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The Pot by Tool

Album: 10,000 DaysReleased: 2006
  • This song is about the drug culture in America. Everybody does it... the difference is people like Maynard admit it while police and government officials do it then accuse everybody else of it and pretend like they don't. He uses a lot of metaphors, such as "Pot calling the kettle black," hence the song name "The Pot." Maynard is the black kettle and the police/government are the pot. (thanks, billy - tapioka, AL)
  • In a Guitar World interview, Adam Jones confirmed that the title of "The Pot" was a reference to an idiomatic term for hypocrisy (i.e., the "pot calling the kettle black"), in addition to the colloquial term for marijuana. (thanks, Jase - d, IL)
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Comments: 29

mal2345, I'm not sure where you get your ideas from but some of them are clearly half-baked. I'm not claiming to know the meaning, if any, behind the lyrics, and I think many of the words he uses are arbitrarily chosen, and its meaning meant to be subjective. But there are some assumptions you've made that are objectively untrue. For instance; If you've ever read or listened to interviews with Maynard, you would know that he has an extensive history of psychedelic usage. Also, the last line of the song is clearly not "ganja police" and DEFINITELY NOT pronounced as "po-lies" ... if you actually listen to how it is pronounced you will realize this. And the word "indigo" being a pot reference because the color's wavelength is 420 nm, this is an extremely far-fetched, if not downright silly idea. If Maynard made up that line with some sort of meaning, I'm sure that's not it.Jason - Hackensack, Nj
To mal2345, the lyric is in no way shape or form chosen indigo. That makes absolutely
No sense. Mjk is more educated than that. You need to go back and listen to tool's, APCs, puscifer's
Entire catalogs of songs to reaffirm you with how he Annunciates and pronounces his sung words.
If you weren't so narrow minded you'd actually have looked up what the word cozened
Actually means. It means To mislead by means of a petty trick or fraud; deceive. So you're
Weeping shades of cozened indigo got lemon juice up in your eye, means a person is going
To great lengths to accuse somebody else of something they themselves did by making
Themselves appear to be crying by putting lemon juice in their eyes making the skin around their
Eyes appear to be rubbed purple from wiping tears away. Who are you to wave your finger
You must've been out your head. It's the pot calling the kettle black. He's not claiming innocence
But is a bit miffed that someone whose guilty of the same act is calling him out on it. Like
Beloved elected politicians on every level of gov't, fed, state and local, do in their attack ads
To get elected.
Anesthetist - Bumfuct, Egypt
For Sofia Scavenger in Bulgaria who is obviously speaking with little research.
http://www.psychedelicadventure.net/2009/08/cannabis-pineal-gland-turn-on-third-eye.html
Cameron - Mill Creek, Wa
The beauty of Tool is that their songs mean whatever you think they mean. That is what makes their songs, our songs. And that is exactly the point of the art they create. Where most other songwriters and musicians leave almost nothing to the imagination, MJK and the fellas leave endless possibililites for us to ponder and relive throughout our lives. So go ahead and think it's about weed or indigo children or kangaroo boxing. As long as that meaning, or emotion, is what you experience when you hear the song, then you can never be wrong. All interpretations, however ludicrous, are true. Even if you're the only one who believes in it. The music is the drug, and like LSD, no experience will ever be the same as yours. There is only one rule: you must think for yourself.Mike - Medford Lakes, Nj
Maynard can't be the black kettle because he doesn't do drugs. He's not against the war on drugs from being a drug user, he is a hypocrite hater. If anything, Maynard is an authenticity wonk. He rails against hypocrisy and phoniness in some of his other songs. Wrong lyrics officially considered correct: cozened? I hear "chosen," there is definitely a ch- sound. "Ganja please" should be "Ganja Po-lies" (a combination of "police" and their "lies"). "Difficult to dance 'round this one" sounds like "Difficult and dance 'round this one." "Head up asshole" sounds like "head up ass, so whatcha talkin' bout?"

Also, about the lemon juice, this was used to induce crying to actors and actresses who had to cry on cue during filming. In The Pot, there is the accusation of phoniness associated with lemon juice and crying, but also the red effect on the eyes which appears the same as drug use.
Mal2345 - Boise, Id
The idea that the "pissin' over my black kettle" lyric refers to Chief Black Kettle is a little far-fetched. The color indigo has a wavelength of around 420 nm, a pot reference. Maynard is not saying "ganja please," it is "Ganja Police" with the last word pronounced "Po-LIES." This goes along with the hypocrisy theme of the song. Some people think the ganja police are hypocrites for doing drugs, but that is not necessarily the case. The goal of the war on drugs is political and financial. If not for drugs the ganja police would be put out of business. They wave their fatty fingers but they have grown fat off the very thing they wage war against. Lemon juice has a dual effect on the eyes, turning them red as if someone has been doing drugs, and creating tears as if this same person is shedding tears over the drug problem. So lemon juice in the eyes is another hypocrisy reference.Mal2345 - Boise, Id
The Bass in This songs is amazing, just as the bass in any other tool song isBen - Pittsbugh, Pa
I like many of the thoughts here but what surprises me is that no one mentioned the saying "The pot calling the kettle black." in reference to You pissed all over my black kettle.Angela - Peabody, Ma
When he says you must have been high in one way he is saying that the "liar lawyer" has been knocked off his perch. He is also saying that the person is being buried up to his eyeballs for pissing over the witches kettle. The other meaning of you must have been high is that the only explanation for crossing saidthe protagonist is that his accuser must have been high, as i you must be high to mess with me.Karl - Syracuse, Ny
I do not know if anyone else mentioned but I have to say I believe that the song is in reference to a toilet and the phrase s--t or get off the pot. A person is splitting hairs and refuses to leave, thinking they are higher and mightier but gradually drowning in...Karl - Syracuse, Ny
Correct me if im wrong but isnt this song also about how one or a few of the people(s) that made marijuana illegal were caught and/or Arrested for Heroin use/possesion?Dillon - Orlando, Fl
Just remember that the video with the snail is not the official video. It is just a video someone made.Adam - Yarmouth, Me
great song but if it had a deep meaning whats up with the video. And also what do the giant snails represent.Quinn - Smallsville, Argentina
I agree mostly with Jesse from San Jose. But Jesse (as well as everybody else) has missed one of the potential interpretations of the use of the color indigo. In testing drug paraphernalia, substances, urine etc, for traces of THC, a chemical indicator is used which turns a distinctive Indigo color. Hence the lyric "Pissing shades of chosen indigo". And the lemon juice in the eye would make it red, just like the blood shot color seen after a person partakes on the herb. I think that Maynard is talking about a friend who would use just as much as he does, but is some how affiliated with the legal system. As part of his job he busts, snitches, turns in, or prosecutes other users....even though he himself is doing the same thing. This person has gotten rich off this endeavor "snowing the cradle" and is in the moral wrong for being such a hypocrite.
- Steve, Fort Myers , FL

It's not "pissing", it's "weeping shades of...", so unless you cry into a piss test, then your comment is invalid. But everyone has good points and I think Maynard is just f**king with us all because it could mean a lot of different things...I actually heard it was about a friend who overdosed/or just the song itself is about...heroin.
Kevin - Knoxville, Tn
This song was nominated for a Grammy in the "Best Hard Rock Performance" category. It would lose to the Foo Fighter's "Pretender". It was there second time nominated for B.H.R.P and there seventh time being nominated for a grammy.Austin - Smallsville, New England
I agree mostly with Jesse from San Jose. But Jesse (as well as everybody else) has missed one of the potential interpretations of the use of the color indigo. In testing drug paraphernalia, substances, urine etc, for traces of THC, a chemical indicator is used which turns a distinctive Indigo color. Hence the lyric "Pissing shades of chosen indigo". And the lemon juice in the eye would make it red, just like the blood shot color seen after a person partakes on the herb. I think that Maynard is talking about a friend who would use just as much as he does, but is some how affiliated with the legal system. As part of his job he busts, snitches, turns in, or prosecutes other users....even though he himself is doing the same thing. This person has gotten rich off this endeavor "snowing the cradle" and is in the moral wrong for being such a hypocrite.Steve - Fort Myers , Fl
I think Maynard refers to the marijuana-culture of getting "high" as a self delusion that makes the smoker (the "hypocrit",the "kangoroo") think that he's better than everyone else,becouse he's reached a "higher" state of conciousness when stoned."Eyeballs deep in muddy waters" describes that state of mind that comes to u after the pot effect is gone and u've devoted your whole life to getting "high"..u become passive, unable to pay enough attention to what happens around u,u keep dulling u'r senses an cannot see clearly as your mind sinks deep in "muddy waters"...u become a "kangoroo" ,that is "guilty as the goverment" in its apathy and flabbiness...
"got lemon juice up in your eye" refers to the third eye that is being dulled, blinded as your braincells die..u loose the ability to self reflect and cannot find your immortal soul becouse u depend on your daily joint...
"Foot in mouth and head up,assw...so watcha talkin bout?! difficult to dance round this one till u pull it out, boy"-he describes how your abilities to express yourself become ridiculously dumb and pathetic, becouse u've smoked yourself retarded, "u must have been high" (ironicly)...
"kangoroo done hung the guilty with the innocent"-an example of the stoner's indifference and social detachment..
"Ganja-P-please ,u must have been out your mind!"-Maynard ironicly stigmatizes the "revelations" that the stoner has,becouse they're delusional and lead to hypocrisy and stupidity....
Scavenger - Sofia, Bulgaria
As with most of Manards songs I see a battle of ideas here. He does that intentionally. He simply writes at a genius level. His songs always can be taken different ways and they always hit on multiple fronts. Politics are also always heavily involved. On that front I think this quote from above sums it up best...

"I think an indisputable message is how shady our world leaders are. So much injustice occurs now with very little publicity or opposition. Keenan is calling them on it."

The cannabis references are also undeniable with respect to both law enforcement and pharmaceutical producers. Which at the end of the day comes right back to politics.

Got to also love the historical reference to Black Kettle, nice parallel to what is going on today with the rise of the peaceful patriot/truth movement across the globe taking on the criminals that run things. I had to do some homework on him after reading here. Thanks for the history lesson Maynard.
Nthooze - Santa Cruz, Ca
As with most of Manards songs I see a battle of ideas here. He does that intentionally. He simply writes at a genius level. His songs always can be taken different ways and they always hit on multiple fronts. Politics are also always heavily involved. On that front I think this quote from above sums it up best...

"I think an indisputable message is how shady our world leaders are. So much injustice occurs now with very little publicity or opposition. Keenan is calling them on it."

The cannabis references are also undeniable with respect to both law enforcement and pharmaceutical producers. Which at the end of the day comes right back to politics.

Got to also love the historical reference to Black Kettle, nice parallel to what is going on today with the rise of the peaceful patriot/truth movement across the globe taking on the criminals that run things. I had to do some homework on him after reading here. Thanks for the history lesson Maynard.
Nthooze - Santa Cruz, Ca
"Who are you to wave your finger? / You must have been out 'your head" = He's calling the person a hypocrite, saying that he must have been mad to think that he was any better than anyone else.
"Eyehole deep in muddy waters / You practically raise the dead" = The hypocrite is up to his eyes in trouble, so to speak, with his act of greatness. Yet he continues to act high-and-mighty as if he's better than everyone else. "You practically raise the dead" is a metaphor for the hypocrite acting as if he's on par with God.
"Rob the grave to snow the cradle / Then burn the evidence down" = The hypocrite performs immoral acts and profits from them. "Snow the cradle" could be considered a metaphor for "showering one's home in riches." This shows that the hypocrite has gained his self-proclaimed "greatness" (i.e. wealth) through improper means. The hypocrite then proceeds to attempt to cover up his doings.
"Soapbox house of cards and glass" = The hypocrite preaches as if he knows better than they, yet the base on which his points rest is as sturdy as a house of cards. It's easily shattered, like glass.
"So don't go tossin' your stones around" = This is another common statement about hypocrites altered into Keenan's own words: "Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones."
"You must've been high" = The hypocrite must've been really high on himself to actually think he was better than anyone else.
"Foot in mouth and head up ass / So what’chu talkin' 'bout?" = Again calling the person a hypocrite, this time two times in succsession, and in different words each time. "God your foot in your mouth" and "God your head up your ass".
"Difficult to dance ‘round this one / ‘Til you pull it out, boy" = A bit hard to show someone how hypocritical he is unless he pulls his foot out of his mouth or his head from his ass, isn't it?
"Steal, borrow, reaper, savior / Shady inference" = The difference between right and wrong is presented here; opposite sides of the spectrum, if you will. Sealing is to reaper as borrow is to savior. The hypocrite has been stealing, as evidenced in the earlier lyric, "Rob the grave to snow the cradle".
"Kangaroo done hung the juror with the innocent" = This applies to the term "kangaroo court," in reference to shady and improper trial proceedings. Here, it's telling the hypocrite that his ways are like that of a kangaroo court: shady and improper (i.e. stealing).
"Now you're weepin' shades of chosen indigo / Got lemon juice up in your eye / When you pissed all over my black kettle" = The metaphor of the hypocrite urinating on the other's kettle is used to describe the hypocrite disregarding what the others say against him as unimportant garbage. Similar to peeling/squeezing a lemon and it squirting its stinging juice into his eye, his urine (i.e. his downtalking of what the others warned him of: the warnings they gave him of the consequences for becoming too prideful) has splashed back up off the kettle into his eye, stinging. He now realizes what he's been doing was wrong and breaks into tears, regretting his immoral deeds. This is metaphorically explained with the line, "Now you're weepin' chosen shades of indigo" in that he chose this path, yet is now crying in regret over it. He chose his own fate, his own tears, if you will.
"So full of it" = Referring to when he was being prideful and holier-than-thou: his statements proved he was full of s--t with his almost Godlike claims of being so great.
"F--kin' hypocrite" = Check and mate. This line fully proves my theory.
"Liar, lawyer" = This further ties into the earlier line referencing the term "kangaroo court".
"Mirror, show me what's the difference?" = Reference to Snow White and the queen's magic mirror. The queen would request the mirror to show her who the greatest one of all was. Here, the person is saying that all are equal: no one is better than any other.
"Weeping shades of indigo / Shed without a reason" = The people still don't know how he became so wealthy and prideful; they know not of his wrongdoings or what he's crying over. He is crying over those wrongdoings, yet they do not know that. They cannot figure out the reason for his tears.
"Mirror, for you what's the difference?" = A mirror has no sense of preference or bias; it simply shows what's put in front of it. It knows not what ego, stature, position, or power are; it shows anyone, no matter what part they play in society. This can be seen as the basic idea of all being equal. All are simply human.
"Kangaroo be stoned / He's guilty as the government" = The hypocrite has been sentenced to death by stoning by the government, which is hypocritical in and of itself.The government is just as guilty as the "kangaroo courts" themselves for allowing them to happen, for not having a way of stopping them from happening.
"Eyeballs deep in bloody waters" = His own blood has been shed from all the trouble he's built upon himself.
"Ganja police, you must've been out 'your mind" = Ganja is a slang term for cannabis, the plant form of marijuana. Similar to the government not having a surefire way of preventing kangaroo courts, police trying to uphold the anti-marijuana laws really can't do anything to stop the drug from getting around and being used, no matter how hard they'd like to try. This could be a metaphor (again disguised as a drug reference) for the hypocrite.in that no matter how much the people tried to tell him he was no better than anyone else and that acting that way was wrong, there was no getting through to him. Sometimes there is just no way to stop certain problems though some wish they could.
Jesse - San Jose, Ca
Our Government is just more batteries for Lady Liberty's dildo! The gospel is the gospel!Joe - Rogers, Ar
Kangaroo refers to the kangaroo court, which was a mock trial on people accused of using drugs. There was no real evidence used, therefore, many were innocent but hanged anyway.
(Liar, lawyer, mirror, show me.
What's the difference?
kangaroo done hung the guilty with the innocent)
Morgan - Why?, Pa
I'd love to pick Maynard's brain on this song. I've never heard lyrics with more possibilities to the meaning - it's genius. Even far-fetched ideas fit perfectly. Chief Black Kettle was a peaceful Cheyenne Indian Chief who, like all Natives then, was given promises from the gov, had them broken, and then ultimatly was killed for calling them on it. Probably a coincidence, but it ties in perfectly with the underlying message of this song. I think an undesputable message is how shady our world leaders are. So much injustice occurs now with very little publicity or opposition. Keenan is calling them on it. We are blinded by false issues that are there to distraact us from the issues that chang us. Murder is wrong, but we make and use bombs and weapons. Drugs are horrible, but drug companies are heros for making a "normal" life possible. A democracy decides how life will be, but there is so much we aren't allowed to do that I didn't have any say in. Getting high and meditating is a CRIME, but relying on prozak, valium, vicodin, vodka, morphine, etc. is within the law. Know your neighbor, unless they are in another country - then fear them. Trust politicians and not your own silly intuition. "Help" every country less fortunate than us, if by help we mean arrogantly oppress. We can find so much wrong with almost every other country. We toss our stones around like God created America and the rest is dingleberries clinging on for the ride. We pretend to mourn when a disaster - not caused by us - harms another nation. If we did cause the disaster - it's a victory to be celebrated. I don't know what the goal of our leaders is, but we are being led on a chain blindfolded.Don - Bc, Mi
this song is all about the hypocrisy of our war on drugs, it's neither pro nor anti pot but rather anti-anti-marijuana legislation/programs and their hypocrisy. MOst of the lyrics are straight forward here's my thoughts on the one's that aren't blatant.

Kangaroo done hung the juror with the innocent, an alusion to a kangaroo court in which the verdict is established before the trial actually begins.

Now you're weeping shades of cozen indigo, cozen meaning fake or attempting to deceive, thus you're weeping is something you're doing to try and deceive. Indigo could be an allusion to the concept of indigo children, which was a popular theory on children that was the typical pc idea that oh these children were just born with serious sociopathic tendencies and that these we're not to be fixed. So someone who is weeping cozened indigo is someone who is completely politically correct but only uses it to try and seem fair and kind, when in reality this is just a trick or deceipt.
Ben - Chicago, Il
Chris, I believe "the whole kangaroo part" refers to a "kangaroo court". In a kangaroo court the verdict is pre-decided by the authorities and the trial is just for show. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kangaroo_court).Gorilla - Atlanta, Ga
I don't know if this is right, but this is what I get from this song. First off, in the beginning, i think he addresses that it is a sensitive topic for people to talk about ("Soapbox house of cards and glass so don't go tossin' your stones around"). Next, he says that you already look like a fool and that there is no way around the topic so just get it over with (Foot in mouth and head up ass, so whatcha talkin' 'bout? Difficult to dance 'round this one 'til you pull it out. boy,). I dont quite understand the whole kangaroo part, but obviously the kangaroo is the hypocrit. I think that "hung the jury" is talking about when a someone disagrees with a law and therefore creates a mistrial and the defendent may be acquitted, or at least the charges lessened. This may refer how corrupt the government is, saving those that have sway in it. This next part confuses me a little. The word 'cozened' means tricky, decietful, and red, white, and blue combined makes indigo, as well as the idea that indigo symbolizes blood and victimization. These all correlate to the idea that people are being decietfully killed or at least sneakily hidden killings are going on and that they are being committed or at least permitted by the American government (maybe Pat Tillman and all the Iraqis unfairly killed) and the lemon juice tears are backed up by the idea of lachrymology, shedding of tears through pain to make oneself a higher being(wikipedia), which tool follows. The black kettle is self-explanitory, using the metaphor about hypocricy and the 'pissing on' idea shows that it appears that the hypocrits think they are superior to maynard and those maynard defends. He even calls them a "f--king hypocrite". He asks what makes the "pot" better than the "kettle" (hypothetically). I think the "fatty fingers" part goes back to the stereotypical idea that those who are rich are fat because they are lazy and indulge themselves. I think the idea of the "weepin' shades of indigo, shed without a reason, weepin' shades of indigo" show that he believes that the "eyes" are cuts maybe and that the indigo is blood and that blood is being spilled for no reason (the war in iraq). He says "He's as guilty as the government". This is him blaming the government for everything going wrong in society. Ganja is another name for highly potent marijuana, like pot (coincidence?). So, basically, to sum it up, this song is a shot at hypocricy in the American government as well as a portrayal of Maynard's anti-war sentiments. Well, if you disagree, tell me because I'd love to hear what you have to say.Chris - Richmond, Va
One of the songfacts states: "This song is about the drug culture in America. Everybody does it... the difference is people like Maynard admit it while police and government officials do it then accuse everybody else of it and pretend like they don't." Personally, I don't think this hits the mark. The song seems to be about pot(along with several other drugs) being illegal, while we allow and accept rampant use of alcohol, and the hypocrisy of that very fact. Just take the line: "Now you're weeping shades of cozened indigo, got lemon juice up in your eye" Indigo is a shade of dark purple, which I relate to the song 'Purple Haze' by Jimi Hendrix, which is about being high. The lemon juice being of an alcoholic beverage. So in essence, who he's speaking of was misled to believe that drinking alcohol was different from being high, but now is weeping over the truth of the matter, then adds a sarcastic remark about having lemon juice in their eye, also *explaining* the bloodshot aspect of both alcohol and marijuana. Also take the line: "Eyeballs deep in muddy waters" Muddy waters is an alcoholic beverage with lemon juice(of all things) as an ingredient. So the line is basically (again, in a sarcastic sense) calling out someone for being blinded by alcohol(and again, pointing out the bloodshot effect). And I think we all can agree that who Maynard speaks of is politicians and law-makers in general. And to sum it all up, I want to point out the line: "hung the guilty with the innocent" Meaning that because some people have committed crimes while high, everyone who gets high -innocently- is also being punished.
Just my take on the song :)
Dave - Ft. Lauderdale, Fl
Dude, this aong is about someone thinking they are so much better than Maynard, and he is like '"you must have been so high." and "you must have been out your mind." and that the person that thinks they're so much better than Maynard is out of his mind to think he is better.Rachel - Raleigh, Nc
I think Maynard makes some song-writing jokes(as he often does) By simulating the word jumble that comes with being so...high...you must've beenBk - Ft. Worth, Tx