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Studio updates and Maynard’s Metal Icon Award

Tool seem to be back working hard in the studio, with an update from Justin showing up his rig in the studio, as well as a quick Instagram post from Adam:

Justin sent me this photo with a caption: “Bass… How low can you go?”  In speaking with him, he told me that he was making great progress in “a great studio.”  He also told me how much fun he had at the recent Tool clinics and how impressed he was by many of the questions and comments from the band’s knowledgeable fans.

🤘🏽The Storm #FearIsTheMindKiller @eviljoebarresi

A post shared by Adam Jones (@adamjones_tv) on

In other exciting news, Maynard James Keenan was recently given a Icon Award at the Metal Hammer Golden God Awards:

Maynard James Keenan received the Icon Award at last night’s Metal Hammer Golden Gods’ ceremony.

The award was presented to Keenan by Daniel P. Carter, host of BBC Radio 1’s Rock Show, recognizing a lifetime of contributions to heavy music, with past lifetime achievement winners including Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Lemmy and Alice in Chains. Keenan was celebrated for his work with his trio of bands: A Perfect Circle, Puscifer and Tool.

A much deserved award.  Of interest to fans of the great man, he was quoted during his acceptance speech as saying “a lot of works being done, a lot of works been done. I’ll go on record now as saying you’re going to see some new music next year“.  It seems somewhat clear to me he’s referring to Tool, but maybe some new Puscifer material could be on the cards.  We’ll see in 2019!

Weekly Update 4-June-2018

Been a couple of weeks since our last update. with the Tool world mostly quiet since the recent festival dates and clinics.  Here’s a few little bits & pieces you might find interesting though:

  • The making of Justin’s Warwick Bass
  • Stream Yob’s “Our Raw Heart”
  • A Perfect Circle continue across Europe
  • The Pieces Fit – Tool’s Cult of Meaning
  • Albums of the week: Baptists, TesseracT, Null Apostle, High Priestess, Wax Chattels

The making of Justin’s Warwick Bass

There’s a new video from Warwick, which gives some visual insight into how his custom bass was create.  No, it’s not a Wal.  No, Justin is not about to give up playing his Wal.

Stream Yob’s “Our Raw Heart”

Yob are a doom metal band quite popular with Tool and their fanbase, and later this week they have a new album out called Our Raw Heart.  It’s currently streaming on NPR, so check it out!

A Perfect Circle continue across Europe

A Perfect Circle are partway through the European leg of their Eat The Elephant tour.  There are still plenty more chances to see them until the end of this month.  I was lucky enough to catch a pro-shot show from the Rock Am Ring Festival, and the band sounds great (it’s out there for those interested, though not on Youtube).

Some of you who went for the box set of Eat the Elephant would have enjoyed the little hologram widget thing they released with it.  For those curious, a 2D version of this clip for TalkTalk is now on Youtube:

The Pieces Fit – Tool’s Cult of Meaning

Trevor Quirk from The Point has written an interesting essay on Tool entitled the Cult of Meaning.  Those of you interested in some deeper meanings behind Tool might be interested in taking a look

Albums of the week

Baptists are a hardcore punk band out of Vancouver, Canada.  They put out a great new album just a couple of weeks ago called Beacon of Faith:

Djent!  Metalcore! Out of place capital letters!  I can hear the groans now!  Despite that, TesseracT have headed doing a more progressive path of late, and it’s one I enjoy.  Their new album Sonder is a great listen.

One of the best and heaviest albums I’ve heard this year comes from a crew from New Zealand called Null Apostle.  Their album Bridge Burner has everything you need to scratch that death/grindcore itch…

I love a good doom/stoner album, and High Priestess have released one that’s as good any this year.  Killer riffs and grooves – this album is worth a listen

Second band from New Zealand this time around, this time on a slightly different noise scale to Null ApostleWax Chattels do a cool brand of post-punk, and their recent self titled album is one I’ve thoroughly enjoyed!

Tool Newsletter May 2018

Tool newsletters are finally back, and in this May 2018 edition Blair tells us in his usual roundabout way about his thoughts on the recent Music Clinic Tour.  He even laments a few unasked questions:

What I wanted to hear was how the guys answered certain questions – such as: How hard is it to tune a nano Silverburst guitar?  How many salmon on average does Justin catch while fishing in Alaska from his Boxing Day gift Sikorsky S-76C helicopter?  What’s the number of stops on the pipe organ inside the replica Nautilus submarime anchored in Maynard’s swimming pool, and does Danny still feel the mystical vibes from the Knights Templar artifact that was melted down to be included in his Jeff Ocheltree Custom Craft set? Incredibly, no one asked about these things. I would have thought for sure that there would be questions about the advantages of parking bollards at the new loft, or if there were any updates on the new refrigeration system for the vintage Pepsi machine. But, no, instead, fans were asking really odd things like “How’s it going with the recording process?” Is it me – or does that seems kind of silly?  Oh, well, you had your chance…

All valid points I thought!  Not really a bunch of news in the newsletter, but it is great to have Blair back doing his thing!

 

Tool 2018 Festival and Music Clinic Wrap-up

Tool have completed their short run of shows (two festivals in fact) as well as a run of Music Clinics.  Many of you would have seen posts about these here in the forum, as well as places like Reddit.  For those that haven’t, or just want a handy summary, here are some of the key points I’ve gathered from the internet.

The two live shows had the same setlist.  The went more or less how you’d expect – same as last year but with the welcome addition of Sober:

  • The Grudge
  • Parabol
  • Parabola
  • Schism
  • Opiate
  • Ænema
  • Jambi
  • Sober
  • Forty-Six & 2
  • Sweat
  • Descending
  • Stinkfist

The shows were pretty well received – there didn’t appear to be any obvious visual additions to the sets from what I could see on Youtube videos.  The band sounded to be in decent touch for one that has presumably focused more on new material recently than their old.  Maynard in particular sounded pretty good to my ears.

A few bits of banter during the shows, including Maynard discussing his riot gear, bananas, and the need for the other three to hurry up.  Some media outlets were pretty quick to jump on this so called “rant” as some kind of division between the band, though I imagine it’s nothing more than Maynard joking around.

The Music Clinics were where most of the interesting insights have come from, with many attendees posting their thoughts online.  The clinics took a common format, a Q&A session, followed by a couple of songs – The Grudge and Eulogy.  Some more questions followed, as did renditions of Descending, Jambi and Aenema.  Also played was a new synth heavy drum solo type song, which Danny described as a segue on the new album.  They also appeared to play some sections of Rosetta Stoned.  There was also a screening of 2/3rds of the new Opiate video.

Following the Q&A and mini-concert, there was time for fans to mingle with the band members in attendance, as well as view a range of props and other Tool memorabilia.  There was of course t-shirts, posters and drum skins for sale as well, for those that had some change left over after the $500 entry fee.

Q&A details found online seem to suggest that fans asked similar things most night – typically things like “how is the new album going” and “what are you listening to at the moment”.  Here’s a collection of tidbits I’ve collected from around the place:

  • The band are obviously very excited about the new album, and feel like it’s some of their best work.
  • When asked what song that we’ve heard took the longest to write, at first Justin answered “Third Eye”, but then after a quick exchange with Adam he replaced that with Wings(1&2). Adam commented further that sometimes one of them might have a riff that they really love but it’s just not working the context of any arrangement. It might be several years later when someone else comes in with another and they have some eureka moment when suddenly that old riff the other guy had stashed away suddenly works. He then said (if i recall correctly) “This time there’s like seven of those.” Which I assumed meant tracks on the new album; roughly insinuating that that type of occurrence happened a lot during this writing phase.
  • In regards to live recordings, they appear to have recorded pretty much every show for quite a while, but don’t really want to share it with the record companies.
  • There was some discussion towards their record label in general, including confirmation this album would be the last of their contract.  Reading between the lines it almost appears like they are saving things like the Live DVD to be released independently after the contract is completed.
  • All members of the band met about 12 months ago to discuss the progress on the album and plan how to finish it.
  • Danny has finished his recording parts on the new album, and Justin is mostly finished.  Adadm and Maynard still to do their parts.
  • Maynard composes his parts by vocalising over the top of the music, humming melodies and such, and then fills in the details with lyrics afterward.  The songs don’t change during this process, Maynard works with what the rest of the band give him.
  • Money earned by the band is split equally between the four members. This includes income from the VIP tours, which typically don’t involve Maynard.
  • The band confirmed that every song on the album is over 10 minutes long, and there appear to be 7 of them.  Not sure if that 10 minutes includes some form of segue, but it certainly appears it might be a struggle to fit all those tracks + segues onto one CD.

Most reviews of these Music Clinic shows have been pretty positive.  The only comment I would make is that they sound pretty similar to the VIP experience given on previous tours.  It was nice to see the band (sans Maynard) do their thing in an intimate setting, I gotta say I was expecting there might be a little bit more to these sessions.

References:

Weekly Update 14-May-2018

Another quick weekly update for the Fourtheye faithful!  If you’re one of those lucky enough to go to a Tool show/clinic in the next week and want to avoid spoilers, you should stop reading!

In this weeks edition:

  • Billy & Maynard Wig shopping
  • Setlists and Q&A from Tool Music Clinics
  • New music- Wrong, Skinless, Rivers of Nihil, Sleep

Billy & Maynard Wig shopping

Maynard James Keenan and Billy Howerdel from A Perfect Circle have filmed a short, somewhat funny video for Revolver where they joke around in a wig shop.  It’s not really champagne comedy, but worth a watch.

Setlists and Q&A from Tool Music Clinics

There’s a bunch of posts on Reddit which goes into detail what happened at the recent Tool Music Clinics.  For the most part they sound like a cross between the standard Tool VIP experience, and an intimate instrumental only show.  There’s a pretty cool Mega Thread happening on Reddit which covers and range of questions asked at the first clinic.  Some interesting snippets of info!

At the Northern Invasion Tool show last night, the setlist was more or less the same as we’ve seen the last few years, with a nice addition of Sober.  No doubt a range of videos will pop up on Youtube over the coming days.  Adi Granov provided the artwork for the show.  I’d wager that the show next weekend will have the same artwork

Here’s a few links worth checking out:

New music worth checking out!

  • Do you like Helmet? Wrong sound a lot like an old, angry version of that band, and their albums strays very close to out right copying them at times. They have a new album called Feel Great, and great it is!

  • Skinless are a pretty hard hitting death metal band.  Brutal even.  Their latest album Savagery is a great listen for fans of the genre

  • Also in the Death Metal genre are Rivers of Nihil, though they have a bit more of a prog metal thing going.  Their latest Where Owls Know My Name is well worth a listen!

  • Stoner metal legends Sleep surprised us with an album about the same time as A Perfect Circle released theirs.  You can stream The Sciences here.

Salival.fr interview with Maynard James Keenan biographer Sarah Jensen

An interesting interview came across my desk this morning, refreshingly nothing to do with A Perfect Circle’s new album.  Christophe from Salival.fr recently interview A Perfect Union of Contrary Things author Sarah Jensen, and asked her a bunch of questions about the process used to write the bio.

Here’s a sneak peek:

What was your approach here?
Maynard and I agreed early on that this wouldn’t be a typical rock-star biography. It wouldn’t be a book about Tool or a tell-all, but the story of Maynard’s journey. It hopefully would show that everyone’s life is a journey, and that the outcomes depend on the choices they make.

Did you meet Maynard for the content, phone him?
Maynard and I live on opposite sides of the country, so every Sunday we got on the phone, and he told me another chapter of his life. During the week, I worked on turning it into a story. He reviewed everything I wrote, and had final approval over it all.

Were there things more difficult to discuss with him, as there are some sensitive events depicted?
Maynard and I trust each other. That trust meant we could be open and honest with each other. We didn’t shy away from talking about sensitive areas, because it was all done to make the best book we could. Like he says: “If you’re going to do something, you do it. (…) You do it for the art.”

In case you haven’t checked out the book yet, check out my thoughts on it here!

 

Billy speaks with Vice about Eat The Elephant

There have been plenty of interviews with both Billy Howerdel and Maynard James Keenan regarding the new A Perfect Circle record Eat The Elephant. The hype train is starting to wind down a bit now that we’re a few weeks post release, but there’s a new interview up in Vice’s Noisy website with Billy recently, and I think it’s one of the better ones to come out.

Here’s a sample:

How do you pick your battles, or decide when to stand your ground? Depends how intense Maynard gets when arguing with you?
You know, there can be things that are triggering right off the bat. You take a minute and look back and go, “Maybe there’s something to this. Or maybe this is just a power struggle, or maybe this is just…” Like with anything, you kind of have to assess. He’s emotional, I’m emotional, and that’s why we do what we do. There’s baggage that comes with that. My least favorite question about Maynard is: “So what’s it like working with Maynard?” It’s like, “What was it like being breastfed by your mother?” I don’t know—compared to what? I can’t compare it to anything else. It’s all I know. It was just happening.

I will say, you can’t be a great lyricist… If you’re tapping into all this stuff, it can be challenging to be graceful in every other aspect of your life. One thing I’ve learned from working with bands is an understanding of characters. Like when I was a guitar tech, I’d be paired with a lot of big personalities. I think it was understood that I was kind of good at navigating it. Some were tough—you know, like Axl [Rose], Trent Reznor and Billy Corgan. You can’t expect everything to go exactly how you want it to go. But if you can do everything, then why don’t you just do it yourself? Getting back to your initial question, like when do you pick your battles? I have great trust and respect for where Maynard is coming from, what he’s capable of and what he can see. Because I’m down in the trenches and have my head so far in it. He doesn’t bog himself down with the progress the way I do. So I’ll give him that he can see a clearer picture sometimes than I can.

Enjoy!

Tool Drum Tracking and Newsletters

A couple of good news items from the Tool camp today.  Firstly news that drum tracking is complete on the new album, with a celebratory photo from Kevin Mills:

Here’s a photo taken by KEVIN MILLS (Evil Joe’s assistant) to celebrate the drum tracking being completed (other than a segue, I believe).  Thanks to Justin for sending!

Other news in the last week is that the Newsletter Archive is back on Toolband.  The most recent Newsletters are longer posts that Blair has made recently (such as his thoughts on the Music Clinics) but I’m hoping that from this point forward his regular style of newsletter will be back!

Tool tease demo version of Descending in Music Clinic promo

Tool have released a video promo for their upcoming Music Clinic tour, and in a pleasant surprise it features a recording (presumably some form of demo) of the track Descending frequently played live over the last half a dozen years.

Adam also offered a few thoughts on the clinics via Instagram:

Very excited about the upcoming #ToolMisicClinic ‘s. The concept originated from fans wanting to connect & interact with us personally.
An evening to Hang & Learn about what makes Tool tick. 🤔💭 We did this production in Tempe Az and it was really great! We will play and talk and mingle. Exclusive VIP commemorative merch is included and special #Tool memorabilia will be on display. & Don’t let the venue size fool you. *These are SMALL & intimate events (sectioned off to one part of the building). Much better than a room at a Convention Center… #VIP gatherings are limited to just a few hundred guest ONLY. 🙌🏼 ❤ Toolband.com

Tool add two more Music Clinics

Tool have snuck in a couple of extra Music Clinics while I wasn’t paying attention – one in Pittsburgh and the other Philadelphia.

Blair also added a few thoughts on Toolband as to what these clinics could contain.  It sounds like a little more that just the Adam Jones VIP thing seen on previous tours:

First of all, KUDOS to those Tool enthusiasts who realize the unique opportunity of the upcoming music clinics and have secured their spot for the experience.  As you might imagine, there has been a great response to these intimate forums and the limited number of tickets available to ToolArmy members went really fast.  As of my writing this, there are still a small number of tickets for sale to the general public and these can be purchased via the links below.  Again, I urge you to act fast so as not to miss out – the clinics also include a damn near personal performance of songs followed by the dissections of the tunes by its composers!

From email that I’ve received, it appears that some of you aren’t sure what exactly these clinics entail, and have been comparing them with the Meet and Greets hosted by Adam Jones in the past.  As special as those events were, rest assured that the clinics are designed to be on an entirely different level.  As advertised, “A rare immersive dissection and performance with DANNY CAREY, JUSTIN CHANCELLOR & ADAM JONES,” here’s your chance to gain insight as to how the Tool machine works.  Just about everything’s on the table:  methods and processes behind the writing and arranging of their critically acclaimed albums, individual vision that goes into the overall mix of things, artistic and philosophical concepts behind their distinctive stage projections, videos, etc., as well as their thoughts on the current recording process. But, you’ve got the green light to change things up – questions need not be of a technical nature; ask about their personal musical preferences and other subjects of interest. Believe me, they are varied!

So, while you are there – seize the moment.  Connect.  Interact.  Whether you’re an aspiring or seasoned musician… or just someone who appreciates the band members and wants to know what makes them tick.  Ask that one question that you never thought you’ve have the chance to.  Intermingle like you’re backstage.  Chat with Tool about anything now that you will be among the very few people that ever have the opportunity to do so

This is also your chance to view up-close rare Tool memorabilia and receive exclusive commemorative merch that only you are privy to.

Ticket details for these clinics are on Toolband.

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