TOOL guitarist Adam Jones recently spoke to U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine about the band's long-awaited follow-up to 2006's "10000 Days". Asked how the new material is coming along and what kind of direction it is taking, Jones said: "We're always on an experimental path. We never think about what worked on the last record or what's good on the radio right now. It's a selfish process. We just go in there with some riffs. We experiment and the riffs start to take a different path and over time. This riff from last week might go really well with this riff from two years ago. We piece stuff together, almost like a film soundtrack, you know? But I'll tell you this — there's a lot of stuff in 7/4. Breaking up 7 can sound like an even number to the listener even though it's an odd number, that's really exciting. 'Rosetta Stoned' had some elements of that where we had a middle break and the end rhythm of 7 against 5. It kinda opens up a whole can of worms! There's some really light stuff going on but there's also a lot of heavy stuff in there too."
Jones and TOOL drummer Danny Carey recently revealed the real reasons why the band has not made an album since 2006 in a new interview with Rolling Stone. The biggest hold-up has been a "multi-level lawsuit" that started in 2007 when a friend of the band claimed that he had created artwork for the group and wanted credit for it. Then an insurance company that TOOL had hired for the sole purpose of defending the band against lawsuits turned around and sued the band over technicalities regarding the case. The band countersued the insurer, with the case finally going to trial next January after seven years.
Asked by Metal Hammer magazine when he thinks the new TOOL album will be ready, Jones said: "This lawsuit has really gotten in the way. All we want to do is get it behind us so we can focus on what we do best. I don't want to just get it out and worry about the next record, then look back and go, 'Why did I do that? It's a piece of crap.' I want to sleep well at night. It's my legacy, you know? Some day, I'm gonna croak and I wanna look back on what I did and go, 'I worked really hard, took the time and had integrity.' I know our fans are frustrated and obviously want to hear new music. You gotta look at that in a good way and think, 'Wow — they really like us and they want more!' To be honest, you can't beat that feeling at all."
Even through all the financial and legal turmoil, Jones, Carey and bassist Justin Chancellor have come up with enough raw material for an album and have one song that's "pretty much done," with the rest needing further refinement before they're sent to vocalist Maynard James Keenan.
Jones and Carey described the overall feel of the band's new music to Rolling Stone as "heavy," with Jones saying, "Sometimes I feel we get a little too proggy or too into exploring time signatures but not getting heavy enough for my taste. There are some good nose-bleeding riffs happening, and I'm really happy about that. It's not out-of-the-gate crazy heavy, but there are these little journeys with nice paths that end up very heavy."
The guitarist said that while TOOL has always had complete creative freedom, the band's legal issues have put a damper on that. He revealed, "I find it so hard to be creative when you have something awful nagging at you, just stuck between the hemispheres of your brain and affecting your sleep and your relationship with other band members . . . It's just a shame."
Neither Jones nor Carey offered a possible timeline for when a new album might arrive, but Carey said, "I'm hoping that we have something really solid recorded by the end of the year," Jones added, "We're just not going to settle for doing anything but our best work, and the fans appreciate that."