ToolTravis Shinn

Tool Members Speak On The “Gruelling, Painful, Cursed Process” Of Making An Album


While Tool had their share of legal issues to contend with during the 13 year wait for their new album “Fear Inoculum“, the writing process for the effort was seemingly just as difficult to get through. According to the band, the process was marred at times by false starts and second guessing. So much so that that the group’s frontman Maynard James Keenan made public pleas to his bandmates in a bid to light a fire under their asses. Speaking with Tone Deaf, Keenan commented of that:

“It was my attempt to get them to push back. To go, ‘Fuck you, we’re going to get more done.’ Bummer! [Laughs] ‘Oh no, you retaliated by finishing a song to prove me wrong.’ It didn’t really work. I tried.”

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Speaking to the same publication, the band’s bassist Justin Chancellor was asked if he ever had doubts about the album fully coming together:

“Absolutely. I would say it was never a real threat, but more out of frustration. There were some dead ends we went down, and I’m talking working on stuff for a year or two, and then getting really frustrated – whether it’s one person wants [the song] to go one way or another, or just differences of opinions about the vibe of it, the specifics of it.

We had those moments where we really had to step back and take a break from each other and then seriously wonder whether we were ever going to get through it.

But somehow we really know how rare and perfect our situation is. We really respect it. We know we’re not just going to step out and step into something else of similarity.

So I think everybody really values what we have, and will always come back to that place and give it another go and really try and keep it together.”

Drummer Danny Carey also weighed in on the writing/recording of the album and the wildly differing views on the creative process held by members in the band:

Adam’s probably the one who wants to try every little thing more and more, or maybe doesn’t quite trust himself right away. Maynard’s at the opposite end, he doesn’t even want to work on anything. There’s the flash of inspiration, he commits, and he considers it finished. Both of those guys drive me nuts! Can’t we just do something in the middle here?

We all have our own views on it, but that’s just what makes the band what it is. Putting up with each other, making sacrifices for each other, it leads to the great payoff in the end.”

Speaking of the struggles they go through to create their music together, guitarist Adam Jones added:

“We’ve always been a band, we’ve always been four parts and looked at it that way. And there’s a lot of discipline and honour in our band, and part of that discipline and honour of collaborating is letting the other person be who they are and approach music the way they want to.

It’s not like, fuck everything, the four of us are going in a room. It’s more, this person takes a little longer, or this person has to work like this or in this area or these kinds of conditions. So that’s the biggest thing, and that’s to me the payoff.

When it’s done it’s rewarding, there’s a sense of satisfaction, a sense of self. But it’s a gruelling, painful, cursed process where you go, ‘This sucks!’ But as soon as you’re done you go, ‘Let’s do another one!’”

Fear Inoculum” is headed for an August 30th release date.

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