Justin Hawkins On Tool Becoming The Ultimate Cult Band

Staying relevant in the music industry is a common goal for most artists, especially in the pop scene, but bands that have such a niche audience in the prog sphere, like Tool, don’t have the same ambition. Justin Hawkins shared on his Justin Hawkins Rides Again YouTube channel that Tool and Maynard James Keenan have never appealed to the mainstream audience, which is perfectly normal for the type of art they create for their fans.

“The way the Tool audience has grown, they created a niche even within the prog sphere,” said the Darkness frontman about the unique sound that Tool has created throughout the years they’ve been in the prog scene. “They’re doing a very particular type of mathematics and spirituality combined. It’s an area of the prog realm; I’m sure that; you don’t do something like that for commerce. I think you do it because it’s an art form, you know, and it’s something that if you’re Tool, then there’s nobody else that does it quite the same way.”

Hawkins continued, “They’ve gone from being a cult band to the ultimate cult band. I think the audience has grown because of people going to see Tool and saying it is more or less a religious experience or has been for many people who have seen them, and it’s word of mouth. I mean, everybody knows this band, but they’re not in the top 40, they’re not. They will do enormous numbers when they are touring, and they’re brilliant in every possible way, but this isn’t mainstream, and I would argue it’s never been relevant, nor should it.”

While most people are familiar with Tool as the pinnacle of the prog scene, their tracks don’t hit the charts like pop songs because their art form doesn’t appeal to a broader audience. Due to the nature of the tracks Keenan created with Tool, they curated a cult following, but that wasn’t enough to make them relevant in the industry. If there were ever a need to make it in the charts, the band would have lost its primary purpose and needed to mold into a sound that was not in Tool’s nature as a band.