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Tommy Victor (Prong)

Interview with Tommy Victor from Prong
by Kostya Aronberg at 06 May 2012, 6:39 PM

There seems to be nothing that would stop the PRONG machine from going forward. After a while since “Power Of The Damager”, PRONG returns with “Carved Into Stone” bearing new gifts for the Metal and Hardcore worlds. Kostya Aronberg had a chance to chat with the band’s longtime member, Tommy Victor, about the band’s history, the new album and what is going on with the music today.

Hey Tommy, welcome to Metal Temple!!!! How are you?

I'm good bro. Out on tour with CROWBAR now. It's going well.

The band Prong was formed by you in 1986. How did you come to the idea of forming a band?

It was weird because by the time PRONG started I had been fed up with trying to get a band together.I had previously been in bands as a bass player that were on the verge of doing something and one guy would screw it up somehow. I went back to school for audio engineering. I got a job as sound guy at CBGB and wasn't active in playing music. Mike Kirkland who was in DAMAGE, a band I liked, was the door man there. We started talking and had a lot of the same music interests. He actually found out that I played through his girlfriend who I knew. He was sick of DAMAGE and wanted to start a new band . Mike was a bass player and I had only played guitar briefly in a band before. But I said yeah what the hell. I still had the itch apparently.

How was it to form band in the 80's? Tell us about this feeling and all the stuff you got to deal with in the first years.

Well I got hooked into the whole thing because it was fun at first with PRONG. We'd drink beers and write songs and jam a couple a days a week. We'd play a lot of shows just in NYC alone. There were so many clubs to play back then. We started hitting Boston, New Haven, Albany, Jersey and D.C. There weren’t a lot of bands if any doing what we were doing back then. And there wasn't a trillion bands like there are today as well. Things were really taking off. First we made a demo. I sent it off to everyone. We started getting noticed in all sorts of fanzines. There were tons of these do it yourself, Xeroxed "magazines" back then. Some covered only Punk Rock, some old school Metal, some Thrash, Hardcore, Goth, scateboards, whatever. PRONG was crossover so we could appeal to different crowds, play with different types of bands and appear in a lot of zines. There were a lot of crossover shows back then. The show we got noticed by Epic records was us, DESTRUCTION and THE CRO-MAGS. Huge sold out show in NY, like 2000 kids. That was later on after we put out an EP thru an English company. We hit it big over there first. We did like 5 tours on the EP and our first indie LP in Europe before tackling a U.S. Tour. There was a great scene back then all around. It was fresh. Hardcore was new, Thrash even newer, Black Metal was starting to emerge as well as early Death Metal. Later on Grunge came around and put us all in the shitter.

What are the bands/musicians that influenced you and your band style?

Mainly KILLING JOKE. Still a favorite. Of course there's SABBATH. CELTIC FROST and METALLICA. The BAD BRAINS were a favorite too. We were into VOIVOD and DIE KRUEZEN a lot back then as I recall. Early DISCHARGE was a big one too.

In 14 April you played your new song "Eternal Heat" at Marquis Theater, Denver, Colorado. How was it to play this song in front of your fans? Do you think they love it?

It's a killer song. It really represents a lot of what PRONG is in one song. The response has been very good!

As we already started to talk about new songs let’s talk about "Carved Into Stone", What can you tell us about these album?

I think it's the most advanced and mature PRONG record. There's a very high concentration on quality of songs. Everythings been done,so we didn't try to break any ground. However the track "Subtract" I think is very unique. There's a lot more guitar on this record than anything since "Beg To Differ".  It's sounds great too. Steve Evetts did an amazing job producing PRONG. It's a modern Rock record with the exception that we have one killer track after another. There seems to be a lot of filler on records these days. The drumming on this record is unbelievable too. A lot of work went into this record. And it shows!

How can you describe this album when it comes to the music style? Do you think it's going to be just another album for the collection, or you can call it a very unique and special album?

I say it crosses a lot of lines. It's got some brutal Hardcore / Thrash, some serious anthems, a couple of dark driving pounders,  good hooks etc. I can really say it’s my best vocal effort yet. I think this is the best sounding PRONG record.

Tell us about the recording process of the album.

We had a handful of demos to review at first. There were 24 completed songs! Between the band, Steve Evetts and mgt we cut the list down to 16. After a week of preproduction with Steve we got that list down to 11 plus one cover. Then we started basic tracks.We didn't cut the tracks to grid on Protools like most records are done these days. No way to quantize or cut and paste. It took about a week for Alexei to cut thge drums. Then the grueling process of laying guitars down. Why was it a  grueling process?  Because every part was played throughout the whole song and doubled. And done with precision. Same with vocals. Then vocal harmonies. Then bass for a few days. I get back in for overdubs and solos. This all took about 7 weeks. Basically Steve and me in the studio all day everyday. Mix down took about 12days.

What do you think about the music world in the 21st century?

Basically… it's not great. It's hard to sell records. In the early years we had thousands of record stores everywhere. Gas costs are killing bands on the road. It's rough.

And what about all at the Internet download albums style? Do you think it’s good or bad?

It's certainly not as cool as walking to a store and scouring for records, and I mean vinyl, going home and listening with a large piece of artwork in hand and probably a lyric sheet. People are being forced to hole themselves up at home in front of a computer. It's not for me.

Thanks for the interview!!!! Any last words for you fans?

Yeah. Check out our new website www.prongmusic.com. Also our official merchandise at www. shopbenchmark.com/Prong .New video out! Search for Prong "Revenge…Best Served Cold"



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Edited 24 September 2021
 

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