Brief review: Russian Circles, live at the Picador, June 3rd, 2008.

I saw Russian Circles last night in Iowa City at the Picador. My bro and an old buddy of his drove out for this show.

This was my first encounter with this band, and I was very happy. The drummer, Dave Turncrantz, makes me think of a Dave Grohl-Danny Carey bastard love child. Since I am a drummer, this is the first thing to which I listen in hearing a band.

One thing that I noted was that the guitarist, Mike Sullivan, is very rhythmically-minded, and this gives Turncrantz something to latch on to. When drummers aren’t led by this kind of guitarist, they sound too busy. But the three musicians complement each other quite nicely, and they keep things interesting enough that you don’t even miss a voice. (They’re instrumental. Ballsy–and awesome).

If you’re an old Rush fan like myself, you’ll dig this kind of music.

It’s no wonder that Tool had these guys open on the European leg of the tour.

So, as I’m still unfamiliar with this band (and as I was kinda Drunky McGee last night), you don’t get much from my review other than a general “HELL YEAH!”

$8 = a goddamned bargain for 3 great musicians.

-MC Spanky McGee

Revolver mag dedicates entire issue to Tool. What about the new album?

Well, there might be “the” new album. Let’s come back to that in a sec.

In answer to the overwhelming number of requests from readers around the world, we can confirm that Revolver’s special 2008 issue, entirely devoted to prog-metal wizards Tool, will indeed be available in countries around the world. “

I’m picking this shit up. It’s true.

Now, let’s get wildly speculative here.

This is an odd time for such an issue to come out. Why would they release this magazine 2 full years after the latest album? It doesn’t make much sense. Normally this move is pulled in the entertainment industry just after a new album has come out. The reason is simple: the mag plays off the hype of the new album, the mag promotes the album, and everyone wins. Duh.

But why now?

There are the rumors that Tool is working on a new album. I don’t know shit about it, as I’ve already said. But the timing of this issue might be a pump-primer. The magazine itself says that fan demand drove it. But something is still off….

Bear in mind that I’m only speculating. Wildly. More to follow on this bullshit.

-MC Spanky McGee

New Tool album? Who knows? Same old cryptic nonsense on website.


QUESTION: “Hey Blair, I’m sure you’ve received emails about this, but just in case you haven’t… a Rolling Stone journalist said he did shots of Patron with Danny and Maynard at the Grammys and they told him there is a new album in the works. My heart skipped a beat when I read it. Do you have any insight to this rumor?”

REPLY [from Blair, the Webmaster]: If Danny and/or Maynard told the guy that there was a new (Tool) album in the works, than who am I to say that it’s not so? However, I can’t help but wonder if these were decoy band members that attended the Grammys, or, even if they were the actual band members, was this record they were referring to merely a decoy album? As a de-facto ambassador (with or without the white robe of a Fair Witness), keep in mind what I wrote in the January 17th newsletter – namely that if you were to go looking for a band member on the Red Carpet, you better watch out not only for a large Venerian Dragon with a cockney lisp, but for SnARKS that are boojums! Still, if they really are dusting off the dry-erase ‘arrangement’ board over at the rehearsal space, perhaps it’s once again time to remove the violet silk wrap of my faux bird’s-eye maple deluxe edition ‘talking board’ and summon Obelisong, the “pleasant deliverer” of some ’10,000 Days” tidbits a couple of years ago. Better yet, what do you say we just wait and see what unfolds over the next few months? Any pertinent news shall be posted in a timely fashion.

Look, I’m a huge Tool fan, but I can’t stand this kind of bullshit. I know that the band members generally get a kick out of this kind of teasing their fans, and the band’s little imp, Blair Blake, is perfect in that role. As you can see above, Blair’s nonsense follows a mindless played-out pattern, which generally goes like this:

“Tool might be making a new album, but you’ll have to consult the 74th Rthgar in the Shadow of the Moon during the Festival of Hmondatar, while feasting on the six-sided Humoth, stroking your ying-yang to the…”

Look, TOOL, I bet most of your fans are too lazy to look up your esoteric D and D terms. I bet a couple of dorks do torture themselves for hours tracking down words and riddles you made up. I sure as shit don’t care. Release the album, and I’ll buy it. Bottom line. But it ain’t because you guys have little hexagrams and other geometrical symbols on your instruments (ahem, DC). It’s because you’re top-notch musicians (and that ain’t because of the shapes).

In fact, I’d rather have you talk about science and get away from this obsession with mystical words and shapes altogether. It’s just as goofy as the religions you guys often make fun of.

-MC Spanky McGee