As eight years have passed since the release of their latest studio effort, Tool have now fully opened up about the reason behind the hold-up, sharing a story about a million dollar-consuming lawsuit.
Guitarist Adam Jones and drummer Danny Carrey discussed the matter in detail with Rolling Stone, confessing that not a single new song had been written in full thus far, although the raw material is definitely there.
"The fans are pissed at us," Jones kicked off. "And while part of me is selfish and goes, 'I'm not necessarily doing it for them,' it's time that they understand what's going on."
Both musicians point out that family obligations are making it more difficult to get fully involved with the new album, but the mentioned multi-level court case was dubbed the most critical factor.
It all started in 2007 when Adam's friend claimed he had created an artwork for the band, demanding to receive credit. When Tool turned to an insurance company in hope to get legal defense is when the matter got really tangled up, as the band got sued over technicalities regarding the case. The musicians responded with a countersuit and are still deeply involved with it seven years later, awaiting to go on trial in January 2015.
"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."
Furthermore, there's the financial aspect. "It's costing millions and millions and millions of dollars to defend us," Jones added. "And the fans are all going, 'We want a new Tool album. What the f--k?' And you don't want to pull people into your problems, because they don't understand.
"But the point is, we're fighting the good fight," he continued. "We're going to trial and we want to crush them. But every time we've gotten close to going to trial, it gets postponed and we've wasted money and time and it has just drained our creative energy. We bought an insurance policy for peace of mind, but instead we would have been better off if we never had it and just dealt with the original lawsuit."
However, there's also some good news among all the bad info, and that's the confirmation that Carrey, Jones, and bassist Justin Chancellor have still been busy with new material, and have now "gotten through the toughest part of writing."
And although not a single new track has been written in full, one is near completion and others are at least in the raw idea stage. Vocalist Maynard James Keenan is expected to receive the musical ideas soon and kick off the lyrical process.
"It's time-consuming that way, but it has worked really well for us," Carey said about the group's creative process. "It gets stressful at times when outside influences are dragging you down rather than pushing you forward."
As for the nearly-finished tune, it will clock in at least 10 minutes once finished and is going "through lots of changes and it's got really heavy elements."
"Sometimes I feel we get a little too proggy or too into exploring time signatures but not getting heavy enough for my taste," Jones noted. "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 chipped in 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."
So what the group wanted to point out is that they are giving their best to deliver an effort on par with past releases. "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 said. "We have such a strong creative freedom in this band. It's like we've been in a war ... And it's unnecessary. It's just a shame."
Finally, Danny expressed hopes to have more material wrapped up by the end of 2014. "I'm hoping that we have something really solid recorded by the end of the year," he said. "But we'll see how it goes. I thought that last year, too. [laughs] But we're making great progress. We've really knocked out a lot of good things, especially over the last month. We're all excited about it."
"It's not good when it's done, it's done when it's good," Adam concluded. "We've been working at our own pace, but we don't want to put out something and go, 'This song's fine, just put it out.' I'm never gonna put something out where later, I go, 'F--k, I wish we hadn't done that.' We're just not going to settle for doing anything but our best work, and the fans appreciate that."