The Legends
Updated: 11/2012

The gist of this concept of 'legend' is simple: the following are tapers that, in my opinion, have contributed so very much to the art (and history) of recording this unique, talented & complex rock band called Tool. The tapers listed below have pulled either 'classic' recordings of this band and/or have pulled such an impressive amount of high quality recordings that are, well, legendary. The tapers listed here are not Gods, rock stars or anyone you would be able to pick out in the street. They are probably just a lot like you or maybe a friend of yours and are just trying (or tried) their own hand at this short, sweet & awesome ride of life. And of course their obsession/devotion/interest in taping live performances of Tool. That said, most of these tapers, themselves, are somewhat shrouded in mystery. Only a couple of them have I, personally, known thus cu.org is unable to provide specific information in regards to every show they taped; but that's ok so you can scour your own collections, use cu.org as a reference & determine for yourself if the aforementioned efforts by these tapers really things of legend - go listen to some Tool, you decide. This list is rather short, it is sweet & other than the first entry is in no order.

 

Jeff S.

Picture:
Click Here
Years Active: 1996-2006
Tool-Taping Career Highlights:

        *
11.23.1996 - Philadelphia, PA, USA @ The Electric Factory
        * 02.27.1997 - Asbury Park,  NJ, USA @ Asbury Convention Center  
        * 07.15.1998 - Kalamazoo, MI, USA @ Wings Stadium


Notes:
Without a doubt, this taper is a legend. The skill set that Jeff Sebastianelli possessed in regards to taping Tool just boggles my mind. jlizard, a very good friend of this taper, has stated that "we could run the same equipment while standing next to each other at a show but somehow his sources just always seemed to be a little bit 'more'... he had the touch". And it shows in the quality of his recordings. Take a listen to what is perhaps one of if not the most widely-spread recording of Tool, ever, 11/23/1996. You listen to that performance & are just transformed; it's almost like you are standing next to the stack as he was back in 1996. Me, personally, that recording-source is the reason I picked up taping equipment. People still confuse that as a sound board recording. The 02/27/1997 source is just fantastic although not as bright per se as the November 96 Philly source is, that said, I did not pull a recording of such magnitude when I used CSB>DAT even under the same general set-up. And the piece de la resistance is clearly 7/15/1998. Are you kidding me? This man managed a soundboard pull of Tool, in fact, the only verified SBD pull of Tool! Amazing. If you have ever heard this recording, I am sure, your jaw hits the ground just like mine still does. His other recordings are all well above average as well. A prolific taper, he honed his skills into uncharted territories by taking the art of taping to the next level (with stellar results). Unfortunately, Jeff Sebastianelli, 05/07/1971 - 03/10/2008, is no longer with us as he passed away in 2008. There are many sides or 'selves' that we all have, meaning, we have little pieces of who we are made up of the things we do and are interested in. For the aspect that "we" know-of Jeff, he leaves a legacy of not only the highest quality recordings of Tool (arguably ever) but also has set the "taping" bar so very, very high. Personally, I did not ever meet or speak with this taper; I wish I had. Had I the opportunity, as corny as it may sound to the rude, I would have just said "thanks, man" as I don't know if he really ever understood the positive impact that his labor and love of this hobby had on Tool fans, cu.org & collectors all over the world.

 

Stephan D. aka S.D.

Years Active: 1993-1997
Tool-Taping Career Highlights:
        * 09.28.1993 - Nantes, France @ L'escall
        *
03.18.1994 - Strasbourg, France @ La Laiterie
        *
02.14.1997 - Paris, France @ Elysee Mondaytmatre


Notes: This particular taper has "the touch". He somehow managed to turn a simple set-up of Aiwa CM-30>DAT into some of the most concrete, clear & pristine sources of the Undertow-era. In September/October of 1993 he travelled extensively throughout France following the RATM/Tool tour; taping each performance. Had he not taped the shows he did the overwhelming majority of those dates would never have been covered; he taped a significant swath of that particular leg of touring. This was when Tool did not have the rabid following that they later developed. That said, I must think that this taper had a sense of what he was pulling, recording-wise. Maybe he did not have the conscious thought of "people may really value these recordings of Tool from a historical paradigm" but that is what has happened, actually. There is not a 'bad' or 'poor' recording in the bunch! Mighty impressive. In 1997, this taper pulled what is widely considered to be virtually a flawless recording: 2/14/1997.  He stood in a special-spot at the Elysee Montmartre and managed to capture the raw emotion, the clarity of the speakers & an exceptionally powerful performance of Tool. This recording still, to this day, just packs a punch - enough to rattle your cerebral cortex as you, literally, can almost smell the venue when you rock out to this source. It is absolutely a beautiful recording. From what I know, this was the last time this taper recorded a Tool show. Apparently, he took issue with the vehemence and hypocritical nature of Tool's militant anti-taping policy & just said something to the effect of "foutre le camp, Tool".

 

Billy T. / Twister

Years Active:
2001-Current
Tool-Taping Career Highlights:
        * 08.03.2001 - Denver, CO, USA @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre
        *
11.18.2002 - Albuquerque, NM, USA @ Tingley Coliseum
        *
05.10.2006 - Denver, CO, USA @ Temple Buell Theatre

Notes:
Twister has managed to pull some of the best audience recordings of Tool, ever. The skill set he has in regards to pulling just amazing, concise & clear recordings definitely place him as a legend. Although arguably not a prolific Tool taper, per se, he has pushed the envelope of taping with his uncanny ability to think-outside-of-the-box, problem solve & create recordings that are less a random audience recording and more an accurate capture of a moment in time. He is able to consistently do this, mind you, and the high quality recordings go far beyond the realm of Tool having culled from years + years of experience, but I digress, we are focused on Tool-only for this purpose. Some may say I am a little biased regarding this particular taper having known him, somewhat, over the span of years. About 5 years ago, I received a package from Twister with DAT-1 clones of every Tool show he had pulled up to that point; this was an incredible gesture of kindness that has led to hours and hours and hours of me enjoying the fruits of his labors. He has released pretty much everything concerning Tool he has pulled so, thankfully, his recordings are not hard to come by (if you use your noodle a little bit that is). This taper has the elusive 'touch'. Not sure how to describe it other than that. If you've heard his recordings I am sure you agree that he has earned his rightful spot as a legend.

 

Steve H. aka Ballsdeep

Years Active:
1993-1999
Tool-Taping Career Highlights:
        * 06.23.1993 - Mountain View, CA, USA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
        *
12.17.1996 - Las Vegas, NV, USA @ The Huntridge
        *
10.10.1999 - Indio, CA, USA @ Empire Polo Field, Coachella Festival

Notes:
This particular taper has been involved with the Tool scene as a taper, so to speak, so long and recorded them back in '93 that he could probably change his name to OGT and people would respect that. As it is, the recordings he pulled may have some warts on them but somehow he managed to capture some fantastic moments in time. And, this may sound odd, but his recordings have just a fun feel to them. His 1993 source was among one of the first live recordings of Tool that cu.org had actually heard in it's entirety after trading for it with someone I found via the Goldmine (remember that one, folks... that's before bit-torrent!?! That was one of the things that kind of got me going with live Tool recordings. One of my favorite recordings is the 1996 Huntridge performance; I find it to be almost breath-taking after each + every listen. The 1999 Coachella source is just phenomenal. All this with a taper who only used analog, found digital to be soul-less & who continues to reside in Alaska. Hagar was/is more than just a taper of Tool; he also was one hell of a collector. He amassed some extremely rare (i.e.: the only way cu.org heard about some of the things he found were from him) items. Thus, for the tapes he made and the devoted + methodical manner in which he went about collecting & trading in the early days of this hobby, I would argue that most would agree places him in some form of a legend status. Not enough reason? His very actions and interest in the hobby made it possible for other people to tape Tool and thus by default he had his hand in the proliferation of more recordings. A few things spring to mind; Salt Lake City 1996 & Chicago 1996 - Hagar sent his microphones to the tapers of aforementioned shows. Not bad. And finally, DP, also from Alaska and a friend of his, went on a road trip in Sept 2002-October 2002 & hit virtually all of the early dates of the final Lateralus-era leg including venues in Canada that were hundreds and hundreds of miles apart... DP used Hagar's equipment. Nice one.

 

"Knobby" (Sound Engineer)

Years Active: 2001-Current
Tool-Taping Career Highlights:
        * "all"

Notes:
If we are talking about legendary Tool tapers then Knobby, Tool's sound-engineer, would have to be included. Not only is he very pleasant to people/fans even when they ask him inane questions at inopportune times as he attempts to do his job but you can tell he loves what he does (and is excellent at it). Working night after night at the controls, Knobby is able to get Tool to sound as they do live with what appears to be ease, skill and confidence. And, I believe, he records the performances as well. Several times over tour legs & albums I noticed that there have been different recorders by the controls. An iPod for the pre/post shows. A beer to wet the soul a bit. And a recorder. Just think about all of the shows he has been at the helm for. Wow. Even if just a fraction of those were recorded, which I'm sure all were, that is a significant and legendary amount. Myself, I've spoken to him several times throughout the years (of course never as a taper or in relation to cu.org) and he has even given out several set lists which was very nice. As it is, even if Knobby was not a taper, that does not change a thing. His work has been consistently outstanding - particularly when you factor in the dynamics of certain members of Tool. One wonders if he is something like the 5th member of Tool - nah - he seems much to sane for that. Next time you see him at a Tool show; thank him for what he does, buy him a beer & be respectful as you just talked with a legend.

 

"Unknown" (Sound Engineer)

Years Active:
1991-1993
Tool-Taping Career Highlights:
        * 09.05.1991 - Los Angeles, CA, USA @ The Jello Loft (SBD)
        *
02.12.1993 - Munich, Germany @ Terminal 1 (SBD)
        *
06.23.1993 - Mountain View, CA, USA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre (lollapalooza) (SBD)

Notes:
Even with all manner of random factors that came ogether including but not limited to luck, dedication, OCD, The Goldmine, primitive Internet use & someone spinning cassette clones (some DAT) of Tool sound board recordings from the early days of the bands existence one still must go back to the source; the sound engineer. It is unknown how many Tool shows were recorded on sound board from 1991-1993 but we can take an educated guess & think potentially all of them. Or a vast majority of them were recorded. I say this because, simply, for there to be this many SBD recordings from this era that are somewhat available then there simply must be more that are out there. Over the years, cu.org has heard of several more boards listed here, however, all of those leads ended up being false positives that were simple speculation without any substance. Which is too bad. All this being said, the mystery around it is rather interesting to me, at least. The sound engineer (whose name is known but not for this forum) and his recordings are things of legend. The mystique around the sound board "set" as it were only adds to the status of this integral figure in early Tool recordings... high quality recordings. Perhaps this is the ultimate 'early' Tool taper? I would think so.

 
"Franck B." aka FBZ

Years Active:
1997-Current
Tool-Taping Career Highlights:
        * 06.05.2001 - Paris, France @ Le Zenith
        *
05.10.2002 - Paris, France @ Olympia Theatre
        *
06.28.2006 - Paris, France @ Le Zenith

Notes:
Franck is one of those tapers who just has the 'touch'. The talent that he has for pulling amazing recordings of Tool is without a doubt extremely impressive. I have yet to hear a poor recording from him as his understanding of placement, position & technique in regards to recording this band is evidence of the particular skill-set he possesses. FBZ has taped more than the sources listed above (including an alternate version of 2/14/1997 which was distorted so he taped over it) but those just happen to be my favorites. Now, I am biased because we are friends and have been for a very long time. In fact in July 2009, my wife + I met up with the Bazille's (and their wonderful children) in Paris for a day/night of riding the Seine, sharing dinner and walking around by Notre Dame. That said, this man can and does pull off some of the cleanest + sharpest recordings you can imagine. Some people have speculated that he actually managed or manages to somehow get a SBD patch & do a matrix. Although that is not the case it is a testament to how good his stuff is and how legendary of a taper he is. In fact, he is a légendaire inclinaison de l'outil... ;o)
 

Duncan

Years Active:
1994-2006
Tool-Taping Career Highlights:
        * 07.21.1994 - London, Empire, England @ Shepherd's Bush
        *
03.27.1998 - Los Angeles, CA, USA @ The Palladium
        *
05.12.2002 - London, England @ Brixton Academy

Notes:
Although much of the earlier recordings this taper pulled may not be technically superior to other recordings from the same era, Duncan pushed his equipment to the max. For those that may not know, up until 2001 he was using an old-school Sony built-in microphone cassette recorder! Yeah, imagine that. Surprisingly though the majority of his recordings are really pretty good & are fun to listen to. In particular, Duncan's source for the 7/21/1994 London, England recording is just a wonderful capture of a phenomenal performance. I still don't think it should sound as good as it does but somehow he consistently managed to finesse his gear to pull tapes that turned into things of legend. In 1998, he actually flew from the UK to the USA and hit each of the 4-date mini-tour performances that Tool did in March of that year. And those recordings have withstood the test of time, at least for me, I still pop one on of those 4 sources on, occasionally. In 2001/2002, he hit every UK performance as well as those in other countries such as France & Luxembourg. The Lateralus-era performances, recorded on CSB>MD, somehow just have a vibrant, clean & detailed sound to them. Each source; there's not a poor one in the bunch. Apparently in 2007 he sold his tickets as he became a bit irritated by the static set lists that Tool was pulling off each & every night. So, is this all we will hear from this prolific taper? I don't think so - think there are some more to come, at some point. At least I hope so.

 

Rawson

Years Active:
1997-Current
Tool-Taping Career Highlights:
        * 07.08.1998 - Lewiston, ME, USA @ Central Maine Civic Center
        *
10.24.2002 - Binghamton, NY, USA @ Broome County Arena
        *
06.09.2007 - Atlantic City, NJ, USA @ Boardwalk Hotel

Notes:
I don't really have too much to say about this Tool filmer but one word, incredible, does comes to mind. If one were to look at his career as a whole it would appear that he has not been caught by Tool or venue security at a show. Now, he's not using little microphones & a small concealable recorder of some kind but a quasi-large video camera that is extremely visible. That takes a certain amount of skills, insanity and sheer balls - I really don't think most people could even pull off Tool films that could stand on their own, next to his large catalog of material. Throughout the years, Rawson's skills only improved from the distorted audio + shaky camera angles from the 90's to extremely slick, clean and professional recordings that he is capable of pulling off. Not only are prolific filmers of Tool rare, I can think of only a filmer named Pr1ck that is even in the same league with Rawson, but to do it correctly is extremely difficult. But Rawson makes it look effortless. 

 

CatalystX (audio)
Cesaro
(video)

Tool-Taping Career Highlights:
        * 10.10.1999 - Indio, CA, USA @ Empire Polo Field, Coachella Festival (DAT) (Source A)
        * 10.10.1999 - Indio, CA, USA @ Empire Polo Field, Coachella Festival (DVD) (Source E)

Notes: The tapers listed above, Cesaro & CatalystX both have a few other very good Tool-related things underneath their belt, however, the reason they are listed here is for their superb captures of the only performance from 1999; The Coachella Festival. CatalysX's audio recording is one of the most widespread live recordings of Tool (ever). Also, the audio quality is superb but is also crisp, clean & is close-to flawless as can be. The film by Cesaro, also one of if not the most widespread recording/video of Tool, is just well above the vast majority of the other videos out there. And a lot of this has to go to Tool and the unique, one-time-only setlist that they performed so effortlessly and with such beauty mixed with blinding fury. Thus due to the overall availability of their respective recordings, the combined high quality and the performance; we have the making of a legendary capture. 

 

Smagmapig

Years Active:
2001-Current (unverified)
Tool-Taping Career Highlights:
        *
09.13.2001 - Grand Rapids, MI, USA @ Van Andel Arena
        *
10.23.2002 - Toledo, OH, USA @ Sports Arena
        *
11.24.2002 - Long Beach, CA, USA @ Long Beach Arena

Notes:
This taper is not only a very pleasant, easy going individual but is also just a maestro when it comes to recording Tool (although he has covered a plethora of bands as well). Although starting late in the taping-scene for Tool starting with the Lateralus-era this taper pulled without a doubt the best source for what I, personally, consider to be one of the most interesting Tool show's that I myself have seen: 9/13/2001 (original date was 9/11). For the 2002 tour, he traversed North America, arguably, rather extensively during the second & third legs. If there is a bad tape that's done that would be kind of a shock to me... CSB>M1/oade mod II @ 48khz. That classic set-up yielded him superb results; results that are for the most part way better than recordings from the 2006, 2007 & 2009 tours. It is unclear whether or not he taped Tool since 2006.

 

<>

Years Active:
N/A
Tool-Taping Career Highlights:
     
  * Unknown - possible 2006 recordings, Europe

Notes:
Content removed per request.