25 Years Ago: Tool Draws Everyone In With "Undertow"

April 6, 2018

On April 6th, 1993, Tool blew everyone away when their debut full-length album Undertow hit the shelves. Folliowing the success of their debut EP Opiate, the members of Tool already had the songs for Undertow ready to go. They just kept them in reserve, waiting for the perfect time to unleash them upon millions of new fans.

Angst and frustration were common themes in songs like "Prison Sex," "Sober" and "Undertow," which caught the wave of alternative rock/metal music sweeping the nation during the '90s. Even before frontman Maynard James Keenan, guitarist Adam Jones, bassist Paul D'Amour and drummer Danny Carey were on their way to achieving newfound fame, there was a lot of chaos and turmoil behind-the-scenes involving the inner workings of the music industry at the time. As a result, some of the songs included on Undertow were a response to that.

Because their EP Opiate only took them four days to record, the band decided to take their time when recording Undertow, laying it all down on tape after only three weeks. But the recording process also revealed something else: the slowly growing frustration stemming from D'Amour. D'Amour insisted that he should be playing guitar and someone else should be playing bass, as well as believing that Tool's music should be much heavier than it was at the time. During the recording process for their 1996 album Aenima, creative differences would lead to D'Amour being fired from the band, replacing him with Justin Chancellor.