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Prong's Tommy Victor talks new album, CBGBs and Danzig

We caught up with the Prong frontman to talk about their new album Ruining Lives and life in New York in the late 80s

Good news for fans of alternative metal everywhere, New York’s noisemakers Prong are releasing a new record onto the world on 28th April and (in the words of frontman Tommy Victor) it’s “a great follow-up to Carved Into Stone and it’s got 12 really strong songs.”

“Some people say it refers back to Force Fed on the really brutal fast ones and there’s some reflections to Rude Awakening and the Cleansing era," adds the man himself. "I’m very happy with it.”

The whole record was put together in just three months, and we mean the whole record – writing, recording and mixing. Dubbed Ruining Lives it’s certainly not an uplifting happy-joy-joy record, but with Prong being the industrial legends they are – why would you mess with the formula? Some of the biggest names in metal like Nine Inch Nails and Korn are deeply influenced by Victor and co., but he’s reluctant to take any credit.

“I’m grateful of it,” he admits. “I just think so many groups influenced other people, and I’ve stolen from so many people that I think everything is out in the universe for the taking.”

Despite ‘stealing’ from other artists, it was Prong’s distinctive sound and overwhelming success alongside peers such as a Helmet and White Zombie, that led to a stint supporting the ever-controversial Danzig.

“I was a Misfits fan, I was really into Samhain, then when Danzig came out I was so into it. I remember seeing them open up for Slayer and I thought that they were so cool. Glen at the time was at the top of his game and of course being asked to play with Glen was an honour – and it still is. He’s one of the icons that are still existing.”

But why does Glen court such negative attention from metalheads and punks alike?

“I don’t know why people attack him that way, a lot of it is the show he puts on but behind the scenes he’s a different person. He laughs at himself, he has a good sense of humour – it almost becomes a professional wrestling tactic of sorts.

It’s good to have bad guys, we need more bad guys, and he definitely has the credentials to do such.”  

Of course, it was much more than Misfits that had an influence on Tommy and Prong as a whole. Working as sound man at the iconic CBGB club in New York, he was exposed to new music on a daily basis that often bridged gaps that had never been bridged before.

“Crossover was the big thing in ’86. We had the post-punk scene, then you had the collision of the hardcore bands. Bad Brains were a DC group but they were essentially a New York band – they played there a lot and eventually moved up. Mix that with post-punk and the metal scene from the early 80s West Coast thrash groups, hearing those formed this new crossover.

As far as bands that I was mixing back then, it was hardcore bands – punk bands that had metal in there. Bands like Leeway, Breakdown then from the south C.O.C who influenced everybody back then. That’s where Prong got into that, then we brought in Killing Joke, Live Skull, Swans – the noise New York sound. You’ve got these three scenes coming in here.

CBGB’s wasn’t known for its metal but we started putting on bands like Whiplash and Carnivore – some of the more suburban metal bands that were coming in.

Everyone was contributing to the scene, which of course doesn’t exist any more ‘cause it was before the internet. It just happened really.”

Prong are on tour across Europe for the next month, as well as hitting up our own Bloodstock festival in August. Full dates below.

08.04. D-Saarbrücken – Garage 09.04. CH-Aarau – Kiff

10.04. D-Munich – Backstage

11.04. A-Vienna – Szene

12.04. CZ-Prague – Nova Chmelnice

13.04. PL-Krakow – Kwadrat Club

15.04. D-Berlin Lido

16.04. D-Bremen – Tower

17.04. D-Hamburg – Knust

18.04. DK-Copenhagen – Vega

19.04. SE-Gothenburg – Sticky Fingers

20.04. SE-Stockholm – Debaser Strand

21.-25.07. SLO-Tolmin – Metaldays

26.07. D-Viersen – Eier mit Speck Festival

27.07. NL-Eindhoven – Dynamo

29.07. NL-Rotterdam – Baroeg

30.07. D-Weinheim – Cafe Central

31.07. D-Wiesbaden – Schlachthof

01.08. D-Wacken – Wacken Open Air

08.08. GB-Derbyshire – Bloodstock Open Air

09.08. B-Kortrijk – Alcatraz Festival

23.08. D-Bad Wünnenberg – Wünnstock Open Air

Ruining Lives is out 28 April.

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