This easy listening version of Tool’s Sober is oddly excellent

Tool in 1993
(Image credit: Gie Knaeps/Getty Images)

Tool’s prog metal hit Sober has been reimagined as an easy listening track.

The redo, by Youtuber Andy Rehfeldt, was published on July 7 and uses horns, chilled-out guitars and smoother percussion to accompany frontman Maynard James Keenan’s original vocal take.

Watch the video via the player below.

Tool released Sober in May 1993 as the lead single of their debut album, Undertow.

The track was a moderate commercial success, reaching number 13 on the US Mainstream Rock chart shortly after release.

Sober’s music video, directed by guitarist and co-writer Adam Jones, became a hit on MTV. 

Jones explained the themes of the song in a rare 1994 interview with Guitar School.

“The song and video are based on a guy we know who is at his artistic best when he’s loaded,” he said.

“A lot of people give him shit for that.

“I don’t tell people to do or not do drugs. You can do what you want, but you have to take responsibility for what happens.

“If you become addicted and a junkie, well, that’s your fault.”

The stop-motion animation used in the Sober clip drew the ire of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, who accused Tool of ripping off the works of filmmakers the Brothers Quay.

“Oh God, I hope they [Tool] get sued,” Cobain told MTV in 1993.

“It is such a ripoff, it’s a shameless ripoff. I wanted a Brothers Quay style, but I didn’t want anything like that.

“It’s a neat video, it’s really nice to look at, but I’d rather watch a Brothers Quay video. Meat going through pipes, shameless!

“They should be slapped on the wrist for that.”

Sober re-entered the charts in 2019, when Tool’s back-catalogue was added to streaming service Spotify. It reached number three in the US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs rankings.

Tool "Sober" Easy Listening Version - YouTube Tool
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Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.