"That’d be an interesting approach for us": It looks like Tool really are pushing to get new music done faster – and bassist Justin Chancellor isn't ruling out an alternative to album releases

Justin Chancellor and Danny Carey of Tool attend the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California
(Image credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Tool don't owe us anything – if we don't get any more new music from them, so be it. The four-piece are currently back out on the road in Europe for what could be the last run of shows in the Fear Inoculum era. And that album came out in five years ago. We know Tool time operates differently, but the chatter around what the band might do next continues to grow.

There were 13 years between the 2006's 10,000 Days and 2019's Fear Icolulum albums – but bassist Justin Chancellor has confirmed to the NME that new music is on the band's mind, and they simply can't have that kind of gap again for very sobering reasons.

Now there’s more of a necessity to get something cooking a little faster if we want to keep going strong

“We’re just getting old, so it’s the pressure of time," says the Brit of the process moving faster this time around. "Danny [Carey, drums] has just turned 63, so if we take 13 more years we’ll be touring when we’re over 70! Now there’s more of a necessity to get something cooking a little faster if we want to keep going strong."

Moreover, the band wants to make new music.

“We can always carry on touring, and it’s always enjoyable playing the old stuff — especially for me because I’m the new guy in the line-up… even though it’s been nearly 30 years now — but at this point we’re all eager to create something new while we’re on the planet," says Carey. "We want to keep producing more and really explore the creative side of ourselves. We are happy with what we’ve done so far, but we are also excited to see what else we could create that would be different from all of that.”

Danny Carey has previously suggested the next release from the band might not be an album but an EP, and Chancellor is open-minded about the shape it might take too – indeed, he goes even further than his bandmate.

It’d be an exciting idea to go ‘Well, every time we finish a song, we could just record that and release it

“Looking at how things are released and consumed by the public these days, it’s more common to release even just a single," he notes. "That’d be an interesting approach for us because we’ve always waited until we’ve created a whole body of work and made it polished and refined and perfect. So it’d be an exciting idea to go ‘Well, every time we finish a song, we could just record that and release it’. 

That's very different from the sumptuous conceptual album packaging and themes the band are known for. 

"That being said, the way that we like to do stuff is to present a whole package with the art and with a theme to it… so an EP would be a good compromise between an album and a single," Chancellor reassures. "To get a couple of really juicy tracks together and release them on a shorter version of an album."

Warming to the theme, and suggesting the band are having these conversations themselves, Chancellor continues to wonder at the possibilities. 

“Another idea is to release singles one at a time, then once they’re all once we’ve accumulated to the length of an album we’ll put that together in a package and release it as an album," he muses. "That way you could still have a physical vinyl and do all the artwork and all that stuff.

“I still think that by writing a whole album, you get really deep into the vibe of the piece and it turns into something further reaching and makes your work a little deeper," he adds. "But for now, it’s pretty flexible, which is exciting. As soon as we’ve got something ready to go, there’s a choice of different outlets.” 

We're ready when you are, guys! Read the full interview at NME.com

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.