After a 13-year wait, Tool’s new album, Fear Inoculum, is finally out. However, singer Maynard James Keenan revealed in a new interview that the band probably could have released a “fantastic” new album as far back as eight years ago.
Back in 2015, guitarist Adam Jones cited legal issues and an unspecified band member’s health concerns as two major reasons it was taking so long for Tool to record and release a new album. While not dismissing those reasons, Keenan told BBC Radio 1’s “Rock Show with Daniel B. Carter” that a lot of the delay also had to do with a fear of not living up to expectations.
“I think a lot of it is just that age where you want it to be right and we’ve had some success in the past and the fear of this thing coming out and not being accepted — the fear that it’s not as good as it can be — that can be detrimentally crippling,” explained Keenan.
He continued, “Probably, if I had to ‘psychology 101’ [it], I would have to say, ‘Well yeah, that’s why it would take 13 years to write something,’ because you’re paranoid that it’s not gonna be the best that it can be and then you second guess every single step that you make; when it was probably good enough — I shouldn’t say good enough — it was fantastic 8 years ago.”
Keenan added, “But then the crippling second-guessing of yourself sets in and that psychology and that spiral you get in, it can be extremely daunting. And you can actually not even feel it happening. All of a sudden, you wake up and it’s 13 years later. The hard part is accepting the fact that maybe you’re not as important as you think you are and you should probably just get on with it.”
Along with releasing Fear Inoculum this past Friday, Tool recently made their back catalog of music available to streaming and digital download services for the first time last month. In the same interview, Keenan said of the decision, “I think the hard part with bands like ours that want to control every element of everything; they forget that all you needed to control was the writing and recording. Once that thing’s done, let other people do what they do with it.”