This is Tool.

They used to look a lot more sketchy back in the day…

And back in the day for Tool officially began in October of 1991 when they first took to the stage at The Club With No Name in Los Angeles. I am sure that place is long gone, but Tool has soldiered on for… damn… I had to count for a second… 30 YEARS!

That’s a lot from a band that creates deep, dark, layered, metallic rock that is on a completely different level than any other band.

Tool has pulled off the near-impossible trick for any rock band… and that is… originality. Being unique in a sea of churning guitars, hair, and egos… Tool erupted from the epicenter of rock cliché as they quickly broke out past any LA scene comparisons and just existed on some alien shelf all by themselves. Twitching and leering at all of us in a bemused sort of way.

When the puppet caresses the meat… my skin crawls.

Even when they first broke into the mainstream, their first video was ‘Sober’. They barely appeared in the video at all, relenting to a stop motion creep fest that fit the songs mood and atmosphere perfectly. But at the time, and being in a band myself, we were all in amazement at the lack of ego it took, to know your video would premiere on MTV… and you aren’t going to really be in it at all. That’s the kind of artistic credibility the band would carry throughout their career as they evolved both sonically in the studio and visually as live artists. A latter day Tool show is damn near a Pink Floyd level of psychedelia that would melt any acid enthusiasts brain in the most epic of rock ways.

So to bear witness to the catalyst, that beginning moment of when this beast took the stage for the first time, is definitely a special little time capsule of rock history. And even more amazing, is how just utterly FERAL Maynard was right out of the gate. Letting the music push and pull the spastic jerks and tugs of his lean, freaky-ass mohawked frame… so puppet-like and disconcerting.. yet just COMMANDING the attention of all present.

As someone who has seen more bands and live shows than you could possibly imagine, seeing a group crush a set this hard the first time out… it’s no wonder they became one of the biggest and best American rock bands of the last 30 years.

Witness greatness becoming…

A breakdown of that set includes mostly tracks from Opiate: “Hush”, “Sweat”, “Part of Me”, “Cold and Ugly” plus an early version of “Sober” that would be their breakthrough video from their 1992 album, “Undertow”.

Here is a video list to treat your ears to the final versions now that you’ve heard them in their earliest, raw form.