Tool Bassist Talks New Album: 'We're Playing Pretty Much Nonstop'

Justin Chancellor says band is "deep into the writing process" on long-awaited '10,000 Days' follow-up

Tool bassist Justin Chancellor said the band is "playing pretty much nonstop" and "deep into the writing process" on its first album since 2006. Credit: Tim Cadiente/Speakeasy

Tool bassist Justin Chancellor said that the band is "deep into the writing process" on its next album in an interview with Bass Player.

"We've narrowed things down to big groups of ideas," Chancellor continued. "For the past few months we've been working on one of the newer songs fairly exclusively. We get the gist of it and find the main themes that make up the skeleton between verses and choruses. Then we explore different ways we can depart from that and come back to it and flip it upside down, and take the time to see what else is there. Everyone knows we take our time. We're really trying to be responsible with ourselves in trying to discover ideas that haven't been discovered before. It's kind of an alchemy, how we experiment."

Tool have not released an album since 2006's 10,000 Days, marking the longest gap in between records. While the band has gone up to five years between albums, this time their meticulous creative process was hampered by a labyrinthian lawsuit that only wrapped up last year.

"We've also been through a lot of difficult lawsuits, which we deal with ourselves, and they're a bit of a bummer and not inspiring creatively," Chancellor said. "But we've fought to be in this position, and it's almost a responsibility now to take the time to explore special concepts while we're on this planet. We're our own worst critics; we're doing our best to find something that blows us all away, and we want each other to be completely happy with what we produce. I'm excited that there's going to be another album and the material will be very inspiring. So why rush it now?"

Chancellor added that he, guitarist Adam Jones and drummer Danny Carey are "playing pretty much nonstop right now, so a lot of ideas are coming out." The three will sometimes spend all day exploring and fleshing out an idea they come up with in the studio, or working on a riff or rhythm brought in from their individual troves amassed on their phones.

As for their fans' relentless desire for a new Tool record, Chancellor said he understood their frustration, but also called it a compliment that people are so excited to hear it. "All I can say is that we’ll go back Monday and do our best to finish it for you, although that's not really how it works," he said. "But we know the listeners will be happy with it when it's finished."

Amidst their work on the 10,000 Days follow-up, Tool played a handful of shows this year, launching a mini-tour in October prior to their headlining set at the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience in New Orleans.