Now that a nearly decade-long lawsuit that weighed on Tool has finally been settled – and a previously undisclosed serious illness afflicting an unnamed band member has subsided – the Lateralus crew is making serious progress on their much-anticipated, much-delayed follow-up to 2006's 10,000 Days. In a new interview with Yahoo! Music, Tool guitarist Adam Jones says the band have finished one track and that another 10 songs are in "various states of completion. The band hopes to finish their new LP by year's end.
For years, Tool have been involved in a lengthy lawsuit brought about by their own insurers that was stifling the band financially and creatively. However, after eight years and millions of dollars in legal fees, a new judge assigned to the case took the reins and pushed it towards a resolution and ultimately a settlement that sided in favor of Tool.
"We moved over to a North L.A. courthouse and we had a brand-new judge, who was fantastic," Jones told Yahoo! "You know what his name was? Randy Rhodes! I knew the power of metal, and my appreciation of metal was someday going to be like a guardian angel."
In an interview with Rolling Stone last July, Jones reiterated how the lawsuit was affecting the band. "It's costing millions and millions and millions of dollars to defend us. And the fans are all going, 'We want a new Tool album. What the fuck?'" Jones said. "But the point is, we're fighting the good fight. We're going to trial and we want to crush them. But every time we've gotten close to going to trial, it gets postponed and we've wasted money and time and it has just drained our creative energy. We bought an insurance policy for peace of mind, but instead we would have been better off if we never had it and just dealt with the original lawsuit."
Legal issues weren't the only things preventing the group from working on their next album: Jones reveals that a member of the band dealt with "a really scary do-or-die, serious illness." "When you're trying to write music and you have that eating away at you – this person you're married to and you love and hate at the same time has something they're dealing with that's out of their control – it's distracting," Jones said.
However, with the lawsuit and illness behind them, Tool is finally making progress on their next LP with one finished track and 10 songs that are almost ready for singer Maynard James Keenan, who adds his vocal parts after the instrumentals have been constructed. "Some of it's really heavy, some of it's complex and some is more atmospheric, but it's definitely Tool. I think having this lawsuit out of the way should really speed of the progress of getting the album done," Jones said, noting that while they'd like to finish the album by the end of 2015, Tool won't be governed by "an arbitrary deadline."
In February, Keenan told fans after a studio visit, "Things are progressing nicely. Slowly, but definitely progressing. Nothing is recorded yet, but the guys are confident that the pieces are coming together swimmingly and will be ready for me to begin writing melodies and content 'soon.'"