Things to do in Miami: Tool at the FTX Arena February 10, 2022

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Tool is a difficult band to categorize. It’s a bit too melodic to fall into the metal genre. And don’t you dare let bassist Justin Chancellor hear you call Tool prog rock.

“I’m scared of descriptions, but I really don’t like prog,” he says new times during a break from the band’s current tour. “I like to think it’s music that pushes boundaries. It’s music that I hope will inspire people to be creative.”

Before becoming a member, Chancellor was a fan of the California band, which formed in 1990.

“My brother had a record company in England. He had a friend in Los Angeles who signed Tool, and he sent us the demo tape,” he says. “I think we were both the first in England to hear Tool.”

Chancellor was playing with a band called Peach when Tool first found success. Tool’s first album, Refluxwith its single “Sober” was unique to anything bouncing around the radio airwaves in the early 90s. the time.

It was after this first wave of success that Chancellor joined the band.

“I flew to Los Angeles from London and they took me out to dinner first,” he recalled. “I was getting a little nervous and asked if we could play already.”

The audition went well enough that Chancellor has been a member of Tool for over 25 years.

“I could play their songs, but I think what impressed them was that I brought my own ideas,” he says.

Two of the bass riffs from this audition ended up on songs – “Forty Six & 2” and “Jimmy”, on the band’s 1996 album Enima.

Still, it took Chancellor a while to feel comfortable as a member of Tool.

“I admired them. The hardest part was writing new music,” he explains. “It was easy to play their old music. When it came to me, I got overly critical. The thought of whether these new songs could match the songs I admired was daunting.”

Tool’s post-Chancellor material continued to critical and commercial acclaim. With him, the group won four Grammys, topped the album charts, and solidified a die-hard fan base. But over the years, new songs have been harder to come by. Tool’s latest record, 2019 Inoculum of Fearwas his first in 13 years.

“It was grueling. We kept thinking we were going somewhere, and then we dropped all the songs. We never tried to rush it,” Chancellor said.

The pandemic hit in the middle of the band’s tour in support of the album. (A Miami concert date was scheduled for April 2020.) But after several delays, Tool is finally playing FTX Arena on February 10 — the band’s first show in South Florida in a decade.

The Chancellor says the band are still looking to translate songs Inoculum of Fear in a live setting.

“We always try to nail them live and work them into older songs,” he adds. “‘Culling Voices’ with its three guitars in a two-part song was a challenge, especially with my big bass hand playing guitar. ‘Tempest’ is also long and complicated, but we repeat it every day. “

Despite the challenges, fans can expect a live show without limits.

“It’s a complete bombardment of all your senses. It’s almost like seeing a really good movie,” Chancellor promises.

Of course, Tool fans come out for more than a show. They want a musicianship that’s not quite metal and not quite prog, and they want to sing along with what Chancellor considers the band’s not-so-secret weapon: the lyrics of Maynard James Keenan.

“I find the way he puts his ideas and his words together very poetic,” Chancellor said. “It’s smart and intelligent. It gives you interesting ideas but leaves them open. It doesn’t tell you exactly what it says. They let you make up your own mind.”

Tool. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 10, at FTX Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; ftxarena.com. Tickets cost between $61 and $146 through ticketmaster.com.

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