The Singer Who Joined Tool To Settle Poker Debt With Maynard James Keenan


Tool emerged in 1990, originally with the lineup Maynard James Keenan, Adam Jones, Danny Carey, and Paul D’Amour. They have won several Grammy Awards and made their way up in the music scene after releasing their debut album ‘Undertow.’ The album, produced by Sylvia Massy, became a key album in keeping heavy metal music in the mainstream. This was important as it was around the times of censorship of music and the enforcement of the ‘Parental Advisory’ stickers debates.

By 2020, the album had sold over 3 million copies in the USA, and became one of the most successful albums of the band. However, the band had a surprise in the record. A well-known musician back then also helped the band create and modify the 1993 album. First of all, it was the only album where the original bassist Paul D’amour had contributed fully. Second, it featured Rollins Band’s leader to help Maynard with vocals.

Henry Rollins Joined Tool For ‘Undertow’ Because He Had No Other Choice


The offer was made to Henry Rollins as a result of a mistake he did by playing poker with the band. In 1993, Maynard James Keenan revealed in an interview the striking reason for Rollins to join the record. He stated that even though they knew each other from before while touring before the album, the main reason he put his contribution to the record was that he owed the band money.

According to Maynard, Rollins was very bad at playing poker. Hence, when he played with the band in Santa Barbara one day, he owed them $3,000, and instead of claiming it, the band asked him to sing in the record. It seems like Rollins got a pretty good deal out of the situation. He sang his parts in the song ‘Bottom,’ and now he has his fingerprints on the album that kicked off Tool’s career.

Here is what MJK said in 1993:

“We did a little bit of touring with him, but the main reason he appeared in the album was that we had a gambling debt he owed us so, he took it out in time on Vinyl.”

The interviewer asked if there was another reason by stating:

“I was wondering if he has a very strong message about making the most of yourself and stuff like that. I wondered if you felt an affinity to that side of things.”

MJK continued:

“Well, that’s initially how we ended up getting to tour with him. The similar attitudes but, what actually happened was we were at a place called the Anaconda in Santa Barbara and doing some Poker, and he kept bluffing on bad hands, and of course, we kept calling him, and he got into a $3,000 debt with us and rather than having him sign over an IOU we had him go ahead and just sing on the record.”

You can watch the 1993 interview belo.