Prong’s Tommy Victor Talks ‘X: No Absolutes’ Disc, Touring + More
Prong's Tommy Victor was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show. He dropped by to discuss 'X: No Absolutes,' the latest disc from Prong. He also spoke about the band's upcoming tour and what the rest of 2016 holds in store. Check out the chat below:
We're here to talk about the new Prong album, the tenth studio album out Feb. 5 called X: No Absolutes. Between Prong and Danzig, you released two covers albums last year. How did exploring other people's music clear the pallet and invigorate your own music?
I didn’t want to be that covers guy when Prong started. I just got thrown a guitar and was like here, learn it. I just didn’t have that experience of playing other people’s music that much. So there was a bit of a challenge. And especially as a vocalist, too. I never really did karaoke or anything, so actually learned a lot doing these two projects. Especially the Prong one where I had to cover a variety of different vocalists and figure out what style to put into it. It was great. I mean it was a lot of hard work. Especially the Prong record again. Like doing a Neil Young cover. It’s like, how do you approach that? And then Sisters of Mercy and Black Flag I’m more familiar with. It was easy to do. I did a Henry Rollins imitation and Killing Joke's Jez Coleman. So I was able to dial that in easier. But when you are doing Fugazi and Butthole Surfers was a little more of a challenge for me. It’s like Danzig he goes and he can tell you the Glenn has a certain vision of what he wants and you know I just went into his direction.
Did you go into making this with any clearly defined goals in terms of challenging yourself -- like the vocals on "Do Nothing," for example?
Yeah, I mean that goes back to what I was just saying. I mean doing like a Neil Young cover, hey I could actually maybe really sing a song. [laughs] So I brought that into the new record a little bit and wanted to have a little more classically arranged songs so to speak. I don’t really know what that means but it means just something that’s arrangement that’s a real standard kind of vibe. So that amidst the trash metal and industrial metal, I thought that would be a little bit different. You know, every record is different with Prong. We try to come up with some different things to make it more interesting. And not just put out the same thing every time. But overall it encompasses the last Prong record. "Do Nothing" is an exception, it’s a good call on that.
In terms of the new album, in what ways has Prong evolved that you couldn't have anticipated when you formed the band?
Well the longevity is alarming. It keeps going on. There were periods when we weren’t that active and it’s like Godfather III. I just get pulled back into it again. But as far as where it’s gone, it’s been on the job training for me. Like I said earlier, I really didn’t have that much experience when we started. I didn’t know what we were doing. No one really knew what we were doing. And I still probably don’t know what I’m doing to that extent. And I just have been growing. And as far as where Prong is right now, you just have no control over these things. You just don’t know. I mean I have the opportunity to make records, that’s a blessing in itself. And just try to take the opportunity in hand and do the best job I can. Like I don’t even know what’s going to happen tomorrow or the future. And I didn’t really know, you know? Like at this time in my life I thought I was going to be doing something completely different to be honest with you. I mean I didn’t know I’d still have a career in music, that’s for sure. So it’s just what it is.
There are some U.S. tour dates starting April 21 which go through June. Tell us, what aspect of the exhilaration of being onstage never gets old?
That's the thing I really like most about this whole thing, somebody asked me, 'Well do you really like this?' Well making a record is a lot of challenges, especially when you're producing them and collaborating with others, coordinating the aspects of everything and dealing with finances and all the craziness of that and record labels, artwork and the general management of the band. Then, going onstage you're released from all of that. You've got a guitar on, you got a microphone you have your sneakers on, you jump around and celebrate all the hard work that you've done. It's a lot more enjoyable of a time, now I like traveling. I like meeting new people and going to the merch people and seeing smiles on peoples faces, as corny as that sounds. You get a sense of gratitude about the whole experience when you're out on the tours.
2016 is an anniversary year for Prong. What's most important to you about longevity and how will you celebrate it?
Our managers say we should celebrate it, and I didn't even know that there was an anniversary. I don't really keep a calendar of milestones with Prong. So, I'm not really celebrating it. I don't really look at it in those terms. I know people that are into marketing these milestones and anniversaries with live performances of complete records. I never really thought of that. I was possibly thinking, after my manager made note of that was to do a few performances of the complete Prove Your Wrong record or something but a lot of bands are doing that. Prong never really does what other bands do. If it's just a marketing scheme and it becomes a nightmare i probably won't celebrate it at all.
What can we expect for the rest of 2016?
Even though we have Prong X coming out, we're going to at least release some singles. We have the first single, we're coming out with "Cutting Dry," another song off that record. We'll keep up putting out singles throughout, which delays the future. So to keep the record active, and then the tour dates - we go to Europe first, then back to America then back to Europe. There's a lot of dates all year apart from those we mentioned, festivals in Europe. Keep tugging at it, possibly hopefully write some new lyrics, some songs during that period. Look forward to doing another record. Once you do a record, it's done. It's in the can. You got the artwork done, then it's onto the next thing. That's the way I am, I'm looking forward to going out on the road, having a good time and enjoying the moment.
Wish you the best of luck.
Thanks to Prong's Tommy Victor for the interview. 'X: No Absolutes' is due Feb. 5. You can pre-order the effort via Amazon and iTunes. Catch Prong on tour at these locations. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show at this location.