Opiate (song)

Last updated on 16 March 2017

"Opiate" is a song by Tool and the title track from their debut EP recorded by producer Sylvia Massy at Sound City Studios in 1991. While never released as an official single, it is one of the best known songs among their early work. "Opiate" serves as the final track of the Opiate EP and contains the hidden track, "The Gaping Lotus Experience."

The song's title and lyrics apparently elaborate on the Marxist concept that "religion is the opium of the masses". Keenan's lyrics liken religion to rape and abuse by a person or group of people to another person or group of people. The lyric "deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow, what you need is someone strong to guide you" supports this notion. Sometimes when played live, Keenan sings "...what you need is someone strong to use you".

Live performances

"Opiate" has held a regular position on Tool's concert setlist since 1992. In 1994, it was often played back-to-back with "Flood," transitioning smoothly between songs and skipping the lengthy "Flood" intro. By 1996, "Opiate" would often serve as the penultimate song of concerts, preceding "Ænema." Maynard James Keenan has dedicated the song to psychologist and author Timothy Leary on multiple occasions and to former Tool bassist Paul D'Amour on others, referring to him as "Paul of Love."[1]

Various musicians have collaborated with Tool in performing "Opiate" live. Examples include Layne Staley in 1993 and '94,[2] Tricky in 2001,[3] and Heitham Al-Sayed in 2006.[4] Nu metal band Limp Bizkit has also been known to have covered the song live.[5] Keenan has since criticized the band.[6]


Technical personnel


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