Tool June 2014 Newsletter – Mercury Retrogade

Blair has posted the June 2014 Tool Newsletter on Toolband this morning, and it’s a reasonably short one. It doesn’t really hint at much, except for that Tool continue to work on new material:


Be prepared for lots of problems as MERCURY GOES RETROGRADE UNTIL… JULY 1. So, if your cell phone call drops out in the canyon… If your order from the shopping bazaar is the wrong shirt size… If your Bic won’t spark that blunt after only 2,999 flicks… If your VHS tape of “The Eighteen Year Old SchoolGirls” suddenly has a faulty end-of-tape detection mechanism… If the Cheetos nubs in the bag are smaller than usual… If your car battery goes dead (and there’s no alien spaceship that sounds like a broken lawnmower nearby)… If they get your order wrong at the Jack-In-The-Box drive-thru… If your cochlear neural interface implant goes on the fritz… If the commercials are louder than the television show that your watching… If you get bitten by a black widow spider after falling onto the floor after being hit between the eyes by popped champagne cork… YOU NOW KNOW WHAT TO BLAME.

Also, if you are currently working on ANY creative project, you should probably stop until after July 1… Unless, of course, you are in a band called TOOL, and busy working on material for a new record. If this is the case, back up your hard drive… and go with the flow!


Not sure if this suggests something is happening on July 1st, or if Tool are on a break until then (hopefully not). Not sure if the Happy Trails backwards at the end means something. Either way, have a good June!

Junior and Breck discuss Tour 2014 Lighting and Video production

In a recent article on PLSN (Projection, Lights and Staging New) Tool crew members Breckinridge Haggerty (Video Designer & Director) and Mark “Junior” Jacobson (Lighting Designer & Director) discuss their jobs and the tweaks to the recent Tool tour set:

The band members have been fairly good about giving us a potential pool of songs for each tour leg. The songs we know will be there almost every night get the most cued-out attention; we are always adding and changing things as the tour progresses. Having several independently operated departments (lights, video, lasers, and motion) gives us some flexibility to add and subtract elements, but also requires communication…The different departments don’t communicate as much as we probably should, though we do get together on most of the overall objectives. There are checks and balances, I suppose. Many of the songs have a color set that I can be a bit stubborn about, especially the older ones, so Breck will tailor the video to try to match it. If he has clips that he feels strongly about, I will also try to meet him on that.

There’s also a great slideshow from Stephen Jennings:

Find more photos like this on ProLightingSpace

Blair uses capital letters to describe new album process

In an update from Blair just this morning he describes some progress on the next Tool album:

The other day an insider (and by “insider” I mean truly an insider!) told me that since getting back to working on material for the next record, things have been going VERY well. Now, don’t read more into this than it suggests – which is that there have been some good writing/arranging sessions as of late. Progress!.. We’ll take that any day!

I would guess the “insider” is likely to be Danny, and with all of the band members currently having clear calendars (from a public perspective at least anyway) I think we all hope that we can see some solid progress on the new album in the coming months.

King Buzzo solo acoustic tour hits Australia

Excellent news for Melvins fans this morning, with King Buzzo announcing he’s bringing his acoustic live show to Australia for a series of dates in August. From Frontier Touring:

Frontier Touring is thrilled to announce that rock’n’roll royalty Buzz Osborne, King Buzzo is headed to Australia with a ten-date solo acoustic tour of Australia this August!

With a career spanning 31 years, 30 albums, and over 2,000 live performances, this tour marks the first time that the monarch of metal has performed acoustically in such a unique and intimate setting.

Buzz is the front man & founding member of Melvins, whose dark and sludgy sound influenced the works of many acclaimed grunge and metal bands including Nirvana, Soundgarden, Green River and in many ways nurtured the Seattle music scene itself.

Last year the band released their nineteenth studio album Tres Cabrones (out now through Ipecac Recordings), a psychedelic hard-rock gem that saw original drummer Mike Dillard re-join Buzz and Dale Crover for a collection of tracks that playfully referenced both the punk aesthetic of the band’s roots and their current layered and exploratory sound… all done with a pierced tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Buzz also picked up the guitar to join Mike Patton, Dave Lombardo and Trevor Dunn in experimental metal supergroup Fantômas, a band that allowed each member the creative freedom to explore their many influences – both in and outside of music.

Their debut and subsequent releases received heavy praise for their innovation – second album The Directors Cut (out now through Ipecac Recordings) climbed to #18 on the ARIA Albums Chart and scored rave reviews from NME, Pitchfork and Drowned In Sound who called it “a genre breaking, irreverent album that bridges everything from metal, jazz, sludgecore, grunge, and abstract electronica… one of the most challenging, and rewarding albums of the year”.

King Buzzo’s solo and acoustic debut This Machine Kills Artists (out May 30 through Ipecac Recordings, listen to ‘Instrument Of God’ here) has actually been a long time coming – Buzz wrote a vast majority of the Melvins’ songs originally on acoustic guitar before transferring to electric – “What I’m doing, it’s not folk music, it’s not heavy metal. It’s ‘molk,’ how ’bout that?”

Across seventeen tracks, This Machine Kills Artists uses absolutely no electric guitars, amplifiers or direct boxes, offering a surprising new side to the grunge progenitor and a rawness that spotlights his skill as a songwriter. Rolling Stone premiered track ‘Dark Brown Teeth’ (listen here), remarking that it “still has the doomy, ill-angled, Beefheartian edge his band is renowned for”.

After an extensive 38-show tour of the United States, King Buzzo will now bring This Machine Kills Artists to Australian audiences for the first time with a series of shows that are guaranteed to bring the house down.

Adelaide, Geelong, Melbourne, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong, Canberra, Brisbane and Perth are all set firmly within Buzz’s sights – make certain you’re there for this rare opportunity to see a metal powerhouse like you’ve never seen him before.


Wednesday 13 August Adelaide | Enigma Bar (18+)
Thursday 14 August Geelong | Barwon Club (18+)
Friday 15 August Melbourne | Ding Dong Lounge (18+)
Wednesday 20 August Newcastle | The Small Ballroom (18+)
Thursday 21 August Sydney | Newtown Social Club (18+)
Friday 22 August Wollongong | Anita’s Theatre (18+)
Saturday 23 August Canberra | Transit Bar (18+)
Sunday 24 August Brisbane | Black Bear Lodge (18+)
Tuesday 25 August Perth | Astor Lounge (18+)

Pre-sales are happening on the 26th of March, so make sure you register for them. The venues look like small ones, so expect tickets to move reasonably quickly, especially in Sydney and Melbourne.

King Buzzo will release his new album This Machine Kills Artists on June 3rd.

Cinquanta round-up

Maynard celebrated his 50th birthday over the weekend with a couple of concerts featuring his bands Puscifer and A Perfect Circle, support act Failure and a number of other surprises. The way the set was structured was the first surprise – rather than each band having their own set, it was one large show split into two acts where each band got play a short 3-4 song set before moving onto the next act. Guest performances happened seemlessly throughout the set.

For the encore we were treated to a few unique performances, including Cuntry Boner, Green Jello, Devo on cello and 3/4 of Tool performing an interesting version of Sober. Reviews are overwhelmingly positive both from Fourtheye readers and the media. The LA Weekly also has a gallery of photo’s for you to check out.

Danny celebrates birthday in style at Cinquanta

The first reviews of Cinquanta (featuring Puscifer, A Perfect Circle, Failure and more) are dribbling in, but I won’t spoil it for those attending the second show. I will reveal the worst kept secret of the show, which is that Danny is playing in part of it. It’s a pretty special performance, that shouldn’t be missed – and here’s a video of part of it (SPOILER WARNING!).

Get along to the show if you’re able, I don’t think we’ll see anything like this again.

Maynard and Eric part ways on Arizona Stronghold

Citing “Artistic differences”, it appears Maynard and Eric Glomski have ended their partnership with Arizona Stronghold:

Maynard James Keenan, the lead singer of Tool, has ended his association with Arizona Stronghold, leaving the state’s best-selling and highest-volume winery without an asset that led to its initial popularity.

Under the deal, Keenan will take possession of Arizona Stronghold’s southern Arizona vineyard, which he will rename. Eric Glomski, the other co-founder, will keep the winery in Camp Verde and rights to the Arizona Stronghold brand.

More details can be found on the full article on Arizona Central.

Maynard’s work with Eric was outlined in the documentary Blood Into Wine.

Maynard touches on Tool at Manhunter screening

A story from the Facebook Tool Army group in regards to the recent Manhunter Screening with Maynard:

So I saw “Manhunter” last night followed by an interview / Q&A with Maynard. He mostly talked about the film specifically, but did talk about his various music projects including Tool briefly, but only when someone would ask a specific question. No new information other than him seeming increasingly frustrated with the slow process of making the new Tool album. When someone asked if Tool would consider making a concert video similar to Floyds “The Wall” he answered with “Well, if we could maybe finish the new album first then…yeah, we would consider it.” Also with regards to the new album, he asked the audience “Do I seem like a lazy person? Than stop blaming me.”

He gave some fascinating insights into his music making process and how it relates to the visuals in his live performances. Basically summarized – he pays a lot of attention to the pacing of things, not giving away too much too soon. He really lets Adam run the show when it comes to the music (something we already knew) and comes in after they have things composed to lay down vocals. He unabashedly called Adam a “control freak” when it comes to the process.

People asked a lot of questions about his favorite films and things like that. “Manhunter” was his first choice for the screening and is one of his favorites. He mentioned “The Exorcist”, as well as film I’ve never heard of called “Bliss,” and “Wings of Desire” among his favorites.
The interview was pretty cool, but from a Tool fans perspective there wasn’t a whole lot of new information. I enjoyed the show and was glad I was there to see the man in person.

I expect the quotes there are paraphrased, so don’t take them verbatim. Not entirely sure why he was answering Tool questions on the night (though I guess it’s kinda inevitable that he was asked). I doesn’t really add anything new to the equation, though it certainly appears that optomism regarding Maynard having started his part on the album are unfounded for now. I think it’s pretty safe to put a line through a 2014 release date at this point in time.