“You don’t need to spend 10 years to make an album”: Ex-Tool bassist Paul D’Amour slams band’s songwriting process

Paul D'Amour on Ministry onstage in 2023
(Image credit: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

Former Tool bassist Paul D’Amour has explained his reasons for leaving the band in 1995 and expressed frustration over the prog metal stars’ songwriting process.

D’Amour, who was replaced by Justin Chancellor and now plays in industrial metal pioneers Ministry, spoke about his departure from Tool in a new interview with Guitar World.

The bassist says that, although the band “were all happy to be there” in their early days, the success of their 1993 debut album Undertow caused a “sophomore slump”.

“People started overthinking all the parts, and I never was that way as a musician,” he explains.

“I was always somebody that writes out of instinct.

“When we got to writing [1996 album] Ænima, we spent a year and basically wrote five songs. That, to me, was so frustrating. And I think Adam [Jones, Tool guitarist] was really in this moment where he was trying to find his voice as a guitar player.”

D’Amour continues: “He was just so unsure about everything, and playing the same parts over and over and over. And I was just like, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t!’ I really couldn't deal with it, you know?”

D’Amour then alleges that Tool “still operate” the way that they did while composing Ænima, and that the bassist’s dissatisfaction with that process means he “probably would have left that band 10 times by now”.

“They make great music,” D’Amour finishes, “but dude, you don’t need to spend 10 years to make an album [referencing 2019’s Fear Inoculum], you know? They’re great riffs, but they’re not that complicated.”

D’Amour joined Ministry in 2019 and has played on their albums Moral Hygiene (2021) and Hopiumforthemasses (2024).

According to founder and vocalist Al Jourgensen, Ministry are currently preparing to wrap up their career by re-recording their 1983 debut With Sympathy and making one final studio album with former longtime bassist/keyboard player Paul Barker.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.