Even though the Los Angeles quartet has managed to hit the road intermittently over the last few years, Tool haven't released a new album since 2006's 10,000 Days, but it's not because they don't want to, according to an interview with Rolling Stone. It's because they can't. Though the band has plenty of musical ideas, and at least one track that's close to complete, a series of legal battles has prevented them making further progress.
"The fans are pissed at us," says guitarist Adam Jones. "It's time that they understand what's going on."
Back in 2007, a friend of Jones filed suit against the band over artwork he claims he created. But it wasn't just that simple lawsuit the bogged L.A. polymaths. Soon after, an insurance company that the band thought would protect it from legal troubles filed suit against Tool over technicalities in that previous case. Then the band filed their own countersuit against the insurer. It's become a complicated and expensive process, says Jones.
"It's costing millions and millions and millions of dollars to defend us," Jones explains. "And the fans are all going, 'We want a new Tool album. What the fuck?' But the point is, we're fighting the good fight."
The complex case is finally scheduled to go to trial in January, at which point the band should finally be able to finish their new album. The core songwriting trio of Jones, drummer Danny Carey, and bassist Justin Chancellor hasn't quite gotten to the new material to the point that they're ready to send it to vocalist Maynard James Keenan, but they seem excited about it nevertheless.
"There are some good nose-bleeding riffs happening, and I'm really happy about that," Jones says of the new material. "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 notes. "I'm having fun drumming on it."
Despite rumors to the contrary, we're probably still a long way off from a new Tool album actually happening, but its reassuring at least to hear that the eight-year hiatus hasn't been for nothing. For more, read SPIN's interview with Jones from last year.