You might overlook Adam Jones — unless you listen closely.
The Tool guitarist is in many ways atypical, preferring well-crafted chords and off-time riffs to traditional screaming guitar solos: Jones is no shredder.
But his style makes him one of the most inventive and unique guitar players to emerge from the 1990’s alternative rock craze.
(photo courtesy of spirit-of-metal.com)
Voted to Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists, Jones started out as a musical prodigy — on the violin.
Losing interest in classical music structure, Jones picked up the bass in high school and began performing locally in his home state of Illinois. That included a stint with the band Electric Sheep, where he played alongside guitar wiz Tom Morello, who went on to international acclaim with Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave.
Jones himself soon moved to guitar and began honing his skill.
His talents, however, are hardly limited to music. A skilled artist and sculptor, Jones turned down a music school scholarship after high school and opted instead to study special effects and makeup in Los Angeles.
It was in L.A. that Jones met Maynard James Keenan, a former visual arts student, in 1989. The two agreed to form a band, and soon enlisted drummer Danny Carey, a neighbor of Keenan’s who was introduced to the fledgling band by Morello. Soon another film school student, Paul D’Amour, was added on bass. They settled on the name Tool.
The band began making a name for itself, emerging in 1993 with their first album, Undertow. Thrust into the thrash metal scene, Tool soon carved its own niche, becoming one of the music world’s premier alternative metal bands.
In the years since Tool developed a loyal cult following that remains with them — and scored some Grammys along the way. After a hiatus last year, the band reformed in 2009, and is back at it.
Jones, meanwhile, has always kept his artistic career in swing, and is responsible for Tool’s album art and video work. He’s also been enlisted for special effects work on a number of hit movies, including Jurassic Park, Ghostbusters and Terminator 2.
But his guitar work remains his master work, with a style that combines traditional classic metal with progressive techniques influenced by rockers like King Crimson and Rush.
Whatever he’s doing, it works.
<object width=”425″ height=”344″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/Zw3FTiWRXF8&hl=en_US&fs=1&”></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always”></param><embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/Zw3FTiWRXF8&hl=en_US&fs=1&” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”425″ height=”344″></embed></object>
(NOTE: This is part of my ongoing series of reports on guitar players who fly under the mainstream radar. Keep checking The Listening Room for future installments of guitar players you should know – JF)
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jfitzgibbon