Being in a band is a collaborative effort, and sometimes your collaborators don’t move very quickly. Such is the case with Tool, according to singer Maynard James Keenan, who recently gave an interview on Rick Beato’s podcast.
When asked about the length of time between Tool albums, Keenan replied that it’s basically just how Tool’s creative process works (transcription by Metal Injection):
“[The guys in Tool], they just take longer to process information and get it together and then present me something that I can start building on. I’ve made the mistake in the past of trying to build on something that wasn’t ready yet, and then all the work I put into building on ‘the thing’, they changed the foundation. I’m trying to decorate the house and then you move where the doors are and move the windows or add a floor. I got to start over as an interior decorator. So I have to wait for them to do it.”
Keenan acknowledged that it does give him time to work on other projects, like A Perfect Circle, Puscifer and his vineyard, but ultimately ends up expressing his feelings more explicitly:
“So there’s time [for other musical projects]. I have time to do all these other things in between because I can and I should.“One could argue a little bit of discipline and a little prodding… A little cattle prod or a taser would help move those guys along a little faster, but that’s their process. You just kind of respect it. You know it’s frustrating. I’m sure they’re frustrated with me because they hand it to me and I’m like ‘It’s done’ — [and the band is] like, ‘You didn’t take any time with it?’ Yes, I took 50 years—right?—for this reaction to these things. I’ve been preparing for decades to hear these things and be able to react honestly and I riff on them.”
The frontman was also clear that he does not final creative control over Tool; everything the band does is decided as a group, even if it’s… dying?
“No… it has to be by committee. Even if it’s fucking death by committee. It has to be by committee because you have to trust each other at the end of the day for it to be the full encompassing piece with several sets of eyes (and ears on it).”
Other than the 13-year gap between 2006’s *10,000 Days *and 2019’s Fear Inoculum, Tool have released albums in three or five-year intervals. Hopefully a decade isn’t the new standard.