The metal genre has precious few legends in it, one, without a doubt, is prong.
Interview with: An interview with Prong’s Tommy Victor:
Among the most interesting bands ever to exist, a band which combined elements from thrash and hard core, with industrial and punk ones, thus creating a marvelous concoction of music, which very few bands can match.
At its heart, always stood Tommy victor, a unique artist that used amazing guitar work, curative riffing, and his inimitable vocal style to make Prong such a great band.
The 90’s saw the band on its way to the majors, Cleansing and Rude Awakening were released under Epic’s mighty wings, but then, somehow, the band disappeared, Epic, following the trend exhibited at that time by all major labels, dropped its metal oriented roster, and Prong was no more.
Tommy appeared for a time with such artists as Danzig, but the gaping hole created by Prong’s departure could not be filled.
Imagine my surprise when finding out that a new Prong album, named “Scorpio Rising”, is about to be released, we soon got in contact with the man and the myth, and here are the questions we asked, and the answers we got:
Q: The first question would have to be, where did Prong disappear to for so god damned long?
A: I started getting into electronic music for a while after my initial stint with Danzig.I was pretty fed up with the whole genre Prong was placed in. Then I went into a period of "the dark
Night of the soul" and had little to do with anybody for a while. Then it took quite awhile solidifying a lineup to get on the road and record.
Q. What were the reasons to regroup the band?
A: I had songs that needed to be recorded. I made demos and the crew around me felt that they could be released under the Prong moniker. Whether under a different name or not I eventually
Realized I could be productive. Which is a healthy thing, regardless of whether or not it makes any money.
Q:Who are new band members Dan Laudo and Monte Pittmanand , and how did you come to work with them?
A: Monte was a kid from Texas who knew all the Prong songs and came in contact with me to buy some gear. He is an amazing guitarist and soon after our initial working, landed the guitar gig with Madonna (which he still does) Dan and I have been jamming since "Rude Awakening" he was a find. We lost contact for a while and after jamming with many more "name" drummers to replace Ted Parsons, I settled on getting Dan back.
Q. How did you come in contact with the “Locomotive” label and what is your impression of their efforts regarding the album and the previous “100% live” album?
A: Our lawyer Ian Friedman hooked that up. They had a presence in LA at first and spent a lot of money on this group Medication, which failed. They then closed their offices and we sort of got
Stuck with them.
Q: what does the title “Scorpio Rising” stands for?
A: It's my zodialogical "rising" sign. It stands for growth from obstacles. Personalized-self death and rebirth.
Q. What is the release date for the album, and where will it be released?
A: It's been out for over a month here in the States
Q: The album’s titles seem to suggest a rather oppressive, disenchanted feel to the lyrics (“Avoid Promises” , “letter To A Friend”, “Hidden Agendas”), to what individuals or music industry matters do the songs refer to?
A: There's a bit of betrayal indicated? I've been given so much lip service over the years. It's a response and spiritual answer to dealing with the outside world
Q: Musically speaking, the album is much more diverse than previous ones, combining the industrial approach of such albums as “Rude Awakening” (Siriusly Emerging) with elements from
“Cleansing” (Entrance Of The Eclipse), even touching the boundaries of death metal (Regal), what where the influences taken into account when making the album (if any) and was your
Intention to create an album that contains elements from Prong’s entire earlier career?
A: There are certain boundaries that exist when making a Prong record. Sometimes I wish there was more extreme material on "Scorpio." But then I realize that there really is no reason to
Use Prong as an exhibition of technical prowess. A lot of bands do this; especial the new ones, and I have nothing against this. In fact I like it! But Prong has to center on songs and lyrics
And avoid long instrumental sections. We crammed a lot into one package, that’s for sure. We tried not to ignore any of the good points from the earlier releases.
Q: From my point of view, Prong in one of the bands that led to the creation of Nu metal with its combination of thrash-like riffing and industrial sound, tracks such as 'Embrace The Depth'
Suggests a certain counter-influence with its Nu-metallic feel, How do feel about that genre and do you consider the band as in someway a part of it?
A: It's a part of Prong sure. But so is thrash. So is grind core, hardcore, industrial rock, post punk, etc., etc. I think nu-metal was a natural progression. Unfortunately on commercial
Level it surpassed Prong. A lot of the bands that are coming out now that shred like crazy, like Prong did earlier on, will eventually realize they are going to want to make a stab at some
songs, and create a hybrid of sorts. This is, to me, what nu-metal does.
Q:let’s get back to the band’s history, in favor of those who haven’t known you since
How did thing begin, from your time as a soundman New York's CBGB's to the time
“Primitive Origins” was recorded?
A: I guess after mixing all these bands and seeing what they were up to, I realized that I could do it and maybe better. I gave it a stab and it took off. In the original bunch of guys jamming, I was playing bass. I didn't own a guitar and never sang and played guitar in a band before. I sort of learned as I went along with writing with Mike Kirkland.
Q: sometimes I ask myself if the name “Victor” is more appropriate than “Prong”, since,
Let’s face it, the one band member who wasn’t replaced, and whose replacement would have been impossible, is you, how do you explain the regular change in line-ups, and did you ever
Consider operating as a solo artist, not under the “Prong” moniker?
A: Yeah I wanted to scrap the Prong name for a period. But I was, honestly, the driving force all those Prong years. All the other guys had other things going on. Ted was in Swans and Foetus and with Of Cabbages and Kings. The other guys always had other musical interests. I only did Prong. I did all the biz and was sort of forced to write all the songs and lyrics. But I always
Gave everyone credit for being there. Which I realize now was a mistake! People always want more and you can never make certain egos happy. I sacrificed a lot all those years and still do.
When those guys were with their wives shopping for antiques, I was going nuts figuring out the next move, working on songs, and trying to make improvements constantly.
Q:Not to dwell too much upon past hurts, but do you remain in contact with any band
Members, such as Killing Joke’s Paul Raven?
Q.I understood that you and Anthrax’s Scott Ian have been long time friends, are
There any plans for a mutual tour?
A: We did one in Europe last summer. All shows sold out and insane.
Q.What where the reasons or releasing a new Live album prior to releasing a new
A: Because of the "out of print" status of "Beg To Differ" and "Prove You Wrong.' As well as the obscurity of "Primitive Origins". And many feel "Rude Awakening" was overlooked. That
material had to be re-released in some form.
Q: Beg For Differ’s title track, and Cleansing’s “Snap Your Fingers” earned you a lot of
Media attention at the time, is there a video planned for “Scorpio Rising”?
A: We are trying to make that happen. There doesn't seem to be a lot of vehicles for a video to be viewed though, making it questionable regarding it's cost effectiveness
Q: Since metal is becoming the fashion again, and the big labels are again snooping
For bands in that genre, what would be your reaction if re-approached by Epic?
A: It won't happen. Prong is better off Indie
Q:In Israel there is a steady, old school group of Prong fans, where you aware of A world-wide demand by fans to see Prong regroup?
A: No not really, and I'm not convinced of this now!
Q: from the business point of things, what are you planning to do different this time?
A: I've learned to acquire a certain amount of acceptance these days. I try to take the path of the snake more. I don't have to let on to how I feel and what my fears are all the time. I put
Things on the shelf and find that some stresses are alleviated at a later time. This is difficult for me because I like instant answers. The old "one day at a time" philosophy works best in the music biz.
Q:Do you have any plans for a re-mix album, something like the one done by Paul Raven ("Who's Fist is This Anyway?")?
A: No it's a dead thing now. Again I don't believe it to be cost effective.
Q: In a recent interview, former bassist Brian Perry said: “I witnessed first hand how not to run a business, and decided to leave while the leaving was good. I believe this is why Prong
Never hit the heights that it should have.” What where the reasons you think he has for thinking that, and what would be your response?
A: Brian is a little bitter. What band has he been in that has hit heights? It's all relative. Prong was signed to Epic along with a large label signing of close to 50 bands. None of them had stood the test of time.
Q: what is your current relationship with such past Contributors as Charley Clouser and Terry Date?
A: They are big guys in the music biz. I stay low and do my own thing. I don't need to go crawling to others for political favors.
Q: .Do you still do any sound engineering?
A: Just on Prong stuff. I'm a bit of a hack.
Q: Does the band have any plans to do a tour outside of the U.S?
A: Europe is always an option, I guess. This summer I hope.
Q: Any way, thanks for your time, and we apologize for asking so many questions, we hope you’ll stick around for a much longer period , you deserve it!