Fourtheye is back from it’s slightly longer than expected downtime, and I now present to you the interview with Blair MacKenzie Blair, who most you know as the web content manager of Toolband. Last week I collected a range of questions from the blog, the forum and even from Reddit. There was great response, with over 70 questions being posed. From that list I picked the most interesting of them, and sent them off to Blair for his response.
Thanks to Blair for giving us the answers, and thanks to all those Fourtheye readers who submitted questions.
Without further ado, I present the Fourtheye interview with Blair:
Can you give us any further info on the curveball? Is it something that is expected to be released anytime soon?
BMB: I don’t have a time table, and haven’t heard much about this as of late. When I first mentioned it way back when, I considered it to be just another Tool project in the works, albeit one that I wouldn’t have expected them to be involved with at that particular juncture. But they moved forward with it, and are excited with the results thus far. Some day I will receive an email with more info about it that I am to post on the websites. Until then, you’ll just have to keep guessing, which many are doing, with some having guessed correctly.
Aside from the stage production changes as mentioned in the last newsletter, can we expect any other surprises at Monster Mash? Perhaps a collaboration with Primus?
BMB: It wouldn’t be a surprise if I told you, now would it?
Can you reveal what the Golden Ticket holders from the recent Opiate re-issue received?
BMB: I think that we are still waiting for the final winner to respond to our email before making this known to the general public.
What is your favorite Tool song and album?
BMB: I don’t have a favorite song, but will go with Lateralus as my favorite album. I actually haven’t heard much from the first two records, so maybe I should give them a careful listen before deciding? As for Lateralus, when I first heard the early arrangements – those without vocals – I didn’t think that it was going to be nearly as good as AENIMA. But once Maynard added his stuff, and the finishing touches were put on, I was extremely impressed with the overall result. With that in mind, when I later heard the ‘rough drafts’ for 10,000 Days, I always tried to imagine what Maynard would be doing in certain sections, but when it actually came time for him to do so, it totally surpassed anything that I was envisioning. Especially the intro to “Rosetta Stoned” and the melodic passages in “Wings.”Even so, in my opinion, the right musical arrangement has to be there in the first place for him to do what he does so well – to make it all work. So, it is truly a collaborative effort, with each musician being of equal importance in order to create that which so many people love about the band. This is still true today. From the musical arrangements of the new material that I have heard so far, there are lots of places for Maynard to really shine, and I am really looking forward to hearing this once they get into a studio.
What was Adam doing in the studio when Motorhead caught him there in February?
BMB: He was either bugging his friends while they were trying to work, or working himself on what is now known as the “curve ball.”
Why hasn’t anyone found Problem 8 – The Riemann Hypothesis yet? Can it still be found? Has anyone been close to figuring it out? Any more clues?
BMB: It will be very difficult for anyone outside of the band to hear this unless someone wants them to do so some day.
Does there exist and/or will there be any official video of concerts pre-10,000 Days that will ever have an official release?
BMB: There is lots of unedited footage to make a live Tool dvd, but I have no clue as to if and when they will edit this for a release. Maybe after the new album is released?
Other than the obvious new material for the album, does tool have any unreleased or cut songs from any previous albums? Could they ever see the light of day?
BMB: Not that I am aware of, other than that previously mentioned.
Will 10,000 Days vinyl ever happen?
BMB: I really think so, as I have seen a test pressing.
Please elaborate on the progress of the album from when you believe you heard half of an album (sans Maynard) in Danny’s car several years back to what you have heard recently. Did they decide to scrap some of the music and start over?
BMB: Being that I am a lot older now, and don’t go to loft much (with a diabetic cat that wakes me up for her shot of insulin very early in the morning), I haven’t heard a lot of new material lately. I know that they are sticking to their work schedule, so am guessing things are progressing nicely. I don’t think anything has been scrapped, but intros and outros and such tend to get changed. They are perfectionists when it comes to arranging a particular song.
It is no secret that you insert clues into your posts/newsletters about all things Tool. Have you ever made any band members angry by giving away too much info (albeit cryptically)? Or are they pretty happy with you throwing a bone to any fan determined or smart enough decode your posts?
BMB: As far as I know they have never been angry about anything – at least I have never been asked to edit or delete anything. Maybe they haven’t deciphered such things yet, or, as the person suggested, are happy about my throwing their fans a bone. But then again, perhaps they don’t even read the newsletters, etc.
What was “the Deal” that was mentioned in the June 2015 Newsletter?
BMB: Let’s talk about this after the next show or shows.
Will there be another Tool webcast/podcast?
BMB: Your guess is as good as mine.
Will the new Tool album be available in some hi-res HD audio version? Are there any plans to release hi-res versions of any previous albums?
BMB: Such things are being discussed, but I am not privy to any details at this point.
Approximately how many Tool shows have you attended? What live Tool show was the most memorable for you and why?
BMB: I’ve been to several small club gigs in the early pre-signed days, including the show that they afterwards got their first manager, and one when they signed their first record deal, so that was pretty cool. I have been to about 30 shows I would guess. The 666 show in Germany stands out, as well as one of the Coachella shows that had particularly good catering by my chef friend. Hard to say, really, which was the most memorable due to backstage drinking, and that they are fairly consistent with their performances.
Do Tool plan to play in Europe any time soon? What about Puscifer?
BMB: I would say once the record is released they will for sure tour in Europe.
What got you interested into the occult, and how has this changed your life?
BMB: I have long been interested in the mysteries of the human mind, and what else might be out there, if there is anything else that is totally independent of the human mind? As for changing my life, it just makes me think deeper at times with regards to certain things that I might not otherwise have considered. However, I don’t let any ideas concerning borderland phenomena get in the way of other things of a ‘simpler’ or more mundane nature that I also enjoy, such as sports and such. In other words, there is a balance in my life, and I don’t let any occult pursuits control what I do or think (unless, of course, I am perfectly possessed!) I certainly don’t take it to the level that others do, or at least, claim to do. I don’t want to wind up joining “The Flat Moon Society” or some ‘we have all the answers’ group that insists on everyone wearing silver tennis shoes.
Do you have any upcoming books/projects that fans would be interested in?
BMB: There are a couple of things, including a new project with Danny. Hint: It’s not about collecting books this time. More about both projects in a few weeks.
What are your top 10 albums?
BMB: “Night on Bald Mountain” and “Two, Too” by Fireballet, “Grand Canyon Suite” by Grofe, “The Snow Goose” by Camel, “Tales of Heaven and Hell” by Wendy Carlos, “Brain Salad Surgery” by ELP, “Scheherazade” by Renaissance, “The Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd, “The Planets” by Holst, and “In The Court of The Crimson King” by King Crimson.
What is the spookiest thing you have ever encountered?
BMB: A Carolina Wolf spider while removing bricks from an old house in the mid-west. No, actually, something that I can’t describe very well at all that I glimpsed in my parent’s basement in the early morning of January 5, 2000 as a nearby police officer witnessed a strange triangular shaped aeroform pass overhead.
Is the Maynard autobiography still happening?
BMB: I haven’t heard about this, but it sounds like a great read if it happens. It’s not something that I mentioned, is it?
Being from the Midwest and all, can you please tell us how old you were when you caught your first sheep tangled up in a fence?
BMB: I don’t recall having ever seen a sheep while living there. I don’t even think that I counted any sheep while trying to fall asleep at nights back there. It seems kind of sad though that the person who asks this question would have to resort to finding a sheep tangled in a fence in order to make it with the poor thing, as opposed to properly courting it with special clover and forbs and other niceties. The times are a changing, I guess.
Do you still have the original Coleman?
BMB: Yes, it is in a closet waiting for some opportunity to be used again.
Thanks Hellboy for putting this together! & thanks to BMB for this & putting up with our criticism when you have to write monthly newsletters with limited info!
No mention of Rance… thanks for the interview Hellboy – sad to hear that problem 8 is not actually attainable.
Yeah, Rance was a big omission! I got several of my questions in there, including the Coleman question at the end… but I really wanted to know if he’s still playing music himself and if he’s ever jammed with Danny.
Sounds like BMB is open to another round in the future, which is cool. We can start compiling the questions.
Awesome interview! Great selection of questions and surprisingly straightforward answers 😉
Thanks a lot HB & Blair 🙂
Now that was a pretty solid interview, thanks HB and Blair. Good stuff. A little bummed my question didn’t make it but whatevs.
Great interview HB. Thanks for putting it together, and thanks for including my question about “giving away too much info” in his posts.
I was interested to hear he has hung out with the band since before they had a record deal, but hasn’t heard much from the first two records. I have some good friends of mine who have released music that I have never listened too, so I guess I understand, but damn. Opiate and Undertow? That is some good Tool.
Whoa, there was more information in that interview than all the past newsletters, combined. Nice work
Well played, HB.
Well played indeed.
Thanks HB & BMB! Great stuff.
Great interview. Honestly one of the best I have ever read from anyone in the Tool camp, band member or not. Very straight forward with a couple of good jests in there. Thanks for taking the time Blair!
Thanks Hellboy and Blair. Really Interesting stuff. Still hoping Maynard’s autobiography sees light of day sometime. Would be so rad.
thanks Hellboy for putting this together and thanks to Blair as well for agreeing to it/actually being normal for once!
This is an excellent interview, with far more insight than anything else recently. Blake sounds like a kindred spirit…with the balance between the ‘paranormal’ and ‘mundane’
Thanks to Hellboy and Blair, nice little read there. Hard to believe he doesn’t know much of Opiate and Undertow, maybe a cryptic hint to both albums being revisited by the band in some way?
Ha ha, and thanks for submitting my sheep question! Blair didn’t exactly deny ever not f***ing a sheep, but he also kept his response clean and didn’t go as far as to suggest wearing irrigation boots to hold them hooves is the way to go.