In 2006, Tool dropped their first new album in about five years, 10,000 Days, and hit the road. Atlanta's Mastodon were fresh off the release of their own momentous LP, Blood Mountain, and were fortunate enough to be handpicked by Maynard James Keenan, Adam Jones, Justin Chancellor and Danny Carey to tour with them in Europe that winter. The pairing made a lot of sense: Both groups specialize in a particularly artistic and consciousness-expanding brand of psychedelic progressive metal, after all. The tour was also a meaningful experience for Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor because of the influence Tool had had on him since he first heard them in the Nineties. Below, Dailor discusses that influence, as well as the shenanigans that took place when the two bands were on the road together.
HAVE TOOL HAD ANY INFLUENCE ON YOU AND MASTODON'S MUSIC?
BRANN DAILOR Absolutely. In the mid-Nineties when I was starting being in a band and play and write my own, you see them play and they were definitely one of the favorites among the heavy-rock listeners, obviously — and even the people that were into the more obscure styles of music, listening to some of the more avant-garde music that was happening in the Nineties. Tool was still an acceptable band even though they had sort of crossed over into more mainstream popularity.
They're just one of those bands that's sort of the hole in the theory where you kind of, it's almost like you can't really understand why they work. You understand why they're so popular, but you can't understand why such a broad spectrum of people actually are able to enjoy it. Like, how'd all the bros get involved? There's so much complexity to the music and to the lyrics, and a lot of the lyrics are satirizing or making fun of the people that are in the audience, unbeknownst to them.
So it's quite puzzling, but I think that there is definitely a prog element to them that we picked up on. And I think maybe how you carry yourself as a band. How you present yourself aesthetically, reaching for the combination of visual art with music, I think that they've been a huge influence on us just to try to be more thoughtful in your whole approach to writing and recording music in general. I think that they're a very thoughtful group of artists, and I think that they put a lot of time and effort into every single facet of their band, which is just appreciated.
MASTODON TOURED EUROPE WITH TOOL IN 2006. WHAT'S YOUR CRAZIEST STORY FROM THAT TIME?
I think on the last show, I remember Justin [Chancellor, Tool's bass player] and Adam [Jones, Tool's guitarist] … Adam dressed up in some kind of [he] looked like Buckethead, but without the KFC bucket on his head. He had this white mask and this white jumpsuit. And then Justin was dressed like a mascot monkey. They came onstage while we were playing and they pelted us with bananas.
DID ANYONE EAT THEM AFTERWARDS?
No. They were smushed all over the floor. [Laughs] I think a bunch of them ended up in [Mastodon guitar-vocalist] Brent [Hinds]'s hair, which was good.
But they did stuff like that. They're pranksters. We're not pranksters, but those guys are pranksters, for sure. They're always doing stuff like that to people. There was a point in the set where I would come out and play along with Danny [Carey, Tool's drummer]. They would set up some toms for me to play on. While I was doing that one night, Maynard [James Keenan, Tool's singer] came out from behind his little hovel back there and took my sticks away and walked offstage. So I was left to do some hand drumming. [Laughs]
I mean, we did three months over there. It was pretty fun. Not 'cause of shenanigans, but just, we did a lot of hanging out after the show. Danny [in particular] just likes to kick back and listen to various prog, hang out and talk.