Prong interview with Tommy Victor
Three decades ago, Tommy Victor was a sound man at the legendary New York nightclub CBGB. Growing up in New York and witnessing the iconic bands that crossed the various hometown stages he haunted, including CBGB, Victor was inspired to form Prong in 1986. The band’s sound tapped into the ethos of hardcore punk and thrash metal with elements of industrial and groove.
Although Victor was relatively new to playing guitar at the time, he staked the band as the vocalist and sole guitarist, teaming up with bassist (and CBGB doorman) Mike Kirkland. The trio was rounded out by drummer Ted Parsons (ex-Swans). Together the initial incarnation of Prong would record its 1987 debut EP, Primitive Origins, and its first two full length efforts for CBS Records, Force Fed (1988) and Beg to Differ (1990). Kirkland left in 1991 and Parsons moved on in 1997.
Prong pushed beyond its underground status with the success with its 1994 release, Cleansing. Many of the album’s tracks remain core standards of the band’s touring setlist, including “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck”.
Numerous line-up changes have occurred throughout Prong’s influential tenure, with Victor remaining the only consistent member and the band’s creative spark plug. For a brief duration, former Killing Joke bassist Paul Raven joined the band, later to join Ministry. Tony Campos (Static X, Soulfly, Asesino) filled the role on occasion, but also joined Ministry upon Raven’s 2007 death. Tommy Victor was also a member of Ministry for a period, and is a current and longstanding member of another band he has long admired, Danzig.
Despite his other musical machinations, Prong has always remained Victor’s soul and focal point. Other than a brief hiatus near the end of the century, the band has continued to record a sting of notable albums. This summer, Victor and new Prong members, Jason Christopher (bass) and Art Cruz (drums), returned with one of the band’s most intriguing albums to date, Ruining Lives.
This month, Metalholic sat down with Victor to discuss over a quarter century of Prong, the band’s new upcoming covers album, a look back to his days in New York, and of course, Ruining Lives. You can watch the full interview below, catch the band’s latest video: “Remove, Separate Self”, and view some amazing photographs from the Prong’s recent Boise, Idaho performance, courtesy of Katarzyna Cepek Photography.
All photos © 2014 Katarzyna Cepek Photography
Click on any photo below to view as slideshow.