Today is the ten-year anniversary of the release of 10,000 Days in North America. Or put differently, “Tool has not put out any new music for a full decade.” In fact, going back to Ænima, Tool has released only two albums in the last 19.5 years. In light of this, I’ll take this opportunity to make an announcement (a long overdue one, and perhaps a foregone conclusion or a moot point by now):
Today is the official end for this site.
Obviously this site has been pretty quiet for some time; there’s only been one news post since 2012, and that was an April Fools joke. The Tour section hasn’t been updated for recent shows, either; there wasn’t even a post announcing the 20-year anniversary of this site. I should have made some kind of site shutdown post years ago; maybe after Tool Madness, which was the last full-scale project here at toolshed — in 2011! For a long time, I may have been holding out hope that a new record was just around the corner. But with today’s inauspicious anniversary, plus with today’s web landscape, I think it’s clear that it’s time to close up shop.
At this point, it’s worth taking a step back and looking at the situation objectively. Ten years, no record. Only the live recordings of “A/Descending” signal any progress. (Sidebar: does anyone else think that’s shorthand for “Ascending/Descending”?) Consider: Led Zeppelin released the first seven of their nine albums in a ten-year span. Or this: if you are a college sophomore now, you weren’t alive for the release of Ænima; and the heyday of Undertow and the “Sober” video predate your conception. (A collective “wow” from us older stalwarts). I was a college sophomore when I started up this site, so there may be some nice symmetry here as things wrap up here at The Tool Page.
Also consider: back when toolshed started up, it was a central depository for information about a band who had kept information very close to the vest. No info was available online about their biographies, their gear, even their tour dates. The site evolved into a meeting place for fans, but for years it was a one-way information source; people would send in info, and I’d post it if verifiable. Today there’s obviously Wikipedia and Reddit and Twitter for everyone’s information needs, and they’re all faster and more interactive and more adept than an old-school website for breaking news. (Though to be sure, all the old setlists on setlist.fm and much of the research on Wikipedia were built from the work done on this site over the years.) And while Tool lyrics were originally available only here — as emailed to me from Maynard two decades ago — now your search results are saturated with lyrics sites.
So there’s not really a need for a site like this; proof of that point is that even I don’t get my Tool info via toolshed anymore. There used to be a steady stream of insider info and back-alley meetings that kept toolshed (and you) updated on band happenings. But as the internet evolved to be more open, those channels were no longer necessary or updated. And while in 1996 it was fun that the online community got copies of a leaked Ænima demo and worked together to decipher lyrics and meaning, as I found myself closer to the sources of info, it stopped being fun to spill their secrets.
Plus, there’s the issue of time. Crowdsourced info is of course collated faster and requires less editorial work than a one-man show. When I first wrote the FAQ and got in touch with Maynard, I was 19 and had tons of time to devote to a fun labor of love. Nowadays, between living life and working on shows like Arrested Development and New Girl, I’ve obviously got different priorities. Time, and the times, have changed.
So t.d.n will stay here, hibernating. Acting as a library, an archive of Tool info for future research. Maybe if there’s some enormous news in the future, I’ll post it here. It’s certainly possible that a new record will someday see the light of day, though it seems less and less likely as time goes on. We know Maynard has obviously been extremely productive over this time with Puscifer, A Perfect Circle, winemaking, etc. As he famously quipped last year when asked about the holdup, “Do I seem like a lazy person?” So we’ll just have to continue waiting and seeing.
Absent any further posting here, remember that for the past few years, all of the relevant posts have been on Twitter, @thetoolpage. You’re invited to come follow the conversation there. I hope you’ll all keep in touch.
Finally, a big thank you to every single person who came by over the years. (At its peak, this site was getting over 64,000 unique visitors a day!) The Tool Page was an incredible project, started by one person but kept alive by those thousands who sent in new info, breaking news, photos, tips, feedback, and encouragement. I made many friends and have many stories as a result of running this site; when I saw “Almost Famous”, I thought “hey that looks familiar.” I am super thankful for all of this. Special thanks to Shane Brouse and Tyrone Thompson for being the backbone of this site’s evolution in its early years, and to Chris Brightwell and Dan Green for their outsize roles in making this a fuller place as it matured.
And one last big thanks – to one M. James Keenan. In 1995, when he was posting online publicly, I wrote him and he very graciously started writing me back. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him many times, and he is always incredibly generous with me, not just now but even when I was a teenage fanboy who pestered him more than I should have. He sent in lyrics to albums before they were published anywhere else, corrected misinformation in the FAQ, collaborated with me on some April Fools pranks over the years, and invited me to a few fun get togethers. (And there’s still much of the story that is not yet public knowledge.) He even suggested the name “toolshed”, and there never would have been a successful toolshed without him. Let’s face it: it was a teenager’s dream come true to befriend his favorite band’s singer, and it led to more adventures than I could have ever expected as an adult.
This has been an exceptional experience, and I’m excited for what’s next.
(Now watch, Tool will announce a new album tomorrow.) §