The good news: After only one show worldwide since the summer of 1998, Tool is appearing at the State Theater Friday in support of Lateralus, their third full-length album. The bad news: It”s been sold out for over a week, and this is the third of only four U.S. shows before Tool heads to Europe. But don”t worry if you didn”t get tickets: They”ll undoubtedly be back sometime later in the summer.

Paul Wong
Tool and the crazy Taco Bell chihuahua.<br><br>Courtesy of BMG/Volcano

We haven”t heard anything from Tool, the group responsible for “Sober” and “Prison Sex,” since 1996. That”s when their last record, nima, was released. Since then, Tool”s members kept busy with various projects, most noticeably A Perfect Circle, vocalist Maynard James Keenan”s “other” band, which saw their self-titled debut album go platinum on the strength of singles such as “Judith” and “3 Libras.” Not bad for a “side-project.”

Tool also released Salival late last year, an 8-song CD of live tracks and rarities packaged with a video or DVD of the band”s odd, distinctive, videos. Seeing as this wasn”t exactly a “new” release, it still left fans salivating (excuse the pun) for a full-length album of all-new material.

Lateralus will finally be released tomorrow, after seeing many, many, many delays. First, there was word that a new Tool album would be issued in the fall of 2000. Then it was slated for an early April release, but kept getting pushed back, and will finally arrive in stores Tuesday. Unfortunately, this gives Friday”s concertgoers a mere three days to get acquainted with the new material. The first single, “Schism,” however, is on the radio now, and the accompanying video will air on MTV. In keeping with the Lateralus delays, however, the exact airtime of the clip has been pushed around. Planned for the 7th, “Schism” will hopefully debut on MTV tonight.

Seeing Tool live is always an event the combination of their unique blend of metal riffs and haunting melody and Keenan”s costumes and body paint make for a memorable experience. He has been known to paint one half of his body black and the other white, wear women”s lingerie and appear dressed as a televangelist. You might also catch a glimpse of little Maynard (yeah, that), an alien, or videos of talking genitalia, but don”t count on it.

Without a doubt, they”ll have a few new surprises cooked up for their highly anticipated return. If you happen to catch Tool”s show Friday, and you see something weird, mind-altering, and/or stupefying, remember one thing: They are but men. Rock.

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