I’m sure you are familiar with the phrase “No news is good news.” Well, sometimes this isn’t the case. As for the band making headway in writing new material, I’m afraid that the month of September hasn’t gone particularly well. Upon entering the loft recently, I sensed a certain languor (almost a palpable dread, actually). The partial arrangements scrawled in various colors on the Dry-Erase board remained the same as they were a month ago. Guitars looked like they hadn’t been touched in weeks, and the sustained ring of Paiste cymbals had subsided to deafening silence. Obviously the writing process had stalled big-time. In the other room a computer had crashed multiple times, and some new drum tracks were irretrievably lost. State of the art microphones were failing as well, and several vintage synthesizers had malfunctioned. One of these, a Roland Jupiter 8, had even taken a nasty tumble. And then there was my Triton Extreme, with its paint peeling off on one side and several white keys that had inexplicably turned black! When King James I claimed that “No newis is bettir than evill newsis”, evidently he wasn’t referring to Tool’s next album. At least that’s how it seems of late…

Although things are seemingly going well with Adam’s other Tool-related project (other than it is draining the very life out of him), and I believe all is fine with Maynard and his various endeavors, I’m not so sure about the band’s rhythm section (Has anyone heard from Justin?). True, Danny’s venomous spider bite has healed nicely, as is the gnarly motorcycle muffler burn on his leg, but as for other things – a series of misfortunes involving he and those close to him - I can’t help but wonder what the hell is going on. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that there was some kind of curse at work here. And if I remember correctly, things started going screwy right after Danny and Justin returned from their fishing trip in Alaska. Sure, there was plenty of Alaskan salmon to enjoy. And enjoy it many of us did – whether smoked, grilled, baked or poached. There were salmon cakes, skewers, and planks. Salmon topped with akajiso. Even Salmon drenched in Gates barbecue sauce… but at what price? Shortly after this salmon debauchery Rynne broke her big toe, and her mother several ribs while visiting. The ignition in Danny’s truck went bad, and John Ziegler’s car’s engine seized up after the last Volto gig. Previously Kirk Covington had injured his leg. Tabla-master Aloke Dutta had been ripped-off during a recent performance and, oddly enough, the band’s prospective web-master was taken to a disturbing circus during “Burning Man”, where he was repeatedly harassed by cobalt-blue squatamauders. “Merch” also had his share of problems. And how can one possibly explain how the K.C. Chiefs are playing! Aloke Dutta – damn, how deep does this affliction run?

ALASKA! Had something occurred during that ill-omened trip that was responsible for any possible malediction? I’m not talking about illegal activity, such as looking down at a moose from the airplane, nor intentionally waking up a snoozing Kodiak bear. I’m talking about something far more serious than bringing one’s flamingo into a barbershop. Had the cheechakos inadvertently disturbed something sacred, or even worse, brought an artifact of special significance back to the lower 48?

(The scenario I envisioned had them ‘collecting’ from a deserted village ceremonial paraphernalia, such an ornate head mask from mortuary post that was the embodiment of powerful spiritual forces, and later placing this decaying piece of the totem-pole in the loft as another spooky decoration. In fact, when I was later sent another photo of the two fishing, I thought that they had gone back to Alaska [ostensibly to attempt to decipher certain mysterious symbols in glacier depressions] in order to replace the deeply-revered object and make amends). However, when I questioned Danny about this, he assured me that nothing of the sort had happened. Justin and he had simply enjoyed some fishing in the pristine Alaska waters (when not spraying each other with mosquito repellant).

So perhaps there was no curse after all. Just a nasty string of coincidences? Shit happens. What is that saying – when it rains, it pours… But then I began to experience a series of strange visions in the dark prism. Fire… flames… Texas scenery. THE MAN! This time he didn’t appear in the guise of a festival stage manager, but as a man with a, paradoxically, decidedly two-minute Xian haircut. And then it hit me! The Professio Expressa (and, believe me, this is not something served at your local Starbucks). But it hasn’t been 24 years yet. What breech in the contract has there been this time? (Note: For additional info see the April 2006 ‘CoacHELLa’ newsletter.) Was the execration the result of a certain pissed off gentleman on his illusory turf? And if so, was there anything that I could do to intervene? (Even though having nothing to do with any perilous bargain, not even in so much as supplying the bloody ballpoint stylus). What was needed now is what is called in the rock & roll business “a contingency plan.” With this in mind, I’ve decided to set up a command post next to the mobile frigidarium known as “Silver.” And while I continue to post any news in October, rest assured that I shall do everything in my power to deal with this covenant made in exchange for the purse of Fortunatus. Although I fear there is little I can do to get Aloke’s money back, and, of course, for the Chiefs…



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