In a new interview with Guitar World, Adam Jones discussed the making of Tool’s new album, Fear Inoculum, which marked the group’s first full-length release in 13 years. Asked where he and his bandmates were coming from when it came to writing this one, especially after so much time away, Jones said: “It’s so weird because it’s been so many years and I dread the interviews because I wish I had something new to say after so long, but it was very much the same approach we’ve always had. We’re just older, we have different things influencing us and other distractions in our life that slow us down, but it’s basically the same thing it’s always been.
“The three of us meet, we start throwing riffs around and tearing them apart, we revisit things we wrote a long time ago that may work with the new stuff,” he explained. “It’s really about finding your roots again and remembering why you started in the first place, finding the fire that burned in you when you started, and not letting success distract you. We still really try to be true to our art form.”
Jones also talked about taking influence from places outside of the guitar world — art, film, science. He said: “It’s honestly all such a blur. Honestly, it’s all coming in and I try to be like a sponge and vulnerable, and I try to ask a lot of questions and learn. I also try to look at the world — the keyword being ‘try’ — in a more forgiving way.
“When I watch a movie, I pretend I’m 12 because when I was 12 I liked everything,” he continued. “So many people are so jaded about everything and I try to avoid that. I just try to do that with the arts and music in general, and when I hear something, I ask myself what the influences came in when someone was creating it and I acknowledge that a player might not be Eddie Van Halen, but they’re good and they’re good in their own unique way, and I try to pick up on that and try to think from my chest instead of from my head.”
Fear Inoculum debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. The effort shifted approximately 270,000 equivalent album units in its first week of release, with 248,000 of those in traditional album sales. Tool also topped the Billboard Artist 100 chart, an unprecidented two-for for a rock or metal band in this era. The band was undeseated from the top spot this week by Post Malone.
According to Billboard, those numbers are particularly impressive since Tool achieved them “without the assistance of a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer, any sort of album pre-order/pre-sale access code promotion, or a single merchandise/album bundle — all of which have become the norm for most major albums in recent years as artists struggle to sell albums through more old-fashioned or traditional methods.”