by Tool


  • This song talks about his experiences with being abused as a child and how his parents claimed to love him yet abused him. Hence the last phrase in the song, "Remember I will always love you, as I claw your f--king throat away. It will end no other way, it will end no other way." In the first verse he says, "Choke this infant here before me" - here he is referring to himself as the infant and suffering from neglect and abuse. Throughout the song, he describes how he would like to take revenge on his parents and strike back, but was afraid for fear of continued abuse. This song is one of Tool's most violent stories of Maynard's childhood. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alex - Salina, KS

Comments: 56

  • E from NcWhat is so beautiful about this song (and almost all Tool songs) is that there is no correct answer as to how it translates into what it 'means'. However it translates or whatever it means to you - and how it makes you feel - is all that matters. That being said, being so moved by this song its hard not to delve into it, line by line and try to re-engineer Maynards original thinking when he wrote the lyrics. IMO, the original words describe nothing less an abusive relationship, and the very insanity of loving someone while at the same time being self-aware that the relationship is toxic for both. And the acceptance of the truth that the relationship makes them worse people and trying to reconcile that they love one another. How many times have we said "She has been abused by her husband/boyfriend. Why did she stay in the relationship so long?" This song illustrates this very psychology of dysfunction in relationships that are abusive or self-defeating, on both sides. Rest your trigger on my finger. Bang my head on the fault line. Both characterize a relationship that is always at that tipping point of going from quiet/normal to being "pushed" into a person that they do not want to be, and the struggle to resist reaching that version of yourself. Choke this off before it happens. You'd better take care not to turn me into that monster. The "gap" he is referring to is the internal struggle between he acting like a rational/normal person who loves someone and treats them like so - and acting like someone who is tipped into being abusive. As someone has already commented - this dissociation of himself. He is describing being scared of himself. Finally, the song acknowledges that the relationship is so powerful and irresistible despite it being so toxic - that the only way it will end, will be in tragedy.
  • Sprinkles from PdxI think the gap is the hole of dissociation. "Survival is my only friend" is exactly it. He fears and loves in twisted tandem but what he ends the song with, "the only way" it can end, is what he teases with slipping into the hole and both abuser and abused disappears. The moment you snap and can no longer, if you forgive my pun, rim the hole of the void, and enter the gap between reality and escaping reality, that is a psychotic break that will end up in blackout violence. The dark place of dissociation is the place he never wants to be again. And the intimacy of an adult relationship is now too much, pushing her away and himself again. Reminding yourself that your girlfriend isn't the one who abused you, but sex and intimacy take you to the void, remind you of how it felt, where you tried a a young kid to reconcile your love and your hate with your parent. This is all from someone with a similar experience and that's where my confidence (at least enough to post this, and I think the lyrics and story support it) in my interpretation comes from.
  • Galagalagroingoin from MannheimWhat if Maynard is simply displaying an internal monologue or projection of a dialogue he would have with his younger self? The gap is the difference between how he could remember his younger self was imagining growing up and deal with all the challenges in his life. The gap between the image projected by the person he was, or thinking he was, just before some self-defining event happened. To me, this is the clear message in this song. Be at peace with your younger self, with the child in you, the naive one. But be ready to kill it with kindness, because survival is your only friend.
  • Steven from Norwich, CtMaynard's mother suffered from an aneurysm when he was 11 henze the song "Jimmy" when he moved out to Ohio he was in a constant tug of war and victim of abuse from his father or father in law not certain but this is his rehash of the memories where he doesn't want to enter them or "they may both disappear." He has lately stated that it was the best move he could've ever made to move to Ohio. I don't understand that but I didn't live his life. His mother was not the abuser in any means just look at his songs about his mother. In wings of Marie part 2 he says that she has certainly saved a life meaning Maynard.
  • Twhohen from TexasI agree that this song can be interpreted many ways, but the music video available on YouTube gives one pretty clear interpretation: the failure of a romantic relationship. It is set in a studio-style apartment with male and female figures. The cohabitating couple goes about mundane activities. The woman prepares food on one side of a room while the man entertains himself on the other side. The couple stoically eats together before sitting on a bed to watch a bird eat seeds that the man placed near the window. This moment shows the most reciprocated excitement between the two; he even grabs her hand in this sequence. The video then shows them separated in the room doing their own things before eating together again. They watch the bird eat a second time and have another moment together, but the man looks increasingly restrained and hurt by the emptiness between them. Again, they are shown doing their own things (and interestingly the man's activities seem to allude to him coming to an increasingly deeper understanding of the emotions inside himself). They eat a third time together, but this time when they go to watch the bird eat at the window, it does not show up. Hence, they don't even have this one simple thing that had sustained them far beyond the end of the genuine emotions that once existed. The video ends with both of their hardened clay-like bodies sitting on the bed, as if trapped in that moment forever. This final image is set against lyrics suggesting the relationship has finally been killed entirely.

    I like to interpret this song not so much as either side of the relationship being "right", but just a sad statement on the end of something. To touch on some key words that others comment on below:

    "I saw the gap..." - I agree with those suggesting this is an emotional gap between the couple

    "take care not to make me enter...we both may disappear" - if the couple stays in their same destructive pattern, they will never be free

    "choke this infant..." - infant is referring to a state-of-mind incapable of breaking free from the bondage of the relationship

    "There's no love in fear" - a realization that they should not stay together simply for comfort

    "As I claw your throat away" - describes how painful, violent, yet necessary it is to break away despite loving the person
  • Kelly from Virginiaok, i really think a lot of you are digging way to deep.. if you have ever been in a messed up relationship that tore you apart i think you would understand.. i believe the gap he speaks of is the one between her legs and if he enters he disappears into the pleasure and ends up regretting it because of the pain and agony that can come along with loving the wrong person.. someone who is pushing and shoving you.. even though they love you.. desire is hard to overcome.. and it can really mess with your mind.
  • Tommy from UsaIn this mans opinion, Pus--t is about Tools disdain for religion. When they talk about the (gap) they are referring to the gap between God and man, which is Jesus. Im sorry, i may be wrong but that is my interpretation. You are free to make up your own reality.
  • Aeon from Rock Hill, ScPlease forgive, as I am about to cause potential grievance: Sugar Ray (When it's Over) and Maroon 5 (One More Night) are songs that although no where near fathoming the depths of "Pus--t", appear to be woven with similar thread.

    Pus--t seems to me a tragedy of self indulgence at odds with desire. It illustrates an inner turmoil between instant gratification, pain, and responsibility.

    The "infant" seems to represent a melange of self, other, stage of relationship, or even an actual child as byproducts of a toxic and intoxicating relationship. Once the symbol of the "infant" is invoked, objectivity and emotion clash and the remainder of the composition illustrates struggling for an ultimate conclusion.

    "Judgement" is extremely objective within context, where the subject appears to realize a cascade of consequences upon self, other, and the situation.

    The conclusion appears to be left to we the audience.

    The song (both versions) provokes anticipation, caution, loathing, anger, and satisfaction. I love it.
  • Nickthesavage from Atlanta, GaFor those who say this song is simply regarding sexual acts and/or sexual abuse, lyrical evidence would suggest otherwise. I strive those of you who are willing to seek more open ended frames of mind to dive deep into the tone shift right smack in the middle of the lyrics:

    But i'd trade it all
    For just a little bit of
    Piece of mind.

    While Maynard is, perhaps with some certainty, describing child abuse and/or other sexual acts (open, not my interpretation, yet not my field of study either) in the first half of the lyrics, these few lines indicate a shift from physical realizations and/or experiences to mental ambiguities that develop further in the last half of the lyrics. The "gap," referenced multiple times throughout, symbolically represents the lack of understanding Maynard has for the events described in the first half. A mental gap of sorts, in which Maynard is slowly beginning to understand his thought process as the second half commences (i.e: "Saw that gap again today"). Just some food for thought...
  • Snugglenugget from Buttfuck, AlTool is far too intelligent to write a song like this deep about just karate or sexual abuse. Have a listen to the live version featuring Aloke Dutta. The lyrics are clearer and it feels more intimate. Also don't disregard Maynard's intro when he asks you to go to a comfortable yet vulnerable place. Everyone's interpretation is going to be different....yet the goal of the song is the same.
  • Mark from Belgrade, YugoslaviaA lot of you guys are delving too deep into the interpretation of this song. Just work with what you know, we know that Maynards Mother remarried early in Maynards childhood and saw his birth dad a couple of time yearly. His Step Dad was very religious and did not take kindly to artistic expression and rebellion, I guess we all figure that Maynard was probably a hormonal teen who didn't take kindly to the fact that his mother is Paralyzed and that he is seeing his real father very rarely.

    This most likely led to many heated arguments where no one side was exactly in the WRONG but most definitely could have led to physical and emotional abuse, but I don't agree with people looking at Maynard as a helpless victim here.

    The family situation was very rough and I'm sure that Maynard as a mature adult now can see more clearly how tough a situation that was and in this song is obviously reflecting on how the relationship with his step-father could have been healthier if they tried diverting their frustrations into something more constructive instead of heated arguments and fights,

    Maynard also noted that his mother eventually convinced him to move in with his real father (obviously because the atmosphere at home wasn't too great) and Maynard has stated that was probably the best move he made in his life. Note that these experiences are what define a person and you absolutely cannot state that they don't influence in some way nearly every song he writes. Many children around the world have to deal with parent remarriage in their own way. Note that these experiences are what define a person and you absolutely cannot state that they influence nearly every song he writes and many children around the world have to deal with parent remarriage in their own way.

    Sexual abuse is out of the question gosh! Maynards mother and Maynard himself would have put that bastard in jail if something like that happened, I'm sure the abuse was maintained within certain boundaries but it took a toll on Maynard nonetheless.
  • Giselle from Hillsboro, OrOut of all the tool songs that I've heard (I've listened to the albums aenema, lateralis, 10000 days, some of opiate and some of undertow), I've got to say, this is the most confusing, most ambiguous song! I read some of the interpretations, and I dont really know what to think. some were very surprising, like the one about karate. I felt that that particular interpretation was completely wrong. The speaker doesn't fight back at all (unless you count the ending). I feel this interpretation is just completely off the wall. Tool may have been thinking of many things when they made this song, but I dont think karate was one of them! and I believe some of the sexual overtones were intentionally because Tool does that a lot! But some people on here noticed sexual overtones where I dont believe they exist. Like the part about the infant. Some people are saying that it means like the infant is a dick or something. I feel that people are really jumping the gun on this one! I'm not going to offer an interpretation because I really just dont know what to think. Lots of people are saying that Maynard was abused and molested by his stepfather but none of us know him at all. I feel like its kind of dumb (but something that we all do) to try to judge Maynard by his music and try to make sense of him from it. for all we know, Maynard could just be a very intelligent person. His childhood may have been relatively normal, no molestation or abuse whatsoever. So when you're reading interpretations that say this song is about how Maynard was abused, keep in mind that we have no way of knowing if this is true. You can go ahead and believe that Maynard was abused but if I was Maynard, I would be annoyed that people would make such conclusions about me when they don't even know me.
  • Dan from Sa, AustraliaMaynard is a Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
    He started training in the early 90's (a couple of years before Ænema came out).BJJ is all about trying to beat your opponent with chokes and locks, when they admit they are beaten and submit. In the BJJ, the worst place you can end up in, is with your opponent on your back trying to choke you and claw your throat. To get themselves into those positions they must find gaps in their opponents defences. To me this song is about when he started training and sparring (rolling in BJJ terms) with other beginners.

    Saw that gap again today (Gap in the defence)
    while you were beggin' me to stay (Not to attack through the gap)
    take care not to make me enter (Try and protect yourself)
    if i do we both may disappear (match is over)

    I will choke until I swallow... (Would rather be choked out than swallow my pride and submit)
    Choke this infant here before me. (He has to try and choke a defenceless beginner)
    What is this but my reflection? (He's a defenceless beginner too)
    Who am I to judge and strike you down? (Since hes a beginner too)
    But you're (pushing and shoving 4x) me. (they are sparring)
    (You're pushing me and shoving me. 4x)
    You (still love me, still love me) (they are friends and training partners)
    pus--t on me, pus--t on me 2x).

    Rest your trigger on my finger (put yourself in a position where you could be submitted)
    bang my head upon the fault line. (the fault line being the gap between the mats they train on)
    Better take care not to make me enter. (protect yourself not to make me improve my position)
    'cause if I do we both may disappear.
    But (you're pushing me, shoving me. 4x)
    You still love me, still love me
    pus--t on me, pus--t on me.
    (You're pushing me and shoving me. 2x)

    Slipping back into the gap again. (gap in his defence)
    I'm alive when you're touching me, (Hes still not beaten, while his opponent is still trying to improve his position)
    alive when you're shoving me down. (opponent is shoving his to keep from attacking)

    But i'd trade it all
    for just a little
    piece of miiiiiiiiiiiiiiind. (to be in a position where he cant be attacked like on his opponents back)

    (Pus--t on me, 4x)
    You're pushing,
    and shoving,
    and scrambling,
    keep my feet back on the ground! (all the pushing and shoving is the sparring, if your a beginner fighting off your back you want to keep your feet on the ground)

    (Put me somewhere I don't wanna be. 2x) ( a bad position)

    Seeing someplace I don't wanna seeee. (Looking straight at someone crotch in a triangle choke...

    Never wanna see that place again.

    Saw that gap again today
    while you were begging me to stay.
    Managed to push myself away, (disengaged and improved his own position)
    and you, as well, my dear.

    If, when I say I might fade like a sigh if I stay, (he wants to improve his position)
    you minimize my movement anyway, (minimising your opponents hip movement is important to stop your opponent from improving their position)
    I must persuade you another way (He must find another way to get his opponent to make a mistake so he can attack)

    pushing, shoving,
    pushing, shoving,
    pushing me
    There's no love in fear! (they are friends training so they dont have to fear being hurt)

    Staring down the hole again. (he's about to lose this match)
    Hands are on my back again. (His opponent behind him in with back control or has him in a triangle choke)
    Survival is my only friend. (He's trying desperately not to lose)
    Terrified of what may come. (he knows hes about to choked out)
    Yeah. Remember I will always love you, (they'll still be friends after the fight)
    as I claw your f--king throat away. (he's trying desperately to get out of being choked, clawing in desperation)
    (It will end no other way. 2x) (with him be choked)
  • Alec from New Orleans, LaFirst off, MJK never says once in the song he's pushing and shoving back. A lot of people's comments say that but I just wanted to clarify. Secondly, and this is my opinion, I think this song has something to do with the abuse MJK went through during his childhood with his Stepfather. After his mother was paralyzed, MJK's Stepfather was angry, obviously because his wife was paralyzed....No sex, intimacy, barely a relationship anymore. So he took is anger out on poor Maynard. He "Pushed it" on him. Maybe even raped him because of the lack of sex from his wife? I'm not sure and nobody will ever really be sure.
  • Stefan from Kansas City, KsThis song is about sex.....

    saw the gap again today(vagina)
    while you were begging me to stay (you desire me)

    I will choke until I swallow (this is pretty much cut and dry gagging on my penis)

    bang my head upon the faultline (penis on vagina)
    rest your trigger on my finger (clit and finger) are you seeing a trend yet?
    Choke this infant here before me (watching you jack me off)
    What are you but my reflection (I'm watching you watch me)
    Who am I to judge to strike you down (you can be that bad if you're making me feel amazing)

    take care not to make me enter (penetration)
    if I do we both may disappear (having sex, sharing same space loosing individuality, or even loosing sigh of yourself in the other and giving in)
    pushing and you're shoving (still... again.... sex)
    put me someplace I don't want to be (wanted to maintain sense of anticipation before giving in)
    never want to see that place again (don't want to go back to the way it was before because now you're in love and happy)
    if when I say I may fade like a sigh if I stay (poetic self striving to sustain the opinion of your lover that of your "mysterious" individuality.
    you minimize my movement anyway (you hold me down because you want control)
    I must persuade you another way (I'm the one in control and you like that about me)

    Staring down the hole again (giving oral sex)
    hand are on my back again (being on top)
    survival is my only friend (must feel to survive)
    terrified of what may come (don't want to ejaculate too soon)
    Remember I will always love you,
    As I claw your f--king throat away (strangling you, while you strangle me)
    There will be no other way....
  • Jim from Bumphuk, EgyptI agree the ambiguous nature of most of TOOL's songs is a large part of the true art of them. This was intentional and probably meant several things to them as they wrote it, not only to us as we hear it. Universal truths apply to all situations. Being a pervert, I can't help but pick out some of the sexual overtones: "Saw the gap again today, while you were beggin me to stay" - using her snatch to keep him. "Take care not to make me enter. If I do we both may disappear" - If he screws her, they may get lost in the act. "Choke until I swallow, choke this infant here before me" - sperm, need I say more. "Rest your trigger on my finger. Bang your head upon my fault line" - trigger = dick, fault line = snatch, ass. "I'm slipping back into the gap again. I'm alive when you're touching me, But not when you're shoving me down.
    But I'd trade it all For just a little piece of mind." - finally put it in and it makes me feel alive. Sex is satisfying, but nothing compared to love, peace and peace of mind. "If when I say I might fade like a sigh if I stay, You minimize my movement anyway, One must persuade you another way." - Person who needs out of the relationship, but selfish partner is smothering and selfish, so he must elevate to get out. "Staring down the hole again. Hands are on my back again." - When are someone's hands on your back? giving a pat of encouragement or in the throws of passion. It just so happens he is staring down the hole again at the same time...hmm.

    I just haven't heard this take yet, and thought I'd put it out there as some of the imagery that comes to mind when I hear it. I do see the other interpretations as well. Again, I don't think ther is one right answer as to what the artists were thinking of when the words were written. I believe just as they mean different things at the same time to us, so did the words mean different things to them as they wrote them. An artist's mind is not as rigid as ours, and there doesn't have to be a defined message or story to put on paper, rather, as I stated, UNIVERSAL TRUTHS.

  • Mike from Brooklyn, NyIts a Love song, kinda obvious...
  • Beelzebrad from Helsinki, FinlandIt's a rip off of the Set the Control for the Heart of the Sun of Pink Floyds second album. You'll find that Tool steals pretty much all their material pretty directly from early 60's and 70's psychedelic groups and some elements of 30's-60's jazz yet are so proclaimed as such original and expressive musical visionaries. Poor saps are too busy sucking your "MJK"'s dick to give a damn about exploring raw uninfluenced music. There's so much more to listening to something that has never been done before, something so amazing and inconcievable to think that somebody could orchestrate a piece of work so moving, so original, so personal. Thats Music.
    I think it's more important to me that bands like Tool and Led Zepplin (just to name the two biggest in mind) don't credit the musicians they've loosely 'covered' on their albums.
  • Joe from Duluth, MnTo summarize my unabridged interpretation of this song it is about an abusive relationship between a father and a son. It describes the abuse from infancy until he leaves as a man. The violence is intense and the son struggles continuously to resist becoming what his father is. The struggle itself is the main focus of the song as it wages war against the boy, finally winning over him. Upon this realization the boy snaps out of it and narrowly escapes with his life. One of MJK's best songs.
  • Joe from Duluth, MnI feel the above adopted synopsis is off-base and misleading. A lot of people have downplayed the idea that this song is about physical violence or that the violence is very intense. On the contrary, this song is about extreme violence that that starts with an adult physically assaulting an infant and ends with a boy who wants to kill the only father he knows. The song depicts deep-rooted feelings of hate, love, and resent. The live version of this song from "Salival" is a little more clear and in MJK's own words is "see[ing] it for the first time". This song is about a Father, Son, and their volatile relationship. MJK frequently refers to "the gap" in this song which is the relationship between the father and the son or if you will the absence of a relation. It is important to understand how the song is organized, The first few lines...

    Saw that gap again today.
    While you were begging me to stay.
    Take care not to make me enter.
    If I do we both may disappear.

    Saw that gap again today.
    While you were begging me to stay
    Managed to push myself away
    And you as well, my dear
    And you, as well
    Pushed you away my dear

    ... start the song off in a later point than the song will conclude. (Think of it like in the movies where they show you the end and then begin to tell the story of how the end comes about.) The beginning is MJK as a man knowing where he has been. Recent events had reminded him of his fathers abusiveness (saw the gap again today). In this part of the song MJK is where he currently stands on the issue; he is calm, collected, and understands the relationship. The remainder of the song will tell the story of how he came to this point. (And it has a surprise ending!) There is a distance (the gap) between the father and son which is created by the fathers early abuse which the song depicts starting at infancy; "Choke this infant here before me". Immediately following that line the child recognizes that he will end up the same as his abuser; "What is this but my reflection?". "Who am I to judge or strike you down?" is a young boy, innocent and struggling with the idea that he should have hatred and judgmental feelings toward his father, he is fighting his teacher inside but clearly the abuse has shaped him.

    "But you're pushing me
    And I'm shoving you
    And your pushing me
    And I'm shoving you"

    Illustrates the struggle that ensues inside of the boy as he becomes a reflection of his father. "Rest your trigger on my finger" shows that the son feels he could push his father to literally kill him, "Bang my head upon the fault line" is telling that each time he is abused it is done right to the breaking point, this is how he knows the father could kill him, he is just inches away. "You better take care not to make me enter
    If I do we both may disappear" Again the boy illustrates resistence of becoming his father. He is saying that if he enters "the gap" and ends up like his father he will kill him. He will not stop at the fault line, he will go all the way. "Both disappear" makes me think he may have considered this already and would kill himself after this act.

    But you're pushing me
    And I'm shoving you
    And your pushing me
    And I'm shoving you

    More struggle... to avoid becoming what his father is.

    "You still love me

    We're pushing and were shoving
    And you're pushing and I'm shoving

    You still love me

    And were pushing and were shoving
    And I'm pushing as your shoving"

    This is his own self resisting against himself. He is trying to prevent this complete manifestation of his father inside of himself and he is now resisting the struggle by telling himself that the father loves him. He is justifying the abuse. It is clearly getting worse.

    "And I'm slipping back into the gap again
    I feel alive when you touch me...
    I feel alive when you hold me...

    Slipping back into you"

    Still progressing, the abuse is becoming comforting, he loves his father, he loves his abuse, he is slipping into him. He is becoming him and he is embracing the transformation.

    (Here there is a musical breakdown that I think fits perfectly. At first it is grungy showing the love for the new self and then quickly gets deep. The sound is almost that of what you would hear in a cave, inward thoughts and self reflection are likely to blame)

    "I am somewhere I dont wanna be, yeah
    Put me somewhere I dont wanna be
    Push me somewhere I dont wanna be
    Seeing someplace I don't wanna see
    Never wanna see that place again..."

    During this reflection he struggles more, still, after all these years, struggling to not become what his father has pushed him to become.

    "Saw that gap again today
    While you were begging me to stay
    Managed to push myself away,
    And you as well, my dear

    If, when I say I may fade like a sigh if I stay,
    You minimize my movement anyway,
    I must persuade you another way"

    The boy is leaving the abuser, he knows the fight is over, he either stays and gives in completely, losing all spirit, or leaves with his life. The father turns to verbal abuse here to attempt pushing the boy over the edge, he is desparate to make the boy himself,

    "Pushing and Shoving and
    Pushing and Shoving and
    Pushing me"

    Father keeps trying...

    "There's no love in fear."

    The stark realization of reality for the boy. He cannot love his father in fear of him, he fears him, and they cannot co-exist.

    "Staring down the hole again.
    Hands are on my back again.
    Survival is my only friend.
    Terrified of what may come.

    Remember I will always love you,
    As I claw your f--king throat away.
    It will end no other way."

    This is the end. He is abused again, he is scared, he is just trying to stay alive, he loves his father but hates him, he leaves. The boy leaves and becomes his own man. He becomes the frontman for the best band ever, tool, and his story becomes an epic tale.

    This is just an interpretation, if this does not suit you, don't bash me, just discover a meaning for yourself, that is the intended purpose of the song anyway, for you to relate to.

  • Desiray from Standish, MeI think that yes, Maynard was abused but i think he couldnt have been abused by his mother because she was paralyzed and he obviously loved her, ( he dedicated a fricken cd after her!) I think this is about young Maynard being abused by his father, because I have heard many different things about how his father got physical with him in more ways than one after his mother became paralyzed. He probably refers towards his father as "them" so he doesnt exactly single him out. That way is less giving it all away, but u have to hand it to Maynard he makes you think!
  • Gundy from Orange City, IaI love how a lot of people get on and say that Maynard wrote this song for everybody to interpret the way he or she wants to. That may be the case, but the author intent is important. I have no idea what Maynard wanted to say or why he said it, but he had a reason, and for anybody to say Maynard's inspiration doesn't matter is full of absolute $hit.
  • Patrick from Gunnedah, AustraliaOk. Before you go toting all these big ideas that Maynard was abused as a child. Consider the following.

    The dedication of the recent album "10'00 Days" to Maynards mother, Judith Maree Keenan, who died after a long series of events.
    I doubt Maynard would love, or for any matter, give a dedication of his work to his mother if she abused him as a child, or let him be abused.

    If anything, as always, i would suggest that Maynard is, once again, speaking figuratively, and hypothetically about events that occur every single day of our lives.

    This doesn't mean that he is talking about himself, just because he uses personal pro-nouns. M'kay?

  • Jenifer from Douglasville, GaI always thought it was about a girl he got prggers and she had an abortion he didn't want her to have and afterwards all he could feel for her was a type of rage and love. The love he had for her at some point vs. the view that she had killed his child. And maybe even he felt he contributed to that demise and is speaking figuratively about "choking" or killing this infant here before me.
    But I can see 1,000 other ways it could be interpreted also!!
  • Raven from San Antonio, TxI myself had the same situation. My mother on one side saying she loved me but couldn't give up my step-father, stepfather on the other side who beat me sensless most of my life for little things like just looking at him funny, or perhaps a crumb on the counter. I realate to most of their songs now that I realize what they're really about, and I'm confident if he was able to get through those times and still become something great; so can I.
  • Victoria from Memphis, TnProbably why tool is my favorite band. I was beat and neglected. But they never said they loved me. I relate to this. Alot.
  • Jeff from Austin, TxOOH baby baby! Baby baby! OOh Baby baby! baby baby! Get up on this!!
  • Arde from Lammi, FinlandMJK:s songs are meant to mean what the to you. It's not about Maynard doesn't make songs like they would have a clear meaning to everyone. This song has a different meaning to everyone, but. It what comes about the meaning to Maynard, he tells in this song about his childhood, when he was abused. "Managed to push myself away". He has got over the childhoods horrible abuses and continues the life. But remeber it may mean something else to you.
  • Stephen from Boston, MaIt's a love song. His rejecting someone trying to push their love on him. him rejecting it. pushing it down, shoving it down.
    F*cking love song. easy.
  • Brent from Austin, TxEveryone seems to be so quick to conclude that this (and just about every other Tool song) has something to do with Maynard being abused as a child. While it may well be, what the song is "really" about is meaningless to me. The thing that draws me to Tool is the ambiguity of the lyrical work. Each individual is free to interpret the songs and draw his own conclusions. To me, this song is about a battle within yourself. You see who you are, and it is not who you want to be, or even who you think you are. "What are you but my reflection, who am I to judge or strike you down . . ." In the end, the only way to grow is to destroy what you used to be, despite the fact that you have grown so attached to that part of yourself. " . . . if I tear your throat away. This can end no other way."
  • AnonymousI think the song is about conversation between body and mind. The first verse - mind - "I will choke until I swallow...Who am I to judge and strike you down?". The body answers - "But you're Pushing and shoving me." "Rest your trigger on my finger... cause if I do we both may disappear." - if mind want to disappear, the body will disappear too. Look to the rest part of the song.

    My english is bad and i couldn't explain it how i wanted to.
  • James from Myrtle Beach, Sco my o my...first thing i can say is that any and all music from tool (not just maynard) can be interpreted to suit the emotion the individual listening wishes...sorta like talking about religion and politics i try not to get attached to an interpretation someone makes about tool's music so with that said i will just say this...maynard did not have a bad childhood. he loved his mother very dearly (clearly obvious on future songs) and he lived with his father up until graduating high school because his mother thought Ohio was a dead end place. Most likely he had the relationship most male teenagers had with fathers, (distant but adolescent if that makes sense?). Be careful what you read about tool and maynard. There's twists and turns about all that is said. Maynard himself has said that people confuse his talent with intelligence and that what upsets him the most is that for all those that "think" his lyrics are so inspiring piss him off because no one acts on anything. In a nutshell with all the followers of Tool that is all there is surrounding us...followers!

    I have seen tool live many times and the last show i saw maynard never came from the dark side of the stage. I have heard him baaah at the crowd and no one gets the insult. The problem for me is tool is an addiction. like a drug it stirs up emotions and thoughts that are overwhelming and yet comforting and like a hangover or when coming down, at the end of the show i feel disgusted with what i have just spent my money on. if ever i could overdose on something it would be an earfull of anything tool or a perfect circle has produced!
  • Thomas from Cocoa, FlI see the lyrics to this song as coming from a romantic relationship, mostly because I have been in an abusive marriage (not physically abusive, but emotionally...a lot of manipulation and deceit). I very much relate to the feeling of being trapped, and how you become accustomed to the abuse. And as my marriage had to end, so did the relationship in the song...there was some inkling of love there, but it had to end in a very ugly way. I also agree that there can be many many interpretations...as usual, beautiful lyrics.
  • Spring from Fort Worth, TxI love this song. I think it's about how we turn our hurt and fear into anger to survive the worst times in our lives. It helps me to quit feeling sorry for myself.
  • Joshua from Newnan, GaI really think that this somg is about an abortion and the emotional experiences associated with it. Just an opinion though.
  • Joshua from Newnan, GaI registered on this site just so I could comment here. Wow. Anyways, I have to say that I really think this song is about abortion. All the signs really seem to be pointing in that direction. I think this really paints the picture of a couple forced into an abortion that is necessary, but not necessarily wanted. That's all I want to say. Use it as you will. That's why I love this band.
  • Soma from Indianapolis, InI think most of you are off base here.. It seems obvious to me.. "I saw the gap again today, while you were begging me to stay." I take that as meaning the gap between two partners in a relationship.. in this possible case MJK and someone who he is with but does not see the world through his perspective. "Choke this infant here before me" refers to the partner who is an "infant" spiritually and in their understanding of life. "better take care not to make me enter, if I do we both may disappear" in a sence means dont make me get into a discussion about our differences or else our relationship could be over.. All in all I have been in a relationship with someone who seemed like an infant in their thoughts & motives. I understand the balancing act between love anger and frustration, and I can very well see MJK doing the same.. This is how I understand the song after listening to it well over a thousand times.
  • Maele from Santa Barbara, CaGorgeous!!!!! Explains it all.....
  • Jim from Rogers, ArThis is the bueaty of mjk's song writing, and how tool composes all their s--t, you can look at alot of different bands/songwritter's songs on this site and they go in the same generalised area, what the songwritter had going through his mind when he wrote the song. In my opnioun tool gives alot more to their audience, allowing them to hear it, and based on their history or where they are at now, come up with different conclusions and learn from it better, tool being a tool for life, there is alot to learn from their music, and the comments could keep going and going on anyone of these songs, it means different things for almost all of us...so no1 can be truely right, lol that is why its wierd seeing the songfact message at the beging of the thread saying yes, this IS what its about, its cool to learn what you guys come out w/ after listening to their music though.
  • Casey from Lovell, WyI absolutly love this song. But, I think Maynard did a very good job at reprimanding that crazy fan at one of the concerts.
  • Rowbear from Albany, OrIt might be good to consider that Maynard tends to take the perspective of different people quite often. Maybe to not assume that he was victim of so much abuse...
  • Marija from Belgrade, EuropeI don't think it must necesserily be about physical violence, but about some ways of abusing someone mentally, no matter the relationship (child/parent,boyfriend/girlfriend,couple of friends....)
    But I kind of like the boyfriend/girlfriend tgeor most, because it's the easiest one to identify with...It can be about relationship which is for one of them become a habit (yet HE still loves her, even though it's a habit), and she is obsessed with keeping him by her, and both of them know what's going on, but none of them can't let go (I have a friend who thinks that "the gap" is vagina of a girl who's trying to keep her boyfriend who's slipping away, and forces their relationship, trying to play on the sex card...etc)...Just imagine one possesive girl....
  • Dan from Santa Clarita, Cai have to say that i like the Jake from Miami theory. also if i may add that this and the live version on the Salival box set continue to grow into my favorite songs of all time.
  • Chris from Highland Park , NjIt's a small world after all Leon HP is a town of maybe 2 sqaure miles(and here I am thinking a small world after all is just a disney ride that drives people to the brinks of insanity)...
    http://phobos.ramapo.edu/~chdonnel or chdonnel@ramapo.edu if you care to drop me a line, I'm sure we know some of the same people somewhere along the line, although yes I am older than you.
    Sorry to make everyone else read this but there is really no other way to leave my info.

    Also since I just found out about this the other day, I might as well spread the word...New Tool album spring 06, and maybe (if the universe isn't still conspireing against me) a tour!
  • Amie from Fort Worth, TxThe fact that this song is about abuse is well established, but there's also internal hate. The line "Slipping back into the gap again;I'm alive when you're touching me; alive when you're shoving me down" shows that he's addicted to the hurt, the pain, he pulls himself out but then he falls back in. Changing subjects, this song in an excellent example of MJK's vocal talents.
  • Peter from Ottawa, CanadaI'd say the song is about abusive relationships in a generalized sense and the complicated love/hate feelings that they can cause. Whether child abuse, a physically abusive boyfriend, or something more abstract like someone's struggle to reconcile themselves with their god when so many bad things happen in their life, it all fits, and it's all wonderfully powerful.
  • Justafan from Highgate, VtMaynard conceived his child around this time. He had a fallout with the girl: He states how he's in love with the idea of love. Maybe the girl tricked him into having a child (faking she was on the Pill.) It's not the kids fault. Try it from this paradigm: Some woman lied to him about contraception sex.
  • Kevin from New Yorkl, United Stateseverybodies approach to this song seems to be right on the money. but im skeptical on the boyfriend and girlfriend relationship only because it seems to obvious and the TOOL style is so much deeper then the "obvious". if it does lean towards that then i gotta agree with Jeremiah of Jonestown. "slipping back into the gap" referring to falling in love again after the continous breaking up and getting back together. i feel alive when you touch me refers to feeling loved. and the rest has been explained previously(if thats the songs meaning). but like i said i think its deeper then that. i always believed it to be about a parent raping the child. thus the line "what are you but my reflection". "rest your trigger on my finger" referring to the child saying "i love you" to the parent, which adds fuel to the fire and creates more of a need for this disgusting and outrageous act. "bang my head against the faultline, take care not to make me enter" meaning im being tempted to do this and i know its wrong but cant resist. and finally "if i do we both may dissapear" explaing that when this happens the child loses its innocense and purity, and the parent loses all and any characteristics of humanity and decency. sorry to shed another light on the song especially one so bright and distatseful) but it is possible. and its what Maynard set out to do.
  • Tyler from Knoxville, Tnjust so everyone knows its "as i tear your throat away" not claw. look on toolband.com and you'll see
  • Leon from Highland Park , Njdamn i had to signup to this site just to comment on one song.... but i guess its almost worth it since this page is getting big. Im listening to the song as we speak, and i must say that i agree with chris... Hey chris, im in HP too, and i think thats fricking amazing, i jus went to look for stuff about this song.... i cant think of which chris you are, perhaps older than me...whatev, im still in HS
  • Kyle from Ashland, KyI agree with (Chris, Highland Park , NJ). I have been a tool fan for a long time but when my 6 year relation ship with my girlfriend started to go to the sh*thole, i found a new way of looking at this song. it fit the situation i was in and changed my perspective on the song entirely... it doesn't really matter what maynard wrote it about, your experiences in life will have a lot to do with how you view any song.
  • Jeremiah from Youngstown, OhThat explanation is pretty much the same as mine, except our only difference is that I feel this song is from the point of view of a woman being abused by her boyfriend/husband, who still loves him, but must kill him because if she doesn't, it will end up as her dead in the end. The line that sold this theory to me most was "cause if i do, we both may disappear. The reason why is because, it's like saying, "if i do this, you'll die, and i'll probably be sentenced death as well."
  • Melissa from Baltimore, Mithe version of this song on saliva always puts me into a dream like state. I keep my eyes closed the entire time.One time I did this on a bus and got lost...each time however i obtain a different perspective, it is as maynard says each time looking at that particular song in a new angle and under a new light.One other song that puts me into a state of awe is "the murder mystery" by The Velvet Underground.If you've never heard it i suggest you give it a try, maybe i am just a weird girl with weird taste in music, but i love Tool...masterful-----Baltimore,MD
  • Chris from Highland Park , NjThat explaination makes alot of sense (and probably was the intended meaning) however I never saw it like that. I had always thought of it differently, and I think Tool themselves have thought of it in many differnt ways...Ie: on the salival CD when MJK says "I want to look at one of our songs at a new angle under a different light"...Anyway I think the song is about a relationship plain and simple, the "infant here before me" being the fragile relationship they have, which is being destroyed. Maynard makes mentions to a place he doesn't want to see again a place that he is pushed into, a state of anger and hate, perhaps a heated arguement or abuse (as would fit with the other interpretation) He talks about leaving for peace of mind and yet knows that he will miss whatever they had together "I'm alive when you are touching me, alive when you are pulling me down." Tool is like that it will be for you whatever you want it to be, alot of their songs have multiple meanings and half the joy you get out of them is molding them to what you know and understand.
  • Jake from Miami, FlThe most important line in this song is "there's no love in fear." This is result of a diturbance in life taking you away from unity. child abuse is most likly what drove the song to be written but its much deeper. This is a very Brutal song because it one of there only songs about NOT achiving unity in their life time but instead of dieing with only love, the two people die with only fear, which implys dieing without a purpose. This can be interpreted as its talking about one realationship or the entire realationship between "god" and a person. Music is only a TooL.
  • Serge from Portland, MeThis song, especially the live version on Saliva is one of the most graphic but amazing songs ever. Not knowing a lot about his childhood, I feel this song can be interputed as one about any kind of domestic violence, not just child abuse. At the end when the lyrics go back to the abuser "remember I will always love you as I claw your f...ing throat away" gives me chills. Maynard has painted a masterpiece with this song.
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