Mastodon's Brann Dailor Picks Favorite Tool Song | Revolver

Mastodon's Brann Dailor Picks Favorite Tool Song

"Hair standing up on the back of my neck," drummer says of first time he heard it
mastodon brann dailor, Jimmy Hubbard
photograph by Jimmy Hubbard

Tool and Mastodon share more than a few things in common. For starters, both quartets make intricate, conceptual and mind-expanding prog metal that's somehow still accessible to the masses, and they've both evolved to stand among heavy music's leading bands in the process. They toured Europe together in 2006 to great success and even greater shenanigans. And when Revolver asked Mastodon drummer-vocalist-songwriter Brann Dailor to name his favorite Tool song, another very special and personal connection revealed itself, as well.

“Wings for Marie, Pt. 1 and 2”

I guess it's technically two songs ["Wings for Marie, Pt.1" and "10,000 Days (Wings, Pt.2)], but they go together. Really, first and foremost, it was the composition of those two songs together, which really just feels like one song to me. If I was Tool, I would say that'd be one song, because I don't really listen to one without the other. But I understand the reasoning. I mean, it's his [Maynard James Keenan's] mom [Judith Marie Keenan]. She deserves more than one song.

We toured with them in 2006, when that album [10,000 Days] came out, and when that moment happened during the set, things really opened up I felt like as far as the show. And I just really loved the composition. I really loved how the song grows and Tool are just masters at growing this little seedling of a song and making it full bloom in front of your ear holes.

I feel like it's a masterclass in dynamics and song structure and form and just a really beautiful song, and I connected with it, musically first, like I normally do. I'm not a lyrics-first person, ever. So just the notes that they were hitting and the way everything worked and the way that the climaxes happened, just they worked for me. Hair standing up on the back of my neck. I'm one of those people, the goosebumps people.

The song intrigued me and so I wanted to see what was being said. I looked into the lyrics and I really connected with it on that level, too, because I've obviously lost some people that were close to me.

More than that, my mom's been sick since I was a kid and she's been in and out of hospital sometimes for years at a time. So I'm very familiar with the cold fluorescence, when the light dies down and you have that awful hospital lighting. So there was little parts like that that I started to be able to clue in on and the fact that Maynard got so personal and really brought you in and painted this picture of his mother. I don't think that he's a religious person and I'm not a religious person, I'm a non-believer. But it makes you feel bad for the people that actually walk the walk. It makes you want them to actually experience this afterlife that has been promised because they have genuinely done everything that they were supposed to do to get there. You want nothing more than that for them when it finally happens.

You're like, "Well, if anybody's going to get their wings, it's this person because they actually did it," as opposed to the hypocrisy, which is religion, and most religious people are using it at this facade to, "Oh, I'm a great person," but in their private life they're nothing. I know much better people that are atheists than [those who] claim to be this fundamentalist type of people. So I could feel that from the lyrics, as well — that he wanted what she wanted so badly, and what she 100 percent believed with everything that she had was going to happen. He wanted that to happen for her, I think. That's what I gathered from the lyrics. I liked that and I understood it. He's just such a great writer and so his ability to tell that story was, I thought, pretty amazing.