Friday, June 15, 2012

Tool -- "Sober" (1993)


I am just a worthless liar
I am just an imbecile
I will only complicate you
Trust in me and fall as well

I heard Tool's "Sober" on the second day of my recent trip to Cape Cod, thanks to the satellite radio on my rental Ford Escape.  (Have I mentioned that this rental only cost me $9.75 a day?)


SiriusXM's channel 34 is called "Lithium," in honor of the Nirvana song.  It features nineties grunge, alternative rock, and alternative metal music.

I started my second bike ride of the weekend at the same bike rental store when I started my first day's ride, but this time I rode the other direction -- to the west -- and continued until I reached the start of the Cape Cod Rail Trail in Dennis:


The Cape Cod Inflatable Park is just a hop, skip, and a jump from mile 0.0.  I'm so happy it wasn't around when my kids were young.  I have a feeling I would have had to spend many hours there.

Don't get me wrong.  The park is full of captivating inflatables, including this one depicting the legendary battle between King Kong and Godzilla:


(My money's on Godzilla.)

My route took me past a number of lovely Cape Cod ponds.  Here's Long Pond, the largest pond on Cape Cod:


Long Pond is on the Harwich-Brewster border.  Here's what you see when you are riding east to west and you cross that boundary:


Here's the view when you're riding west to east:


The trail also takes you past the Pleasant Lake General Store, whose owners have thoughtfully provided two benches so weary travelers can sit a spell.

One of benches (which is on the left side of the store's front door) is reserved for Democrats:


(Did you notice the Red Bull advertising sign in the window behind the Democrats' bench?)

The other bench (to the right of the door as you approach the store) is for Republicans:


Speaking of Democrats and Republicans, I am reminded of the first line from Tool's "Sober" -- "I am just a worthless liar."  For many years, I thought the line was "I am just a worthless lawyer."  I'm a lawyer myself, but I got a big kick out of the verse as I understood it.

One day I did a search for the lyrics to "Sober" and found out how wrong I had been.  It sort of spoiled the whole song for me.  C'est comme ├ža.
Have you seen the website about misheard pop-music lyrics?  For example, there was a guy who thought "Excuse me while I kiss the sky" (from "Purple Haze," by Jimi Hendrix) was really "Excuse me while I kiss this guy"?

I have a feeling that some of the examples on that website aren't genuine.  For example, did someone really think that Johnny Rivers was singing "Seasick Asian man" instead of "Secret agent man"?  And did someone really mistake Robert Palmer's "You might as well face it, you're addicted to love" for "You might as well fact it, you're a d*ckhead in love"?  Frankly, I doubt it.

"Sober" was written by Tool's frontman, Maynard James Keenan (born James Herbert Keenan), who was supposedly inspired by Bill Murray's performance in the movie Stripes to join the Army.

He later attended the U.S. Military Academy's prep school, and was eventually offered an appointment to West Point.  But he turned it down.  (Tool is known for its elaborate April Fools' Day pranks, so I'm a bit leery of some of the things that have been published about Keenan and the band.)  

One member of Tool told an interviewer that the song is about a friend of the band "who is at his artistic best when he is loaded."  This verse sure sounds like it was written by someone who was loaded:
Why can't we not be sober?
I just want to start this over
Why can't we drink forever
I just want to start things over 

"Sober" appears on Tool's 1993 debut album, Undertow.  I bought the CD used when I was working in Philadelphia, spending four nights a week in an apartment there and coming home for weekends with my family in our home in a Washington, DC, suburb.  It was a ridiculous way to live, and I didn't do it for long.


BTW, Keenan is a winemaker as well as a rock singer.  He owns Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars' located near Sedona, Arizona.  FYI, a "merkin" is a pubic wig, which was once commonly worn by prostitutes in an attempt to cover up signs of disease.  (TMI?)  Today, merkins are worn by actresses who are doing nude scenes to avoid inadvertent exposure of the genitalia and keep the film from being slapped with an X rating.  (OMG!)

Keenan bottling wine
Keenan's first wine made entirely from grapes he grew himself was named after his late mother, whose cremains he scattered over one of his vineyards after her death in 2003.  Click here to learn more about this wine.  Keenan's previous wines had been named after relatives of the famous Apache chief, Cochise.

Tool is an extremely talented but extremely weird group, so Keenan fits right in.  I could write a lot about how weird they are, but I just can't get cised to do so.  (Just read the Wikipedia entries on Tool, its various albums, and Keenan -- you'll find molto weirdness without really trying.)

Here's "Sober":



For some reason, you can't buy "Sober" from Amazon.  Here's a link to the Undertow album (which includes "Sober"):

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