In this recent interview with GUITAR WORLD, TOOL guitarist Adam Jones sat down to talk about all things related to their new album, Fear Inoculum, which dropped late last month after a whopping 13-year wait! Apparently, Jones and Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett are bros and at one point, in between 2006 and the making of the new album, Jones asked Hammett for advice on how he practices. Jones encourages guitarists on the importance of expanding your practice repertoire by finding out how fellow musicians go about it.
With so many years since Tool’s last release, how would you say you’ve evolved as a guitarist since 2006?
“That’s a good question! I’ve definitely been practicing more than ever. Since the last record came out, when I meet a guitarist I like, I’ll ask them what they do to warm-up or what do they do to stay good.”Most of them show me a technique or a stretch – or maybe a practice idea. It’s always really interesting for me to see what they do, and I really try to practice the things these people give me. The last time I saw Kirk Hammett, I asked and he sent me a video of this forwards/backwards run going up and down the neck of the guitar, and it really helped my playing a lot. Instead of doing something like just trying to learn the lead in ‘Master of Puppets’, I asked what he does to keep himself good, but I think it’s better to learn how someone practices and apply it to your own ideas. I highly recommend it.”
To his point, it can often be more useful to study the way someone practices versus what they write. Sure, the riff or solo from a song can be sick as hell and you can get a lot from it, but there’s something to be said about understanding the fundamentals first and then applying them in your own playing, especially if they’ve come from another player’s perspective. Even something as seemingly simple as a “forwards/backwards run going up and down the neck of the guitar” can have a larger impact in your playing over time and can influence your own ideas in ways you would never have thought of if you hadn’t learned about it from someone else in the first place. And speaking of ideas, I wonder whether or not Kirk still has that video on his phone with 300 Metallica riffs on it after he lost left it in a cab. We may never get to hear the album that could have been, but it sounds like it might be for the best.
Be sure to read the rest of the full interview over on GUITAR WORLD, and don’t forget to spin Fear Inoculum on Spotify, iTunes, and Google Play.