TOOL Guitarist: 'I Was Always Involved In Music, Drawing And Sculpting'

July 7, 2010

ARTISTdirect.com editor Rick Florino recently conducted an interview with guitarist Adam Jones of TOOL about writing and producing the X Files/30 Days of Night graphic novel series with Steve Niles, and Jones' art which will be on display at Alternative Press's 25th anniversary group exhibition at the Merry Karnowsky Gallery in L.A. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

ARTISTdirect.com: Do you feel like making visual art and writing songs come from the same creative place? Are they similar thought processes?

Adam: That's a great question! Absolutely! For as long as I can remember — even as a little kid just closing my eyes — I always looked at what I wanted to do in life like a movie soundtrack or a film. I think the two go together. Kind of being a nerd and a loner, I was always involved in music, drawing and sculpting. Sound and art both complement each other. You can make a poster or you can write some music, but when you put the two together, then you make the poster or the images move.

ARTISTdirect.com: Which works of yours will be at the Alternative Press show? Is there a certain story associated with this art in particular?

Adam: I was at the Mark Ryden show in New York. It was the last opening, and it was really cool. I met Norman Wonderly from AP. AP has always been very supportive of our band. We're one of those bands that falls between the cracks of other publications. We're too prog for metal, we're too metal for rock or indie and we're too this for that — like THE MELVINS [Laughs]. AP has always got us though. On that level, I was thanking Norman, and he told me about this show. He asked me if I wanted to contribute something, and I got really excited because I've been studying oil painting with Phil Hale for three months. I lived in England and sat right next to him one-on-one and just learned. He's a huge hero of mine. I really wanted to do some oil paintings and put them in the show, but I don't think I'm really there yet. However, I'd done this sculpture. Our bass player Justin [Chancellor] was in this band PEACH during the early '90s, and that's how we met him. I was really into them. After Justin joined TOOL, he was releasing PEACH's album in the states, and he asked me if I'd do the cover art so I did this sculpture that they used. I was really happy with it so I bronzed it and I've been selling editions of it. I put one of the editions in the AP show, and I'm really excited it's there.

ARTISTdirect.com: What resonated with you about the X Files/30 Days of Night project?

Adam: I met Steve Niles [comic book author, novelist], and we instantly became friends. We hang out all the time now. He and I are cut from the same cloth. We're the same age, and we like the same stupid shit [Laughs]. We're both geeks. We're really into Hammer horror movies, muscle cars, comic books, shooting guns, being losers and playing too many video games. He asked me if I wanted to do some comics with him, and I was like, "Yeah, but I'm a little hesitant about drawing a comic. There are people who can do it better than I can." He said, "No, I want to produce and write comics with you." I instantly said, "I'd love to write, man! I've never had a chance to even get my hands into writing and I feel like I could really do something good." He and I started doing projects. The publisher approached him and they started talking about doing a hybrid. They came up with X Files, and we got Fox to okay it. We received free range to use all of the characters, and it was like throwing gasoline on a fire. It was amazing. We're on issue #5 now. Steve and I work together so well, and I've learned so much from him. I hope it leads to other things. I'm in fucking heaven.

ARTISTdirect.com: It's similar to music. You have an arsenal of different influences and you bring them together into one song or album. That's like what you're doing with this comic book — bringing two unique worlds together.

Adam: Yes, and it is an influence. I'm a huge X Files fan, and I love 30 Days of Night. I was the guy going, "Hey, read this comic!" All of my comic friends were saying, "I don't really like the art." No, it's fucking amazing, man! Look at what happened. It got really popular. It became a movie, and they've taken different paths with it. It was funny when I met Steve; I didn't picture him being how old he was [Laughs]. I thought he would be a much older guy like a lot of the other comic book writers from the era. It's been great! There's so much influence. Comic books, literature, stand-up comedians, painting and all of these other things influence the music. People always just go, "What? I don't get that. That's not music. What bands influenced you?" It's like, "Okay, I can list those all day." However, you've got to understand I'm shaped and the stuff that comes out of me musically is shaped by music and art. I'm glad you said that about the two.

Read the entire interview from ARTISTdirect.com.

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