Here’s the announcement from the band’s management about the 21st anniversary release of “OPIATE.”

“TOOL will release a handcrafted, bonus-laden, limited edition package of their original debut EP, Opiate, on Mar. 26 to mark the 21st anniversary of the six-song release.

The anniversary edition is limited to 5,000 copies and features art direction by Adam Jones, illustrations by legendary artist Adi Granov and design packaging by Mackie Osborne, who has collaborated with TOOL on many albums including 10,000 Days, Lateralus and Salival as well as posters and merchandise.

The 5,000 copies will be broken down as 5 x 1,000 runs with each set featuring a variation of the exterior graphics and included bonus items which include a new stereoscopic image for fans to use with their glasses from the 10,000 Days packaging.

The packages will only be available via TOOL’s website ( on March. 26 and there will be no pre-orders. A limit of three packages from each of the 5 x 1,000 versions will be in place. More details to be announced soon.”


(NOTE: I have conducted interviews with the artists involved in Opiate’s new look, as well as the band members, but until the others are approved by the band’s management, here is some Q & A with graphic artist/illustrator ADI GRANOV. Once I receive the green light, I will append the other interviews to this newsletter, and post a heads up in the news section.)

Q: First off, how did you get involved with the cover artwork for the 21st anniversary release of Opiate?

A: Adam and I met last year, and he was already familiar with my work, so we started talking about collaborating on various things. At some point some artwork for Tool came up and Adam asked me if I'd be interested in doing the art for the Opiate anniversary. I was very happy to do it!

Q: Prior to meeting Adam, were you a fan of Tool's music, and/or their artwork? If so, what were your first impressions of seeing the original cover art of Opiate?

A: I discovered Tool at a pretty significant point in my life, as a war refugee in former Yugoslavia. It was a desperate time, so the music was a significant means of escape. Tool's music really impacted me and I have been a fan ever since.

I've lived with the music for a while before, upon moving to the US, seeing the album art. I don't remember if I connected the meaning immediately, but I do remember the intensity of the image. It was intense and creepy, kind of terrifying. It was a while before I realised that the figure was a sculpture rather than makeup on a model.

Q: The wizened visage of the ORIGINAL 'Opiate-Priest' appears more human looking (albeit perhaps possessed by something of a demonic nature) than the NEW version, which to my eyes looks more humanoid or alien (at least in modern ET portraiture). Has this anything to do with the idea that the demons and monsters of old can better be explained as extraterrestrial or ultra-dimensional intelligences?

A: The idea was to take the original priest through a metamorphosis to the next level, so to speak, of his possessed state. The energy is now literally radiating out of him, breaking out. Adam and I talked at length about the visual direction we should go with the priest and we decided that, while the original had an angry expression, this incarnation should be calm, emotionless, at peace and puzzling.

  Q: Do you personally have any feelings or opinions on the whole "ancient astronaut" hypothesis - that Extraterrestrial beings might be responsible for the creation of humankind (by genetic manipulation of an existing earth hominid, etc.), or, at least, gave us certain tools which ultimately led to modern civilization?

  A: I find the idea incredibly captivating, and certainly, a case could be made for it when looking at various evidence found throughout history, but I can't say I think about it much in any way beyond it being a fantastic premise for interesting stories. I would love for it to be true, but, I suspect, I'll never find out.

Q: I read online that your wife sometimes provides color assistance to your art. If this indeed is the case, did she have any suggestions with regards to the colors used foe the new Opiate-Priest, etc.?

A: My wife Tamsin is involved with most things I do, usually helping with art direction and a fresh perspective, etc. I usually run things by her as I work to get some feedback and/or reassurance. 

Q: If someone "off the street" were to ask you what the Opiate-Priest" represented, what might you tell him or her? Just another monster from the ID, or something more?

A: It definitely represents the idea of the song Opiate as I saw it through the discussions with Adam over the weeks we worked on the art. It represents a combination of his and my visualisation of the possession and power radiating through an influential figure of a priest. A slightly more abstract and esoteric take on the message in the song itself. For those familiar with the original release, there will be a definite recognition and continuity, but taking it to a different place.

Q: Is there anything you'd like to say about working with Tool on their 21 anniversary release of Opiate? 

A: It's a massive privilege to be involved. As I mentioned earlier, Tool's music has and does play a significant part in my life, so to be able to add something small to their story is a very special thing indeed.

Learn more about Adi and his work at


Q: Tool are now know for the elaborate packaging of their albums, etc., and I know that you are heavily involved in the process (concept, design, art and so forth). Did you have a more ambitious packaging idea in mind for the ORIGINAL release of Opiate, that you weren't able to realize due to budget constraints at the time, or did these unique album packaging ideas evolve over the years, beginning,say, with Aenima?

A: It's just a different time. Of course I wanted to do something over the top then, but it was our first record and we're dealing with the record company - trying to stick to the budget and see how far we could take things, and, of course, they want it to be under budget. But I really wanted to capture something that we're all about - a representation of everyone in the band. I tried to get the feeling from the music... and the guys... and tried to express it.

Q: What message or effect (if any) were you and Adi trying to achieve with the NEW Opiate-Priest? To my eyes, he appears more evolved and serene, having undergone a metamorphosis into something beyond human - as opposed to the wizened and frightening looking figure from the original release. Was that the intention?

A: It's more psychological. There's more method in the storytelling - the narrative, where the original was a sculpture that had to get done - doing the best job that we could. I had a lot of people helping me with that -putting all the stuff together, and it went down a path that I wasn't really happy with.  I think the new thing is more fine tuned.  Again, it's just a different time.  I don't look back on stuff that I did and say, "Oh, I hate that."  It's different. It's fun to update it. I feel like I'm George Lucas updating one of his movies with CGI that they didn't have back then.

Q: Some fans of the band consider "Opiate" to be the "heaviest" Tool album (others "Undertow.')  With the band now labeled by many under the category of "Prog-Rock", could you ever envision doing something more 'hard' and 'basic' like Opiate, or would you rather continue to push the envelope with epic more complex songs?

A: Yeah, it's kind of just whatever comes out. That's the thing - me - I love metal, but I love the other stuff that's been contributed by the band.  When we started out, the record company said that we had to pick our heaviest songs, because that's the impact - you're metal and that's really important.  Of course I would love to do stuff that's heavy, but the beauty of Tool is our eclectic tastes, and what ends up mixing up the chemistry of that is really cool.

Q: While we're on the subject of Opiate, what would be your favorite song on that album to play live today?

A: Probably "Cold & Ugly." It's fun for me. I don't know if it's our best song, but it's fun. I like them all. "Opiate" - that's a great song. They're all good.

Q: Is there anything that you would like to say about Adi's contribution to the cover art of the 21 anniversary release of Opiate?

A: I'm very happy. It was really a great experience working with him.  He is an amazing artist.


Q: Given how technology has progressed in 21 years, are their certain things that you might have done differently on the original "Opiate" with regards to electronic percussion - if, say, you had a Mandala drum (with all its capabilities) back then? Or do you think that the use of certain electronic percussion sounds (again, the Mandala drum)wouldn't be that necessary due to the heavy nature of that particular recording?

A: It would be much different process, from a percussion standpoint, if I was to compose my parts now. I can't help but use the tools and technology afforded to me today. That's not to say it would be any better, because the shear, raw power of that recording is, in a large part, what made it a valid effort in that time period. However,I could imagine some sections being "embellished" by a larger pallet of ethnic sounds I now have at my fingertips.

Q: Does a 21st anniversary release as opposed to a 20th release have anything to do with the esoteric meaning of the number 21 as representing the unknown superiors of humankind - or a human being's position between matter and spirit (also represented by 21)? Or is there another more prosaic reason for a 21st anniversary issue?

A: The human condition between physical and spiritual realms along with being an unstable hybrid product of genetic manipulation was a frequent topic of discussion at the time we put Opiate together, so it seemed more appropriate to celebrate at 21 years rather than 20.

Q: Prior to his working on the cover artwork with Adam, were you familiar with the illustrations of Adi Granov? And if so, what do you think of his work?

A: I first met Adi about 3 months ago when Adam invited him over to the loft (our rehearsal space). I was unfamiliar with his art work but shortly afterwards Adi sent us some of his published works. I was very impressed and highly recommend it to comic book and fine artists alike. His interpretation of the original Opiate artwork resonates in perfect harmony.

Q: Tool has evolved quite a bit in the last 21 years. What do you think is the most significant change - musically speaking - in all that time?

A: I would have to say our ability at making our arrangements more adventurous and hopefully more cohesive. Its a tough call to make from the inside. This might be a better question for our listeners. ha ha….

Q: Karl Marx thought that religion was the opiate of the masses. Any thoughts on that, yourself?

A: I think the largest percentage of religions are antiquated and inept and they have been set up upon close minded, dogmatic beliefs that will keep them that way forever. They have done their best to shield us from the uncertainty of change and the unknown that tends to bring about feelings of fear in the "masses" . I guess anything that can help numb that fear should be considered an opiate. That we all will inevitably face evolution and change is something we should take comfort in. From my experience facing the unknown with courage and an open heart and mind, is usually rewarded.





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