Tool's Adam Jones is a longtime fan of the Melvins — in a 1994 interview he even cited them as the inventors of grunge — so it makes sense that he would invite Buzz Osborne and Co. to tour with his band once they broke big. Jones has indeed done so multiple times, as well as having Osborne out with Tool in his other group Fantômas, and the two cultivated a maybe-not-so-fast friendship, as the Melvins main man describes below. Whatever the speed of their connection, Osborne and Jones are tight compadres now — and the Tool guitarist's fandom is reciprocated, as well. We talked to Osborne to get a quick survey of his history with Jones and Tool, including a memorable meeting with one of the band's more close-minded yet oversharing fans.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST MEET THE GUYS IN TOOL?
It was in the early Nineties when they opened for us at the Hollywood Paladium at a show with Gwar. Adam now says we were "mean" to them, but I know that's bullshit because I'm never mean to anyone. I don't remember much about them, but about two seconds later they were all over MTV. I'm surprised they ever talked to us again. Later on, in about '97, we did an arena tour opening for them, and then in '98 they asked us to do the horrid Ozzfest tour and I became better friends with them. Adam is one of my dearest friends.
HOW HAVE TOOL FANS RESPONDED TO YOUR BANDS?
It varies from bad to worse. Some of it was OK, but by and large arena-level audiences are total idiots and Tool's crowd is no different. I remember once a Tool fan insisted on stopping me in the hallway after our set to explain in detail why we sucked. I listened for about 30 seconds and then I showed a security guard my all-access pass and told him I saw the guy pull his pants down in front of a chick coming out of the girl's can and the kid got tossed out on his ass before Tool even played! Ha!
WHAT INFLUENCE HAVE TOOL HAD ON YOU?
I've worked a lot with Adam and I dig it a whole lot. He understands my strange way of writing songs and he's not afraid of noise. He has a really great guitar tone, which I would love to steal.
WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES TOOL SO UNIQUE?
Smoke and mirrors.