“Once you pull your phone out, you’re not connecting”: Tool Guitarist Talks Anti-Phone And Photo Policy At Band’s Live Shows

Tool guitarist
Tool: Tool Facebook/ "No" symbol: Stefan-Xp (Wikimedia Commons)/ Nokia 6110 blue: © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)
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Via an exclusive interview with Metal Hammer, Tool guitarist Adam Jones has shared a lot of fascinating insight into how the band go about their touring.

Jones has spoken about how the band go about picking their supporting acts, as well as why they would prefer to play in smaller, more intimate settings.

Jones also commented on the band’s strong anti-phone and photo policy at their live shows. Jones was asked about this policy during the interview -whether he finds the policy difficult to implement during live shows – and provided the following comments.

Tool guitarist talks anti-phone and photo policy during live shows

“Yeah, I mean, for us, we’ve actually seen it changing and more and more big acts are asking their fans respectfully to enjoy the show, rather than looking at their camera the whole time. I think one of the problems is you get a lot of lights because people don’t know how to use their cameras correctly, which makes it very blinding onstage. It’s just…it’s that connection. You lose something without that connection, and you just want people to be in their own world rather than getting the whole show on their phone and then never looking at it again.

“It’s a big distraction. Have you ever been to a concert and you can’t see the show because the person in front of you is holding their phone up in front of the stage? It’s just kind of obnoxious. Just keep your phone in your pocket, enjoy the show and we’ll see you after and you can get back on it! (laughs) People need a break. I feel like [phones have] become an appendage, like part of our anatomy, you know?”

The interviewer then brought up how recently, pop star Mitski asked her audience to not use flash photography and she got a bunch of crap for that. The interviewer then asks Jones if Tool have received similar backlash.

Tool guitarist talks about phone policy at live shows

“Yeah, look, I get it: I go to shows sometimes and I want to capture a little something, your blood is pumping and you want to capture it, you want to capture that feeling. But it’s like a drug, you get that feeling and then you come back down to Earth, it’s no big deal. You look at it once maybe and that’s it, unless you’re a blogger or something. I get it, but we spend a lot of money on the show, we spend a lot of money on getting the best people on the video and the laser show. We have this three-dimensional curtain effect, which is incredible.

I just think, once you pull your phone out, you’re not connecting, you’re not at the show, you’re more about capturing it from your phone, watching it from your phone. Okay, then just go on YouTube. Why bother? You’ve paid the money to immerse yourself in this, we’re taking you by the hand and trying to take you on a little journey and do our magic for you. Which is something that requires your attention and your eye contact. It’s a different world, it’s a request and it’s respectful, and I think our fans seem absolutely fine with it.”

What are your thoughts on Tool asking fans to not pull out their phones and take pictures during their live shows?


Words by: Michael Pementel