After hearing that Tool were caught up in a multi-million dollar legal dispute, we called up guitarist Adam Jones to find out what the hell was going on, and for a cheeky update on that new album...
This multi-level lawsuit sounds like a nightmare. We know you probably have to be careful, but can you talk us through it?
“I’d be happy to talk you through it. Basically a long time ago, the band paid my best friend to do some artwork for shirts, albums and advertising – we’ve hired many, many artists over the years. And then he decided to sue us for one fifth of the money we’ve ever made. It was just ridiculous! But here’s the point: we had insurance in case we ever got sued or got in these situations. And now these insurance companies have all tried backing out.”
That sounds pretty damn unfair…
“To me, that does not feel right. I honestly think it’s like if you buy auto insurance and you’re in an accident, then you go to the insurance company and they say, ‘Well you drive an SUV and we don’t really consider that an auto, so we’re not covering you.’ Then you try to argue with them and then they go, ‘Well, we’re suing you.’”
And that obviously must be having a negative effect on the creative process.
“Well, seven years later… here we are. We have a lot of stuff going on. There’s stress. There’s four different guys with personal things going on and it can be a struggle to write music together. But this time it has been really draining and put a lot of pressure on us. We got insurance for peace of mind. And they totally turned it around on us. I just feel like we’ve been completely abandoned and it’s been totally unnecessary.”
Speaking of writing music, how is the new material coming along and what kind of direction is it taking?
“We’re always on an experimental path. We never think about what worked on the last record or what’s good on the radio right now. It’s a selfish process, we just go in there with some riffs. We experiment and the riffs start to take a different path and over time, this riff from last week might go really well with this riff from two years ago. We piece stuff together, almost like a film soundtrack, you know? But I’ll tell you this – there’s a lot of stuff in 7/4. Breaking up 7 can sound like an even number to the listener even though it’s an odd number, that’s really exciting. Rosetta Stoned had some elements of that where we had a middle break and the end rhythm of 7 against 5. It kinda opens up a whole can of worms! There’s some really light stuff going on but there’s also a lot of heavy stuff in there too.”
If there’s one thing that can be said about Tool records, it’s that they’re always worth the wait… any idea on when it will be ready?
“Ah man, I really appreciate that. It’s refreshing to be interviewed by someone that loves music and actually knows about our band. Some of the journalists we’ve dealt with… it’s been insulting to be interviewed by people that don’t bother following music or even seem to like it at all – it’s just a gig for them to get a paycheck. This lawsuit has really gotten in the way, all we want to do is get it behind us so we can focus on what we do best. I don’t want to just get it out and worry about the next record, then look back and go, ‘Why did I do that? It’s a piece of crap.’ I want to sleep well at night, it’s my legacy you know? Some day, I’m gonna croak and I wanna look back on what I did and go, ‘I worked really hard, took the time and had integrity.’ I know our fans are frustrated and obviously want to hear new music. You gotta look at that in a good way and think, ‘Wow – they really like us and they want more!’ To be honest, you can’t beat that feeling at all.”
Adam Jones DID say the record was finished - but he finished his comment with "Just kidding"
Dying to hear the new Tool album? Don’t hold your breath...
Maynard James Keenan is 50 today. To mark the occasion, this is a feature first published in Classic Rock issue 94
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