Tool’s fan base is one of the most extraordinary phenomenons in rock and metal history, and as open-minded and individualistic as Tool fans can be, the band and its supporters can give off a cultish vibe, right? After all, more than a few famous cults were based in sonic mantras, meditation and psychedelics.

Plenty of bands have relentlessly dedicated fans, but you don’t hear Beliebers talking about how “Baby” became the philosophical and moral compass of their life’s path. There’s just something different about Tool, and it’s deeply rooted in spirituality.

Tool wasn’t always a blatantly spiritual band. They fell into the genre of ’90s alt rock and alternative metal with Opiate, and though the landmark EP was filled with the righteous anger Tool would later flesh out in Undertow, it wasn’t until Ænima that Tool really delved into that trippy, psychedelic realm. But how did it all happen?

Ministry’s Al Jourgensen has taken credit for turning Tool into a spiritual band by dosing them with LSD, while many fans point to the influence of legendary comedian Bill Hicks. However, events such as Maynard James Keenan becoming a father, the band discovering the wonders of meditation and swapping bassist Paul D’Amour with Peach’s Justin Chancellor are among the true reasons for Tool’s spiritual shift.

In essence, Tool became a cult band because their music isn’t about “peace and love, look at all the pretty colors”, it’s more about life’s lessons one could learn from psychedelics, or meditation, or therapy, or just picking up a book on natural science or philosophy. The point is, all of Tool’s best ideas can be used in everyday life, not just when you’re Rosetta Stoned. And that’s why Tool became almost like a religion for millions of fans. However, Tool have no interest in defining exactly what their music should mean to you, and that’s where the spiritual nature of Tool breaks off from what we’d often define as a cult.

Watch our full dive into how Tool became a spiritual cult act in the video below.

How Did TOOL Become a Cult?





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