Tool’s Adam Jones: The Gun Shy Interview

Tool guitarist Adam Jones

I never imagined that of all the questions Adam Jones would’ve and could’ve asked me — and why would he ask me anything; I’m just a lowly music journalist and writer and he’s the guitarist for Tool…you know, the biggest rock band on the planet — that he’d ask me what he did Tuesday evening. That’s when I was given 15 minutes of the man’s time to talk about whatever. Of course, I wanted to talk about the next Tool record — and we did end up doing that. But then, Jones started interviewing me.

“Are you going to go see ‘Harry Potter Seven, Part One?’” I hesitantly told him I haven’t seen one of those films since the third came out. Usually — I tell him — I don’t go to the movies, mostly because of the bed bug crisis here in New York that’s shutting certain theaters down. I get movies on demand, or wait until they come out on HBO. “Yeah. Or watch ‘em on the plane, right?” This turns into a discussion that leads me to ask him who his favorite director is.

“I don’t have a favorite director. It would be like going, ‘What’s your favorite album?,’” he tells Gun Shy Assassin. “I don’t have one, and there are so many different guys who just make great films…some guys make one movie that’s amazing, and other guys, all of their films are great. I definitely look for the stuff that…people that are trying to express themselves and not just follow some Hollywood formula will definitely stick out to me. Guys who keep pushing their imaginations and strive to do something different. That’s the stuff that sticks out to me.”

Kind of like Tool’s music, which has pushed the bounds of what commercial rock can be since the band debuted back in the early 1990s. By definition, Tool should not be one of the biggest rock bands in the world. But they are, because what they do is something special, something magical. Name one shitty Tool record? See…you can’t! All four are fucking classics; admittedly, the latest — 2006’s 10,000 Days — took some time to grow on me, but it is rock and roll brilliance. Tool’s sonic tapestry winds monstrous riffs with twisted melodies, tribal rhythms, haunting vocals, and potent bass you can feel in your soul as you listen to — say — a record like Undertow. It is progressive rock for people who appreciate good musicianship and Jones’ guitar work is admirable, to say the least.

Lately, the band’s been rehearsing…a lot. They’ve got two shows coming up in early 2011 — Australia and New Zealand’s Big Day Out Festivals — and they want to be on point for those gigs. “We like to stay fresh, because if something comes up and we can tour, we’re ready,” Jones tells me. “We like playing our songs and it just kind of fits into dialing in new songs.”

That’s also something they’ve been doing during rehearsals. “We’ve started the writing process [for the fifth Tool LP], which is a very slow start. It always is. With that, we’ve been practicing a set so it’s fresh so when we do it, we nail it every time and have fun with it and can weave in and out of it.”

Next, I ask Adam if he can give me a percentage on how much of the record is written. “Zero,” he responds. “We’re just jamming riffs and bringing ideas and writing. But nothing is set in stone yet. I don’t know if I can give a fair percentage because we’re just not at that point. If we had one song, then we’d have one song done. But it’s just…in essence, it is like a little snowball. It hasn’t turned into a big snowball yet but its rolling.”

Jones tells me the band is not going to rush to get the record out. They never would. They’re taking their time, and their record label is cool with “when it’s done” as a deadline. “It just takes the pressure off of all the other things going on, but its just the same cycle from album one,” he says. “We record the record, we tour for three years, we take a couple of years off and then someone calls someone and goes, ‘Hey, let’s start hitting the books.’ So we start getting our feet wet until it starts taking off and that is the stage we’re at right now.”

My time with Jones is limited, so I ask him real quick to dispel a rumor I’d heard about Tool possibly touring with Faith No More. He did; Jones says he never heard that one.

“And I know Mike Patton very well, so…I had heard they’d gotten back together, and did their own tour. Mike has a hundred other things going on, so…I had heard [we were] doing something with Rage [Against the Machine], which has just been sort of a casual talk, and it would probably just be one show. It wasn’t like we were going to tour with them or they were going to tour with us.”

I ask Adam if he’d please tour with Faith No More. Then, I get the answer I wanted to hear. “I’m up for anything,” Jones tells Gun Shy. “I’m the guy in the band who wants to tour, who will drop what he’s doing and hit the books. But there’s just…you know, I’m married to three other guys and we’re all very different, so…I am [down to tour with Faith No More], and if something like that happened, it would be amazing but…hey, it is what it is.”


Also check out our Gun Shy interview with Billy Howerdel from A Perfect Circle

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About Chris Harris

Chris Harris is an internationally-published music journalist and writer whose work has appeared on the pages of Rolling Stone, IFC, Revolver, Alternative Press, and Radar. The former news editor for Noisecreep, Harris also served as co-host for the site’s weekly podcast, “Creep Show." Before that, he spent four years writing for MTV News.

  • Tacoloft

    Is Opiate not considered an Album? If it is then there are already 5 albums out and TOOL are currently working on their sixth. If it’s an EP then do we just forget about it in the lineup?

  • deadshit

    opiate is an ep….. fuck yeah adam jones is a mad cunt

  • justin

    awesome times ahead in the land of Oz

  • thirdeye42012

    Ohhhhh sweet christ!! if there was a TOOL/FNM tour i would fucking shit myself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anna

    Nice interview, I would like to have a friend like Adam.

  • ERIC

    Opiate, is indeed, an EP.

  • pottamus

    I don’t think the dude who interviewed him likes tool that much…
    hope they bring faith with them when they go to aus.

  • http://www.taringa.net/comunidades/tooleros Enanen

    Tool is the greatest band ever made !

    Hope to see them in Argentina some day !!

    There’s a lot of fans here waiting for TOOL.

    Keep going, spiral out !

  • goodface

    It’s good to hear from Adam again. I’ll just have to try and be patient for the next Tool album :P

  • cakes

    Awesome interview. I love a good casual conversation. Similar feelings about 10,000 Days. Not until I heard it live did I “get it.” its now my favorite record of theirs, if not ever.

  • Srbin

    Yes, I remember that guy from Belgrade. Great musician, but really strange fellow. Would like to meet him next time in Belgrade. Don’t rush with new album. Make Lateralus 2.

  • jr from phoenix

    if i ran into adam, i would probably forget all my tool questions and talk comic books with him.

  • JayTee

    I just read Adams comic … awesome stuff.
    I live in Oz and couldnt be more excited about seeing Tool next year.
    Whats better is they aren’t just playing Big Day Out but also doing a gig.

  • http://www.sawsound.co.uk Simon Whitton

    It’s great that TOOL are in a privileged position to wait two years before even thinking about making an album, and testament to the fact they’re the best.
    For me, seeing them live slows time down, and listening to their music allows my sense of being to awaken.
    I don’t know of any other band that can get me into a trance-like state. No drugs required, not for a TOOL show…

    • What’s in a name

      Drugs may not be required for a great experience at a TOOL show, but they sure do help.

  • cRACk mONKEy

    Tool live really is a psychedelic experience. The first two times and made me feel lie I was on acid (not to the complete extent, but I felt crazy), but
    the last time in Houston this summer I took 2 hits before going and I was trippin, but I felt almost as if I was sober the whole concert and after they ended
    I realized just how out of my mind I was. A Tool concert is like the natural habitat for psychedelia, you can just feel everything about it when you’re there,
    especially those creepy keyboard interludes that Adam plays in between songs. Man it’s just an amazing work of art that these guys do.

  • Ernesto

    great i wish Tool would come to latinoamerica – Peru we would proudly wait 10¨000 years

  • Kristina

    I want to meet Adam Jones so badly. He is the heart of Tool, without him there is no Tool. I can not wait for their next tour in the US. I will be at every show I can.
    Seeing them live never dulls.

    • Chris_looper

      I’d say that if you remove anyone from Tool there would be no Tool. I’d say they’re equally important people in the band. So I wouldn’t say he’s the heart of Tool. I’d say that Danny is the heart beat and Justin opens and closes the arteries and Maynard and Justin feed the oxygen to the rest of the body.

  • Daniel Volta

    I shook Adam Jones hand before. Nice guy.

  • Hasan Naved Mirza

    I am a Pakistani and I LOVE T00L more than anything else in this World… Adam ROCKS! and so does JUSTIN! and Maynard, and Danny!!!!

  • cosmic tool

    I live in Oz and have managed to get 4th row tix for the Melbourne gig and am freakin stoked about it. Last time I saw em at the big day out in 2007 was like I was on acid. They are my all time fave band ever. I totally agree with some of the comments here, their music can put you in a trance like state and transcend this physical realm – there never has and never will be another band like them

  • Vinny

    I just saw Tool this summer at Red Rocks and it was mind blowing! Best performance I have ever seen and I have seen them about 10 times! Just the hint of a new album is very exciting.

  • Bl3248207

    “Tool’s sonic tapestry”- i love it.

  • musiclover

    Like everyone else I can’t wait for the next album. I can’t expect them to come to Romania but it would be a dream come true.