On Sunday (August 9), TOOL drummer Danny Carey spoke to SKINNY PUPPY founding member cEvin Key (a.k.a. Kevin Crompton) about how he and his bandmates have been spending their coronavirus downtime. He said (see video below): "TOOL hasn't been jamming. We've been just kind on hiatus. Nothing's really been happening. But I think it's time. We kept hoping that we were gonna get back out, so we were just kind of, 'Hey, enjoy this while it lasts,' but now it's looking like it could go to the rest of the year, so we need to get the lead out and start functioning — maybe knock out another EP, at least, or something like that. We've never really done that since our first release — done an EP — so I thought it would be kind of nice to do something like that. We don't have a record deal anymore — we're free agents — so we can kind of release whatever we wanna release now, which is a good feeling."
Carey also talked about the TOOL songwriting process, explaining: "It's a slow process for us to compose our tunes, 'cause we really don't have a songwriter, like a Neil Young or something like that. We just get in there and jam, and these jams can take off in all these different directions, and that's when we're all kind of pushing weirdness on each other. We always keep the tape rolling the whole time, so then we just find the cool bits and go, 'This would fit good with this.' We all take the tapes home and listen to 'em and then show up the next day and then have little meetings to talk about how it's gonna develop or what direction it can go. Sometimes different time signatures can feed into other ones. It's weird. It's always hard to kind of figure out how things fit together, but they do. It's almost like a commitment — if we're all feeling it, then we can make it fit together. It's definitely a band vibe that makes the songs come together in the end — all of us feeding into this pot. It's a good process, but I wouldn't recommend it to the faint of heart [laughs], 'cause it's time consuming. It takes us a long time to write. And it sounds like us in the end, so I'm happy about that."
According to Carey, TOOL missed out on some major touring opportunities this year as a result fo the COVID-19 crisis. "We got in some pretty good touring, luckily, right after the new year, and come March, we were just taking off on about a 10-show run, and then we were gonna have a little break and then start the biggest American tour we've ever done," he said. "So that was a heartbreaker when all that hit the fan. So we're just kind of in suspension now. We have dates held in November and December, but it's highly unlikely that's gonna pan out. We're kind of at the mercy of the NBA and the NHL at this point. If they start having games, then we'll get to tour, because it's pretty much the same venues we do our gigs in. We're waiting and hoping. If not, we've got some stuff held over in Germany and all over Europe in January and February, so I'm hoping that will come through, if nothing else."
On its recent tour, TOOL has been playing two-and-a-half hour sets, with vocalist Maynard James Keenan spending the entirety avoiding the spotlight, singing mostly from the shadows, on a set of risers at the back of the stage.
The setlist drew from all of TOOL's five albums, with 2019's "Fear Inoculum" and 2001's "Lateralus" getting around four songs each.
TOOL's lineup continues to consist of Keenan, Carey, guitarist Adam Jones and bassist Justin Chancellor.
The band has been promoting "Fear Inocolum", which came out in August 2019.
TOOL was honored with a Grammy in the "Best Metal Performance" category in the pre-telecast ceremony at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards in late January at Staples Center in Los Angeles. TOOL was nominated for "7empest", a track from "Fear Inoculum".
TOOL already had three previous Grammy Awards under its belt: "Best Metal Performance" in 1997 and 2001 for "Ænima" and "Schism", respectively, and "Best Recording Package" in 2006 for "10,000 Days".