It’s been 3,744 days since Tool released their last album, 10,000 Days. Somehow, it feels like longer, but in the decade plus since April 28, 2006, we have gotten at least some information about the band’s sixth album. Namely that a legal issue with a former friend of the band that designed artwork dragged out for years and left them too stressed to make an album. OK then. That was settled last year, and the band have been apparently in the studio, working on music and sending it to singer Maynard James Keenan to lay down vocals as they finish tracks.
In fact, they even played part of a new song when playing live, and got some pretty amazing visuals to go along with the excerpt. And they’ve announced a few more tour dates as well. But the most recent (and unfounded) rumor has them releasing a double album, Decem, later this year. The odds of that seem pretty unlikely, and the closest we have to anyone on the inside of the band is the band’s webmaster. In a somewhat long statement, he spoke about hanging with drummer Danny Carey, and ends by teasing some “stop the press news” that might or might not happen:
“TOOL NEWSLETTER JULY, 2016 E.V. Knowing that Danny would be visiting me in the desert for a couple of days, I scratched out a list of questions for him to answer about how things were progressing with the new material and about some other Tool projects that are currently in the works. You know, things that he (and the other band members) never get tired of being asked about.
After picking him up at the airport, with the carmometer showing 122 degrees!, I suddenly remembered that when I first suggested that he come and hang at my new place for a while, the selling point was that it would be a good chance for him to relax while kicking back in a Tiki-themed bar and/or trying his skills at video poker. In keeping with a new policy of moderation, we could also hunt for some obscure esoteric books on our obscure esoteric books list – something that we hadn’t done for quite a while. So, with that in mind, I tossed my page of questions into the trash.
However, the next day while having lunch at “Bootleggers” – a ‘Sinatra’s Way’ Italian restaurant on the Vegas south strip – I casually asked about the status of the new album (Namely, how the writing/arranging sessions were going?) – to which he replied, “Good!” While enjoying his “House Specialty” lasagna to the sounds of an excellent pianist (and master harpist, Mariano Gonzalez!), he added that they were very close to knocking out another tune, and that as soon as it was finished, they would send a recording of it toMaynard.
When I asked if this was the song with the REALLY unique time signatures, he told me that they had already finished the music on that one. Okay, admittedly, not exactly stop the press news, but what can I say, other than that they are still grinding away on new material four days a week, and would be back at it later in the week (once Danny returned from the Las Vegas glitz, Justin from celebrating his wedding anniversary and Shelee’s birthday in palm-swaying Hawaii, and Adam hunting for glossy treasures at Comic-Con 2016 in San Diego).
The other question that I asked Danny concerned the fate of the broken vintage Pepsi machine from the loft – whether or not it had been repaired? Now, here was something that brought a quick response: Yes, he was determined to have it fixed, with or without the ‘original’ parts. Finally, what about the so-called “curveball”, to which he replied that he still wasn’t sure when it would be made available for public consumption, but that “It turned out dang good, though!”
So, what didn’t I ask him? Well, a few things, with the first being: Excluding vocals, segues, etc., what percentage of the new album material was complete? I also didn’t ask him if there were plans for any guest musicians to perform on the new record, or if they had discussed any cover artwork concepts? Finally, I didn’t ask him if there would be anything that was shockingly different from the signature Tool sound on the new album? Sorry, maybe next time – when there might be some answers that I can post. For now, keep in mind the old adage: “No news is good news.” It was time to head to the long bar of the dimly lit “Golden Tiki” for a tropical libation (and glass of ice water!).
I almost forgot one last item. On second thought, why even bother to bring it up? Oh, what the hell… Danny did mention the possibility of something happening after the record was released, but that this was definitely NOT a sure thing at this point. Since this involves something that may or may not even happen, I won’t (if fact, can’t) expand on it – only to say that: if it does happen, now that would be stop the press news!”
That’s quite a tease/non-reveal. At least we have a little bit of information, which is how the band like to reveal what’s been going. At this point, even the most devout Tool fans aren’t that invested in hearing about the new album. When it comes out, we’ll know, and as long as the band play around every now and then, we’ll be happy. Speaking of that, they will be playing a handful of shows, bookended by the Aftershock and Voodoo fests. Here’s where you’ll be able to catch the band this year:
10/22 Sacramento, CA – Discovery Park (‘Monster Energy Aftershock‘)
10/24 Salt Lake City, UT – Maverick Center
10/26 Denver, CO – Pepsi Center
10/28 Little Rock, AR – Verizon Arena
10/28-30 New Orleans, LA – City Park (‘Vood Music & arts Experience‘)