H
by Tool

Songfacts®:

  • While many people believe this is about God, it has nothing to do with religion. Lead singer Maynard James Keenan is speaking about his experiences of being abused and how it affects him and his family.
  • This could have been titled "H" because Maynard's son Devo has the middle name of H (not an initial - that's the whole middle name). He talks of how his son and his wife have no hate but he wants to lash out at them because he has been abused. He speaks of how he refuses to give into these temptations. One of the deepest songs ever written. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Keith - Phoenix, AZ, for above 2
  • It's possible the H stands for Herbert. Maynard James Keenan's birth name is Maynard Herbert Keenan, and it could be about his troubled childhood. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    nero - richmond, MO
  • The working title for this song was "Half Empty," which the "H" could stand for. It may represent the "half-empty is interchangeable with half-full" notion.
  • In 1996, when Tool was performing this live, Maynard touched on the idea of having an angel sitting on one shoulder and a devil sitting on the other. In at least one interpretation, the song is about being very close to someone who is tearing you apart, someone you can't bring yourself to leave, but someone who will destroy you because you can't leave them. It is the price you pay for being close to them; they aren't doing it on purpose: "considerately killing me." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Tara - San Diego, CA, for above 2

Comments: 104

  • Jd from SeattleIt was always about heroin to me. h- slip away, fade away.
  • Mike from Pittsburgh Pa Maynard I just want to say that I am very sorry that some man who clearly has no knowledge told you about your mother. That it was because of her own wrongdoing. In the church there are a lot of people who act "Holier than thou" and want to be big shots and are judgemental and absolutely disgusting in every single way. I love the Lord Jesus Christ, I have a relationship with him. But I never like anybody else's Sound of Music like I do you and your band. I boxed my whole life and used to walk out to your music. I just really wish that it and pray that you find the truth. And you know what Maynard? I know by your lyrics that you have read the Bible so I really believe you already know the truth. Instead of telling him to get off his cross will you please thank him for being on that cross for our sins question for the! I can't listen to many of your songs because I feel you are talking bad about the man who created me you and everybody else. Just remember one thing that it's very important for me to tell you. And that is He's calling your name and honestly, I could feel the Holy Spirit telling me to tell you that he is waiting for you. And I know you are very very educated so that tells me that you already know somebody named God made You. Look at the human eyeball and how it works and all the animals how they have food every plant and tree and it's clearly obvious who made that, the same man who fulfilled 360 prophecies.Go to Him ! I pray for you everyday. Please don't let the devil win and let some religious judgemental fake Christians who know nothing about God deter you, the church is a beautiful thing if you have the right one but there are very very few that I can even go into because of the judgmentalism. Please don't let some fake people totally pull you away from the real truth. God bless you and I will always pray for you
  • Sonny from Don Eier Von SatanFolks, MJK wrote this song in regards to his son Devo H Keenan, there is concert footage where prior to playing H. MJK states that fact.
  • Anthony from U.s.a.The song is clearly about heroin addiction and making the choice to stop using it before it kills him . I believe it was in 1995 that Maynard had a son and aenima was released a year later so to say that their both totally void of hate, but killing him just the same is to say that his newborn son is pure and unable to feel such things and seeing how pure and innocent he is makes him feel as if he is dying , and also that heroin has no desire to take his life, it too is devoid of hate but has a real possibility of killing him. "Snake behind me hisses ,what my damage could have been. Heroin has oft been referred to as snakebite (see the godsmack song voodoo for a clear reference) so now that the addiction has been put behind him he now sees how easily he could have died. And that his son is before him needing him to be there in his life. The venomous voice is the temptation left in his mind to use again the line drags me down like some sweet gravity . Is the way a very strong shot of heroin feels. Your unable to stay standing. It's as if you are wrapped in a warm blanket and pulled gently downward. " I am to connected to you to slip away to fade away is him realizing he loves his son so much that he can't allow himself .To be taken away from him by a drug overdose

    I see that the majority of you guys seem to think it's about some kind of f--ked up experience in his childhood that leads him to have abusive feelings towards his own family when he actually had a very normal childhood for the most part. No mention of molestation or abuse . He had a relatively good childhood. I think his mother tried to shove religion down his throat but that's about the extent of it.

    And let's keep in mind this is the same man who wrote the lyrics to opium for breakfast.
  • Fordicator from Los AngelesWhat's coming through is alive.
    What's holding up is a mirror.
    But what's singing songs is a snake
    Looking to turn this piss to wine.
    (Desceipt and contradiction leading to false understanding until moment of Revelation )
    They're both totally void of hate
    But killing me just the same. (The seed of doubt and fear speaks through logic detection but inherent that it DOES NOT point straight to spirit. It's a dance around spiritual acknowledgement)

    (At this point, I had conquered this seed of contradiction . When I acknowledged gods will for my next step, without knowing. A flash of spirit took over me, and I could see without sight, the body below gods angel, as he allowed me to confess myself that i was ignorant)
    The snake behind me hisses
    What my damage could have been. (That guilt and fear that didn't need to be)
    My blood before me begs me
    Open up my heart again.
    (Seeking gods love and it was fruitions)

    And I feel this coming over like a storm again.
    Considerately. (Swell of spiritual knowledge. I knew then as I always knew yet had denied. This was gods unveiling)

    Venomous voice, tempts me,
    Drains me, bleeds me,
    Leaves me cracked and empty.
    Drags me down like some sweet gravity.
    (This was my mental acknowledgment of the trap that i had been entranced in)

    The snake behind me hisses
    What my damage could have been.
    My blood before me begs me
    Open up my heart again. (Again, the construct from the devil's spite against God, confirmed and my reawakened confirmed)

    And I feel this coming over like a storm again. (A swell in the holy spirit consumed me)

    (I spoke to God in confirmation)
    I am too connected to you to
    Slip away, to fade away.

    (Looking back at the dead snake that once beheld me)
    Days away I still feel you
    Touching me, changing me,
    And considerately killing me.

    (Looking back at god, shed my thick clay of ignorance)
    Without the skin,
    Beneath the storm,
    Under these tears
    The walls came down.

    (Again looking back)
    And the snake is drowned and
    As I look in his eyes, (seeing it for what it was, dead now and unable to Controll me)
    My fear begins to fade
    Recalling all of those times.
    I could have cried then.
    I should have cried then.
    (I literally recalled the times I knew I had to cry and seek God's truth but could not bring myself to because of the mechanism of doubt)

    And as the walls come down and
    As I look in your eyes (god)
    My fear begins to fade
    Recalling all of the times

    I have died (in this life)
    And will die. (Turning now as a pledge of allegiance to he)
    It's all right.
    I don't mind. (In this moment I realized the value bestowed upon me, and what a great gift this wisdom is, it IS WORTH A THOUSAND LIVES JUST TO FIND THIS PLACE)


    I am too connected to you to
    Slip away, to fade away.
    (I knew despite my contradiction in life I had NEVER disbelieved what i knew was true, what I felt as true as a child and echos of which showed face over my life. I simply began to ignore)

    (Looking back at the snake and his affect on my life)
    Days away I still feel you
    Touching me, changing me,
    And considerately killing me.

    Consideratly killing me - so that I may find the path to God, for it was in darkness my spirit was bound to find the truth it knew despite contradiction of mind.
  • Mandy from OhioH. Is a street name for heroin.
  • Jodie from XxIt sounds like it's about child sex abuse.
    "Days away I still feel you touching me changing me". He's talking about being abused, maybe sexually abused as a child
    "And I feel this coming over like a storm again". He's tempted to abuse.

    I think the snake may be the person that abused the singer when he was a child.
  • Haytham from EgyptI think as with most of Tool's songs, it is all metaphoric. Given that train of thought, I think the song is about having a child and how it changes you (in his case from an addiction/temptation, possibly heroin, but not necessarily, let's assume that for arguements sake though).

    Translating some lines from their metaphors you get:
    coming through is alive (the child)
    holding up is a mirror (child looks like him)
    what's singing songs is a snake (addiction)
    Looking to turn this piss to wine (heroin will cure you're pain)
    They're both killing me just the same
    - the heroin kills you (obviously)
    - the child (unavoidably changes who you are, destroys you're current lifestyle)
    - my blood (your child)
    - the snake (your addiction)
    - I should/could have cried (instead of taking heroin to make things better, deal with your pain)
    The snake hisses what my damage could have been
    - without the heroin he would have to deal with his pain
    Every single line in this song supports this metaphor. Something I don't see in a lot of other posts is how lines in the song fully support their notion.
  • Kyle from Sand Lakes Provincial Park, Mbthis song could be about when a loved one hurts you and you love them so much that you can't really get mad at them for doing it. And the one hurt will easily forgive the other. This is referring to when Maynard's father abused him and since maynard loved him, he didn't want to get mad
  • Casey from Edgewood, MdI'm almost sure that Maynard never had a opiate addiction . But that that doesn't mean that the song couldn't have been written about someone he knew or collaborated with maybe someone in the band ? There just seems to many references to heroin addiction I.e " the snake representing a serpent - dragon , Comfortably killing me meaning it feels so good in the moment that you don't care if it kills you . There is even other less subtle references in the song . I guess to that artist like Tool would want you to get your own personal feeling for a song or they would put more obvious lyrics in them " Think for yourself Question authority to quote one of there songs.
  • Clinton from Payson, UtIt really sucks to have my comment down to freaking low and that no one will see it. I will say this, many of you have brilliant facts and definitions for this life altering song.

    Personally, I feel it is about him struggling to be a better father than the one that he had for him and his fears about abusing, hurting, mentally hurting physically inflicting pain onto his child. He knows that he would not do it but you still have to go through that struggle in your mind when overcoming something like that in your childhood to having children of you own. His boy's middle name is "H." So, yeah.

    But, this is where the beauty of Maynard James Keenan comes into play... this man is a POET!!! yes, a poet, he writes his lyrics to make it to where that everybody can connect to them on their own personal level. Thus is the outcome of these hardcore online debates over which is write because everybody can connect to what he has been singing to you on your own level, big or small.

    Thank you for taking your time to read my post. Clinton.
  • Ian from Chilli, OhMaynard's birth name wasn't Maynard Herbert Keenan, it was James Herbert Keenan. Maynard was his army nickname
  • Andrea from Okmulgee, OkMaybe he wrote the melody first and what ever seemed to fit right he used. And then somehow applied a meaning to it to get it to make some kind of sense to fit his self image. Maybe............. Maynard isn't a God and just likes to put on a good show. Maybe......it's personal and it's no ones business, or it's just a Surealistic Collage of a landscape translated into sound. Narcissistic lovers all ways think they are the ones who have been abused. They are all ways the ultimate victims in everthing. Anything can be read into anything if you want something to mean something that will serve you a purpose. Maybe the words just sounded cool. I don't believe he's going to marry that actress.
    They seem nothing alike at all!!!!! Very strange. If so, I'd set a wager it wont last very long. I think Maynard sometimes has a way to be very cold to women. His soul mate could walk right past him and he wouldnt even know it, or better said, if he did, he wouldnt have the guts to do anything about it. Because its much safer to live in an un real world of image making then it is to be really, real to someone. Hence, the space between.

  • Jory from Bangor, MeHey Nero from Richmond MO. jiust to set the record straight his bith name is James Herbert Keenan not maynard you dumbass. Maynard is a nickname he got when he was in the army
  • Brian from Atlanta, Galisten, i truly believe this song is about being abused and resisting the urge to abuse "snake behind me" maybe is a compulsion to dwell on the past and how its helped shape you and blood before me is maybe the future and what it could hold if you give into the past. maybe you should just spark it up and lay back and listen, really open your mind and see how the song personally affects you, thats what its there for, that why he writes the way he does, like jesus did metaphors lol. i dont think maynard is a god for the record just a very talented guy. and thats all.
  • Alex from La, Cawell my name is alez grey and some of u are half right but not all there see i do tools artwork and that songs is for his son Devo on how he used to be into dmt mushrooms and acid but has kicked that but does use it on occasion for writting purposes but yeah and how now he is safisticated and how he coudl have died if he continued his old ways
  • Lauren from Inv, FlThe song is about dying. I think in the song he's realizing he's going to die and that he can't escape it. It's about reincarnation. The snakes are symbols of death, or the creatures that will take him to the other side. He fears death, but then he remembers all the times he's died before, and will die again.

    And as the walls come down
    And as I look in your eyes
    My fear begins to fade
    Recalling all of the times
    I have died
    And will die.
    It's all right.
    (I don't mind)
    I don't mind.
    I don't mind.
    I don't mind.

  • Kali from Martinsburg, WvWhy can't the song be named after herion but not be about herion. You know that thing you do when you say one thing but mean another. hmm What's it called. Oh, a Metaphor yeah thats it. Which if it is a metaphor than it was meant to be interperited. Oh, and being abused as a child doesn't make you a good song writer and how many of you grew up with him and prepped his needles for injection? Anyone?
  • Monkeycs from Ms Stx, Francetrey, just watch maynard in their live shows, before and after Ænima, on stage he was always high, this so strange presence what do you think it was? he HAD a real problem with heroin...
    aenima was the end of his addiction... you surely know that someone in rehab heve to write a letter to his own addiction explaining why he have to quit her, H. is maynard's letter to heroin
    anyway he was better in live under H...
  • Trey from Lexington, KyMaynard never had a heroin addiction (or an addiciton, for that matter). I don't know why any of you all think that he did. He said in anm interview that he has experimented with drugs but never had a problem with them.
  • Mark from Johannesburg, South AfricaDefinitely one of the deepest songs Ive ever heard. Im a recovering addict myself so I relate completely
  • Travis from Houston, Txmy opinion on the song is that its about overcoming his heroin addiction because he is going to be a father.H for heroin and his sons middle name is H. and he fears both of them. the snake being his addiction. telling him he could of hurt or killed himself. and his blood begging him to open up his heart again. is his son and him wanting to be there for him and love him. and when he says the snake is drowned and his fear fades. it means that he realizes that hell be alright without heroin. and him sayin once the walls come down and as i look into your eyes his fear fades. meaning he sees his son being born and looks at him and realizes its going to be ok. and doesnt fear being a father anymore. and the part about him being to connected to slip away. is about both the heroin and his son. sayin he is attatched to them both. and he doesnt want to abandon his son for heroin. and he doesnt want to stop doing heroin because hes going to be a father. but he chooses the right thing and overcomes his addiction. but thats just my opinion.
  • The One The True from Texas, TxtHis song is only understood by people who Have kids. you Have to give up everytHing. your addictions, Habits, and tHe drugs. tHe simplest explaination is tHe best remeber the razor? maynard's baby's moma had devo about tHis time. you tHink too much. just know tHey watcH and laugH.
  • Nic from Alagama, MtI believe this song is about Heriorin, an opiate. You need to be able to know how it feels to come off that in order to understand the lyrics.
  • Paul from Santa Cruz, Canevermind
  • Paul from Santa Cruz, Cathis song is what represents us in our mind and what represents us in our perfect symbolism and what is our total effect on life this way. I think that the general well being of everyone is in this song and how it ordeals to what helps us in the long run. I want people to know the difference of the past and the present. This is coming from an expert on the band Tool.
  • Joseph from Wintersville, OhNobody really knows forsure what the song is about, but considering Maynards past I would think it's about Herion. Anyone that's dealt with an opiate addiction can easily relate to this song. "Venomous voice, tempts me,
    Drains me, bleeds me,
    Leaves me cracked and empty.
    Drags me down like some sweet gravity.
    " and "days away I still feel you touching me changing me" try comming off of that, wait a couple of days you can still feel it touching you changing you into a shell of the person you use to be. I do see how it deals with his child, I imagine having a child in the middle of a full blow opiate addiction would be hard.
  • Raven from San Antonio, TxWow. My step father who used to beat my head in all those years said that Tool was the band that described his life. Really? Than why didn't he pay attention to the meaning of the song?! He was beaten by his step father so he takes it out on a girl(me)... with no hate in her. Hypocrite... maybe one day he'll learn.

    My absolute favorite song by tool.
  • M from Spokompton, WaPeter in Ottowa is brilliant. Also - I want to know who Devo's mom is, too. Just curious. And jealous.
  • Kyle from Eagan, MnIf I may quote:

    "you are all reading way too much into this song.. maynard laughs in interviews about how all of you want to make things so much more difficult than it really is.
    - bianca, San diego, CA"

    And then link:

    http://toolshed.down.net/opinion/opinionapmjk.gif
  • Drkato from Huntington Beach, CaI think as with most of Tool's songs, it is all metaphoric. Given that train of thought, I think the song is about having a child and how it changes you (in his case from an addiction/temptation, possibly heroin, but not necessarily, let's assume that for arguements sake though).

    Translating some lines from their metaphors you get:

    coming through is alive (the child)
    holding up is a mirror (child looks like him)
    what's singing songs is a snake (addiction)
    Looking to turn this piss to wine (heroin will cure you're pain)

    They're both killing me just the same
    - the heroin kills you (obviously)
    - the child (unavoidably changes who you are, destroys you're current lifestyle)

    - my blood (your child)
    - the snake (your addiction)

    - I should/could have cried (instead of taking heroin to make things better, deal with your pain)

    The snake hisses what my damage could have been
    - without the heroin he would have to deal with his pain

    Every single line in this song supports this metaphor. Something I don't see in a lot of other posts is how lines in the song fully support their notion.
  • Niles from Springfield, MoI think that it is absolutley absurd that anyone would say that this song relates to drug usage, especially heroin. Those of you that beleive that have obviously yet to mind expand and probably heard of tool through the local radio station. If anyone knew anything about tool, by this i do not mean knowing tool through only euphorically induced epiphanies either, i mean honestly enjoy the portrayals and messages of tool, they would know that this song is not of heroin but of temptation and decisions that are good for you, not for moms or pops, but for the benefit of yourself. Although maynard has had a past with drugs, aenima also proves why this song is not about heroin.
  • Travis from Canton, Gathis song is written in the key of b-flat.
    guess what the note b-flat was once called?
    if you guessed H, you're right.
  • Steven from Dallas, Txits about his struggles with heroin.. come on now guys. H. is the street name for heroin. MJK has a long history with opiates
  • Nick from Knoxville, Tnit could be about heroine but i doubt it
  • Age from C-ville, PaSomething I have a real problem with is how everyone thinks this about drugs. Everyone relates Tool's song meanings to drugs. Think about Tool and Maynard and the overall outlook of their lyrical techniqualities. The songs are written to be interpreted as however you interpret them of course, but think about the true meaning of the lyrics. Not how it relates to you getting your drug fix. This is simply music at its finest. Please don't ruin it with your ignorance.
  • Jimmy from Byron, IlPeople, please. The song is about heroin. Junkies used to call the drug H back in the day (or maybe still). Listen to the lyrics it's totally self explanatory.
  • Tresdave from N Town, Mait dosn't really matter, but in the song meanings at the top it says his birthname was Maynard Herbert Keenan, its not, his birth name is James Herbert Keenan. The song "Jimmy" refers to his name because the song is set when he was 11. Maynard is his nickname he got while in the army.
  • Steven from Jumba, Tx"The snake behind me..." I percieve as being a person's deepest and darkest paranoias they may have. You try to put these thoughts behind you, but sometimes they're all you can see: That's what this song is about. This draining and venomous voice of the hissing snake continuously reminds him of *what his damage could have been*, all of the bad things that could have, and or could be happening. While his blood BEGS and PLEADS him to open his heart back up, to know more than just pessimism and try to live life again. Everytime this heart and snake conflict comes about, it hits him like a storm, tearing away at him piece by piece. I see this song referring to the burdens of depression. He recalls the times he could have cried (for help) and SHOULD have cried (for help), but did nothing to stop this freely reigning snake from bleeding him towards potential (figurative and literal) death. Finally when the snake is drowned in the storm that comes over him day to day, he still feels it's embrace touching and changing him. In otherwords, the un-treated paranoia that drowned all will to open himself back up, seek help and get better scarred him. Maynard isn't telling us to ignore the snake and only listen to our blood, he's telling us to f*cking kill this snake before it kills us, THEN listen to your heart.
  • Bianca from San Diego, Cayou are all reading way too much into this song.. maynard laughs in interviews about how all of you want to make things so much more difficult than it really is.
  • Nzo from San Antonio, Txleft field comment:
    'H' was the name of jimi hendrix's roadie, who tested all his drugs beforehand. Just looking at it from a different angle, under a different light. ha.
  • Matt from Lafayette, LaWhen thinking about the title for this song, I've always looked at it more visually than literally. The letter "H" itself could be seen as a cup either half empty or half full.
  • Maggie from New Orleans, LaI SOOO agree with Tom! That's what I've been saying! Think for yourself! Don't over analyze. The beauty of art is that it provokes thought. Maynard is a master artist....as well as all of the members of the band! I love them!
  • Jesika from Llano, Tx Ha ha.. , the way i see it, Maynard does have most of yall fooled( some have it right on).... and i wanna know who Devo's mom is-
  • Tom from Fort Collins, CoYou need to not think of this song as being about maynard. Many of you are forgetting what the whole idea behind tool is.... the music is supposed to be a tool towards your own discovery/ exploration/ improvement/ evolution. While the songs are obviously going to be based off of something maynard experienced, they are very relatable to multiple subjects. If you really sit down and just listen im guessing you will be reminded of something in your own life.
  • Calvin from Troy, Ohthis song is very beautiful and i believe its about how he was abused as a child and it tempts him to do it to his family.
  • Tyler from Knoxville, Tnthis song is about heroin and heroin addiction, h. for heroin.
  • Joey from Westville, Nythis song is clearly about Heroin.
  • Patrick from Verona, United StatesFor all the people that think Maynard wrote this song because he was addictedto heroin or some other drug, I would like to take this oppertunityto discredit that by quoting Maynard from an interview he did with MTV's Kurt Loder around the release date of 13th step.. Loder: "Thealbum title, Thirteenth Step, seems to be a reference to the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step rehab program.
    Keenan "I dont think this album is specifically for people who are going through recovery , although that metaphor is absoutley presen.This was a very difficult task for me, because I don't know what [drug addiction] is like. I drew on the experiences of friends who have gone through recovery, and friends who will never go through recovery. Layne Staley, for example, who was an old friend." Based on that quote I Highly doubt that during the writing process for H maynard was writing about his personal battles with drug addiction.
  • Rob from Black Mountain, NcThe truth is, now matter how hard to figure out, is that the H stands for the two lines representing two people. one being himself, the other a person who abused his trust and sent him down the the wrong path, the line between represents the connection they share, as u can see in the lyrics, he has a fear of trust do to the mistrust caused from this event . the "i should have cried/should have died/ I DONT MIND/ I WILL DIE, is that he understands nobody is completely trustworthy, but each time he believes and is optomistic, but knows he will be let down, and accepts it, and the walls comming down are about the holes in his trust, the snake line represents the protection given(to kill a snake about to strike him) from the one he wants so bad to trust, and these people who want so bad to earn the trust, but betray him anyway, while he knew the whole time they would, and accepted that fact long before it happened
  • Tracy from St Paul, MnI think H is about H,,the letter and its love/hate relationship with g and i,,wanting itself to b a vowel but never reaching the level of A, E, O, U of course I and the wishywashy Y. A gut wrenching song written from a pencil,,guided by maynard when he still had a whole middle name picked out for his son. Oh yes and i heard that A and E got a little close during studio sessions,,thus producing an offspring which went on to star in the spelling of AEnima,,i apologize for not knowing how to correctly type the AE symbol that all u official Tool fans have figured out. So i went to confession did my penance and am once again bound for ,,,H.
  • Dr.maven from Alambama, AlHe has a lot of wine.

    Something to excite on darker nights?

    Fusing 'h'. Abysmal. Discouraging, and I feel hurt. Soul search a little less deeper. The answers become clearer.

    Puzzle Solving is what we like, what we enjoy; there are no solutions to these puzzles, just more puzzles. And thats why you try...
  • Ryan from Sarnia, CanadaThis song is about if he should keep custody of his child. Not sure about timelines maybe about abortion/custody.
  • Cole from Winnipeg, CanadaThe song third eye is about the book the yaqui way by carlos castaneda. This song to has some connection. Carlos talks about this girl he sees on an hallucigenic trip on dakura. And he gives her the name H. The fact that third eye is already connected with the book and teh fact that the name of the song is identical to what he names the girl. also you tie a lizard with its eyes shone shut for this trip and he whispers things into your ear. There are two lizards one searchs for the answer to a quesion u ask, the other tells you it when you tripping. Both lizards do not hate even though you sowed ones eyes shut and the other mouth, but the dakura still slowly takes your soul. This is about all the connections but i do believe its things mixed with maynards life and the dakura trip carlos has.
  • Sean from Weymouth, Mathis song is about Heroin, Maynard gives this awful drug personification by giving it life as a snake. he also gives his blood life in the song by giving it words. hence the line "the snake behind me hisses what my damage could have been, my blood before me begs me open up my heart again" you see the snake is heroin "hissing" at you or making you need to use it, and his blood is begging him not to think of what he is doing. the song may not be about maynard however
  • Josh from Phx, AzI think the song H. is brilliant. I interpret it as a person that is scarred by the way they were raised and when someone they are close to does not understand how they were raised or what developed them or knows what bothers the person, it is consideratly killing the person when a loved one reacts in opposition to a situation then the person it is "killing"
  • Peter from Ottawa, CanadaI think people who try to pigeonhole Tool songs as "being about blah blah that happened to Maynard" really can't appreciate how amazing his lyrics are. While it's true that the songs were probably -inspired- by certain experiences in his life, he writes in such a way that his songs convey a generalized feeling or situation. Maybe this song was inspired by Maynard's experience with abuse, maybe it was inspired by experience with addiction, but either way the song at it's core about a person torn between two compulsions, and the stress they are put under. If you are listening to the song trying to figure out what happened to Maynard, you are depriving yourself of the wonderful experience he has laid out for you. Try instead to simply listen to it more generally and see what connections you make to it, what it makes -you- remember and feel, and what the song means to -you-. It's a lot more rewarding, I promise ;)
  • Nate from Claremont, Cai just wanted to point out a line: "my blood before me begs me open up my heart again"... his son is his blood (family), begging him to open his heart up (maybe a heroine addiction closed it), i think to maynard personally this song is about his son helping him overcome a heroin addiction (that could be the reason he gave devo the middle name H) but like others have said anything could be substituted from one's personal experiences. of course this is all merely speculation...
  • Mitch from Oak Lawn, Ili'm surprised noone seems to have meantioned the possibility of "H" standing for hydrogen. it seems to make sense in relation to the lines which suggest ideas of rebirth such as...

    "Recalling all of the times
    I have died
    and will die."

    hyrdogen would fit in this idea as the simplest element of the universe everything might return to eventually before becoming something else. given, my chemistry and physics might be out-of-whack, i think the theory works pretty well, and seems to fit a theme as suggested by the track (-) ions.
  • Hayden from Knoxville, TnI think the song titale stands for two things. It stands for Heroin and it stands for Devo's middle name. This song is about how fathering Devo has healed Maynard of his addiction...observe these lyrics.

    "Venomous voice, tempts me,
    Drains me, bleeds me,
    Leaves me cracked and empty.
    Drags me down like some sweet gravity"

    "And the snake is drowned and
    As I look in his eyes,
    My fear begins to fade
    Recalling all of those times."

    Obviously the snake is addiction and abuse, and the eyes he looks into are most likely Devo's, this is, to me, a very possible meaning of the song.
  • Andrew from Pittsburgh, Pathe point of it all, if there is any at the end of things, is that this is an expression of someones'self...be it of soud reason, existencial experience, or just somthing that the man needed to get off of his chest, some one that expresses somthing that none of us can understand fully but we still relate to and and follow because it is all so familier... admit it it's familier the lead singer of tool is nothing short of heavenly familier so just stop trying to define what he's saying and just take in what it means to you. in each of us the songs have a different meaning so just accept what they mean and move on and adapt and "watch the weather change"
  • Jill from Vegas, NvDevo's mom told me about 6 years ago that this song was about Devo. This was completely unsolicited and totally down to motherhood honest. There was nothing to gain except a more beautiful understanding of Devo.

    Maybe I shouldn't have written this,however, when I read all of these postings, I wanted to place the song at the heart of the father expressing himself to his son.

    Most humbly submitted

    ~ jill
    ~ merryhill
    ~ vegas
    ~ dixie
    ~ before the milllenium

  • Kevin from Indepence, Mook, the person who wrote that,"It's possible the H stands for Herbert. Maynard James Keenan's birth name is Maynard Herbert Keenan, and it could be about his troubled childhood. (thanks, nero - richmond, MO). His name isnt Maynard at all. that was a nickname given to him by his army friends, do your reasearch and u will find that his name is actually. James Herbert Keenan. Not Maynard Herbert Keenan. for gods sake do u actually think that someone with this much mistery and question would actually use his go by his real name.
  • Kho from Canada Town, CanadaI dont know much anout maynard's life but I always thought that there was some connection with escaping a cycle. Notes go ABCDEFG and then start over again, H has a very interesting implication. Escaping a realm.

    I could see how that would support him being abused and resisting abusing.
  • Jd from Fl, Flhere's one way of interpretation. think of his birth name James Herbert Keenan. H. being his middle initial. then think of the refrence he made about having a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. or one friend telling him one thing and another telling him something opposite of that. and the H. is him being him stuck in the middle of this "tug o' war"
  • Travis from Boise, IdI haven't read all of the comments yet so sorry if this is redundant.

    I'm sure you've all heard that it could possibly be about his son Devo because of his middle name. Well, just to shed some more light on that, think about this:

    "The snake behind me hisses what my damage could have.
    My blood before me begs me open up my heart again." And maybe the snake could be destructive things that hurt his family, like drugs, or even touring. "My Blood" would probably be family, (I think we all agree there) and opening up his heart again is softening and giving in to family (maybe?).

    then, "Venomous voice, tempts me" like maybe the same destructive things like drugs or i like to think touring is tempting him and calling him, and ultimately leaving him "cracked and empty."

    here's where it gets good: "I am too, connected to you to slip away, to fade away. Days away I still feel you touching me, changing me." I honestly think its about leaving his family for 9 months to go touring, OR drugs. He's too connected to touring, as in its an obligation and if Tool cares at all about success, they have to tour. He cant just quit tool and "fade away." the other side of the coin is that he's too addicted to the drugs to quit.

    anyways, that's one fan's opinion. I use to think it was about his love for his son, and the pain of leaving him for months to tour, but then again, I'm really only reading the lyrics at face value, and we all know thats foolish :D
  • George from Chicago, IlI in many ways feel this has to do with religion. Maynard is a very spiritual and also Religious man. Shown in the song Disgustipated, by the song repeated "Reverend Maynard" H i believe does not mean anything. For God sakes he named a song "Die Eier Von Satan" "The eggs of Satan" which is a song about making brownies with out hash. Maynard cleary is stating that satan is touching him, changing him, and considerately killing him. He refers to satan as the snake "venomous voice, temps me, drains me, bleeds me, leaves me cracked and empty" "The snake behind me hisses what my damage could have done." satan is tempting him. "As the snake is drowned, and as i look in his eyes my fears begin to fade recalling all the times, i could have cried, I should have cried" Saying that as the snake was drowned the all sins were takin away there is no more fear, so people can now cry with joy. "And as the walls come down and as i look in your eyes the fear begins to fade recalling all of the times, i have died, and will die, its alright i dotn mind" there he is talking to God saying its ok for him to die his sins are forgiven the snake is drowned and your presents will forever fade his fear.
  • Ian from New York, Nynice one Jake from miami. The whole album is about overcoming inner and out demons and becoming a more pure and clam being. I'll explain this more some other time.
  • Anders from Fredericia, DenmarkWell, as far as I know this song i about drugs. I read somewhere that the H. stands for heroine. And if you look into the lyrics the song might as well be interpreted that way. "I am too connected to you to slip away, days away I still feel you." This is quite obvious. But as many of Tools songs this one is up to the individual being.
  • Eric from Kerrville, TxThis song roks!!! I spelled that wrong on accident. Anyways, I think that this song represents personal demons in Maynards life. I would elaborate but school bell just rang.
  • Michelle from Fair Oaks, CaMaynard's birth name isn't Maynard Herbert Keenan.. It's James Herbert Keenan..
  • George from Hell, Pa"What's singing songs is a snake"
    Maynard is the snake. It's an internal struggle for Maynard to open himself up for those he loves. It's told from the point of view of the medium of half-empty(snake) half-full(those he loves.) When the snake is drown, he also "has died" but he doesn't mind because his loved ones have changed him. The last time he says considerately killing me, it has a different meaning, this time addressing the loved ones. He died for his loved ones, hence, they considerately killed him.
  • Max from New York, NyI've actually met a guy with a tatoo that says H. And he says it signifies not the Tool song H, but of all songs, Hooker with a Penis. LMAO!
  • Janie from Portland, OrI love this song, such awesome and Maynards voice in "as the walls come down and as I look in your eyes my fear beings to fade recalling all of the times I have died and will die it's alright I don't mind!!!" awesome! I love it. It's almost sad too. Peace.
  • Ruben from Utrecht, NetherlandsIf a song can muster up so many meanings, it must be great. You can interpret this song in many ways, be it child abuse, heroine addiction or fake friends. To me personally, H. is about a love/hate relationship. The speaker is too connected to the person, yet wants to fade away. This truly is a legendary song.
  • Meagan Wilson from Afton, Okuh...nero.... Maynard's birth name is James Herbert Keenan.
  • Jake from Miami, Fledit: and love is represented but the blood opening his heart as well
  • Jake from Miami, Fli think dave has it the closest, It's talking about the dualitic nature of our reality. Everyone can have their own interpretation, of course, but this is what i think went through Maynard's mind when he wrote it. He's talking about not only FACING your own fear, but LEARNING not to fear it. Any part about connection is because all humans are attached to ethics and emotions that have occured as result of evoloution. The snake represents any bad emotion, which all negitive emotion is based on fear. The positive emotions are based on the fact that the snake is killing him for a purpose. When he talks about looking in the snakes eyes and the wall comes down is the restriction of duality. As he realizes the true nature for unity, the wall falls down. It's saying when your fear and love become the same...

    You have achived 40 six & 2

    (this was probibly written influenced by his father-son realationship with his father compared to the one he wishs to have with his son.)

    Maynard is the leader that will help the human race unity, using music as a TooL... We just have to understand it.

    (this was probibly written influenced by his father-son realationship with his father compared to the one he wishs to have with his son.)
  • Ed from Bronx, NyI interpret this song as being primarily relationship oriented-- negative past experiences potentially poisoning a current relationship and jeapordizing future relationships.
  • Ian from New York, NyI feel i need to elaborate on brian's comment about this song being about maynard quiting music. This song represents the more emotional connection to both his son and his music and the divide that is very similar to an addiction (to music that is) We even though he didn't quit he still has these same feelings as we see in "The Patient". On this song he sayes that he is getting sick of being forced to do things by his fans and the industry. He is feeling that it might be time to quit. Sorry if this doesn't make sense or the spelling is bad.
  • Janie from Medford, OrI love this song and I love Maynard's voice where he sings the part

    " Without the skin, beneath the storm, under these tears the walls came down. And the snake is drowned and as I look in his eyes, my fear begins to fade recalling all of those times. I could have cried then. I should have cried then. And as the walls come down and as I look in your eyes my fear begins to fade recalling all of the times I have died and will die. It's all right. I don't mind!" thats an awesome part and his voice is amazingly beautiful.

    I think this song is about a relationship being either a drug or drugs or another human being and possibably a higher power....

    Well yeah anyways I will ramble later.

    Peace!
  • Joe from Washington, DcThis song is definately not about heroin, its about his son, and having a better relationship with his son then he ever did with his father or step-father.
  • Damon from Queenstown, New ZealandI say this song is about a person who Maynard cares about and loves, and this person is hurting him. "The snake behind me hisses what my damage could have been. My blood before me begs me open up my heart again. And I feel this coming over like a storm again" To me those couple of lines show that Maynard wants to keep loving this person even though he is being hurt, and the whole I feel it coming over like a storm again part shows that the person is hurting him again. The chorus also gives it away, "I am too connected to you to slip away, to fade away." Shows that he's too attached to the person to leave and the end of the chorus "your considerately killing me" shows the person is still hurting him, unintentionally
  • Samantha from Perth, Wai've always known herion to be called h and listen to the lyric's you can tell he's struggling with his addiction, i've been there and it all makes so much sense to me.
    myth.w.a australia
  • Jeff from La, CaI believe H does stand for heroine, but that Maynard chose to leave it as H so as to let the listeners innsert their own H (whether it be heroine or drinking or whatever your guilty pleasure may be). This song is fascinating though because you can stare at the words to it and be mesmerized for hours. You could say the same for all their songs too of course. This one really makes you think and the fact that Maynard left the H up to everybody else is awesome
  • Brian from Mayfield Heights, Ohactually, his birth name was james herbert keenan
  • Frank from My Own, IlFrom the first time I heard this song I figured it was about heroine. "They're both totally void of hate, but killing me just the same", really speaks for this. Heroine is not living entity and therefor does not have the capacity to hate. Even though it doesn't hate the user, it still kills him. "My blood before me begs me open up my heart again. And I feel this coming over like a storm again." Signs of an obvious addiction. "Days away I still feel you touching me, changing me, and considerately killing me." He is forever changed by the heroine addiction, just as most people are with drugs. Even though heroine was killing him, it was doing it "considerately" because of the high he received from it.

    That's my .02 atleast
  • Brian from Mayfield Heights, Ohi believe that the song is about Maynard's struggle to either spend time with Devo or stay with his music and the industry. "The snake" is the music, fans, etc., and "you" is Devo. Both are tearing in him in different directions, but both offer different rewards ("what my damage could have been")("some sweet gravity"). And at one point, Maynard considers leaving the "snake"...but onviously, since we have Lateralus, he didn't.
  • Dave from Boulder, CoH is a song about the destructive thing in all of us. As the song progresses we see Maynard fight this thing inside of us all and then come to accept it. The japanese culture says that to face the inner demon within and survive is the only truley courageous act. "The snake behind me hisses
    What my damage could have been.
    My blood before me begs me
    Open up my heart again." this is a reference to the destructive nature of the thing inside him and the struggle between the duality of his good side versus "evil" side. I beleive that maynard is leading us to overcome duality, he accepts these two distinct parts of himself and takes power over this destructive force (" And the snake is drowned and
    As I look in his eyes,
    My fear begins to fade...") He accepts and transcends.
  • Lindsey Goad from Toler, Kyi think that this is talking about a relationship between maynard and a lover. about how much hell she's putting him though and he loves her too much to let go. i think that maynard likes to associate walls with realtionships. (as the walls come down) and in the schism video when he says " i know the peices fit".
  • Twiggy from Toronto, CanadaWhen introducing this song live in 1996, Maynard touched on the idea of having an angel sitting on one shoulder and a devil sitting on the other. In at least one interpretation, the song is about being very close to someone who is tearing you apart, someone you can't bring yourself to leave, but someone who will destroy you because you can't leave them. It is the price you pay for being close to them; they aren't doing it on purpose: "considerately."
    As for the title: The working / early title for this song was "Half Empty." The H likely stands for that (or "Half Full"). It may represent the old "half-empty is interchangeable with half-full" notion. Of course, it could also stand for anything else. It's a safe bet that it does not stand for Heroin.
    I highly believe that this song is about Devo.
    From Interview: Who or what is "H."? (Keenan begins to get really annoyed with this
    line of questioning.)
    My son's name is Devo H. That's all I'll say."
  • Crys from Denton, Txi heard the H stood for heroin, but it was probably from some junkie, so that shows u how reliable my source was.
  • Jack from Bloomington, IlI'd also like to add something. Especially with one line in particular: "I am too connected to you to slip away, to fade away. Days away I still feel you touching me, changing me, and considerately killing me." I've always been told if something supernatural picks you up and it feels right, then it is of God. If the very same thing happens to you, and it feels wrong, then it is Satan. This person when going through change is in a sense going to die whether he gets pulled back or moves forward. And I think that is the pain that he/she is going through at this crossroads in his/her life. On one hand he/she is used to the old ways but knows that in the past there was much suffering with the snake always dragging this person down. But in the future this person has to have faith and believe in a new life. So the old person will die as he/she is renewed. Either way, change is a hard thing.

  • Jack from Bloomington, IlI agree totally with Bob. And I do feel this same very way. I have a very dark past and it haunts me to this day, trying to pull me back, trying to keep me at such low points. But now I strive for the future, a place I know where I can be at that high peak (Parabola) in my life where I can someday look back and see how far I've climbed to be where I'm at. I hope for it!
  • Brian from Mayfield Heights, Ohas for the meaning of the song, Bob is dead on. I'm glad he said it and not me, it saves me the time og having to correct all you people. As for the title tho.. personally, im of the belief that it means "half", as in the old test, "half empty" of "half full". Which means that Stefano is dead on as well. This just posted as a time saver.. no need to scroll down now.
  • Flavio from Miami, FlI think the song is so deep in general because not because of the emotion he puts in the lyrics but also the emotion in the instruments because people can read lyrics and be moved but probably 80% of the time it is the feeling put into the instruments that produce the effect or the sense the words create and this song does a good job at it
  • Lisa from Redlands, CaIn this song I belive Zac,Drexel, from MO is compleatly right if you just listen to the song then you'll here him talking about the drugs
  • Holly from Pensacola, FlThe "snake" in this song, represents something evil that is tearing you down, and it's about revisiting that feeling once again. "Days away I still feel you touching me, changing me, and considerately killing me." -This shows that the feeling and memory still stays with you, you still can fill it, it changed you, and it's "killing", you from just thinking about it. Many people could possibly relate with this song, either through a bad relationship, abuse from your past, or drug-use, etc.
    I love this song, i think it's one of tool's best songs!!!!
  • Bob from Sammamish, WaThe great thing about Tool is that their songs can have so many different interpretations. In my opinion based on what I have heard this song is about choices. The lyrics talk about Maynard getting tempted to go back to old ways the snake represents this temptation (and I guess people would say the devil as well) before a live Tool show once Maynard said "So, do any of you watch those Warner Brothers Cartoons? Sometimes as I wonder about one of the guys having a tough time making a decision. He?s got an angel on one shoulder, devil on the other. Seems pretty obvious, right? Usually the angel is the one who is going to give the good advice. The devil is trying to get to him to do what is bad for him. It?s not always that simple though. Most times their not really angels or devils, their just friends. Giving you advice. Looking out for your best interest, but not really understanding what is going to be best for you. So, it kinda comes down to you. You have to make the decision yourself. This song?s called H" think of it what you will
  • Zac from Drexel, MoThe "H" stands for the drug heroine and this song is about addiction. The snake being the needle and the venom being the drug. "I am to connected to you" talking to the drug "slip away, fade away, days away i still feel you touching me, changing me" Again talking to the drug. But that is just my perception of the song. It is Tools 2nd best song, Cold and Ugly being the best. And I heard something about the half-empty half-full thing to, Stefano, but i dunno if it is reliable either.
  • Brian from Paoli, InI would like to agree with Andrew, I've heard that too, and makes more sense to me. None the less, probably Tools best work. MJK didn't wanna make a video for it or play it much, because it meant alot to him.
  • None from Savannah, Gathis song talks about having someone who poses as a friend but really tries to bring you down whenever they can. it says to be careful because people may act friendly but have ulterior motives and may try to get something from you. The song was going to be named either "half-full" or "half-empty" (as in the two-faced friend) but they didn't want to choose one or the other because it would take a positive or negative stance and they didn't want it that way.
  • Andrew from Indianapolis, InThe song is about MJK and how he grew up being abused and what not. He wants to do the same to his family, but he won't give in.
  • Stefano from Old Bridge, NjNot really 100% sure about the meaning of the lyrics, although I know the title as it appears on the album contains a period: "H." Also, I have HEARD that Maynard was trying to decide between "Half-empty" and "Half-full" and so just decided on "H." but I don't remember if I read that in an interview with the band or if someone just told me, so it may not be reliable.
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