ToolTravis Shinn

Tool Have Been Pondering Releasing A Series Of Singles: “At This Point We’re All Eager To Create Something New While We’re On The Planet”


As the desire for new material from GRAMMY Award-winning alternative metal outfit Tool continues to grow, so too do the band’s shifting plans for their follow-up to their chart-topping comeback album, 2019’s gold-certified “Fear Inoculum“. That record was notoriously the group’s first to arrive in roughly 13 years, and thus far,  there’s been no new songs since.

What there has been is ample explanation as to why the highly influential quartet’s sonic output has slowed to a trickle over the years. Outside of their exhaustive creative process, vocalist Maynard James Keenan also admitted that the group have even been a victim of their own success.

However, since the release of “Fear Inoculum“, there have been discussions regarding the outfit adhering to a more sonically productive schedule. While that’s hasn’t exactly paid off in the past,  the passage of time is now working actively against the band, as the rigors of age have already begun to impact their live performances.

Bassist Justin Chancellor, the youngest member of the quartet, 3/4th of whom are now are all hovering around their early 60s, has been an advocate for streamlining the way the band write — at least when it comes to the frequent second guessing and unwavering perfectionism.

Speaking in a recent discussion with NME, the renowned musician once again weighed in on how time is becoming a factor, offering:

“We’re just getting old, so it’s the pressure of time. Danny [Carey, drummer] has just turned 63, so if we take 13 more years we’ll be touring when we’re over 70! Now there’s more of a necessity to get something cooking a little faster if we want to keep going strong.

We can always carry on touring, and it’s always enjoyable playing the old stuff — especially for me because I’m the new guy in the line-up… even though it’s been nearly 30 years now — but at this point we’re all eager to create something new while we’re on the planet. We want to keep producing more and really explore the creative side of ourselves. We are happy with what we’ve done so far, but we are also excited to see what else we could create that would be different from all of that.”

When asked if he feels external pressure to create new music with the band, he offered:

“It definitely comes on our own terms. The only pressure comes when we announce that we’re working on something new, because then we have to make our own predictions for when it’ll come out, and obviously you feel like you let people down if you don’t release it in a certain amount of time.

It’s a nice feeling that people still want new stuff, but also they’ve got to understand that it’s not the easiest thing to do. It’s not a simple thing and it’s not always a natural thing that comes at the time you want it to come. Art is a very strange animal and it has its own schedule.

When it comes to writing new music, we’re aware that people don’t manage to stay together for as long as we have, so the pure fact that we’ve made it this far makes us eager to take it to the next place and create something new. Whether we’ll be able to successfully, who knows? We’re pretty sure we can, but Tool’s approach has always been experimental, so we never quite know how it’ll come together.”

Back amid the pandemic lockdown, Carey was hopeful the group could at least get an EP together before quarantine lifted. As time has showed, those plans never quite came together. Given Tool‘s meticulous track record, even the breadth of a EP with this relatively short of a turnaround for the band may prove taxing.

Should that be the case, they’ve have also been weighing a potential compromise in a series of singles that could culminate in a more traditional release.

When asked by NME if Tool were still open to pursuing an EP, Chancellor offered:

“Absolutely. Looking at how things are released and consumed by the public these days, it’s more common to release even just a single. That’d be an interesting approach for us because we’ve always waited until we’ve created a whole body of work and made it polished and refined and perfect.

So it’d be an exciting idea to go ‘Well, every time we finish a song, we could just record that and release it’. That being said, the way that we like to do stuff is to present a whole package with the art and with a theme to it… so an EP would be a good compromise between an album and a single. To get a couple of really juicy tracks together and release them on a shorter version of an album.

Another idea is to release singles one at a time, then once they’re all once we’ve accumulated to the length of an album we’ll put that together in a package and release it as an album. That way you could still have a physical vinyl and do all the artwork and all that stuff.

I still think that by writing a whole album, you get really deep into the vibe of the piece and it turns into something further reaching and makes your work a little deeper. But for now, it’s pretty flexible, which is exciting. As soon as we’ve got something ready to go, there’s a choice of different outlets.”

However it plays out, there was some encouraging news shared recently by Chancellor, who revealed that several new song skeletons were awaiting finalization. First the band need to complete their ongoing European/UK tour, after which they have expressed their plans to again shift their focus to crafting the next entry in their catalog. The remaining dates for that run include:

05/30 Birmingham, UK – Resorts World Arena
06/01 Manchester, UK – AO Arena
06/03 London, UK – The O2 Arena
06/05 Paris, FRA – Accor Arena
06/08 Berlin, GER – Parkbühne Wuhlheide
06/10 Wien, AUT – Wiener Stadthalle
06/11 Kraków, POL – Tauron Arena
06/13 Budapest, HUN – BudapestAréna
06/18 Köln, GER – Lanxess Arena
06/20 Dessel, BEL – Graspop Metal Meeting
06/22 Copenhagen, DEN – CopenHell
06/25 Stockholm, SWE – Tele2 Arena
06/27 Oslo, NOR – Tons of Rock

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