Tool fans have been clamoring for a new record from the band for so long that even a new riff will send them in a frenzy. The band have been working on new material recently, and last summer they said they hoped to have it out this year, leading to hope that we may finally hear something.
But there was something else preventing the band from fully focusing on their new material that they haven't spoken about until now. While the band admit that their personal lives have made it difficult to concentrate on the album process in a similar fashion to previous efforts, they revealed in a new Rolling Stone interview that the main problem is ongoing legal troubles stemming from a Tool assosiate suing the band members for some artwork he contributed:
Initially, in 2007, a friend of Jones' claimed that he had created artwork for the group that he wanted credit. But the suit got complicated when an insurance company that Tool thought would defend it against lawsuits turned around and sued the band over technicalities regarding the case. The band then filed a countersuit to defend themselves against the insurer's claims and now, seven years later, Tool are still deeply mired in litigation with the insurer. 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.
Guitarist Adam Jones said it's hard to focus on being creative with the lawsuit looming:
"I find it so hard to be creative when you have something awful nagging at you, just stuck between the hemispheres of your brain and affecting your sleep and your relationship with other band members," Jones says. "We have such a strong creative freedom in this band. It's like we've been in a war." He sighs. "And it's unnecessary. It's just a shame."
Besides this bummer news, there was some hope. Drummer Danny Carey told RS editor Kory Grow that the band got through the hard part of the songwriting process which is the raw ideas for the songs. They are working on piecing the songs together to send to their frontman, Maynard Kennan, who will then work his magic.
They revealed that some ideas have been played live as interludes between songs during their recent touring. They only have one song "pretty much done" according to guitarist Adam Jones, which clocks in at over 10 minutes. Here are Jones and Carey talking about new material:
In fact, "heavy" is a word both band members use to describe their new sounds. "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."
Drummer Danny Carey is hopeful that they'll have something by the end of the year but then joked in the article that he thought the exact same thing last year. The band are perfectionists and refuse to compromise just to get something out there.
The entire Rolling Stone story is certainly worth a read.