Danny Carey Names the Three Hardest Tool Songs to Play
The general understanding among Tool fans is that pretty much all of their songs are difficult to learn and play. The band makes a habit of engaging several time signatures in one song, many of which deviate from the standard 3/4 and 4/4 that dominate popular music.
One of the world's most elite progressive drummers, Carey acknowledges that some songs in the Tool catalog still present him with some difficulties and for different reasons.
The drum legend's answers were provided in an Instagram video (seen below) shared by his drum tech, Joe Slaby, who asked him, "What's the hardest Tool song to play, for you?"
Here are Carey's answers:
"The Grudge" (Lateralus)
“For endurance wise, it’s 'The Grudge' because if we’re not in shape — in tour shape — my hands almost cramp up because of all the Swiss Triplets It’s just a real physical song overall, there’s some double kick stuff in there," Carey says of the fan-favorite Lateralus track.
Drumeo describes Swiss triplets as a drum rudiment where "each triplet starts with a double stroke where the first stroke is flammed" and that "the triplet ends with a single stroke on the opposite hand."
Reasonably so, "The Gruge" hasn't appeared in Tool setlists all that frequently. It's the fourth most-played track off the classic 2001 album (per setlist.fm), having been performed 328 times live at the time of publication.
It was a tour staple in 2001 and 2002 when Tool supported Lateralus on the road, but was then shelved for 13 years before being resurrected in 2015. "The Grudge" was played at Tool's only two shows in 2015 and has entered the set in 2016, 2017, 2018 and again in 2022 as well as this year.
"Invincible" + "7empest" (Fear Inoculum)
Carey's next two selections come from Tool's latest record, 2019's Fear Inoculum.
"The trickiest one might be 'Invincible' or '7empest', the new ones, just [because] I'm not as used to them," he admits.
Interestingly, the nearly 13-minute "Invincible" has been played 132 times (as of publication), while the almost 16-minute "7empest" has only been performed 11 times. Even though the drummer has played one song 121 more times live (never mind how many times he's run through them in rehearsals), both are still among the most challenging to pull off because of how relatively new they still are.
Danny Cares Names the Hardest Tool Songs to Play
Tool 2023 North American Tour Dates
Sept. 22 — Louisville, Ky. @ Louder Than Life Festival
Oct. 03 — Loveland, Colo. @ Budweiser Event Center
Oct. 06 — Sacramento, Calif. @ Aftershock Festival
Oct. 08 — Indio, Calif. @ Power Trip
Oct. 11 — Salt Lake City, Utah @ Delta Center
Oct. 12 — Idaho Falls, Idaho @ Mountain America Center
Oct. 14 — Nampa, Idaho @ Ford Idaho Center
Oct. 15 — Spokane, Wash. @ Spokane Arena
Oct. 17 — Eugene, Ore. @ Matthew Knight Center
Oct. 19 — Portland, Ore. @ Moda Center
Oct. 20 — Tacoma, Wash. @ Tacoma Dome
Oct. 22 — Kelowna, British Columbia @ Prospera Place Arena
Oct. 23 — Vancouver, British Columbia @ Rogers Arena
Oct. 25 — Edmonton, Alberta @ Rogers Place
Oct. 27 — Calgary, Alberta @ Scotiabank Saddledome
Oct. 29 — Winnipeg, Manitoba @ Canada Life Center
Oct. 31 — St. Paul, Minn. @ Xcel Energy Center
Nov. 01 — Milwaukee, Wis. @ Fiserv Forum
Nov. 03 — Knoxville, Tenn. @ Thompson-Boiling Arena
Nov. 04 — Charleston, W.V. @ Charleston Coliseum
Nov. 06 — Rochester, N.Y. @ Blue Cross Arena
Nov. 07 — Allentown, Pa. @ PPL Center
Nov. 10 — Uncasville, Ct. @ Mohegan Sun Arena
Nov. 13 — Manchester, N.H. @ SNHU Arena
Nov. 15 — Boston, Mass. @ TD Garden
Nov. 16 — Philadelphia, Pa. @ Wells Fargo Center
Nov. 19 — Montreal, Quebec @ Bell Center
Nov. 20 — Toronto, Ontario @ Scotiabank Arena
Nov. 21 — Toronto, Ontario @ Scotiabank Arena