Interview PRONG

18 January 2018


Tommy Victor (vocals & guitar), Art Cruz (drums) & Mike Longworth (bass) Sunday 18 June 2017

« To make an event of something meeting me sounds disgusting to me » – Tommy Victor



How’s your day been so far?

Tommy: Nice! Super!


You enjoyed your set, then?

Tommy: Yeah, it was pretty good, I liked it. It was a bit windy up there but it was good. And the crowd was very good.


I was a bit disappointed that you were playing so early though! Weren’t you disappointed yourselves?

Tommy: No!

Art: It was a good slot.

Tommy: I mean… It’s better to be in a slot that people say that other than being in a bigger slot and people say you should be lower. So it’s better to be lower, you know? I was walking around backstage and people were asking: « When are you guys going on? ». « We played already! ». And people were like: « Why are you guys so early?».

Art: Hopefully, maybe a little later next time. We’ll see.

Tommy: It probably has something to do with records labels, stuffs like that. Some bands are on « better » labels, stuffs like that.


We can hear some new sound in the background (Zero Days, Prong’s new album is being played in the press tent)… What’s the supposed added value of that album?

Tommy: We were watching this Rush documentary yesterday. They just keep churning out records, putting out records… 70s bands used to put out records once every 8 months! Suddenly, down the line, everyone started going 2-3 years. With Prong, we had a period of… Like there wasn’t any record for a really long time. We figured we had to make up for that and with a nostalgic idea that we could put out a record every year or something. So it was a combination of that.


Was it a collective effort in terms of writing?

Tommy: Yeah. I mean, I’m having everybody involved. There’s no way I could do this by myself. It’s impossible, no. I write like I spend a month writing riffs and trying to get ideas and then the other guys will put their ideas into it.


So, Mike, you’re the new guy in the band. Strangely, there hasn’t been a real communication about Jason (Christopher) leaving and you stepping in.

Mike: Yeah. That’s really fine with me…


I saw you playing with Prong at L’Elysée-Montmartre alongside Exodus and Obituary. You seemed much more shy than today, as you seem fully integrated now…

Mike: I’ve been kind of in and out for years now and this time around I feel like the band is at his best. The records have been better and better and things are just climbing at this point.


The promo material mentions a « more meticulous » work in terms of writing lyrics. Why being more meticulous?

Tommy: I get crazy with the lyrics because it has to be right. Otherwise, I can’t sing it. It has to be almost 100% perfect. Otherwise, I can’t do it. It’s finding things that I really want to sing about and maybe finding the right words, the right titles. It was a crazy experience, spending up really late at night so as to find the right lines. I don’t really know why but the reason behind why I’ve been getting more like that, just obsessive about that… Whether people will understand the lyrics or not… I just spent a lot of time on it, to find sources for content, to put that together with words that are not typically used as well, it was important to me. I don’t really like to look back on a record because I wish I had spent a little more time on this or that… And on this one I can’t even find anything where I could feel that way. Everything was done. It took to the last second to get it done but there wasn’t anything I felt it wasn’t finished. Everything was finished on this.


What’s Prong’s main market nowadays?

Tommy: I have no idea. I really don’t know.

Art: After the last Testament tour, I think surprisingly a lot of old Prong fans finally came back out of the woodwork. They had no idea the band was even around. I think it could be… We’re coming to Europe a lot more, we find it growing every time we come back. It’s always bigger, Europe. Each time. We’ll see what happens in America next year but I think that Europe is our main market right now.


Is touring in the States really different than touring in Europe?

Art: I think it’s different, yeah. It’s just the treatment of bands in general. I think that we get treated a lot better over here, in Europe. The food we’re eating, the beer we’re drinking, all that stuff! (laughter) All that stuff but as far as the fans, the fans definitely appreciate it more.


As you know, festivals are getting more and more popular and successful in Europe. Don’t you think that they have become some sort of threat to normal touring? Is the festival culture killing touring?

Tommy: That’s what I’m hearing but I don’t know…

Art: I think in America it does. There’s festivals popping up in America right now. In North Carolina, Texas, New Jersey… Everybody has festivals now. Don’t know about Europe but possibly it will affect the touring, the club tours.

Tommy: It depends on the economy a bit too. I mean in America we have less money these days. People have to tighten their belts. You really need to watch your money and the prices for tickets are high. In America, you have the big festivals and the big venues… But you also have the small venues and the small venues are absolute garbage. So people don’t want to go to those. Like “I’m not going to spend 20 dollars to go to some crappy club with a shitty sound system and try to find parking and spend 8 dollars on a beer”. It affects a lot the mentality. So if the clubs were good then people may go to the clubs… We’re coming back over here in 2 weeks – we’re playing a lot of festivals and we have club shows in between. Our booking agent had a hard time getting those shows. We’re playing a lot of weird markets and smaller clubs and that’s what we can get. If they’re cool and people show up and go crazy in a small club, I really don’t care, you know?


What about VIP Meet & Greet. Do you do them actually?

Tommy: No! I reject doing it. I just don’t feel comfortable with it. Neil Peart from Rush is going: “Why are you spending money to meet me?”. I’m still a little bit in that mentality. To make an event of something meeting me sounds disgusting to me. It’s all about money.


To some people, it’s unfortunately necessary evil and nobody buys CDs anymore…

Tommy: I know! We were out with Testament and they had a meet and greet… When I was playing with Ministry, years ago, it was ridiculous how much Al (Jourgensen) was charging… And he wouldn’t show up! It was just me and Tony Campos! (laughter) “I’m too wasted! I’m not going!”.


To finish, here’s a sentence for you to finish: “I’ve never told that story before and I probably shouldn’t but”…

Art: Sober Tommy Victor is way better than drunk Tommy Victor.

Tommy: That’s interesting!


Do you agree?

Tommy: Yeah! Absolutely!

Art: Incredibly better. Miserable when he was drunk. Very much more positive energy. Ask me again, I’ll give you another good one.


“I’ve never told that story before and I probably shouldn’t but”…

Arte: Touring is much better without Jason Chrisopher. Only because I love him. Only because it’s actually miserable to tour with him. But outside of touring, I would hang out with him every day. I love you, Jason !


Interview: Wombat.

Many thanks to Roger Wessier (Replica).