Prince Was Rejected By Music Heavyweight For Tool


Prince’s job offer was rejected by acclaimed producer Sylvia Massy in the early 90’s, as Massy instead chose to produce Tool’s Undertow. Massy recently discussed the tough decision in a article.

“I had been working with Prince during that year and he had just offered me a job at Paisley Park, but I wanted to do the Tool record. I had to make a choice, so I turned Prince down. I knew Tool was an important band, and the album Undertow would be their big breakthrough.” — Sylvia Massy

But for a producer, shaping the sound of a wildly creative band of self-driven artists can be tricky. Massy joined Tool for pre-production and, with her carefully positioned help, the album’s silhouette started to grow features.

“Tool was a fantastic live band, and my biggest challenge was to capture the live energy in a studio setting, so generally during the first recordings I was just letting them do their thing,” says Massy. “However, on Undertow as we started pre-production in rehearsals, I could see them getting stuck with some songwriting challenges so I stepped in as a tie-breaker. They knew I was not there to change their music, just enhance it. Some of my suggestions were accepted and some were rejected, and I am always OK with that.

“I suggested using a Leslie speaker for the guitar on the song ‘4°’ — they went for that. I suggested we record a transient Peruvian flute band and hide it subliminally in a song, they went for that. I suggested we keep and use all of Maynard’s heavy breathing. They went for that. I even suggested we buy two old upright pianos and record them while they were being destroyed with sledgehammers and a shotgun. They went for that [in a song called ‘Disgustipated’]. But when I suggested they trim some excess time off the front of ‘Intolerance,’ they told me to ‘f*** off.’ Hah!”