Tool announce new headline shows in Australia
AMERICAN art-metal band Tool are headed Down Under again - but still no final word on the hotly anticipated follow-up to chart-topping 2006 effort 10,000 Days, writes Mikey Cahill
Tool fans want to know one thing.
When the bloody hell is the next record coming out?
Hit realises this, that's why it was going to be one of the first questions to Maynard James Keenan, lead singer for the Californian art-metal band and principal in the four-person school of Tool.
Or is he?
An abrupt email arrived 20 minutes before the interview, stating management requested there were to be no questions regarding the fifth album to be directed at Maynard. Huh?
Drummer Danny Carey was happy to talk about it an earlier interview but apparently Maynard was keeping mute. Hmmm.
We had to get to the bottom of this for you, curious reader, so let's set the scene: "We're working on it every day, we've managed to make some good ideas great," Carey says.
"It depends how meticulous we are. We have flashes of inspiration and several pieces fall into place and then a song is born.
"Right now we're working on the grandiose, epic thing. All our albums have a 20-minute piece," Carey says, referencing Disgustipated, Pushit, Parabol/Parabola and 10,000 Days (Wings, Pt. 2).
"Usually, once that is finished, the rest falls into place pretty quickly. It seems like we're over halfway."
And what say you, Keenan, Maynard what do you make of the next opus?
"I haven't heard it," he says.
So the other guys are working on it and you come in at the end to do vocals?
"They claim to be. I keep requesting to be involved, so there you have it," Keenan shrugs.
At this point the operator jumps in, sounding rattled. "Um, we probably need to wrap it up, Mikey, so if you can ask your last question."
The operator is curtly informed we have another seven minutes left so we'll keep rolling, thank you. "Sure."
Interesting revelation, that. Keenan is certainly busy using creative juices with A Perfect Circle and Pucifer - the latter have the Donkey Punch The Night release out on February 19 - and creating juices from crushed grapes, so that's where we shall join him.
"I'm in the bunker at my Arizona winery," he says. "I've just finished up some racking and pre-filtering some wine, enjoying a cup of tea and getting ready for bed."
No vino before bed, though, it would make him a little too excited, no?
"Yeah. That tends to be the problem. You see a few bottles sitting there and start to go, 'I wonder what that one tastes like'?" he says.
Keenan's commitment to chameleonic, other-worldly performances might mean, to the casual observer, that he is overly austere.
"Not so," he says.
Carey sums up the early days of their bro-ship. "I would catch crickets for Maynard's geckos," he says.
"He had a whole menagerie in his apartment in those days.
"He had birds flying around and a waterfall in the corner.
"It was pretty intense.
"He'd sleep with all these creatures (in the room) I thought that was pretty eccentric.
"We'd help each other out all the time, fighting bums, keeping people from taking a dump on our doorstep.
"It was a rough LA neighbourhood but we got through it together and have been best of friends ever since."
Carey says: "I'd do Tool for myself. Lo and behold, that's the one that pays the rent now."
And here they come again, doing it for the fans/fans' money by coming out for another stadium tour.
Keenan is preparing for the Australian sojourn by being "very hands-on at my winery".
But it's not enough that he would consider himself match-fit.
"No, I'm not. You see, there we have to go back to the wine part," he smirks.
"I'm not wearing stretchy juicy suits or anything but I'm only a couple pounds away from that."
Luckily, his wife bought him a "fitness" book for Christmas.
"It's book called Dancing With Jesus, featuring a host of miraculous dance moves," Keenan says.
See Tool at Rod Laver Arena on April 27, Sydney Allphones Arena on May 3 and Brisbane Entertainment Centre on May 6. Tickets on sale from February 14 from ticketek.com.au
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Headed Down Under: Californian art-rockers Tool.