September 15 [16:00 EDT] -- Tool is coming under fire from its record label for what the company calls "a course of action that contradicts the legal and binding terms of their contract."
Freeworld Entertainment, formerly Volcano Records, announced on Monday that it filed a formal complaint against the band on Friday in New York State Supreme Court. The complaint claims that Tool made a "wrongful attempt to abandon its exclusive recording contract" with Volcano.
A spokesperson for Freeworld told MTV News Online that the camel's back was broken when the label learned that Tool's management was courting offers from other record labels while still under contract with Volcano/Freeworld.
In announcing the record label's move, Freeworld founder Kevin Czinger says, "(Tool) have left us with no other choice but to protect our company and artists by filing this suit."
A label spokesperson says that the band then filed a complaint of its own in Los Angeles claiming that Volcano/Freeworld never renewed Tool's contract, and that the group is consequently now free to find another label.
In his announcement, Czinger says, "Tool has taken what was a creatively and financially successful relationship and has recklessly abandoned it... We will do what is necessary to preserve this relationship."
Before these legal hiccups, the relationship seemed to be working just fine. For its part, the band had earned a level of creative control that most artists rarely see as the group directed its own videos, designed its own cover art, and chose to do interviews only rarely. For its part, Freeworld (then Volcano) scored a chart-topping album when Tool's latest effort, "Aenima," was released. Tool's management was unavailable for comment at press time.