Tool: Ticks and Leeches Meaning
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Ticks and Leeches Lyrics
Workin up under my patience like a little tick.
Fat little parasite. Suck me dry.
My blood is bruised and borrowed. You thieving bastards.
You have turned my blood cold and...
I would consider this one my all-around favorite TooL song, the best lyrics, music, and of course Danny Carey's drumming is The Balls.
In regards to its meaning, I believe every TooL song has multiple interpretations like others state. I want to think this is about a bad legal situation regarding contractual obligations or just pressure from the industry and its fans to push out another song/album ASAP. That would be one side of the coin, but the other side is condemnation of TooL fans in general for responding like an annoying tick, bugging and pestering the band to rush material out. We are all guilty of it, I would love another album and TooL is just finishing up the 10,000 Days Tour.
To state it simply, artists are faced with consistent pressures from Industry, Fans, and even amongst themselves on being musically prolific, sometimes too prolific. I would take 1 TooL album over a period of years vs. 4 albums from Blink 182 over the same 4 years. One TooL album has far more depth and staying power.
See You Aunties...
anonymous Apr 9th, 2006 4:17pm report
Ticks and Leeches is about Tool's lawsuit against their record company some years ago.
anonymous Nov 7th, 2019 11:22pm report
What I appreciate most about this song is the personal touch to the angry lyrics. Maynard seems to have hit a breaking point with someone and is giving in for the last time to this parasite of a person. "Hope this is what you wanted 'cause this is what you're getting" is a powerful line that establishes his position in the relationship with this parasitic person. This song screams of breaking down and giving in to external pressure with so much reluctance that it is completely angering. This song has a "this is the last time you get anything from me" feel to it and it is perfectly composed.
I believe it's about or for Chino like Mr. Anonymous far above my interpretation here had said.
He had said that Tool didn't expect to have a guest appearance like, Henry Rollins on Undertow but, this time it was Chino from Deftones.
M.J.K. talks shit about L.Ron Hubbard on Eulogy and The Pot.
I always thought the songs were about Hitler for Eulogy and Bush for The Pot.
Anyway...yeah I could tell it had somthing to do with Deftones just by the unusual distinct Deftones sound...in a Tool song?
Right on. My hat's off to M.J.K.
M.J.K....Is a writer/composer on a fucking genius level.
anonymous Aug 13th, 2014 8:24am report
My opinion, which means very little, I don't think Ticks and Leeches is about legal issues nor the fans. Lateralus, as a whole is based on moving forward, body and soul. With the progress also comes resistance.
I believe the song was written toward the religious systems. Most people are born into various religions that tell us we need them to move to the next step when really they are bleeding us dry spiritually. Just like a parasite needs a host to live, the church needs followers or it dies.
In many cultures, blood is believed to have spiritual power. Even Christians symbolically drink Jesus' blood and eat his flesh. MJK said his blood is cold and bitter and his compassion is beaten, in other words he's been spiritaully rapped by the system that suppose to love him. Compassion is the ultimate love. Most religions teach this, but few follow it. Without compassion you're in your worse state. But the system, although it's sucking people dry, its choking. It's made of people who leech others but also have been leeched themselves. No one can move forward until they remove the ticks. Just my opinion.
anonymous Jul 12th, 2013 7:34am report
The song is about the beast from the holy bible in revelations and how the beast made his mother cold and bitter towards him from the inside where the beast wonders the whole world. "Who can make war againts the beast?" When he takes your parents they usually end up becoming assholes? So be as wise as serpents and gentle as doves.
anonymous Feb 5th, 2013 2:22pm report
It stems from passenger and the imitation of their unique sound. song was meant for Chino of the Deaftones. Passenger features a guitar intro, vocal interplay between Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle) and Moreno alongside piano and keyboard lines that leads to heavy guitar that introduces the choruses. Critics often consider it the definitive highlight of the album.  Moreno on Keenan's collaboration in the record:
"We didn't plan on having any guest on the record. Honestly, when he first started working with us, he wasn't supposed to sing with us. He was just working on the arrangements, riff structures, time signatures, and things like that. It was good to have someone else who has different ways of writing songs, 'cause everyone has a different way of doing it. He came in and we started working on this one song in particular, and he just grabbed the microphone and started singing along to it. All of a sudden our band sounded like Tool; it was just crazy. Then, probably two months later, we went in to record the album, and I just kept hearing this re-occurring melody with his voice coming over it. So I called him and asked him if he wanted to come down and sing on the record, and he had no problem with it. Once he came in, I gave him sort of what I wanted the song to be about, and he wrote a couple of ideas down, and the next day he came in wjith all the lyrics written all out with blank spaces where my lyrics were supposed to be. He's very professional like that. He wants everything set perfectly, which is the complete opposite to the way that I write. And then I went in and did my vocals over it, and it just seemed that our voices blended together pretty good. Yeah, it came out pretty good, so we decided to put it on the record." Wikipedia
Vicariously Oct 25th, 2012 10:18pm report
I thought Ticks & Leeches was a little out of place in this album for a while, but the more I thought about it, the more it makes sense - stuck between Parabola (realizing the gift that is life) and Lateralus (evolving to a higher conscience). I laughed a little when I read Bob Frissell’s book ‘Nothing In This Book Is True, But It’s Exactly How Things Are’ when I got to his term “victim consciousness.” It’s exactly how I thought of this song.
“In victim consciousness, the ultimate victim is one who doesn’t know that he or she is creating reality, and believes that things just happen”. (pg. 224)
“If you buy into the illusion of separation and “good vs. evil,” you are stepping into victim consciousness. You will then be confronted by a very powerful universal principle, one that works unerringly. It is: Resistance leads to persistence. This means that you will keep re-creating what (on a conscious level) you don’t want; and it will only increase in intensity.” (pg. 227)
Ticks & Leeches represents a particularly destructive flaw of the domesticated primate- spiritual ignorance. Anger, self loathing, depression, despondency, tribulation, pain... You GET what you GIVE. What you give is a manifestation of your sub(un)conscious that is projected outward and onto others; but you don’t perceive reality in that way. It’s just how things are, after all... We endure the cycle to move to the next step. It’s the state of mind that most of the modern world is stuck in and too few are struggling to get out of. You create what you don’t want and it will intensify with time. Is that what YOU want? Is it what YOU have in mind? Well, that is what YOU are getting. The only way out of the cycle is to acknowledge that you are actually creating it. You can’t go from Parabola to Lateralus without Ticks & Leeches. Now, stop choking…
anonymous Dec 8th, 2011 12:08am report
Wish some people would stop saying 'It is about' instead of 'I think, Or in my opinion.'
I do interpret this song towards the lawsuit. especially since it was when they were working on this album around/at that time. and I haven't heard really any lyrics on any other song regarding the record company, and you know that their gonna want to get that aggression out towards that situation, its what they do:) I could be totally wrong to, and prob, am haha. I dunno. one thing I do know is tool is one of the best bands in the world! for example: listen to a song on the radio over and over. your gonna get sick of it. listen to any tool song over and over and over and over and then play the same song a week later, and it will sound brand new like you've never heard it! that's the beauty of my all time favorite band TOOL!
anonymous Jul 12th, 2009 7:43pm report
If you listen to the Lateralus album in the Fibonacci way (6,7,5,8,...) ticks and leeches comes directly after Schism.
I think that ticks and leeches would then be the "second part" of Schism, just see how the lyrics inspire violence and hate. These lyrics would be what about every man on earth would yell right after a divorce/separation/schism (I'm no feminist, I'm a man as well)
this song just remind me the hate that I feel against my ex girlfriend (I know, I'm a really rancorous person)
anonymous Apr 11th, 2009 4:33pm report
Even though the song clarifies only "some" people are ticks and leeches, yet, in a way, we all are. We buy products made by five-year-olds in India and underpaid workers in China. We consume more than any other country. Few live self sufficiently in our country. When our internal land fills run out of space, or crap is exported to landfills in China. No wonder we are hated by so many countries...
anonymous Dec 2nd, 2008 12:53pm report
I think this song is about people around us that just use one another for their own personal gain "Suckin up all you can suck."
anonymous Feb 10th, 2007 2:21am report
Yeah.. but they're so damn good it's hard not to want more!
anonymous Oct 26th, 2006 10:18am report
This song is about people who suck the life out of you, it is pretty much whatever you want to interpret it as.
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