November 27, 2020
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Green Jello (Green Jellÿ) Featured In Metal Hammer’s “Tool: The Birth of the Band” In-depth Editorial!

Metal Hammer just dropped a super lengthy article behind one of alternative progressive rocks most famous bands Tool. And it goes into in-depth detail on how “The origins of Tool is as unusual as the bands music and is strangely dependent on the band Green Jello”. That’s right! Without the independent Green Jello punk rock puppet masters we all know and love, there wouldn’t be a band called Tool! Founding members of Tool started in Green Jello first!

Snippet Behind The Editorial Here:

The origins of Tool are as unusual as the band’s music, and were strangely dependent on the comedy band Green Jello formed by Hollywood resident Bill Manspeaker in 1981. 

In the late 1980s, future Tool drummer Danny Carey had moved from Kansas to LA and joined the band Karmageddon, which included Green Jello guitarist Steven Shenar. 

At the time, Green Jello had a pool of 50 members, and Steven asked Bill if he could bring his other bandmates to jam. Nine musicians met up at Danny’s Hollywood rehearsal space. In no time, Danny was playing with Green Jello, and tipped Bill off about a 6,600 square-foot artist’s loft space nearby, which became the band’s home base.

“I had a whole scene going there,” Bill said. “At three o’clock in the morning there would be 80 people at my house jamming, creating costumes [for Green Jello] and being creative. Anybody that needed a place to stay could stay, so there were always 10 or 20 people living in the house, and we just fed off each other and played. I didn’t care if I had 20 guitar players, 14 bass players and seven drummers all jamming. ‘Yeah, sure! Come along. Play!”

Soon after, Bill met future Tool guitarist Adam Jones, who had a good career working in Hollywood on movie special effects, for films including Predator 2, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Jurassic Park, and had no intention of joining a band full-time. 

Adam, who was born in Park Ridge, Illinois, started playing guitar after he found an old acoustic lying around his house, and in his teens he played in a couple of no-name bands with his brother before forming The Electric Sheep with future Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello.

According to Bill, Adam’s girlfriend at the time worked in an office with his girlfriend. It wasn’t long before they were talking about Green Jello, who wore numerous goofy costumes on stage, including a cow, a pumpkin and a lump of shit (Shitman). 

Intrigued, Adam’s girlfriend told her co-worker that Adam worked on costume effects. At their girlfriends’ suggestion, Adam and Bill met to talk shop.

Around the same time, Adam met Maynard James Keenan through a friend the singer was dating. The two musicians bonded about art, movies and music and soon became good friends. 

“One day, Maynard played me a tape of a joke band that he was in. I went, ‘Maynard, you can sing. You sing good.’ So I kept bugging him to start a band on the side with me, just for fun,” Adam said in a 2008 interview. “At the time, I just wanted to play music as an outlet. I thought, ‘Here’s my job working on special effects for movies, and there’s my hobby playing guitar.’”

“The songs Maynard played Adam were by the band Children Of The Anachronistic Dynasty, which he had formed in Michigan in the mid-80s before he moved to LA. One of the tracks was an early version of Sober, unrecognizable from the version that helped break Tool. 

Hoping to convince Maynard to jam with them, Adam brought him to Bill’s loft, where he was introduced to the Green Jello team. Although Adam and Maynard didn’t start playing together right away, Maynard, who was engaged by Green Jello’s scatological humour, joined the band as their second singer.

“I was very welcoming to everybody,” Bill said. “Somebody needs help, you give them food, you give them a place to live, you help them out creatively and you become friends. So Jim moves in, and he joins Green Jello and our little group of artists and musicians. But Jim’s a little grumpy. 

“When someone would come to the house, I had to tell them first, ‘My roommate Jim is a little grumpy. He doesn’t mean any harm, he’s a good guy. If he says something rude or weird just ignore it. He’s a good person.’ So, Jim joins us and is creative. Then Jim cut his hair, and decided his name was going to be Maynard.”

“Maynard had a blast being a part of Manspeaker’s crazy art collective, but at first he was reluctant to do something more serious, which is why he hadn’t yet jammed with Adam. 

As time went by, however, he got tired of working on music video sets all day for less than $50, so he decided that his creativity might be better applied in a professional band. And being new to the city gave him a different insight than that of many local musicians.

“I had just moved to LA in December ’89 and it was strange for me. It felt different,” Maynard explained. “It seems like kids that grew up there are kind of jaded because they’ve seen lots of people come and go and people fail and people succeed. They can’t really be excited and let that excitement push them into some kind of success. 

“Going around with friends to clubs, I started noticing that most of the people that were playing music clearly were taking cues from A&R guys or marketing people. I’m an opinionated guy, so I kept expressing that opinion, and a bunch of people said to me, ‘Well, if you think you can do better, go for it.’”

When Maynard agreed to start jamming with Adam, they recruited Maynard’s friend Paul D’Amour, who had recently moved from Seattle to LA, to play bass with them. Since Maynard was already playing in Green Jello, and recognised Danny’s acrobatic abilities, he tried to get him to join them in Tool. Danny, who was already playing with numerous bands at the time, declined the invitation, so they flagged down a former drummer of Autograph to join them on drums.

“The guy didn’t show up, and Danny filled in because he felt sorry for us,” Adam recalled. “We were laughing our asses off about it afterward, because Danny said, ‘Well, I’ll sit in on the session, but that’s it.’ He sat in, and then he went, ‘Wow, we should jam again!’ Then he said we should jam a couple of times a week. From that point on he was in.”

It wasn’t long before Tool had a handful of solid songs, which they eventually split between 1992’s Opiate and 1993’s Undertow. While Tool became more psychedelic and lyrically profound in the late 90s, they were initially motivated by being broke, living in a smoggy, overcrowded city, hating their neighbours and other pet peeves. “My musical approach came from a lot of the frustration of living in LA,” Maynard said. “I was busting ass trying to survive. Rent was high, and there was a lot of weird hypocrisy in this dog and pony show that happens within the film and music industries, which I found very awkward. A lot of the original pieces were inspired by that kind of energy. The music was emotionally driven and reactionary. It was all about emoting and releasing that primal scream.” 

When they had enough songs written, Tool started booking shows. Their first was at Bill’s loft. His friend Kevin Coogan, who worked at Green Jello’s label, Zoo Records, was there that night, and went to work raving about Tool. So his colleague, A&R man Matt Marshall, agreed to catch one of their shows a couple weeks later, at a venue called Club Lingerie.“It was one of their first gigs, so they went on at one in the morning,” Matt recalled. “I was so tired I almost didn’t stay. But luckily I stuck around and saw them playing to about 10 people. 

“And yeah, I was sort of shocked and wondering, ‘Was I just tired, or were they as good as they appeared to be?’ I asked Kevin if he could get a demo for me from Bill. A day or two later he showed up with that tape, of a demo they’d made, and I spent a few days listening to it non-stop and having my mind blown.”




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    Faygoluvers Comments

  1. Noawareness


    Comment posted on Sunday, November 17th, 2019 11:47 am GMT -6 at 11:47 am

    I love this band so much!

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