At a time when the headlines are dominated by frenzied Amish beard clippers, whooping cough and Occupy Wall Street (Forget that – how about Occupy the Playboy Mansion, all you 69 per centers!), rather than discuss the thawing permafrost, Sandusky, or baffling Gamma ray bursts, how about some exciting TOOL-RELATED NEWS… That’s right – while most of you were still digesting your Thanksgiving bird, highly acclaimed recording engineer and producer (not to mention vintage candy aficionado!) ‘Evil’ Joe Barresi was seated at the mixing console in the band’s home studio – the only evidence of the holiday being a bowl of pumpkin-pie cheesecake Kit Kats that was placed there by one of the girls from Tool’s business management. Believe it! Hours after your cranberry sauce was still jiggling, members of the band had gathered at the loft to begin tracking. For these VOLTO! sessions, the place looked like a gear-junkie’s wet-dream, and with the ‘evil’ one deftly punching in bars on the remote control, as the night wore on, song after song –in all their musical complexity – were being captured on tape (Yes, tape! For this record, a Studer A827 “Gold Edition” analog tape recorder had been trucked in.) By the time of my much-anticipated arrival on Tuesday, almost all of the tracks were finished, as were the holiday confections. With the loft now littered with empty Tommy’s burger wrappers and spent cans of Red Bull, as guitar riffs processed through an antique Echoplex wailed over the KRKs, stories were being told about Danny recently making a daring escape in his orange Lambo from Mastros steakhouse in Beverly Hills (where a side of lobster mashed potatoes goes for $30.00) – the entire thing caught by TMZ’s cameras… although the crowd cheers are probably still lying on the proverbial cutting room floor. And now, with you being down to your last leftover turkey sandwich, with but a few overdubs to add, you can bet that the boys will be back at it tonight…

But what about TOOL’s new album, you ask?

Are they still making progress with the writing and arranging sessions? Will they be working during the holidays as a Gamma ray-mutated pterosaur tramples on foreclosed gingerbread houses? Absolutely! (for the quintillionth time), only with a festive pear-cinnamon cider replacing the Volto! Red Bulls. Actually, I’ve even seen part of a video from the band’s next record – albeit this occurred during a strange time-slip that I recently experienced while pushing a shopping cart down one of the aisles at my local Ralphs (a place where cracks in paratime somehow seem to happen regularly). While looking for *********, I saw some guy wearing a programmable display (UV) TOOL ‘video’ tee-shirt. Glancing at it, I could hear the haunting sonic structure of one of the new songs accompanied by the bizarre, vibrant, Adam Jones imagery (yes, on the soft, flexible ‘screen’ material – which, of course, was made from the best quality cloth-plants). Wait a quark-flipping minute! Had I pushed the screeching cart many years into the future? Entranced by the dude’s shirt, I watched as purplish amoeba-like things with a tangle of feelers morphed into intensely-colorful creatures. These were frightening, writhing chimeras and other mind-boggling bio-oddities of a demented (er… creative) mind. Were these some kind of “Saucer Wisdom” inspired piezoplastic receivers transmitted from Adam’s thought-forms, or had he simply recorded one of his favorite nightmares?

(Had one of the band members themselves appeared in the video, I would have checked to see if any hair was blowing in the wind – just one of several tell-tale signs of a recorded dream.) Either way, how amazing were the images! (Cooler than watching a night janitor at McDonalds on fully charged quantum dot batteries in the flicker of strobe lights).

As I continued to observe the bedizening mental cartoons – snippets of some intricately detailed hyper-animation - I noticed that the guy wearing the Tool shirt was NOW accompanied by band-member semblances (decoy band-member semblances, I wondered?) Recognizing me, the Danny ‘semblance’ raised a half-full polyglass of some glittering black eagletail. As I was about to acknowledge this wonderful example of encrypted electromagnetic vibrations, I quickly found myself back at the Ralphs of November, 2011 e.v. And guess what happened next? You guessed it. I’ve heard of MIB types attempting to eat their green Jell-o with a straw, or even sticking a fork into a glass of Dr. Pepper. Hell, I’ve even seen one of the black hat boojums pay for a Whopper at Burger King with a handful of gleaming silver dollars – not to mention the dude who ordered a “Coke and Olives” at my neighborhood pub. But what this MIB-type did was really a dead giveaway. How so? Well, while at the checkout counter, along with his groceries, ‘he’ PURCHASED (there on the spot) Ralphs gift cards for $20.00 each (PLUS activation fees), which he wanted to use to pay for everything. Noticing the puzzled look on the cashier’s face, I quickly left my stuff on the counter and hurried out of the place… wanting desperately to get back to my enchanted green ball… I mean, to my apartment…

Finally, to address all those Tool tour rumors. A few days ago, I met with the band’s management in order to discuss this very thing. Although I wasn’t sure if there was any validity to the rumors, I nevertheless told their manager that a small winter tour might not be such a bad thing. However, given my age, I didn’t think that I’d be able to attend too many shows as a guest (at least, I wouldn’t be able to attend them with the same vigor that I used to). I certainly didn’t want to travel on the tour bus, as the bunks hurt my back. Also, my excessive snoring might keep some of the early riser band members awake at night (particularly Danny and Justin). And then there’s the issue of the bad weather – both here and in Europe. Some dates in Australia would be okay, but with the recent discovery of an albino trapdoor spider in the land DownUnder, I’d have to rule that out, too. Perhaps some shows in the southern states might be best. Maybe even Texas? How about just a show or two right here in Los Angeles? That would certainly make things easier for me. I might even be able to party like I used to in the good old touring days. Better yet, still, what about an electromagnetic radiation transmitted (as theorized by Rudy Rucker, among others) – reconstituted/manifested Tool concert (including personality wave guests with all-access laminates) anywhere on the entire planet? Now, that would be great!.. Especially with those programmable display tee-shirts available at the Merch booth…



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