Adam Jones (musician)

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Adam Jones
Adam jones tool roskilde festival 2006.jpg
Adam Jones performing with Tool at the Roskilde Festival in 2006.
Background information
Birth nameAdam Thomas Jones
Born (1965-01-15) January 15, 1965 (age 55)
Park Ridge, Illinois, United States
Years active
  • 1978–1987
  • 1990–present
Associated acts

Adam Thomas Jones (born January 15, 1965) is a three-time Grammy Award-winning American musician and visual artist, best known as the guitarist for Tool. Jones has been rated the 75th Greatest Guitarist of all time by the Rolling Stone[1] and placed ninth in Guitar World's Top 100 Greatest metal Guitarists.[2] With experience in special effects and set design in the Hollywood film industry, Jones is also the director of the majority of Tool's music videos.[3]


Early years and personal life[edit]

Jones was born in Park Ridge, Illinois, raised in Libertyville, Illinois. He was accepted into the Suzuki program, and continued to play violin through his freshman year in high school. As a child he had an interest in animation, turning his ideas into three dimensional sculptures, which explains why Tool's music videos often had 3D-clay effects. He later began to play the acoustic bass in an orchestra.[4]

In addition to playing classical music, Jones played bass guitar in the band Electric Sheep, with Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine playing guitar, until Jones moved to California (Morello soon followed). According to both of them, the band was quite unpopular at the time. Jones never received traditional guitar lessons, but instead learned by ear.[4]

On July 6, 2013, Jones married painter Korin Faught. They have two children.

Film work[edit]

Jones was offered a film scholarship but declined and chose to move to Los Angeles to study art and sculpture. His interest shifted to film, and he began to work as a sculptor and special effects designer, where he learned the stop-motion camera techniques he would later apply in Tool's music videos, such as "Sober", "Prison Sex", "Stinkfist", "Ænema", "Schism", "Parabola" and "Vicarious". He graduated in 1987.

After graduation, he went to work at Rick Lazzarini's Character Shop. During the next couple of years, he worked the TV show Monsters. He designed and fabricated a Grim Reaper makeup and a Zombie head on a spike (later used in Ghostbusters II) among others. After that, he went to Stan Winston's special effects workshop, where he worked on Predator 2, sculpting a unique-looking skull for the Predator's spaceship interior.[4]

Jones worked on several other films in Hollywood doing makeup and set design, including Jurassic Park, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Dances with Wolves, and Ghostbusters II. He did the "Freddy Krueger in the womb" makeup for A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, as well as work for A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.

He also worked on commercials for salad dressing (never aired), Olympic stain (Albert Einstein makeup), and Duracell (boxers and taxicabs).[4]

Music career[edit]

Jones also toured with Jello Biafra/The Melvins band and contributed to their albums Never Breathe What You Can't See and Sieg Howdy!. Jones and Melvins Guitarist/Vocalist Buzz Osborne are close friends. Jones also appeared on the Melvins album Hostile Ambient Takeover, the Melvins/Lustmord collaboration Pigs of the Roman Empire and the Isis album Wavering Radiant.

On Mr. Show, he appeared as the fictional guitarist of Puscifer along with bandmate Keenan, and can also be spotted in the audience seated at a table with Keenan in the series' first episode.

On August 14, 2011, Jones performed the National Anthem of the United States at the outset of WWE's SummerSlam (2011) wrestling event in Los Angeles.[5]

Playing style[edit]

Adam Jones is known for not predominantly using any particular guitar playing technique, but rather combining many techniques[6] such as "alternately utilizing power chords, scratchy noise, chiming arpeggios, off-beat rhythm patterns, and a quiet minimalism".[7] On the 2019 release, Fear Inoculum, Jones used drop D tuning almost exclusively. On Lateralus and 10,000 Days, he made heavy use of triplets. Other techniques used to expand his band's sound repertoire require forms of instrumental experimentation and applications of non-instrumental experimentation as well, such as his use of an epilator as a plectrum on the Ænima and Lateralus albums for example; continuing in this direction on the Tool song, "Jambi",[8] Jones uses a talk box. In the song "Third Eye", he makes use of a pick slide for the opening. Live, Jones can be seen with a large pedalboard of effects, including a DOD FX-40B Equalizer (EQ) pedal, Boss BF-2 Flanger, Boss DD-3 Digital Delay, MXR Micro Amp, Dunlop BB535 and two Boss Master switch/power supply pedals among others. In a 1994 interview, he mentioned the band Helmet as an influence.[9]

Visual art[edit]

Jones created the liner art for the re-release of Peach's Giving Birth to a Stone, on which Jones's fellow Tool member Justin Chancellor played bass.

He helped Green Jellÿ with their costumes.

In 2007 he received the Grammy Award for 'Best Recording Package' as art director for his work on 10,000 Days.

Jones came up with the makeup the actors wore on the videos for "Schism" and "Parabol/Parabola".

In his spare time, Jones shoots photography that is used for the visuals at live Tool concerts.

Jones draws his own comics, a habit he began as a young child manipulating his ideas into 2-D form on paper. An X-Files/30 Days of Night crossover in 2010 was co-written by Jones and 30 Days creator Steve Niles with artwork by Tom Mandrake.[10]


  1. ^ "100 Greatest Guitarists: 75 – Adam Jones". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved March 12, 2015.
  2. ^ "Guitar World's 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists Of All Time -". January 23, 2004. Archived from the original on September 2, 2011. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  3. ^ "Tool : Music Videos". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d Mahaffey, Joel (August 6, 2001). "The Tool Page: Adam Jones Biography". The Tool Page (t.d.n).
  5. ^ "Tool Guitarist Performs National Anthem at WWE Summerslam". Archived from the original on December 9, 2011. Retrieved August 16, 2011.
  6. ^ Wiederhorn, Jon (June 2001). "Mysterious Ways". Guitar Player. Archived from the original on May 26, 2013. Retrieved May 2, 2007. Jones isn't a shredder, a pop guitarist, a jazz man, an avant-garde iconoclast, or a blues player, but his performances often include elements from all those genres.
  7. ^ Huey, Steve. "Sober Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved May 2, 2007.
  8. ^ Forlenza, Jeff (July 1, 2006). "The Making of Tool's "10,000 Days"". Mix. Archived from the original on May 3, 2007. Retrieved May 9, 2007.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Hudson, Laura (April 19, 2010). "'X-Files/30 Days of Night' Comic Book Crossover". ComicsAlliance. Archived from the original on March 11, 2012. Retrieved March 11, 2012.

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