Here’s some Tool related news for those of you who just can’t get enough. Adam has finally returned from England and is said to be anxious to get back to work just as soon as his jet lag subsides a bit. For those who have sent e-mail asking if the whole “pheasant hunting thing” might be a cover story for what was actually a secret recording session with (another) famous prog guitarist, the answer is a resounding “no” (although I’m still checking out whether or not the true reason for his trip was to oversee a delicate medical procedure [in one of the few laboratories with a license to engage in human cloning experiments] to correct a specific concern with his favorite tour decoy.) Whatever the case, he is now back home (knowing damn well that in Merry Ole “The Holy Days and Fasting Days Act of 1551” has not yet been repealed) and should be ready to get together with his band mates soon. HOWEVER, because Justin is due to leave for England next week, it would seem to me, at least, that rather than continuing to write new material, they would use the short time remaining to rehearse the set-list for the upcoming tour.

As touched upon in the last newsletter, having finished the recent APC tour, Maynard is back in Arizona tending to his wine production. In the latest entry to his journal, he mentions getting “the petit off its muck”, running SO2’s (sulphur dioxide), topping off the barrels, etc. While doing so, he writes that he was surprised how much wine got absorbed, commenting that, “clearly the angels are alcoholics” (an allusion to “the angel’s share”, which in wine terminology refers to that portion of the ‘spirit’ that evaporates during barrel aging). Hell, I could have told him that. According to the Bible, they’re also sexual deviates. Whether tippling too much grape or not, in the Old Testament the angels are engaged in all kinds of debauchery, are they not? On a totally different subject, I’m not sure if Danny is going to make the arduous journey down the 405 for the Chargers/Chiefs game this Sunday (knowing that the Chargers are really hungry after being humiliated by the Raiders last week!), but he will definitely be at the Chiefs/Raiders game in K.C. on New Years Day. So, if you’re at Arrowhead for that game, it shouldn’t be too hard to recognize him. He’ll be the guy dressed in a red jersey, drinking a beer with barbecue sauce-encrusted fingers, and doing the tomahawk chop in the event that the Chiefs move the chains on that frozen turf.

Tool related news keeps moving along. Yet another meeting with a web developer has been scheduled, so hopefully we’ll have some exciting news on that front soon (soon in ‘Tool’ time, that is). Also, with time running out, I’m still waiting to see if there will be any special holiday merch available in the stores. I wouldn’t get my hopes up for a live DVD, though. That still appears to be a thing of the future. As to exactly when, I cannot answer that question any more than: If one were to play a blank tape at full blast, would it bother the mime living next door? And finally, just so as not to leave any stone unturned, once again the Tool business managers, Merch, his assistant, and myself will be having our annual holiday lunch at “Arnie Morton’s: The Steakhouse” in Burbank. Only this year I’m not going to order a hamburger. Now, let’s get to some e-mail questions…

Q: “Good Day! My name is ********* and I’m a 25yr old female in Brisbane, Australia. I’m looking so forward to the two shows at Big Day Out and The Entertainment Centre in January next year. I do already have tickets to both shows, but ended up with very poor ones at the Entertainment Centre, mostly because my internet was temporarily down and had to buy them from a ticket retailer in person. I’m waffling, I know. The point is I have a cheeky request to make. I actually feel quite bad asking, but it can’t hurt to try. Come late January, I’ll be 37 weeks pregnant. 3 weeks till my due date. My friends say I’m crazy attempting Big Day Out, but I’ll do my best. The next day at The Entertainment Centre show, I’ll be driving up by myself again, they (husband included), think I’m a nutcase. I would like the opportunity to gain myself an all access pass? I don’t know how, but I’d love the chance to sit by the stage, in front of it, anywhere but 4 million flights of stairs up in the attic, where I currently have a ticket. Please tell me how I can earn one of these? I’m happy to send a photo of my current fatness to prove I’m not a fraudster, but indeed a genuinely huge pregnant woman & desperate case! If it’s not possible, I’d really appreciate a reply just to rule it out. Thanks for taking the time to read my appeal.”

A: When I read this, at first I thought I might be suffering from chronic deja vu and was preparing myself for some kind of hellish “Groundhog Day” scenario. But then I realized that it was just the e-mailer’s second “cheeky request” at getting a much wanted (needed) all access pass. And to this I give her an A for effort, and certainly don’t think that she is a nutcase for wanting to go to the show while being pregnant (even with all those dingos about). Nor do I think she is trying to pull a fast one – I’ve already seen a photo that was provided by our special TA agents in the field.

Now, for my reply: As much as I would like the band to accommodate you and your unborn child, the honest to goodness truth of the matter is that other than the band members, band decoys, their management, certain members of the crew, wives and girlfriends, decoy wives and girlfriends, family members, pets, and (rarely) very close friends, NO ONE gets an all access pass regardless of what the situation might be. Among other reasons, this is to protect the band members from people who have little green army soldiers in their pockets. Those that claim to be receiving messages from the devil while eating their bowls of alphabet soup, and who truly believe that most of the mountains in Arizona were painted by hand. Sorry, but that’s the world we (believe) we live in… Now, colorful and cleverly sarcastic VIP back stage passes and after show passes are given out, but you certainly don’t want one of these. You might think that you do, but trust me, you really don’t! I know most fans think it’s one big party back there. They probably imagine gleaming platters of Italian truffles, Almas caviar, Beluga sturgeon, Knipschilt chocopologie-covered ants sprinkled with edible gold, pastel-colored yubari, durians, iced mangosteen and seedless jumbo black watermelon slices. Yep, there are Wagyu cattle sliders (from cows fed only with Chewings Fescue/Bentgrass and Trappist Belgian ale while being massaged by former Icelandic Miss Multiverse contestants), huge bowls of Ballreich’s potato chips, lychees, Venetian crème puffs and Wimbledon strawberries. And all this is washed down with fountains of Diva vodka and Spluch tequila! Think again, my friends. Even so, I still want one of those cool after show passes to stick on my pants, you say. Okay, but just wait until the house lights come on, most of the crowd has left, and you’re sitting there staring at the security people with visions of cheese and Chimay in your noggin. If the portable pukelights don’t get you to leave, maybe a focused beam of infrasound playing Barney the Dinosaur’s “I Love You”, horrible ghost laughter, or, worst of all, Scott Stapp’s “Marlin’s Will Roar” will. For those who are still determined to get back stage and meet the band, after a cursory examination of one’s ID, requests for urine samples, retina scans, and fingerprints, more security personnel will appear to take you to another location. One thing’s for sure – you don’t want to fuck with these dudes. Not only are most trained in the martial arts, including Kalarippayattu, Taekwondo, combat sambo, klurkhor, black pudding throwing and a Jiu Jitsu/Krav Maga hybrid known as “Heliconan Twisting”, some are even masters of the techniques of flash-capoeira, high-calcium density finger strikes, hand-claw, iron-fan, and exploding rats.

Those of you who have thus far survived now find yourself in a brightly lit room that is able to withstand assaults from trebachet, goliath tanks, chicks with rings on every finger that also drive rusty Ford Pintos, 3-day-old baguettes, and ornate puckleguns. Here you will be subjected to a battery of tests designed to weed out undesirables (such as Zetetics, Moonies, Prince Philip Cargo cultists, Hochstetters, Quakers, Shakers, and white Nuwanbians). In the austere surroundings, a menacing figure (an ex-member of “The Church of the SubGenius”) with a neon blue space-age ant farm and desktop Triops will watch as you are given personality, aptitude, cognitive, and other diagnostic tests (some designed to determine mental stability – such as being handed a bowl of m&ms and asked to see how many words you can spell from it in an hour’s time.) Once you’ve answered questions such as: “What would be the speed of lightning if it didn’t zigzag?” or “Do you think the Detroit Lions will win the Superbowl?” or “What does a hunk of cheese say while it’s getting its picture taken?” (Exactly the kind of things the Nazis asked the Jews at the on-set of WWII), you will be escorted to a larger room where you are handed a bag of “Mama Zuma’s Revenge” flavored potato chips only to be told later that there is no more bottled water in the vending machine. After another hour or so, those of you who have demonstrated incredible tenacity MIGHT be greeted by a cheerful MJK holding a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild. But I sure wouldn’t expect to see any of the other band members… (And, of course, it’s a decoy-double).

Q: “Is it true that Maynard was allowed to go into area 51 by government officials to interview aliens?!? I read this in an article I found in some weird magazine that I bought in a desolate gas station in Arizona. It also talked about him having an orgy with 3 so called "female extraterrestrial intelligences" to get coordinates of places in Arizona that are fertile enough for his grape growing for his wine. This sounds too crazy to be true, but maybe it is so crazy that it is really fact. HELP! I'm yearning to know what is reality anymore in this fallen world!”

A: It’s good to know that there’s someone to take my place should anything happen.

(E-MAIL) “Hello! I just thought i would take the opportunity to involve myself in the tool army community by sharing something i found on ebay recently. I remember reading a while back about Adams 1979 Silverbursts and how he said if he could find another he would get it. Myself being a guitar nut found this the other day: item number: 360325843032. I know these are rare as rocking horse shit, and because i cant afford it, i thought someone out there in the community might find this as interesting as i did (maybe even Adam himself).”

Q: “Do you know if there are plans to release the X-Files 30 Days of Night mini series in a complete hardcover edition eventually? Like a big graphic novel/collectors edition? Thanks. ”

A: Dude, this is the Tool website… Please, only Tool related questions.

Q: “Hi. In September 2011 there will be a new Rock in Rio here in Brazil. I was wondering if there is any chance of the band playing there. Other than that, hasn't the band ever thought about playing in Brazil? They have a small but completely devoted group of fans in here. Pink Floyd never played in Brazil, and I'm sure that seeing Tool live would make up for that.”

A: Where those “Wandering Spiders are… wandering out of the jungle? Actually, I’ve heard things, and think it will happen at some point. There was even talk a while back about the band possibly opening for Rush. But we’ll just have to wait and see.

Q: “Hey Blair, Was just thinking of some 'behind the scenes' type stuff, I find it pretty interesting that Aaron Harris is working for the band this tour - he's always pretty good with his blogs and all that - I'm sure he's busy enough but would love to hear some anecdotes about the change from an onstage role to the teching side, and maybe some info on the madness involved with getting Danny's kit onstage and soundchecked for every show. By the way, I emailed you in the heat of the moment regarding the presale stuffup for Melbourne, however I must say any lingering disappointment was definitely allayed when I read that Danny's Ocheltree kit is making it's way down here for the shows. I appreciate the costs involved, and I've always wanted to hear it live. Please thank my fellow Laker lover for giving us the chance to see him thump away on hundreds of pounds of reworked cymbals.”

A: I think that’s a great idea and will ask Aaron if he’d like to share his thoughts about the tour from time to time (along with Eric and Junior.) One thing’s for sure though – he will be very busy dealing with that enormous kit and all the shiny trimmings. The other day when I saw Danny and him putting the thing together, Aaron seemed up to his elbows in heads, cymbals, Mandala pads, synths, computer drives, adapters, cords, cables, nuts, bolts, washers, fasteners, and the ubiquitous Lithium scanning probe. And as soon as he’s done sorting out and packing the various hardware, he’ll have to deal with the “Great Beast 666” road case that houses Danny’s tour Crowley book collection. Red Flame Volume IV or not, I sure don’t envy him having to organize all those precious volumes. Hang tough, Aaron, you’ve got your nifty Tool Utili-Key, and there’s always “Chili John’s” for lunch!



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