Many Tool fans are aware of the spoken word appearance by former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins on the group’s 1993 debut album Undertow, but some may not know that this moment was recorded on video. Producer Sylvia Massy recorded Rollins’ spoken word interlude from “Bottom” back in 1992, although the recording was not released publicly in 2016.
“That’s actually a spoken word part I do there [in live performances of the song and I’ve always done,” Tool mastermind Maynard James Keenan reportedly stated in a 1993 interview. “When we went into the studio, [Rollins] came down and he read that part, but he also wrote his own part to kind of paraphrase what I’d said. His part sounds better for him, the way he speaks, so it just sounded way better to have his part in there instead. So we put his there.”
Keenan also provided some interesting backstory for the event. While Rollins had befriended the group on tour back in 1992, Keenan alleges that Rollins contributed to the song as a result of a poker gambling debt he amassed on tour. “So we pretty much nailed him, and that’s actually how we got him to play on the album,” Keenan reportedly stated.
Rollins has a new long-form radio program called The Cool Quarantine, which is broadcasted online via the KCRW website. This series hosts deep cuts, conversations and personal stories regarding his life as a musician and industry figure. He was also made a tourism spokesperson for Los Angeles earlier this year.
Tool’s Danny Carey has been trying to get Tool to record an EP during the quarantine and announced that the group is currently without a label. Carey first announced his plans to record an EP back in April, as a result of the group’s tour cancellation.