This is an excerpt from the June 2013 issue of Guitar World magazine. For the rest of this story, and more, check out the issue at the Guitar World Online Store.
For Tool, music and imagery are inextricably united—which is why the group is reissuing its 1992 debut EP, Opiate, in an extremely limited edition with new artwork and collectibles. Adam Jones explains.
“Everyone in Tool is interested in how we present our music,” says Tool guitarist Adam Jones. “We write a group of songs that have a vibe, energy and feeling, and then we try to pick an image to capture that and communicate a feeling. We want something that adds to the connection with the audience.”
The union of art and music has been at the forefront of Tool’s philosophy since the group’s beginnings in the early Nineties. It was evident even on their 1992 debut EP, Opiate, a six-song disc (seven, including the hidden bonus track) that presented the raw fury, dynamic power and progressive inclinations that the band would distill on the following year’s full-length breakout, Undertow.
But at the time of Opiate’s release, Tool—which also included singer Maynard James Keenan, drummer Danny Carey and then-bassist Paul D’Amour—were still defining their sonic and visual aesthetics. As such, they were not in the position to fully articulate some of their concepts.
That’s no longer the case, which is why Jones and Tool have decided to reissue Opiate as a limited-edition deluxe package with revised and refreshed art. The original EP’s cover featured an image of a priest with three pairs of praying hands, while the insert showed a morbid collage containing, among other items, childhood photos of the band members.
“We did that artwork when we were first starting out,” Jones says. “Everyone was really bugging us about how it was supposed to be, and how we were in the metal market, so it had to be more metal. We did the best we could at the time.”
For the new Opiate reissue (available exclusively at ToolBand.com), Tool are releasing 5,000 handcrafted packages, which are divided into five 1,000-piece runs, each with different cover variations by famed comic illustrator Adi Granov. The repackaging also includes a novelty USB card, sticker, window decal and 3-D stereoscopic image (for fans to use with the glasses included in the packaging for 2006’s 10,000 Days). Every copy of Opiate is also signed by each band member, and five random packages include a “Seal of Xatanitos” certificate, which can be redeemed for a secret prize.
“I really like stuff that is collectible that you can hold and go, ‘There’s only a few people that have this,’ ” the guitarist says. “I like to see that someone’s put a lot of labor into making something. And that’s what we’ve done.”
GUITAR WORLD: Opiate’s 20th anniversary was last year. What prompted you to reimagine the artwork now?
To be honest, someone brought up that it was 20 years since we released Opiate. And we were like, “Jesus, really?” But we’ve been working on new Tool music, and we all have other projects we’re involved in. So by the time we got around to talking about it seriously, it was the album’s 21st anniversary. [laughs] Whatever. It’s still fun to do it. I’m very happy with it.
For the rest of this story and more, including photos of Jones' original sketches for the layout and more artwork from the Opiate reissue, check out the June 2013 issue at the Guitar World Online Store. The new issue also features stories on Megadeth, Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Heavy Metal, Alice In Chains' Jerry Cantrell, Epiphone's '60s guitars and more!
Photo (above): Ross Halfin