Tommy Victor - Prong

October 27, 2002

Where did you initially start out and what has the change in lineup been?

It initially started out in New York a long time ago. Pretty much did most of the stuff myself and then just kept moving on. Then we got signed to Epic and did four records with them and got dropped. Went on to play with Glenn Danzig and did some work with Rob Zombie. We're trying to get Prong back. Try to do this. Some of the other guys moved on to Europe, moved away, and ran into these guys out in L. A. where I live now. It's pretty cool. I've got Dan Laudo on drums, got Brian Perry on bass, and Monte Pittman, Madonna's guitar player playing with me right now.

Does he just come on tour with you guys or is he going to be on the next studio recrod?

He should be on the next studio record if he doesn't called up to do anything else. He's helping out.

What did you do during your five year hiatus?

I just moped around and got into computers. Lost a sense of reality out in California. Trying to find myself in California. I just went into a dark pit. I just spent a while trying to get out of it. Crawl my way back to some kind of stability of some sort. I escaped or else ran from many things. I think sometimes you gotta do it. I had to be honest with myself and do something like that. Something different. I'm always into change whether it be mentally, physically, artistically, ideologically, whatever. That was a period of that.

Los Angeles is a pretty interesting place to lose and find yourself.

It's not unusual. I think mostly a lot of people go out there to do so or wind up being there or falling down in a big way out there.

It's rather cathartic in a way I guess.

No, not at all. I think it's dark out there. It's essentially in response just capitalism that's there and concentration on a very base level. Materialistic, abuse, everything. It's a very superficial place.

Yeah, that's true. I was out there for a week. It was interesting. I actually want to go back. You guys released your first live album. What brought you to do that?

There are a couple of reasons. One of them being sort of a compilation of the best Prong songs so to speak. It was easy to do. There needed to be some reintroduction or introduction to the Rude Awakening material because that record sort of got dropped. When we got dropped it was only out for three weeks so I don't think a lot of people are familiar with that record, Rude Awakening, which was the last studio record. A culmination of those three and putting Prong back on the map again is worth the music to do it. I think it leads to the records previous to Cleansing. Some people wonder how they get in touch with this material. Put out a live record with some of the older songs included that were on the records that are out of print which is most of the records are out of print. Maybe it will generate interest to get them released again.

What causes albums to go out of print?

It's the label. They decide it's just not profitable to press them or promote them anymore. The main focus of all their money is going towards their multimillion record sales. They're not concerned with those catalogs selling that much these days if the band is not on the label anymore. Cleansing and Rude Awakening were still in print.

If an album goes out of print you can't decide to press it yourself?

You have to get a release. That's what lawyers are for. Sometimes they let you do it. You have to get bought out. Some people make a lot of money on those types of decisions. If I had the answers on how those things work I'd probably be living large as a music lawyer.

Is it normal for a record label to drop somebody three weeks after they release an album?

You'd have to ask them if it's normal. I just know my career, what's happened with me. I'm sure it's happened many times but if it's unusual or if it's usual, I don't know.

Did it seem bizarre to you?

No, it was just another disappointment and those things are always flying at you in the music business. For me, my theory has been a lot of disappointing mids. I have to grasp on to things that provide me some gratitude. You have to look for it and hold on to it rather than expecting it to come. Usually what comes thrown at you is all kinds of shitballs. That was just another one of them. That was a devastating one and in the end I had a long string of occurences of that nature that were disappointing, discouraging, and it was just my karma. My fate. I had to somehow bounce back after a lot of these things had happened. That's probably my doing. We create everything on our own and I probably did things for that to happen so I somehow go into a pit and try to come out again. That's probably how I am. Being Scorpio Rising, I expect things of a challenging nature to happen.

Your music is described as a mixture of techno, thrash, metal, and hardcore. How do you arrive at a mixture like that?

That's a good question. Some songs are more of one than the other which is kind of disturbing sometimes to the listener or to myself. I'll listen to one song and say it sounds like this and then the next song will be a different trip. To me it's just Prong and not all these divisions and subentities within one band.

Did you have a lot of versatility on your previous albums?

Yeah. I played with a lot of different types of people when I was a kid. I played R&B and I played a lot of different styles. Punk rock was a big thing in my life. Anything that was challenging. One thing that was a challenge was a sort of format and then I wanted to get into programming. I was like this information sponge. I've definitely mellowed and simplified in the last five years. I'm not concerned with versality. I have nothing to prove anymore.

You guys got signed to Locomotive Records.

We showed some interest into Spanish labels. It's a small label. They showed a lot of interest. We sent a demo that was somewhat presentable for the first 10 years. I was doing demos and people weren't digging it. I finally finished this one up with the help of Pat Lachman from the band Diesel Machine. My lawyer, Ian Friedman, had a connection with somebody over there at Locomotive and they were interested so it was pretty simple. It happened very fast. That's what we wanted. We didn't want to wait around and look for another year. Whether that was a decent decision or not I don't know but we've been gone for so long that it was necessary to do something as fast as possible. That was necessary I guess. I'm still willing to be led nowadays. I don't know if that's the greatest way to be but it seems I go to the extremes of being a control freak and then I go into passivity. It's like the last year's been passive in a lot of ways. It's even worked out that way where I'm able to follow. On the other hand I don't like to feel like things aren't 100 percent. When I'm in there getting my hands dirty sometimes things get done a little better or better things happen. Sometimes tragic things happen as well. Those are the chances you take when you jump into gears to try to make things work.

You guys are coming out with a studio album in April. Have you guys started working on that or are you getting the touring out of the way before you do that?

That's a good question. It's hard to do both so we started doing work and then we had to put a stop on it and get back into the touring mode. There's different modes that happen so trying to combine both of those is a bit of a challenge. There's no reason why we can't really do a lot of the new material that we've been working on live. I'm almost afraid to break up the set with stuff that people don't know that much yet so that's kind of a difficult decision to do. That's a good question.

Sometimes people will play one or two new songs but most people feel more comfortable with the tried and true.

Exactly. I definitely feel more comfortable doing that. We may try to do something new tonight. We do one new song already. It's a new song that's going to be on the live album which is interesting enough too. The live album does include a new song that we recorded before so we do do that. That's almost like an old song. We try and change some of the new stuff that we've been working on to see what people think. In the club circuit, to use them to listen to stuff is almost like a weird thing to do as well. I like to get a thrill out of being able to do it and have a good time than to have this tension.

The new song is "Iniation" that you did with Pat Lachman.

I gave him a copy of that certain song that I had worked on. A demo of some stuff that we were working on. He got into it and he helped me arrange all of that stuff which we're doing some of those songs on the next album and then writing new ones as well.

You worked with Pat Regan.

Yeah, he mixed the record. I try not to step on any toes. I let him do his own thing. Most of the time he was working, I was in Europe.

You did a festival in Europe this past summer. How did that go?

It was cool. It was the Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium. It was really good. We got thrown on there and a lot of people didn't know we were on the thing. The response was great. It was good to get back out there. The last time we played there, it was one of the last shows that Prong ever did before we got dropped or around that time. It was with Korn and this one was with Korn. That one was a relatively bad show and this was a good show. To have something that positive going was cool.

You guys are on a three week tour?

We did a couple of them. We were out with Danzig for two months. This is kind of a weird tour. We're just coming through on our way to the East Coast and then we go to Europe. We've done two or three American tours already before our record's come out so people have seen us. We're doing the East Coast and the West Coast and then over to Europe for a month and a half and then back. We've done a lot of work this year.

Are you guys pretty excited about heading out to Europe?

Yeah, I think that's the focus of this trip. I've been to Europe so many times personally. I think it's more exciting to some of the guys in the band who's never been over there. I know Monte hasn't been to a lot of the cities. There's opportunities to have a good time. I've seen it over there. There's a couple of cities like Prague that I haven't been to so I'm kind of excited about that. Going out on the road you don't get to see a hell of a lot. You go in there and you get the hell out of there. In y dreams a long time ago I was just going to move to Prague or to some old cold communist country and live out my life in this spartan zone but then the Wall came down and then that ended. Yeah, I wanted to live in a communist cold, completely away from this constant drive to ambition and all the rest. I just wanted to get away from that. I sort of did that in California. Sort of isolated for a while. I did it my own way and tried to get away from the pressures of this society.

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