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Paul D'Amour: Escaping the Undertow
Excerpts from an interview with Paul D’Amour
BASS PLAYER magazine By JON D'AURIA, SEP 30, 2014
WHEN PAUL D’AMOUR WALKED AWAY FROM TOOL IN 1995, DURING the recording of Ænima, he had one mission: to avoid letting his role in that band define him forever. Known solely at the time as the heavy-picking bassist behind powerful songs such as “Sober” and “Prison Sex,” D’Amour immediately began taking on projects that showcased his diverse range as a musician: He played guitar in the psychedelic pop band Lusk, formed a cover band called Replicants, flaunted his multi-instrumentalist chops with his solo project Feersum Ennjin, and composed music for movies and television shows.
How did your time in Tool affect you as a musician?
That experience changed my DNA. To go from 0 to 100 miles an hour in the span of a year was incredible. All of a sudden, we were playing in front of huge crowds, and we had a ton of success. It gave me a lot of confidence to do anything I wanted to do.
Do you have any regrets about leaving Tool?
I wish it had been a better vehicle for me to create in, but it just wasn’t. I always wanted to do other things, and it felt like I was too much in a box with that band. I couldn’t be stuck in that paradigm—it’s too stifling. I’m not just a bass player; I’m a creator, I wanted to have a bigger role, and it just wasn’t happening in that situation. In the end, I knew leaving was the right decision.
How does your writing style change from project to project?
I just follow the thread. I feel like songs write themselves if I stay open and become a channel for creativity. It comes from wherever it comes from, but I haven’t figured it out yet. It’s the universe, I guess. I keep finding that emotion and following it, and then it keeps building on itself. When I listen to my songs, even though they’re vastly different, I feel like there’s a common thread that connects them all no matter what the project is.