Tool Outfits with Heil Sound Microphones for World Tour

Alan “Nobby” Hopkinson, FOH for Tool.

It’s been 13 years since Los Angeles’ powerhouse art-metal band Tool released their 10,000 Days album. The wait may be over as they have debuted two new songs, Invincible and Descending, during stops on the US and European tour that started in May.

The band, comprised of Danny Carey (drums), Justin Chancellor (bass), Adam Jones (guitar) and Maynard James Keenan (vocals), has been touring with a sound system supplied by Eighth Day Sound. Along with d&b audiotechnik GSL loudspeakers, Midas XL-4 console and the usual ton of assorted gear are Heil Sound microphones.

Alan “Nobby” Hopkinson, the band’s long-time FOH mixer, has had Heil Sound mics in his toolbox for many years. For the current run he is using PR31s and a PR40 on the guitar cabinets, a PR40 and PR30 on the two bass cabinets, PR30s on Leslies (L&R), PR48s and PR40s on kick and floor toms, and last but certainly not least, a PR30 for Adam Jones’ Heil Talk Box. “We were first introduced to the Heil range of mics during the recording of the previous album and to keep things as near to form, we took them on the road with us. They have a very natural sound, which really is the bottom line. There’s very little colouration which keeps the sound raw. Perfect Tool!”

Tool’s deliberate pace and stubbornly old-school approach – they’ve never made their music available for streaming or even sold it digitally – mixes with cutting edge production in their live shows. The band performs with little audience interaction. Frontman Keenan stays in the back, cloaked in shadows while guitarist Jones and bassist Chancellor stay locked into playing the complex repertoire of songs that merge complex progressive rock with blistering heavy metal powered by the intricate drumming of Carey.

The band is known for their complex live show where video, lighting, and lasers become, literally, the focal point. In an interview, Hopkinson stated: “The visual element is always at the heart of this show with audio being the silk stitching to complete the purse! We try to position audio to facilitate what the video and lighting departments are trying to create. All three departments have worked together for the years that I’ve been here—some for longer—so we have a pretty good understanding of each other.”