by Tool

Album: Aenima (1996)
Play Video


  • "Jimmy" is a reference to James Maynard Keenan, lead singer of Tool. It is a song about his childhood "Under a dead Ohio sky," and some traumatic event happening when he was 11, presumably, his mother leaving in some way: "Eleven and she was gone, Eleven is when we waved goodbye." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Glenn - Mildenhall, England

Comments: 47

  • Lex from MnI interpret this as a song about his twin flame and how he needs to work on himself so they can reunite.
  • Pj from Va.I love this song. It's perfectly hauntingly beautiful.
  • Casey from Salt Lake City, UtahThis song is about how Maynard had to say goodbye to his mother at age 11 after she suffered a brain aneurysm. Maynards real name is James Michael Keenan and as a child, his mother probably referred to him as Jimmy. In Keenan’s music he often references his mother and what she went through. “Jimmy” is chapter one to that story, when he had to go live with his father after his mom who he loved and grew up with, became paralyzed. They seemed to have shared a bond as they had the same initials (Maynards name is James Michael Keenan and his mother was named Judith Marie Keenan, both JMK) and she raised him in his youth and barely saw his father until his teenage years. He also references her in his Perfect Circle song, “Judith”, as his mother’s first name was Judith. “The Patient” referencing his mothers sickness. Wings for Marie pt. 1 and 2 are about his mother’s death. Marie referencing her middle name. His mother seems to be a constant theme in his work not just in the music but in wine as well as he named a line of his wine after her. Jimmy is about his mother, who called him Jimmy throughout childhood, getting paralyzed and no longer being able to properly care for him, and how he eventually had to leave her at 11 and start his life over. The line “Under a dead ohio sky” references Ohio, where he and his mother grew up. “Hold your light, 11 lead me through each gentile step, by step, by inch by loaded memory. ” referencing how he lost the 11 years with his mom who lead him through each day, and all the sudden forgets her son when she lost her bodily and cognitive functions, and how she wanted her son to lead her through each step. “As soon as pain allows, so we can reunite and both move on together” could be a message from his mother saying that he will see her soon enough. “Go child go, im headed back home!” could mean her letting her son go before she thought she would die. “Eleven and she was gone” really proves the theory though. Maynard could be writing a letter to his mother in the first bit of the song and his mom could be imagining what she would respond with as she couldnt write, and when she could talk again she told him to go, thats in the second part of the song. I think jimmy is one of the deepest tool songs out there, up with Wings, Right In Two, and The Patient.
  • Michael from Everywhere And Nowhere God bless you Israel for the sake of love you are always their for the scarlet woman. Everything will no longer be as it ever was. For the sake of love. As a wise man told you as an angel told him huh. There can be no bond unless it be for love, for all else is a curse. Repent Jeremiah 19.
  • Drema from VirginiaEd I agree 100% It is the opening of the third eye! 11, 1111 is an awakening code, showing me where it all began, I am wide awake and heading home,
  • Brian from New JerseyJimmy is about Maynard. His mother suffered a paralyzing aneurysm when he was 11 and then moved with his father in MI.
  • Tim from B.e.This is about a theory by a philosopher. We as boys generally say goodbye to our feminine side, which takes the form of a young girl in our psyche, at eleven. This is not the same for everyone and some boys keep to their feminine self. Jung defines the Animus as the unconscious masculine side of a woman, and the Anima as the unconscious feminine side of a man. We can reconnect with our feminine. of course non of this is correct and we should not try to define for others what these songs mean because over analyzing destroys out intuition. Our intuition taps into the collective consciousness and allows us to know things intuitively rather than through experience or analytical thought processes. So the song is your song about you. Delve into yourself and connect with yourself and heal your damaged self through what ever means necessary. I am a mindless drone parroting mjk ideology as if the dogma is factual. It is all fantasy music. Ethereal. beyond the knowable. out of reach.
  • Isaakanderson from Louisiana His mom suffered a paralyzing aneurism when he was 11.
  • Infamy from Richmond, VaThe comments by "Dolly, Liberty , MO" are completely correct. Dolly said it better than I could, but that is exactly it.
  • Infamy from Richmond, VaPlain and simple, the song is about the events that occurred when his mother became disabled. He was 11 years old when it happened. His real name is James, so "Jimmy" is him at 11. That is when they "waved goodbye". Maynard was never the same since, and metaphorically, Jimmy is still 11 years old. After the events happened, a part of him that died, will always be 11, and named Jimmy. This is very simple to understand. Read the other lyrics, and you will see. If you read lyrics from Opiate to 10,000 days, you will see the whole picture. Jimmy = Maynard at 11.
  • Adam from Gray, Lawhat give you guys the clue that something happen to Jimmy at 11, in ohio? still trying to figure out why i even read what this one was about lol
  • Alec from New Orleans, La5000$ says the comment under me is really Maynard....
  • Maynard from Maynardville, OhFirst off hey Jimmy what's up man? Haven't seen you since that time we didn't get raped by my main man daddy. Say hi to yo momma for me. Bitch is fine! I remember that time I spent the night with you after a long day of ice fishing and she was cooking Mexican food and i said i wanted to stick my beef in her taco and yo daddy got all mad and i had to drag your dog down the street naked. I'm still afraid of clowns after that. But this song is exactly like what Jimmy said I know because I wrote it. I was in prison in Blairsville, Ohio and Regan had just freed the slaves and the Canadians were invading Antarctica. I felt the tragedy that had befell the moonuhnites and said to myself "I've got to do something about this." That's why it's a number one record. I was approached by dog the bounty hunter and I snatched that blond ass weave off his head and wiped my ass with a twenty and stuck it down his goathole. I signed with Jacob Goldberg sounds just like Tool record label the very next day. Peter Pan never did fly after that. I'm as we speak in the works with Disney on a made for TV movie. The part of Jimmy will be played by Chuck Norris. We have Jimmy wasn't raped by his daddy t-shirts on sell at the local flea market by one box and get 10 free. The raffle held at the prison sex boy school of learning stuff will be canceled on a count of a boy was found buried in the garden of the school ass up with a care bear stuff full of X in it.
  • Allen from Syracuse, Ny, NyAfter reading the above I believe that "11" "Eleven" is refering to Judith Marie (11 letters) and that it is MJK who is Jimmy. Lets look at his affiliation with organized religion, and he mentions a light in that he will give back to his mother in "Wings for marie pt1". So, "hold your light, eleven lead me through each gentle step by step". and that "im heading back home" I think refers to HER as the 11, and his love for her.
  • Jimmy from Jimmy, Neutral ZonePerhaps this song is about me Jimmy. Me and main man Maynard and for your infomerical this song is about me and main man maynard gettin crizunk in the what we call the nootrail zizone alright?! Me and Maynard we're eleven in Ohio and we stole 11 bottles of condoms at on the eleventh of november at eleven o'clock. THis song is not about me and main man maynard getting molested by his main man daddy but although we did i believe perhaps. He did not suck my ass either. I was there when maynard started the band in '99. He originally named the band prizon boys but he changed it cuz he said it sounded "redundant". Yes. "Redundant" Were his exact words about the band called Prizon Sex Tool. THen perhaps he took out prizon sex, made that a song name, took out tool, made it the band name, and he said i quote his exact words were in '99 "I like it" unquote. I just bought the eighthtool album last summer in the year of our Lord also the year of the coyote '97. If you don't believe me call Maynard I got his number in my phone it's 389-867-5309. My brothers youtube website is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p77uxqIFbPk He also covers for main man maynard on sick days and when it's eleven o'clock unquote . Well. Yall cant bizitch no more. now you know. And knowing is half the battle. Unquote. Peace from main man maynard best friend jimmy. I love ya maynard!. Seeya at church, Perhaps.
  • Damon from Cincinnati, Ohthis song is about his mother having an aneurysm when he was 11 and the turmoil that followed. a couple years later, at his mothers urging he moved to live with his father in michigan (which for me bein from ohio is a traumatic event for any buckeye lol) but as with any song from any great band u take with it what u want, which is y i like them so much
  • Haus from Syracuse, NyMaynard was 11 when his mother had a stroke and was paralyzed. Check Wikipedia.
  • Dolly from Liberty , MoI think the song could have multiple meanings as with anything from Tool. They definitely are not shallow.
    My feeling for the underlying tone is 11 may have been the age when Maynard's mother was paralyzed and also when he was sexually abused. Therefore locking him into that period in time like a repeating film in his head. Like he left a piece of himself under that dead Ohio sky in the means of repressed memories.
    "Under a dead Ohio sky,
    Eleven has been and will be waiting,
    Defending his light and wondering,
    Where the hell have I been?
    Sleeping lost and numb
    So glad that I have found you.
    I am wide awake and heading,
    I think it is a metaphor for delving deep down into his memory through some form of healthy therapy and dealing with those traumatic issues in order to cope with the aftermath instead of drug abuse or some other self destructive means.
    "Lead me through each gentle step by step by inch by loaded memory. I'll move to heal as soon as pain allows so we can reunite and both move on together."
    His way of working through this is reuniting himself with the 11 year old who suffered to heal and regain that piece of himself. The pain of dealing with sexual abuse is a long process and his coming to accept himself as a victim and putting his pieces back together. The coming back home I feel is used metaphorically regarding burying his shame, pain, guilt and releasing that demon that has haunted him for so long.
  • Thy_frnicatr from Ft.worth, Txthis song is about when maynard was left at the grand canyon i beleive
  • Robbie from Reeders, Pai say jimmy is refering to when he was 11. At the age 11 i believe that was the age Maynard started taking everything in concideration, started questioning things. Maynard was called Jimmy when he was little. And the intermission before that was made on one of those little pianos that'd you play with as a little kid so you get a litle hints its about when hes younger. I think when he says "What was it like to see,The face of your own stability(the face is when he started questioning),
    Suddenly look away,Leaving you with the dead and hopeless?"(sunddenly look away, to not start thinking more and just going with it, and the dead and hopeless is like everyday brainwashed people). When he says, 11 and she was gone(she was him, before he starts to think waitt a minute about things expanding his mind) 11 is standing still, waiting for me to free him, by coming home( hes refering to himself saying pretty much how since 11 is when it started, as he says later in the song "Eleven, Lead me through each gentle step" and the songs pretty muchs is saying how he could of changed everything never took anything into thought would free him for everything hes come acrossed and learned about by questionn

    thats my theory lisen to it and see if it makes sense
  • 6re9 from L.a., CaI Agree that his song has Dual meanings. Like most of his lyrics, Maynard deals with the metaphysical. Maynard has an above average IQ, and the proof is in this song, among many others. He has incorporated aspects of the 11 dimensions and quantum mechanics behind M theory. The 11th dimension is "god," however not in a biblical sense. This dimension is the singularity, beginning and the end. It is standing still, time does not exist in it. We are linked to it through the "strings" within us. We are linked to "god" and everything else. When we free ourselves, we come home through the strings, such is the resonance in his voice when he sings this part.
  • Courtney from Pahrump, NvTo me the song is based upon when his mother had her stroke and became paralyzed when he was 11 years old
  • Thecyndicate from Las Vegas, NvI think the song is about both a childs story, maybe about him, and physics.

    11 is the number of dimensions in "M Thoery" and String Thoery. It is the key to how the big bang happend, and twists our understanding of how things really are. First off, Gravity is not a property of our universe, but is leaking TO us from another dimension. There are infinate amount of universes, some exist for the sole reason of you NOT existing in them.

    I think most of the songs on this album have a dual meaning. Do some reading on "M Theory".
  • Bryan from East Hampton, NyI Think That His Mom Had Her Stroke When He Was Eleven leading her to her peralysis
  • Arron from Medon, Tn"if you listen closely, at about 3:15 into the track, you can hear maynard whispering "hold you light, hold your light, hold you light sweet memory, hold your light, hold your light, hold your light where i can see..." An amazing song, which has special meaning for me, because of the number eleven."

    What the hell? "which has special meaning for me, because of the number eleve."
    What makes eleven so special to you?
    So you like the song because it's based upon a number? Hell, we don't even KNOW what this song is based upon.
  • Renee from South Lyon, MiI think it is very interesting how Dustin shows maynard's life through the music, i know about the paralyzation and Maynard's mom Judith, but i always precieved Jimmy about being something far more internal and within James himself rather than actual events. in the idea that he had let his inner child go and forgotten who he was, crept to deep into the shadows, hence he says, "hold your light, eleven lead me through each gentle step by step". and that "im heading back home" back to the light within himslef, as others mention his stability until him then and him now reunite and he can balance his child ideals and adult reality.
  • Dustin from My Home, InOk so i know that most if not all tool songs can be misconstrude for something else and i think maynard wants it that way but my take on this song, when maynard was 10 or 11 he was in a car accident and this is what paralyzed his mother and then lead his mother to belive in god more and young maynard thought why would you worship someone who would do that to you. Maynards mother did not die till 27 years later which is 10,000 days the name of the new album which talks of judith (maynards mum) in a nice way like how maynard would give up his fame and fortune to have her back ok i also think that once his monther was paralyzed and unable to satisfy maynards fathers sexual needs he would use young james (jimmy), the song prison sex talks about sexual abuse leading me to think that maynard was sexually abused as a child and all these bad things happening to him like his mom being paralyzed from the neck down and his dad abusing him might have pushed him farther away from the god he was raised to belive in. i know im probably wrong but that is the reasearh i have done on this certain subjects and this is the peices ive fit together hope i helped.
  • Amanda from Delano, United States"Your Soul Number is ELEVEN.

    Ordinary life, living just for oneself and one's own personal happiness, will never be enough for you.
    Deep inside you identify with all of humankind and you are strongly concerned with collective issues. What we experience in common -
    the major victories and tragedies of our times, and especially the expansion of consciousness and understanding - is very important
    to you. You have strong spiritual inclinations and your intuitive and ESP abilities are very developed.

    You are an idealist and a reformer at heart, and can be intolerant and even scornful of those who do not share your views on
    life. Human weaknesses and needs are something you don't always have much sensitivity about"

    It is proves through numerous tool and apc songs that maynard is spiritual, and sings alot about pyschological meanings and of reflection and rebirth, and with the title of Anema itself being a pyshcological reference to the Anima, which an·i·ma (n-m)
    1. The inner self of an individual; the soul.
    2. In Jungian psychology:
    a. The unconscious or true inner self of an individual, as opposed to the persona, or outer aspect of the personality.
    b. "The feminine inner personality", as present in the unconscious of the male. It is in contrast to the animus, which represents masculine .

    leads me to believe that the song may in ways be pertaining to his numerology..his soul number if you will (which would deff be reference to himslef, and "his stability" ) ...
  • Christine from Belmont, NhI am A major fan of this song i listen to it everyday... Something makes me think that this song has something to do with him loosing someone (a girl/ past relationship) to drugs or someone that was close to him loosing... "What was it like to see the face of your own stability suddenly look away leaving you with the dead and hopeless?" This first line to the song makes me think this... But the next lines... "Eleven and she was gone. Eleven is when we waved good-bye.
    Eleven is standing still, waiting for me to free HIM by coming home." this leads me to beleive that he is in fact singing about two people or maybe singing in the third person and "HIM" is Maynard referring to himself? I dont know but i do know that I find a connection in this song and the connection for me is loosing a very meaningful relationship... "It took so long to realize that you are the voice that's been calling me back hoooooooome" to me this sybolizes him maybe realizing he was wrong about something in the relationship...oh yeah and i think 11 is referring to a time not an age. Yeah my heart is set on this song being about a lost relationship... DUH
  • Patrick from St. Louis, Moeleven was the age at which a tragedy struck him. I don't know enough about his biography to say what tragedy...maybe his mother's injury, maybe a death, maybe he was taken away to school? regardless, this is the age at which his emotional development stopped. even though he grew older, he never grew past that age until he went back to come to terms with whatever emotional trauma he suffered at age 11. he returns home to face his past and merge his emotional development with his chronological one (one and one are one).
  • Ed from Philadelphia, PaMy impression about 'one and one make one eleven' had to do with Kundalini and third-eye opening...
    that is, singular focus and meditation opens the way for spiritual enlightenment, or full third-eye opening. Meditation on the point between the eyes is a typical Kundalini focal point.
    1 and 1 make 111 (two eyes lead to the three eyes, kind of). There are a lot of references to the third-eye chakra in the album art and lyrics of Aenima and Lateralus.
  • Kevin from Independence, MoMaynard's name is...........James Herbert Keenan. Maynard was given his name by army buddies when he served.
  • Kevin from New Yorkl, United Statesdont look into this one to deeply its easy. the lyrics are maynards thoughts of what his mom outlook on things were.
  • Kevin from New Yorkl, United Statesfrom moms point of view:under a dead ohio sky,eleven(james maynard) has been waiting and wondering where ive been.
    defending his light=believing she will return.
    now that i have found you i am wide awake and heading home= she realized she must return to her son.
    hold your light eleven= dont give up on me
    lead me through each gentle step= the thought of you gives me strength
    ill move to heal as soon as pain allows so we can reunite and both move on together= i will do what i can to overcome my dilemas so that i can take you away from....
    so glow child glow= smile and dont worry anymore cuase you have something to look forward to. im heading back home!
  • Travis from Boise, Idi never really thought about it chris's way before. one thing tho chris, the "showing me where it all began" part. i really dont think that references a penis, but more likely where his confusion and hatered began. like, maybe the father is showing him why maynard hates him. he's reintroducing maynard to pain and confusion, and generally f-ing up his mind. maybe?
  • Darksoul from Toronto, CanadaCan someone explain to me why is it that when I read Maynard's autobiography on the web it state that he grew up with an older sister, yet Maynard has often stated that he is an only child?

  • Chris from San Antonio, TxThis song, in my opinion and from what I think I know about MJK(what he tells us about himself but you can't really take too many things he says seriously..), is about:

    "What was it like to see the face of your own stability suddenly look away leaving you with the dead and hopeless?" - The 'face' is his mother, and she has become dead in a sense and hopeless.

    "Eleven and she was gone." - Eleven is most likely Maynard's age at this time, and his mother being 'gone', meaning she is paralyzed(he states this in the commentary on the Judith video, on the aMotion DVD for APerfectCircle).

    "waiting for me to free him by coming home." - 'him' being maynard's father/stepfather, 'free him' possibly sexually.

    "Moving me with a sound. Opening me within a gesture. Drawing me down and in, showing me where it all began, Eleven." - this is when maynard is being coaxed into the sexual act, possibly oral sex. "opening.." this would probably be the father opening his mouth, pushing maynard down on his knees and into him, "showing me where it all began" - 'it' being maybe life, it all begins from/in the penis... which contains semen, which is used in creating life.

    "It took so long to realize that you hold the light that's been leading me back home. Under a dead Ohio sky, defending his light, and wondering... where the hell have I been? Sleeping, lost, and numb. So glad that I have found you. I am wide awake and heading home." - maynard possibly realizing he has no where else to go, no one else to care for him, so he just keeps going back, and defending the father if necessary even though he's put through this. He knows its wrong but he can't do anything about it, or he would be alone in the world, he just needs someone. -- this could also be from the father's point of view(just thought of this...) he keeps going back for maynard to recieve his sexual pleasure, otherwise he would have nothing to do with him.

    "Lead me through each gentle step by step by inch by loaded memory. I'll move to heal as soon as pain allows so we can reunite and both move on together." - this being during the actual sex act(mayhaps, sodomy?). He's being penetrated slowly.. he'll pull away if the pain is too intense, and then they will continue when he has recovered.

    "'till one and one are one, eleven, so glow, child, glow. I'm heading back home." - one and one being maynard and his father... eleven just a reference to his age...glow(the father's point of view) being the whole purpose the father is around and hes getting what he wants so now is the time for maynard to glow and have what he needs(a caretaker). and the father heads back home to maynard once again for another session of his sick ways..

    Alright, thats my interpretation of this song. I think it's fairly accurate, but this is Tool and it could mean something totally different, but as I said, this is based on what I know about maynard. If what I know is really what was known.. or just some sort of image maynard decided to create for himself.

    thanks and enjoy tool!
  • Mel from Sydney, Australiaone of my fav tool songs. 11 is a metaphor for two people and the connection they share. the song could be about that connection which was lost resulting in '1', and the search for the other half to achieve '11' (fulfillment)
  • Jake from Miami, Flthis is my favorite song by my favorite band. it is about when Maynard himself achived divinity, when connecting and unifying are one, when love and fear are one, when "one and one are ONE" the rest is up to you. Music is just a TooL.
  • Peter from Dublin, IrelandI think that it's more likely about a time than an age, I think its about losing some part of himself not another person, "till one and one are one" 11, two digits,One number... to re-unite himself with himself or the child he used to be.
  • Ian from New York, NyTe 11 o'clock comment makes some sense. It might have to do with the 11th hour. Like how everything is lost in the last second of your life and you search for something in the world beyond, such as a dead family member. I love fusing ideas into one overarching theory.
  • Nessa from Elizabethtown, Pathis whispering thing is bothering me, this isn't the only song maynard has whispered on but usually he's just saying the same thing as what he says aloud next. jimmy is confusing james is maynards middle name (duh) but i'm almost certain that its about his age and not a time. and i'm pretty sure its not about his mother its more likely about some child love that was lost... agree?
  • Chris from San Antonio, TxThe girl could be his mother... The song Judith [A Perfect Circle]is about his mother.. that is his mother's name. He states in a commentary about Judith that his mother was paralyzed early on in life.
    Just my thoughts as I read your comments...
  • George from Hell, Paperhaps has to do with something that happened at 11 oclock, as opposed to age 11
  • Mike from Toronto, Canada'Jimmy' was a book that won an author her first and only Pulitzer Prize. It was a story about a child, Jimmy, and his struggles. When it was revealed that the story was fictional, and Jimmy never existed her prize was taken away from her.

    Just offering another perspective.
  • Brian from Mayfield Heights, Ohif you listen closely, at about 3:15 into the track, you can hear maynard whispering "hold you light, hold your light, hold you light sweet memory, hold your light, hold your light, hold your light where i can see..." An amazing song, which has special meaning for me, because of the number eleven.
  • Cok from Dillon, CoI beleive that jimmy is about how when Maynard was 11 years old, some one in his family died, and that person was a girl. He is trying to find her, as stated in the line
    " Hold your light where i can see,"
see more comments

Editor's Picks

John Kay of Steppenwolf

John Kay of SteppenwolfSongwriter Interviews

Steppenwolf frontman John Kay talks about "Magic Carpet Ride," "Born To Be Wild," and what he values more than awards and accolades.

Andy McClusky of OMD

Andy McClusky of OMDSongwriter Interviews

Known in America for the hit "If You Leave," OMD is a huge influence on modern electronic music.

Experience Nirvana with Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt

Experience Nirvana with Sub Pop Founder Bruce PavittSong Writing

The man who ran Nirvana's first label gets beyond the sensationalism (drugs, Courtney) to discuss their musical and cultural triumphs in the years before Nevermind.

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & PalmerSongwriter Interviews

Greg talks about writing songs of "universal truth" for King Crimson and ELP, and tells us about his most memorable stage moment (it involves fireworks).

Michael Schenker

Michael SchenkerSongwriter Interviews

The Scorpions and UFO guitarist is also a very prolific songwriter - he explains how he writes with his various groups, and why he was so keen to get out of Germany and into England.

Don Dokken

Don DokkenSongwriter Interviews

Dokken frontman Don Dokken explains what broke up the band at the height of their success in the late '80s, and talks about the botched surgery that paralyzed his right arm.