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Prong is a band that totally stands on its own. They have their own sound and Tommy Victor, band leader/ guitarist/ vocalist started the band in the eighties influenced by bands like Bad Brains, Minor Threat and other hardcore bands. With the latest album 'Songs from The Black Hole' they now bring those bands to the attention of the somewhat younger generation. Although we must not consider this album purely as a tribute to his influences as he explained during a short interview.

By: Berto | Archive under different metal

Thank you for taking this interview with us. What made this the right moment to record an album full of covers? Why show the world your influences now?
That wasn't totally the intention of the record. We make records that people hopefully enjoy, firstly. It is too self indulgent to do a record that just wants to show our influences. We had some time to make a quick record and see how it would turn out. Yes, choosing the theme involved showing influences, but the record includes songs that we like and that we thought would be fun and challenging to record.

What special thing do the bands you covered all have in common?
I think all the artists we covered were original and influential.

I have read that these bands have influenced you when you started Prong. I can certainly link your earlier work on 'Force Fed' for instance to these bands. But from your first two albums you hardly ever play a song live. Why is that?
It’s weird because for years we never got any requests for songs from those records. Now we occasionally do. But we stopped playing them awhile back because when we did a song like ‘Freezerburn’ for instance, people would look puzzled. The reality of the situation is that most people know the major label releases but I would love to do some of the earlier ones. When we have a limited time for a set like at festivals, we definitely focus on the more well known songs, so I guess we just got accustomed to that.

The song 'Cortez The Killer' by Neil Young is a bit of a different song compared to the others on the album. What is Neil Young's influence been on Prong?
Again it's not just ‘influences’ that we brought in on this record. The thing about Neil was his simplicity in his playing that is aligned somewhat to my approach at times. He says so much with a few chords and basic technical ability. Also the lyric is great in that song. It’s like a weird reincarnation dream with a great statement.

What do you mean when you say that these bands have influenced you geographically?
Did I say that? I think you mean that the vibe in NYC back in the day was what influenced Prong.

band imageI feel that in the days that you started Prong bands were more politically and socially involved and showed that through their music. How do you feel about that? Are bands nowadays still concerned about the political situation and/ or social issues?
Of course they are concerned. I've always said, when you pick up an instrument and form or join a rock band you are making a statement of some sorts. There are different levels of rebel rock of course. Some people want to make a lot of money, some don't care, some want the fun of the whole thing. It's all an expression against the norm really.

Your current line-up seems to work well together on stage. They have injected some new energy and fresh spirit into the sound I guess. Were they even born when bands like Bad Brains and Discharge recorded their songs? What do Art and Jason bring to the band?
Jason is older and was on the NY scene and is an old school hardcore kid. Art is way young but we turned him on to a lot of old stuff.

You have been touring a lot the past few years. Is there still room for a personal life?
There's not really a lot of time for vacations or a regular life, no. When I'm not touring I've been busy with music in some way or another. But I make room for a bit of athletic activity and a social life. I like the simple things, I've learned to appreciate the little things to keep me going.

Are there any bands now that have the same impact as a band like Bad Brains or Killing Joke?
Not that I know of. Kids today have their own heroes, I know. But music is very different in a lot of ways these days. The video game techno generations see things differently than how I look at bands and art. Social media has changed people too. Big Brother is here watching now and people are brainwashed more today.

Maybe a bit of a weird question but did the commercial attitude of record companies kill the creative output of the bands that you covered? Or a bit simpler maybe, was or is the influence of a record company too big?
I don't know about the other bands but yes the music business will always have an impact on what you're doing. Some bands or artists say different, but that's fine. I'm kind of a mess when it comes to issues like that. I'm just a kid from Queens. I still get weird meeting rich people or people with power. I have old peasant blood in me I guess.

Final question, how would you convince the pope to listen to your music?
Hey, if you want to hear some good SONGS and get pummeled and get a smile on your face, listen to PRONG!

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