Tool: Jambi Meaning
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Song Released: 2007
Get "Jambi" on MP3:Get MP3 from iTunes
Here from the wild dream come true
Feast like a sultan I do
On treasures and flesh, never few.
But I, I would wish it all away
If I thought I'd lose you just one day
The devil and his had me down
1TOP RATED#1 top rated interpretation:
Right on Zaq. Also, Jambi was part of the Srivijayan kingdom in modern Indonesia. It was a trading civilization, which means it was wealthy. It was ruled by Sultans. The last Sultan, hiding from Dutch invaders, ruled from a mountainous region. In Sanskrit "sri" means shining and "vijayan" means victory or excellence. He says "shine down" many times, and the song is about his victory over his dark side, or at least his ability to balance it. How does he integrate this stuff into his songs? He is a true lyricist. Simply amazing!
2TOP RATED#2 top rated interpretation:
Take the fist stanza (the feasting sultan part) as it is.
I think the "You" he is talking about is HIMSELF. Just hear me out.
"The devil," the bad side of him, the side that writes the "bad songs," was drowning him, taking over. He was sick of all that, so he began writing the "good songs," the Lateralus album, all the hopeful songs.
"But you changed that all for me
Lifted me up turned me around.
So I would wish it all away."
The good side of him changed all that, his thinking on Lateralus was completely different than songs such as "Eulogy" and "Judith."
"Prayed like a martyr dusk til dawn
Beg like a hooker all night long"
In this part (yea, BOTH parts), he's talking about HIMSELF. He prayed sometimes, while other times he was sinning and being the opposite of the other side of him.
He would wish away the bad part if he could, but nothing could get him to "kneel away his sin," because he doesn't think he would be justified in doing so.
"So if I could I'd wish it all away
If I thought tomorrow would take you away.
You're my peace of mind, my home, my center
I'm just trying to hold on..."
If Maynard thought that the "bad side" would overtake his "good side," he would rid himself of the "bad side" to save the "good." The good side is his "peace of mind, his home, his CENTER," and he's trying to hold on to that despite all the bullshit that he sees (listen to "Vicarious"). Note that "peace of mind, home, and center" can all be seen as things inside oneself: your "home" is where you are comfortable being inside yourself, the others are fairly obvious.
"Damn my eyes if they should
Compromise our fulcrum.
Want and need. Divide me then
I might as well be gone."
The things he sees are destroying the good side of him, unbalancing him. The good side of him is trying to open people's eyes to the world around them and the things inside them, and then it is devastated that what he has done so far hasn't made a dent. He needs to do one thing, but wants to do another, and if he can't do both then he might as well not exist.
"Shine down upon the broken
Shine until the two become one."
He's broken in two, they need to become one. The "benevolent son" needs to fix him and stitch him together, if you will.
"Divided I'm withering away."
Again, he can't live when he's divided in the afore mentioned way.
"Silence legions/leaches, save/say your poison.
Silence leeches/legions, stay out of my way!"
He needs the "leaches" ("Ticks and Leaches" anyone?) to leave him alone so he can do what he needs to do, and he needs his "legions" of fans to leave him alone so he can sort it all out.
I know it's hugely different from the other interpretations,but I think this one makes the most sense. I also think it fits the song and lyrics much better. Give it some thought and consideration.
3TOP RATED#3 top rated interpretation:anonymous Feb 26th 2007 report
my interpretations is as follows:
It's about himself, his divinity and his connection to the the "one". Verse one, he has it all, his dream has come true, he's accomplished his goal musically. He's overcome the "devil" inside himself, once in love with his dark side. He's overcome the self destructive devil. "But you changed that all for me" I don't believe is a person, not his son or his mother, it's the realization that he is one with the divine the divine is "you". He prayed and begged to receive enlightenment or collective consciousness and through his lyrics cursed and shouted at the "devil" the dark inside him. And then realizes he "got what he wanted all along" it was always there he just had to "see" it. "no price could hold sway or justify my giving away, my center." His center is wholeness/oneness with it all, would give away all of his worldly possessions if he thought they would take that away from him. It's his peace of mind, his home, it's everything without it nothing else matters, and trying to hold onto it is the struggle because of what we see and what is all around us it is hard to hold onto that divine consciousness. "damn my eyes if they should compromise... divide me, then I might as well be gone." if he lets what "seems to be or what he sees" separate him from what he "knows" then it will divide him from the divine and he might as well be gone, for repugnant is a creature who would squander the ability to lift the light of heaven conscious of his fleeting time here. The benevolent son is just metaphor for the divine light shining down upon him, "shine down upon the severed" all of us who are separated from each other and therefore separated from our connectedness our divinity. "Shine on until the two become one" until we realize that we all are one, the collective consciousness. "Divide and whither away." divided we whither and suffer. "Shine down upon the many, light our way, Benevolent sun" show us all the way. "Breathe in union" "So, as one, survive Another day and season" As long as we are separate alls we can do is survive another day, another year. "save your poison" don't project your negativity out onto me save it for yourself. "stay out of my way"
For me this cd is so much more right in your face and personal, not as many hidden messages or interpretations. For ex. Vicarious, it's all right there, no hidden messages there. 10,000 days pretty raw and personal, no way to misinterpret. Same with Right in Two. Just my take on it all.
anonymous Nov 21st 2020 report
To me personally, I think this song is about someone you love deeply weather it’s your mom, dad, husband, wife, girlfriend etc. you love this person so deeply that you would give everything just to spend one more day with them and if they left you you would just fall apart
anonymous Jan 10th 2018 report
well, he has a family and children who depend on him to be ok with himself in order raise them correctly...a transformation from a child to a man
anonymous Aug 7th 2014 report
The lyrics to this song describe the sun and religion's duality concept of light vs. dark or Good vs evil or God vs Satan. Almost every line reinforces this. When he's talking about "you" he's literally talking about the sun (or God from the point of religion). Night is dangerous, winter is harder to survive. Survive another season, fulcrum, center, pivot point of the earth's orbit. Without the sun, no complicated life on earth can survive, hence he would wish it all away if he thought tomorrow would take it away. All of the wordly treasures cease to exist without the sun.
Might seem kind of simple, but that's what I get.
anonymous Dec 11th 2012 report
This song is about one he has loved very deeply. But within this world there are demons and devils that tempt us and bring us down the wrong path, he once found someone whom did their best to bring him out of this type of life. So that he may be true and pure again, instead of tainted and tempted by these "Demons." But he was too blind to see this, until it was almost too late.
So he is begging whomever is above us to give him once last chance with her. So that he may fix his mistakes and continue on in true. So that he can hold his happiness within his hands and never let go. If he could have it his way, he would make it such. But he cannot, so he sits and prays, begs, and pleads with himself as well as her. So that he may prove and give up those demons for good. For without her, he will be consumed by these demons. So he wishes and wishes for that last chance, and wants to make sure its memorable. So he will in the end, at the least, never be forgotten.
anonymous May 28th 2012 report
This, like a lot of the songs off this album, is in reference to his then recently deceased mother. She was highly religious and a pillar for him growing up, a bright spot in a childhood that included abuse. From there you can hopefully understand his mindset, including that since she was religious, his lifestyle as a rock star may have seemed like the devil and his had him down. After her death he realizes that all the success and prizes of his rock star lifestyle are something he would immediately give away just so she could be with him one more day.
anonymous May 18th 2011 report
This song is about his son. I can't remember if I read it in an interview, or saw him say it in an interview. But it's more or less how his son grounded him, or saved him if you will, and also how he feels about ever losing him.
anonymous Feb 12th 2011 report
I believe that it has something to with religion, like other songs they made. Just like the band A Perfect Circle, making songs like this ..
anonymous Dec 7th 2010 report
Huh. I thought it was about infidelity
"Here from a kings mountain view,
Here from the wild dream come true"
He is introducing the song by speaking from the perspective of someone who "has it all" in a material sense.
"Feast like a sultan, I do
On treasures and flesh never few"
This person is only concerned about piling up materialistic idols and putting themselves over others.
"But I would wish it all, away
If I thought I'd lose you just one day"
Although he has everything worldly, he would throw it all away if it meant getting rid of "you." (He is about to define "you")
"The devil and his had me down
In love with the dark side I'd found"
He is relating this materialistic mentality of the world to the "dark side" or work of the devil.
"Dabblin' all the way down
Up to my neck, soon to drown."
He uses the word Dabblin' to describe someone that is digging into this materialistic lifestyle almost as if he is searching for something but the lifestyle is taking over him too much and he is about to 'drown'.
"But you changed that all for me
Lifted me up, turned me round
So I, I would wish this all away"
But "you" changed that all for me. Here is that reference to "you" again and it is positive. It is the reason he would wish away the fleshy outlook of the world.
"Prayed like a martyr dusk to dawn
Begged like a hooker all night long"
Half of the time this person acts very christ-like or pious but the other half of the time this person begs for this "dark side".
"Tempted the devil with my song
And got what I wanted all along"
Although this person acts as if they are a noble and good person he is actually getting all of the materialistic and evil lifestyle he craved.
If I could
Wish it away
Wish it away
Wish it all away
Wanna wish it all away
No prize that could hold sway
Or justify my giving away my center"
This is a key lyric of the song, Maynard defines the "you" that "lifted me up, turned me round." It is his center. Tool is a very spiritual band and I can assure that the center referred to here is not a God, it is the center of himself. It his balance within Nature and this experience, his connection to "oneness" or the divine.
"So if I could I'd wish it all away
If I thought tomorrow would take you away."
He would wish anything away that swayed him away from his center. He holds his center to a higher respect than his entire external experience.
"You, my piece of mind, my all, my center,
just trying to hold on one more day."
Here he clearly defines "you." He's trying to hold onto his center and not be caught up in "treasures and flesh."
"Damn my eyes!
Damn my eyes!
If they should compromise the fulcrum"
If his eyes should take him away from his fulcrum (a reference to balance), then Damn them. Take away his ability to see in order to restore balance within himself.
"(If) wants and needs divide me
Then I might as well be gone..."
He defines what could take him off balance and that is his own "wants and needs." If this does take off his balance, he might as well be dead (gone).
"Shine on forever
Shine on benevolent sun"
This reference to "you" and "center" is related to the sun. Like a sun, shine on forever (beyond space and time). Let balance be larger than your current experience.
"Shine down upon the broken"
Some people have lost their way. In order to fix the broken from their dark side, let their center awaken in them and fix the problem. Remember, the sun is a reference to the center. He's not actually saying let the sun shine light on us and somehow be fixed. The sun is within.
"Shine until the two become one"
"Two become one" can mean many things, but the short version is to say that the sunlight is the answer and will fix the broken. "Two become one" is also a trinity (father, son, holy spirit). Son (you), holy spirit (the light within), father (god state - oneness).
"Two become one" can also be seen as duality and oneness. Everything in this world is either a 1 or a 0 just like in the Matrix movie, it's duality (day-night, up-down, good-bad,) without it we would not have this experience. In the Matrix Neo gives up fighting his enemy and instead, lets his body merge with his enemy's. He gives up trying to make duality fight its other part, and instead lets the "two become one."
"Shine on forever
Shine on benevolent sun"
Ironic that Maynard references your balance to the sun again because right after the scene I just described in the Matrix where Neo becomes his enemy, Neo appears as a sun in the final scene.
"Shine down upon the severed
Shine until the two become one
Divided, I'll wither away
Shine down upon the many.
Light our way, benevolent sun.
Breathe in union
So, as one, survive
Another day and season"
Breathe is a key word here. Breath is the whole focus of meditation and yoga which are two great techniques to finding your center and balance within duality. If everyone is following their center, we all act as one, and we survive to move forward.
"Silence, legion. Save your poison.
Silence, legion. Stay out of my way."
Legion is a reference to the group of people still dabbling in the materialistic dark side. The people who seem to be holding onto everything but still can't find what they are looking for. Their poison won't effect the speaker.
anonymous Jan 13th 2010 report
OK, I hate to spoil all of your hard thinking work and I'm not trying to take anything away, but this song is about one thing and one thing alone. The Pee Wee Herman Show. Don't laugh. This was told to me and about 300 people at a drum clinic held by Danny Carey, who would know better than the drummer for Tool?
Of course, MJK may have held some deeper meaning within the lyrics that only he may know but the basis of the story, and song, is this.
Justin, the bass player came up with the initial guitar riff. To remember difficult rhythms, it's useful to come up with words or phrases to remember how it goes and make it second nature. Being a drummer for 35+ years, I know this well in my work with poly rhythms. Anyway, this riff was best remembered by Danny and the rest of the band by saying to themselves "mecha-lecha-high-mecha-highney-ho. Listen to the song and it'll all make perfect sense.
So, the band are all fans of Pee Wee and the genie on the show says this phrase when he's making a wish come true (Lots of lyrics about "wishing" right?) And, by now I bet you can guess the genie's name? You got it, it's Jambi.
GO watch Pee Wee and you'll see what I mean. The really funny thing is that Danny told this story and I was about pissing my pants not only from my personal love and familiarity of the show, but because it was just all so simple.
Tool is simple, or complicated. Guess it depends on what angle they take and how we all interpret it, which is the fun and mystic of it all. In this case it's pure simplicity conjured up from a show that they love and an easy way to remember a rhythm. Who knew? Well, none of us did...until Danny decided to share.
Oh, and he was also laughing with us all as he told the story. He even mentioned the fact that fans come up with lots of interpretations, but in this case it was about Pee Wee's Jambi.
I find this personally hilarious, and a wonderfully personal touch to a Tool song I love with all of my heart.
Much love and peace to you all!
anonymous Jan 7th 2010 report
I think this song is about his mother, Judith Marie. Alot of maynard's songs are. (ex. APC's Judith, wings 2, ect.) If you listen to wings 2 he talks about how his mother was a part of him and how her undying faith after 27 years of hell made such a huge impression on him. I think he is refering to how he would have traded everything he has accomplished if he could have kept her, his "peace of mind, my home, my center". Thats just what I think though. Alot of these are interesting ideas, I may be wrong. Usually Maynards stuff is too deep for us mere mortals to fully comprehend any ways...
anonymous Dec 14th 2009 report
I believe that tool made a love song in this. This is my personal opinion but lets look at it:
They say he "had what he wanted all along". But then someone, for sake of argument a woman, changed him. Now, anyone in love has known what that's like, even just a first girlfriend type love. They want to be a better person:
"If I could I'd wish it all away
If I thought tomorrow, would take you away"
email me to discuss this at firstname.lastname@example.org
I saw one entry where a person actually mentioned researching the word Jambi. Open your eyes a little more people. Jambi City is in Indonesia. It is a city within a province by the same name. It coincidently or not happens to be where the 7.0 aftershock of the great tsunami earthquake occured. Thats all I'm gonna write here. Take everything else and incorporate it with a GOOD look at Jambi Indonesia. Wikipedia, youtube, google etc. Happy hunting.
anonymous Nov 26th 2009 report
I think I've got Jambi pretty much down.
Over all, It's another trubute to his mother. The beginning compares MJK to a sultan in the sense that he has most everything he wants. Money, success, ect., but he is missing his mother, Judith Marie Keenen. He would rather have her than his success.
He continues to say that he was writing music from the "dark side" that would eventually do him in, but Judith saved him from all that and led to him writing more positive songs.
Later MJK says that while she was praying and begging to God, he was doing the devil's work with his music. So, as I said, his mother saves him and he owes all he has to her.
The end goes into quite a few metaphors. He compares Judith to a healing sun that "lights our way" and should "Shine on" (sounds like another famous prog tribute to me. Pink Floyd reference, anyone?). The "legions" may be legions of devils as someone mentioned before.
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