Tool & Bill Hicks Spotify Playlist

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Yesterday, after years of holding out, Tool made most of their back catalog available on streaming platforms. The band is set to release their long-in-the-making album Fear Inoculum on August 30, which will be their first since 10,000 Days came out in 2006.

Tool released the EP Opiate in 1992 and followed it with their 1993 debut album, Undertow. Comedian Bill Hicks was listed as an inspiration by Tool in the Undertow liner notes. Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan wrote about his first encounter with Hicks, after Undertow was released, writing in his biography A Perfect Union of Contrary Things:

We sent him copies of the album. He wrote back and thanked us for the music. I called him and pointed out that we’d mentioned him in the liner notes. He hadn’t noticed. He was just thanking us for the CD.

That phone call led to a brief friendship between Tool and Hicks. He introduced the band before their performance in Irwindale, California in August 1993, notoriously deadpanning to the audience that he needed help finding a lost contact lens, to which many obliged. Hicks was 32-years-old when he died on February 26, 1994, due to pancreatic cancer.

Keenan Announces Hicks’ Death In 1994

The band’s 1996 follow-up album Ænema was dedicated to Hicks and included the song “Third Eye” featuring samples of Hicks’ “The War On Drugs” bit from his album Dangerous and “Drugs Have Done Good Things” from Relentless. Hicks’ “Gifts Of Forgiveness” bit on his Rant In E-Minor album describes the use of psychedelic mushrooms acting as squeeze for his third eye. Additionally, the lyrics to the Ænema title-track and the album’s artwork reference Hicks’ bit “Arizona Bay.” The artwork also features a depiction of Hicks with the caption “Another Dead Hero.”

The lyrics to the track “Rosetta Stoned” on 10,000 Days mentions a “flaming stealth banana.” Hicks’ “The War” bit also describes a “flaming stealth banana.”

The Tool songs and the Hicks bits that inspired them are presented in the Spotify Playlist below:

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