by Christopher Lee
Prong, the legendary New York power trio, known for merging the worlds of industrial, metal, and hardcore evidenced with classic records like "Beg to Differ", "Prove You Wrong" and "Cleansing" are back with their 9th studio record "Ruining Lives" recently released on SPV/Steamhammer! Led by sole surviving member. guitarist/vocalist Tommy Victor who is quite busy also touring with Danzig, Crypt Magazine found the time to speak with Tommy and find out where the hell he found the time to create what is a welcome return to form for Prong fans! Read on!
Crypt: Mr. Victor, first off let me say congrats on the new record "Ruining Lives", it is a very good record! The songs hit you immediately with allot of impact in that unique Prong style!
Tommy: Hey, thanks a lot. I love compliments.
Crypt: Ok, you say this is the fastest written Prong record, was that because your time was limited due to your involvement with Danzig? Cause you are one busy guy! How do you find the time to do all this and still have a life?
Tommy: Yeah my time was limited and that was partly due to the heavy touring schedule last year with Danzig and Prong as well. I had to do some work in dressing rooms, hotel rooms and in my bunk on the bus. The October Danzig/Doyle tour was a surprise in the schedule and I really had to put the pedal to the metal! I wanted to meet the deadline that was presented to me. It was important to me that I started meeting those deadlines. It had to be done, period. I think that urgency really helped the process in many ways. It was a wonderful personal experience getting this record done.
Crypt: Well, either way, it seems to have worked to your advantage, it has all the classic elements one would expect from Prong. "Turnover" is classic Prong, how long did it take to complete "Ruining Lives" from the writing sessions to the actual recording?
Tommy: I won't include the month of bunk dressing room work while out with Glenn, so I'll estimate a month and a half. Of course some lyrics and melodies are changed at the last moment during vocal tracking. But 12 solid songs were written and arranged by Christmas vacation and starting in early November.
Crypt: What does Prong have to say in 2014,seeing as your music always embraced a lot of the sentiment of the NY hardcore scene, singing about social injustices, individuality, etc?
Tommy: I like to think there is a lot of spirituality in the lyrics and in the general sentiment. It's about detachment from worldly distractions and pitfalls. The title track is about pollutants. The other songs respond to that in where one gets a more mindful vision of life.
Crypt: What is your personal favorite track off the album and what are you most proudest of regarding "Ruining Lives"?
Tommy: I think Windows Shut is the epitome of Prong. It's got all the Prong elements . I still get a chill when I think about the creation of that song. A lot of these songs came out of nowhere, and when that happens I know they are special. That one had a big spark and it's so truthful , honest and powerful .
Crypt: Prong were one of the first bands to take a very young Pantera out as support on the Beg To Differ tour, (Pantera were touring for Cowboys From Hell) any crazy memories or stories from that tour?
Tommy: Well that was a co headlining tour. I made friends with Dime more than anything, meeting him in Texas. He played " Cowboys " for me and I was truly blown away by his playing and riffs.To be honest I wasn't previously crazy about his band. I knew them from the metal fanzines with their earlier records which I thought were too traditional metal for me. We were a trio of Lower East Side art rock snobs back then and they were really a culture shock for us. They were good ole boys. They completely destroyed us on that tour. We rolled out with a small bass rig, a half stack and a 5 piece drum kit and they had a real rock show. They played way better than us and they kicked ass. We were trying to be arty always. We tried to adapt and that didn't work. It really got into Mike's head and then we lost a lot of confidence in our band because of that tour. It was good though because that when I started envisioning a " Cleansing" type of record that embraced and art industrial thrash metal concept more that any other band.
Crypt: Speaking of which, any plans to re-release the old records in deluxe formats as I would assume the physical CD's are out of print? Which of those records would be your favorite?
Tommy: None of the records are out of print. And Epic has released "The Very Best Of Prong" as well.
Crypt: What keeps you inspired to write new Prong music as so many of your counterparts from that scene called it quits long ago?
Tommy: Because of my ego I guess. I like to write about getting rid of the ego yet I do all this stuff to promote my ego. And then when the records don't sell and they get slammed in the press, it hurts my ego. Basically, I 'm crazy!
Crypt: Do you have any contact with Mike Kirkland or Ted Parsons?
Tommy: Teddy , yes. Mike is still bitter towards me!
Crypt: Name band or artist do you absolutely despise?
Tommy: I truly don't despise any artist or band. It's all good. I believe it's all for the best. Truly I believe that.
Crypt: What was the first record you ever bought and what band gave you the proverbial "kick in the ass" to start playing music?
Tommy: The first record I bought was a 45, a single, David Bowie "Space Oddity".Bowie always was a huge influence on me. That's why I got into Bauhaus and The Stooges so much eventually. I started playing guitar late and I think the first song I figured out was "Gimme Danger"!
Crypt: There is a rumor that on the upcoming Danzig covers record, you will be doing the ZZ Top classic "Rough Boy" which I think would be perfect with your guitar style! Can you confirm or deny?
Tommy: Yeah that one came out great. I love, love, love Billy Gibbons!
Crypt: How do you feel about illegal downloading, etc, as I see somone has already uploaded the complete "Ruining Lives" record to youtube. Do you feel that this hurts or helps artists?
Tommy: It's discouraging. Financially it doesn't help artists smaller in popularity. I don't really have a problem with music that stays on the web. I think programs like Spotify are okay. I think eventually we will be making recordings strictly for pay music sites!?
Crypt: What is the one Prong song you never get tired of playing live??
Tommy: Honestly, truly, I never ever get tired of playing any Prong song live. I really love the ones we play. And every time we play " Snap Your Fingers" or "Broken Peace" or " Unconditional" people light up, I love that!
Crypt: What do you hope people get out of listening to "Ruining Lives" and how would you describe Prong to the uninitiated?
Tommy: Prong has it all. It's got the riffs, the hooks, the technical proficiency and more importantly Prong has SONGS!
Crypt: Thank you for speaking with us, any final words for our readers?
Tommy: Hit me up on twitter @PRONGMUSIC, Facebook , or website PRONGMUSIC.COM!
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