Tool’s follow-up to 2006’s 10,000 Days is almost a punchline at this point in time, one of rock/metal’s most-respected bands’ own version of Chinese Democracy. But according to the band’s Adam Jones and Danny Carey, no finish line is on the horizon for the band’s fifth full-length. And the band finally have admitted what it is that’s holding up progress, and it’s not lack of musical inspiration, but instead a series of legal issues and lawsuits that have been dragging on for seven years now. Rolling Stone reports that in 2007, a friend of Jones’ said that he created artwork for the band and asked for credit. Then an insurance company they hoped would defend it against lawsuits actually sued Tool over technicalities regarding the case. The band filed a countersuit, and here we are, seven years later. The case is scheduled to go to trial in January.
“The whole thing is really depressing,” Carey says. “The bad thing is it’s really time consuming. As we’ve gotten older and our priorities have changed, it’s hard to get the band on a good, solid schedule as it is. People have kids now. And there’s lots of other things that pop up. To throw this into the mix, it makes everything that much worse and stresses people out.”
“And it’s costing millions and millions and millions of dollars to defend us,” Jones adds. “And the fans are all going, ‘We want a new Tool album. What the fuck?’ And you don’t want to pull people into your problems, because they don’t understand.
“But the point is, we’re fighting the good fight,” he continues. “We’re going to trial and we want to crush them. But every time we’ve gotten close to going to trial, it gets postponed and we’ve wasted money and time and it has just drained our creative energy. We bought an insurance policy for peace of mind, but instead we would have been better off if we never had it and just dealt with the original lawsuit.”
That’s the first they’ve publicly spoken about it. The good news, however, is that they’ve slowly continued to write music and have one song “pretty much done.” It’s described as at least 10 minutes long and going through “lots of changes, and it’s got really heavy elements.” In fact, both Jones and Carey describe the new material as “heavy”:
“Sometimes I feel we get a little too proggy or too into exploring time signatures but not getting heavy enough for my taste,” Jones says. “There are some good nose-bleeding riffs happening, and I’m really happy about that. It’s not out-of-the-gate crazy heavy, but there are these little journeys with nice paths that end up very heavy.”
“It’s all a little more ‘metal’ sounding, if I may,” Carey says with a laugh. “I’m having fun drumming on it. There is one other song [beyond the 10-minute tune] that I would say is pretty much there. It’s another one that’s pretty gnarly with some good double-kick [drumming] going on in it.”
Jones sums up the album’s work by stating “It’s not good when it’s done, it’s done when it’s good.” Carey says he hopes to have something solid recorded by the end of the year, but admits that he thought that last year. But to some up the entire article, which all Tool fans should read, the band knows their fans are anxious, but all of the litigation is weighing on their mind. It’s not super encouraging, but at least we know why it’s taking the band so long. And with the trial coming up in January, it seems like the band will at least be able to focus their full attention on the band once it’s over.