AUGUST, 2005 e.v.
This is the newsletter that you get... because lawyers drafted IT (a confidentiality agreement) and I signed IT, not with blood like that compact (pacta cum daemonibus) the members of the band signed all those years ago in looking-glass letters with their magisterulus, but with ordinary ink from an ordinary pen, evidently (oxyopia being what it is) the property of some guy who lived in Chicago back in the 1920s, who, immortalized for his yielding willingly to the commands of others (ladies, I'll bet!), lives on today. All of which leads me to wonder... who left the door unlocked? ENTER...but pay no attention to those black candles burning between goats horns... nor to the offertory bowl filled with crimson-colored Jelly Bellys (?) These things are for the "puffers" (i.e. magically unsophisticated or those susceptible to Xian propaganda) among you, as are those waxen images and clay poppets... even said compact with conventional Latin contractions spelled backwards.
"STIFF CLUBS AND HARD BALLS"
SUBJECT: GOLF IN CHARLESTON S.C.
"Blair, this is random but I recently read that a couple of you guys are golfers (never would have guessed). I am the Golf Professional/Assistant General Manager at a very nice course in Charleston S.C. and want to let you know that anyone in the TOOL family has an open invite if your travels bring you to this part of the Universe."
Thanks for your generous offer which comes as good news indeed, especially since a certain band member and his lodge buddies were recently kicked out of "Bushwood" (and Blackheath) due to a simple little misunderstanding. So that there are no problems in the future, I should probably tell you that these guys prefer to play at night, particularly during a new moon, dressed in the black livery of the old Medmenham Franciscans (i.e. Dashwood's 18th-century Hell Fire Club), usually besotted on Old Peculiar Ale (and whiskey laced with brimstone) with ancient cleeks and flaming gutta-percha balls. After all that hard work in the recording studio, they would probably really enjoy hitting the links in S.C., followed by the standard bacchanalian midnight observances. But as to the eighteen holes, they're going to need the fluid of a cat's eye (if there's indeed a new moon!)
SIGILS FOR DANNY
Several months ago, Frater Xaphan asked me to contribute a particular "word of power" along with a brief commentary about it that would later be sigilized, painted the appropriate color and incorporated into Danny Carey's pantacle (not pentacle) which, along with other ritualistic paraphernalia, was to be placed in the big room of the studio while he was recording drum tracks for the next TOOL album. The word I chose originally appeared three times in the 1st edition of my collection of occult-themed prose-poems entitled Ijynx (in "Sun's Black Majesty", "Enhaloing the Lamanaut" and "Ophiuchus."). However, for the revised second edition, as I explained in a footnote, I changed the word to a more common "decorative convention" - a word also associated with a specific vortex of energy as well as a certain 'jeweled' vector that remains quite secretive. The reason for this substitution was that this particular ancient root-word, when combined with 'ch', proved to be dangerous and, hence, illegal, magickally speaking. But, since it was now to be sealed inside an envelope for months and then sigilized (therefore maintaining a surreptitious nature), I believed it would be both suitable (i.e. magicakally legal) and efficacious for purposes of power implementation. Etymologically, the Sanskrit root-word, itself, has connections with Agarthi, a mystical subterranean realm of occult initiates, and of the Arcadian Gift (the jewel of sacred cannibalism which is called by some The Philosopher's Stone). And, according to one modern etymologicon, the root-word is also associated with arghata, meaning 'ashen' and relating to the risen Phoenix, with argillaceous (made of clay = humankind), and arq-hehtt (world beyond). All of these words hint at that mysterious post-mortem substance (mined by the Atlanteans as the universal solvent) that facilitates access to Zothyria. Synchronistically enough (which I'm sure will please Frater Xaphan), when I first walked into the recording studio and recognized it (the complete word now painted as a sigil and presumably executed with linear exactitude), the song being recorded was L.K.
EMAIL FROM JULY 23, 2005
SUBJECT: RELIABLE SOURCE?
"This from someone who says he spoke to Alex Grey: Okay... so I went into NYC and went to the Alex Grey art exhibit... long story short, I ran into Alex Grey (which was so awesome)... I ask him about the new TOOL album... he says, "On the new TOOL album Maynard has taken a whole new approach to singing on the album... no one has ever done what he's done before... he doesn't even really sing on some of the songs... instead of saying words he'll just say syllables or the beginning of words... Would Alex Grey actually give out this kind of information? If so, how true is it?.. Thanks for any clarification you can give me on this."
I, too, have heard this "whole new approach to singing" but must tell you that it will not be included on the record, at least not as Alex and others might have heard it months ago. This is due to the concept of evolution with regards to vocal melodies. And I can assure you that there will be words (lyrics)... and lots of them.
SUBJECT: ALEX GREY BACKDROPS
"This may seem like an out-there what with all that's currently in progress but it just popped in my head the other day. I was wondering where the large color Alex Grey backdrops used on the Lateralus tour are?
I'm guessing they are in New York City at Alex's Chapel of Sacred Mirrors. Check out his site at www.cosm.org.
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When the time is right.
IT'S NO LONGER A SECRET, FIREFLY!
Okay, now about those secret burgers: A while back, Danny called to see if I wanted to come down to the studio around dinner-break time. When I arrived at 7:30 PM, they were still working, with engineer Joe Barresi and all of the band members gathered around the mixing console, listening to a song that they had just tracked. Evidently there was a barely audible noise that certain members didn't find desirable. As they pondered the situation, Adam said something like "I just think this is one of the best songs that we've ever written... so, whatever it takes... however much time, let's do it right so that we don't have any regrets later on." (NOTE: Over the years, I think I've heard every band member say the same thing with regards to doing a particular song 'right' no matter what it takes so that afterwards they don't have any misgivings.) Joe then offered a solution which involved bringing in additional equipment (more Dolby units, I believe). As they further discussed this, Kat and I went into the studio's kitchen. It was there, on the table that I saw a dozen or so Styrofoam 'to go' boxes, each with special instructions scrawled in ink.
These, it turned out, were secret burgers (i.e. not listed on the menu) from Firefly, those that are currently both Adam and Danny's favorite burger (which yours truly turned them on to, thus giving away another of the world's great secrets).
After one of Joe's assistants left to get the needed unit, the guys finally took their dinner break. "Even the burgers are secret" I uttered as they checked the Styrofoam lids in order to determine which secret burgers belonged to whom. When they sat down to eat, I began to tell them a story... a story that involved burgers and secrets (of course!).
With the story over, and Firefly secret burgers duly impressing all those newbies biting into the beef patty, bleu cheese and bacon for the first time (and hey, for those of you who want a vicarious thrill, let's not forget those fries, even though, like all fries, they don't travel well), while waiting for Joe's assistant to return with the piece of equipment, we all watched a film entitled "Bullet-Proof Monk." This, fortunately, wasn't all that good. I say fortunately because this gave Maynard a chance to add his own commentary. It was times like this that I wish there was someone with a video camera to document things.
"Blair, please stop screwing with us! We have no idea how to unveil the proverbial Isis of your entries! Can you at least give us a hint as to how we should dig through the clues (preferably one that doesn't invoke vertigo.) Thanks!
Quite simple actually. Read the Voynich manuscript. This contains the requisite key.
DOG N' SUDS (but with little suds)
A couple of weeks ago I went back to the studio after getting a call from Adam asking if I wanted to look at some photos he'd taken. When I arrived (with Rynne and the Lady in waiting female BMB), the guys were in the big room recording what undoubtedly (to me, at least) will be the 'radio' song. After sitting by the mixing console for over an hour, listening to take after take* (and with only a single beer in the fridge [sorry, Masa, was that yours?]), it didn't look like I was going to get a chance to check out the photos. After Justin commented that "the big room doesn't feel that big right now", the guys took a break so that Danny could listen to some things. It was now after hours (about 1:00 AM) but I finally had a chance to scroll through the photos on Adam's computer. After doing so, I went home. I assume that they eventually knocked out ** , getting it closer (the drums, that is) to way that it will one day sound like on KROC.
* Danny later told me that the problem was the speed of the click track. And, yes, they did knock it out.
They bought those Leslie speaker cabinets from the band many years ago. Since AJ used them in the studio for stuff on the new record, naturally no one was taking any chances and banishing rites were performed. Even so, I'm still just a tad nervous for the guys...
Photos by Adam Jones and Camella Grace