ToolTravis Shinn

Danny Carey Speaks On Why It Took Tool’s Music So Long To Go Digital


Tool‘s long-awaited arrival on digital music outlets finally took place earlier this month and has found them setting a few chart records as a result. While on the outside it seemed a bit absurd that the band had not embraced the music industry’s collective shift to digital formats earlier on, those familiar with Tool‘s label history shouldn’t have been too surprised.

The group have had a complicated run in the record business that seemingly began when their label Zoo Entertainment was sold to and eventually absorbed by Volcano Entertainment in 1996. As the band pursued other label options at the time, Volcano Entertainment filed suit against the band, alleging they were breaching their contract in doing so.

The band countersued the label in the late 90s with the ordeal eventually being settled out of court. While the group managed to negotiate a new joint venture deal with Volcano Entertainment in 2000 for three more albums (their upcoming album “Fear Inoculum” appears to complete that deal) they also faced a lawsuit from their fired manager Ted Gardner over his alleged commissions from that helping broker that new deal.

Another legal hurdle that played out for nearly a decade related to an art designer and an insurance company that was representing the band was resolved in the band’s favor back in 2015.

That is all to say that things haven’t been entirely smooth on the business end for the band and their drummer Danny Carey briefly addressed that in a cover story on the brand new issue of ‘Kerrang!. Speaking of why it has taken this long for the band’s music to officially be made available digitally, he commented:

“We signed a five-record deal that was based around CDs. It got to this point where to accomplish the finality of releasing this record, we had to negotiate the whole digital domain. And we had already missed out on a huge facet of that as far as the download thing. It was a culture shock for us, but it’s a necessary that has to be done if you want to reach people with your art.”

Speaking further of the shift to streaming and digital downloads, he added:

“I don’t mind the streaming thing. The one thing that’s disappointing to me is that it caters to that shorter attention span. I don’t think that leaves much room for people, like us, that want to release a bigger package of music that’s more like reading a book than listening to a commercial.

This was written and composed to be an album, an experience you can dig into for 80 to 90 minutes. But I don’t know how many people are left out there in the world willing to do that. When I was a kid I bought records and played them from beginning to end. That’s what I grew up on, so that’s what I’m still doing.”

With their first album in 13 years, “Fear Inoculum“, slated for an August 30th release date, Kerrang! also asked Carey if it would take as long for a potential future album and if there has been any discussion about it yet. Carey replied:

“There hasn’t [been any discussions,] but I don’t think there needs to because I’m not getting any younger. The drums need to be attacked in a certain manner for it to sound like Tool, so it’s going to have to happen much quicker on the next one. I hope we do another.”

The band’s bassist Justin Chancellor then quipped, “I hope we don’t” causing Carey to laughingly snap back at his bandmate.

- Advertisement - Purchase Merch