguely Victorian setting, a man is tormented by all manner of strange things, including giant snails, nuns and several tri-faced women in the woods.
Clocking in at just over 10 minutes, the video for ‘Parabol/Parabola’ is more short film than music video. Three “men” with odd faces and fat fingers perform some sort of ritual around a table. As they float above the table, spinning in a circle, the characters vomit up a black substance that forms a circle within the square of the table. And that’s just the first half of the video.
From the album of the same name, ‘Ænema’ starts out rather mildly as a normal, unremarkable man in a suit walks by and puts his hands on a wall. The video doesn’t get really weird until the man unties a bundle, releasing a second smaller man who seems incomplete, as his stomach and other organs become visible.
The video for ‘Schism’ might contain some of the most memorable imagery from Tool’s album ‘Lateralus.’ The video features a man and a woman coexisting and performing strange tasks. They eventually end up walking on their hands and feet, their heads bobbing unnaturally. These characters were often featured in Tool’s live show during the ‘Lateralus’ tour.
The video for ‘Prison Sex’ stirred up controversy, as did many aspects of the the album it was on, ‘Undertow.’ The album was banned from stores like Wal-Mart and K Mart because of its album art. So too was the video for ‘Prison Sex’ banned from MTV after a few viewings because of its sensitive subject matter. Guitarist Adam Jones directed the promo as a surreal depiction of child abuse. While it caused controversy, the clip cemented Tool’s place in music video history.
Controversy is all over the place in our list of 10 Best Tool Videos. ‘Stinkfist’ spurred another conflict when MTV deemed the song’s title too offensive to be said on air. They decided to rename it ‘Track No. 1,’ angering many Tool fans. MTV veejays, though, acknowledged the injustice. ‘120 Minutes’ host Matt Pinfield shook his fist while explaining MTV’s decision to censor the title, while MTV host Kennedy would smell her fist before introducing ‘Track No. 1.’ As for the clip itself, this visually stunning piece follows two sand people continually enduring body modifications.
‘Sober’ was the video that launched it all. Directed by Fred Stuhr, it featured characters designed by Jones. It is also one of the few Tool videos that contains shots of the band members, although they’re blurry and hard to pick out. This video has much of the imagery that first comes to mind when people think of Tool videos, including the ever-disturbing shot of the video’s main character standing while his arm shakes violently, as well as what looks like meat and string flowing through a rusty pipe — a stirring image indeed.