I know, I’m the first to admit that I’m late to the party. I’m only now discovering the wonder of Tool’s Danny Carey. I’ve been familiar with his reputation as a master of the odd time signature. I dug the fact that he uses roto toms and classic electronic pads. I respect that fact that he’s a rabid sports fan with his own basketball jersey. All that said, I only recently became aware of just how good he really is. I “re-discovered” Carey after watching a three-part video on YouTube that was put together by the folks at Vic Firth. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
That led me to look up a bunch of live performances which simply blew my mind. Tool has a reputation of being an avante guard progressive metal band with an eccentric singer. The musicians tasked with complimenting this eccentricity are extraordinarily talented. Carey seems to weave in and out of time like a metronome on acid. Songs like “42 and 6” showcase the band’s off the charts creativity and Carey is the driving force behind it.
Carey often uses polyrhythms and polymeters. According to his bio on FreeDrumLessons.com: “He has mentioned in past interviews that he uses his feet as he would use his hands. He also likes to attempt snare drum solos with his feet in order to improvise upon his double bass drumming and make his foot independent and more useful. He loves experimenting with new techniques and hence studied tabla with Aloke Dutta. Danny has also recorded the tabla parts himself in the studio. He loved to feel the pulse of a given time by trying to drum to the feel of the song.”
Drums are only part of what makes up the psyche of Danny Carey. While he was attending the University of Missouri–Kansas City, he began expanding his studies in percussion with theory into the principles of geometry, science, and metaphysics as well as delving into Sacred Geometry and certain hidden aspects of life and the occult. This symbology has found its way onto Carey’s drums.