"The Patient" as written by Justin Chancellor, Maynard James Keenan, Adam Jones and Daniel Carey....
A groan of tedium escapes me,
Startling the fearful.
Is this a test? It has to be,
Otherwise I can't go on.
Draining patience, drain vitality.
This paranoid, paralyzed vampire act's a little old.

But I'm still right here
Giving blood, keeping faith
And I'm still right here.

Wait it out,
Gonna wait it out,
Be patient (wait it out).

If there were no rewards to reap,
No loving embrace to see me through
This tedious path I've chosen here,
I certainly would've walked away by now.
Gonna wait it out.

If there were no desire to heal
The damaged and broken met along
This tedious path I've chosen here
I certainly would've walked away by now.

And I still may, (sigh), I still may.

Be patient.
I must keep reminding myself of this.

And if there were no rewards to reap,
No loving embrace to see me through
This tedious path I've chosen here,
I certainly would've walked away by now.
And I still may.

Gonna wait it out.


Lyrics submitted by Everlong

"The Patient" as written by Justin Chancellor, Maynard James Keenan, Adam Jones, Daniel Carey

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing

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The Patient song meanings
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  • +8
    General Commentfor me this song is about keeping faith, that you are on the right track and one day youll reach to the point of parabol/parabola. its about a special moment when u r as down as ever, but you have felt like this a million times before, and u are tired of still giving blood, givng your everything and getting nothing in return. and u remind yourself that u may allways walk away wich means killing yourself. you'll allways have that option and its the one thing you have, the only thing. and cuz the rewards are so tempting (parabol/parabola) then u remind yourself that you have got to be patient, you have to wait it out.
    Spiralouton January 07, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentAt the Sydney show in july this year, before they played this, Maynard said something like this song is about the vampires that you come across in your life, who try to get you down. Hence the use of "giving blood" in the lyrics. It could be to do with the record companies and the industry.
    schism86on December 06, 2001   Link
  • +3
    General Commentok, this may be a bit long but here goes what i think of this song. some of my interpretations may seem a bit random, cos when i read the lyrics of this song it totally worked on what i've been thinking about for ages now, so some of it is related to what i personally believe, but if you can bear with me, i'll try make you all see what my view is.

    the vampire is society : in our world it is based on money, with too little thought to what is important to people..."drain vitality" -we are beaten down by the trials we have to go through everyday to get by in our cut-throat world. i think maynard is saying all the way through that he holds out hope that things will change(he's still giving blood, he has a desire to heal the damaged and broken-he's trying to help the world through his music) and that if he didnt have that hope, that belief that people appreciate what he's doing, and that it is doing some good (rewards reaped...) then he would have "walked away"...quit the music industry, given up on life...see that to mean what you want. so basically, he's saying he has to have patience and keep hope that things will change, that people will change...but that he still might give up if he doesn't see any difference occuring...

    the "tedious path" that he has chosen is one of trying to help the world...he's still "giving blood, keeping faith" but it is tedious because there is so much opposition to it by society and people who do not want to change things for the better of mankind.

    basically its a fight against the drain of society, a fight against the cruelty in this world : he's fighting it, but he needs us to fight it too so that he can see there are other people who want the change, and so a change can be made. he has to be patient and keep going or else there isnt any hope left for us. sorry if this is all a bit off track, i cant exlain it as well as i see it!
    sharzayon July 05, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI kind of think this track is about the artistic process, especially in terms of creating for a wider audience. Maynard has said he wants the music to help people heal, or introspect or soul-search. The process of creating music and sharing it is draining, but it's because of his "desire to heal the damaged and broken met along" that he continues to do it in this manner.
    prettyhowtownon September 11, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm suggesting that he is a human being, just like you or I, who is very in touch with the seen and unseen reality of life. Either that or he's just wasted on drugs all the time, but I think that the music is to sophisticated for that possibility.
    joshthackon April 24, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe most EXCELLENT thing about all tool and APC songs (pointed out by headon earlier) Is that they're so heavily layered in metaphors that they can apply to anyone - and any situation.

    Almost every song I listen to by them really sums up my "love life" at the moment.

    I'm desperately in love with the most fantastic girl, and i've had a fair few chances with her in the past - and I have made progress with her.

    In The Patient, Maynard sings about devoting himself, keeping faith.

    In my situation, I think of how I keep putting time and effort into making this relationship with this girl, thinking someday it'll all fall into place for me.

    And the loving embrace to see me through - I usually think of my very close friends who have always comforted me in the situation etc ;)

    ..... But ...... I'm gonna wait it out ;)
    Ar3son July 27, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have a lot of patience, but this weekend I lost my temper when I found out that all my CD's had been stolen. I ended up breaking a window and spending 4 hours in the emergency room getting 8 stitches. Anger is stupid.
    joshthackon October 17, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis guy was going to kill himself and is just kinda' toying with the pistol a bit more. to really think this thing through. but this time with some self empathy and not such harshness. the universe is pretty chaotic and harsh, as is, why throw even more weight on your shoulders with a personal cross. but he's gonna wait it out. hopefully it just doesn't become one of those platitude's like, "this too shall pass." cos that wears thin real quick.
    ishadrachon April 30, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti dont agree with what people have said about this song referring to maynards stance in the music industry selling records growing tired of fans whatever. that is too insubstantial and temporary for tool. i also dont believe maynard shoudl be seen as a god the way many people refer to him. the whole point of his beauty is that he is a human and that is whats inspiring. we can be that too. he & the band personify the line "swing on the spiral of our divinity and still be a human". he is not a god he is just a symbol of the next stage of evolution. this song doesnt feel negative to me, or have connotations with people blinded by religious fears or whatever. i think this song is positive and a beautiful way to explore the strength of devotion. it could be to do with a relationship. say the couple have been together on and off for 3 or 4 years, and throughout the whole time the guy has made many many mistakes completely screwed the female around put her in the worst positions. but she has total faith that he will change she believes ion his power and beauty and she continues to take him back time and time again. she is tested many many times. he is unreasonable and unforgiving. people might see this as a "he hits me but i cant leave him" situation, understandably. but as this song shows, its alot deeper and more beautiful than that. she goes throguh so much for him that she hurts constantly, but when all is peaceful she knows it is worth it. it does feel like a test, how far she will go for this entity she knows so well and loves so much "is this a test it has to be otherwise i cant go on". she is constantly tempted to lose faith, and go out and lead a normal, less meaningful life but she knows she must stick with this "tedious path", because she believes in him, and that is an extremely powerful thing. he loves her deeply as well althoguh he is extremely screwed up but she stays even though he is pushing her away violently and she hates who he is acting like or becoming -"this paranoid, paralyzed vampire acts a little old". she feels like there is no end to her suffering and these "groans of tedium" begin to excape her. "draining patience, drain vitality". she has escaped from who she used to be and become a force of love and faith. she knows this isnt normal this being "still right here, giving blood, keeping faith" (staying by his side, giving him everything she has, never losing faith of who he can be). but although outsiders may see this as unhealthy and destructive, she knows she has entered a higher, less selfish state of being. when what you are doing is so so so awful yet so so so beautiful then it is a higher realm, you have awakended all your powers of holding on and although it is tearing her apart, she continues and grows stronger from it every passing day. she feels like she 'must keep reminding myself of this" constantly reminding herself of how special what shes doing is and how there will be divine rewards, she knows he loves her and wants to change- "if there were no rewards to reap, no loving embrace to see me through, this tedious path ive chosen here, i certainly wouldve walked away. by now" and she "still may"
    allhailsquidon May 07, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMaybe a little odd for Tool, but I think this song is a direct reference to The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. In the novel, two devils conspire to do everything in their power to tempt an unknown man, known only as "The Patient" to committing sins in order to secure his place in hell. The Patient ultimately does not give into temptation and sin, and is therefore rewarded by going to heaven when he dies.
    wilcazon March 05, 2008   Link

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