Tommy Victor: The Main Prong
Tommy Victor opened with Prong for Glen Danzig right around the time I started the magazine. We all know how I feel about Glen, and I know how you should feel about Glen if you have a brain. It did not stop me from REALLY liking Prong. Prong has music-sweet music. Music to blow things up to. The mastermind behind Prong’s long haul is Tommy Victor, a man who lets the music do the talking. It doesn’t hurt that he plays bass in Danzig either. Here is what he had to say:
MI- What is your birthdate?
Tommy- Sept.20th (-What I like to call ALMOST a Libra.)
MI- What would you be doing if you weren’t a musician, darling?
Tommy- Well, I stopped being a jock and I didn’t fit anywhere else, so I guess it was the only thing that came along other than being a misfit. It created some kind of identify for me back then and from rock music and music in general it was a challenge, it was just a calling I guess.
MI- Is there anyone out there that has influenced your style as a musician?
Tommy- Back in those days, I guess it was Tommy Iommi, Sabbath, Ritchie Blackmore, Geezer Butler and those dudes- those are my to favorite bands from when I was a kid and that is pretty much what drove me. But I have never been into idolizing and just one person or anything like that much, but when I was a kid I thought Ritchie Blackmore was the shit. (Sabbath is on 2004 OZZFEST, go look for Geezer Tommy!)
MI- How did you come up with the name of the band, Prong?
Tommy- Actually it was originally a 3 piece, so a 3 Prong plug so wall outlet so instead of calling it a 3 Prong plug of 4 prong something we just called it Prong. That’s cool .
MI- How would you describe Prong’s music?
Tommy- I think it’s a little bit political and a little bit social gothic. It’s heavy and it concentrates on songs, and we have always tried to brake down certain limitations and push the envelope a little bit trying to be innovative and I wouldn’t put in any other way other than heavy rock or modern rock music. ( The non answer answer. I like those. Who the fuck WANTS to pidgeon hole themselves with a label anyway, but I am the interviewer and it IS my jobby job to
try to break into his SOUL!)
MI- Lets talk about the new Prong album, Scorpio Rising? It’s really funny I call Carol Kaye Queen Scorpio -so she had to send me one of your T-shirts just as a joke.
Tommy- Was she a Scorpio?
MI-Yeah, I call her Queen Scorpio, -she is the best ,she loves you guys.
MI- What is your favorite track off of it? And tell me what you think about how the whole cd turned out- are you happy with it?
Tommy- Oh yeah, considering how much money we spend it and the budget we had and everything. – I like them all but one of my favorites is Enter Truth. -Basically a lot of it comes from a lyric-and that lyric basically comes from what I was going through in the last couple years, but basically I don’t have an extreme favorite -but that is one of them.
MI- What influences your learning style?-MI- I know it’s a boring question, but we will get into the fun stuff in a few minutes.
Tommy- I wish I knew , I don’t have any formal training-it’s an outlet to find out who I am. Playing music and writing is all part of that search. It’s part of that seeking my identity and trying to find out who I am -and I do that by writing songs. Every once in a while an experience and things go through my head. I like to write things down and pass things along something to somebody -and at the same time discovering what is going on with me- so it’s that process with writing songs and making records-that is what being in a band is all about. It’s not about showing off any chops, or trying to be a virtuoso -it’s not that. (I have been told on the QT that being in a band is about getting laid and quality liquor. This is one of the more noble answers I have gotten in a while.)
MI- Tell me about each member of the band and who they are and what they play, so the kids at Musicincider know who they are.
Tommy- Dan Lotto is the drummer. Bobby Pitman plays bass and guitar. I plays bass, guitar and sing. Right now we have Mike Long playing bass live with 2 guitars-with Bobby and me on those two guitars. (Lotsa bass-Gezeer would be proud.)
MI-Tell something that people should know about Prong’s band members, any dirty little secrets ?
Tommy- Dirty little secrets, okay- Dan Lotto Likes to wear long black trench coats and he likes to carry cameras around, and he does that 24 hrs a day I guess (uhh, so do I-gulp). Bobby plays guitar for Madonna and Prong, and I don’t know about Monte these days other than he is working on our website www.ProngMusic .com. I just play a lot of xbox and try to just stay out of trouble (Virgos are just so damned good).
MI- What is your favorite video game right now?
Tommy- I guess it is ESPN Football (rock stars and video games=pork chops and applesauce.)
MI- What’s your favorite team?
Tommy- Jets (Bennie and the Jets? How cool! I will bet they are your favorite because you look so fucking cute in green.)
MI- How many cities are you guys going to do on your tour?
Tommy- I have no idea, as many as possible (See Johnny Cash has this song-he’s been everywhere man…he’s been everywhere. I couldn’t help but think of that when you answered this question.)
MI- You ready for it?
Tommy- You know it doesn’t take that much. I’ll wait until the last minute, a week before we go out I’ll realize it and I’ll start rehearsing (See, pressure. Some people work so much better under extreme pressure. Kids! It IS okay to do your term papers the night before. It prepares you for real life.)
MI- I hope you make it to Atlanta ( I REALLY WANT to take shots of Tommy Victor LIVE so this comment just SLIPS out of my fucking mouth at this point.)
Tommy- You’re not from there though? (Since I have lived in Atlanta, I have met a handful of people over the age of thirty actually from Atlanta. A have met a bunch of people from New York though.)
MI- No, I’m from New York originally (Could I be from anywhere else?).
Tommy- Yea, me too, home of David Berkowitz. (Does your dog talk to you too? You should hear what my cat says.)
MI- What is the most fucked up thing you have seen on tour?
Tommy- Oh, god I’ve had so many experiences. – I guess something that happened to me I was in Japan. The middle finger on my hand is fucked for life! We were in Tokyo and they warned us that everyone would be quiet. But we went on stage and within 30 seconds all the Japanese kids started storming the stage – a kid jumped into me and broke my finger, It was the strangest thing -we started playing and boom all these people rushed the stage and dropped kicked me-and broke my finger right off the bat- that was just a weird thing. -Just the same thing trashing hotel rooms and everything. There is a lot more that going on but it’s usually boring most of the time. (Fucking crazy Japanese fans. That FUCKING ROCKS!)
MI-But they can’t do anything for your finger though?
Tommy- No, it’s mangled (This must be beyond SUCK for a guitar player-but it is a pretty good story.)
MI- What is your favorite Prong song to play live?
Tommy- I guess it would be Snap Your Finger , Snap Your Neck-because that is usually the one everyone knows and you get a great response to. (I will bet when your wrote this you were having some kind of future vision about Tokyo. Thank the gods it wasn’t your neck.)
MI- I’m Danzig fan-what was it like touring with him?
Tommy- It’s crazy because he is unpredictable , you roll into a town and someone ticks him off and he will just will say fuck it-I don’t need to do the show (Well, he is God). It’s a lot of fun. I like him live, and his contributions have been great. I love playing the songs, and it’s just amazing (Personally, I would settle for a job holding his towel).
MI- How did you get involved with Blacker than Black?
Tommy- Well, I’m playing in the band and so he was trying to fit in festival thing .
MI- He wanted you (see, I am always amazed Mr. Danzig even needs anybody else)?
Tommy- Well, I was playing in the band already from 1996 to 1998 the I quit-and he called me up to do it again.
MI- Do you think the tour is going on yet or not?
Tommy- I’m not sure, right now he is concentrating on a heavy record. I think he plans to do this festival thing . It’s a lot of hard work because bands drop in and out-and bands break up and all it’s just really hard.
MI- What is ever the worse job you have had ? And why?
Tommy- I’ve had so many terrible jobs, I don’t think any job is fun, I think once money is involved it’s crazy . Some are alright. I guess I worked at CBGB’s that was a good job. I was a bike messenger-that was really good, although I was in the hospital three times. I think the worst was I work for a French restaurant delivering French food to people in midtown Manhattan and people were assholes and didn’t give big tips. -Dealing with corporate America is a very distasteful thing, even if you are delivering soup to people.
MI- What do you think of Bush?
Tommy- (Pleads the 5th amendment, he must have tax problems.) MI- On Jan. 26th they are going to have this big march to try to impeach him. Tommy- That’s not going to happen. LOL. MI- Why do you say that?
Tommy- He is almost like a dictator now. He has to much power and I see him getting re-elected.
Mi- You think he is going to get re-elected too? Tommy- I know he is. MI- Why do you think he is?
Tommy- Because people are stupid ,they look at everything on the news and they believe everything they are told. News media takes control and they are very manipulating. They just don’t tell us the truth. I don’t believe that news anymore.
I think we live in a facist society-we are slaves and have nothing to do with it, but I’m not happy about this world situation.
MI- If you were not a musician ,what would you be doing right now?
Tommy- A school teacher MI- Really, teaching what? Tommy- I’m not sure, but not science (See, I think he would be an art teacher-you know the one that lets you get away with making clay bongs in class. He would NEVER obstruct your art.)
MI- Who do you think the musician of all time was or is?
Tommy- I don’t know I don’t keep up with all that-to say that I would have to be up on classical artists and all.
MI- They don’t have to be classical honey! Tommy- I would think Jimmy Hendrix then. (Isn’t Jimmy classical?)
MI-Other than Prong, who are your other favorite current bands?
Tommy- Current heavy metal bands? MI- Sure share them all baby!
Tommy- The You’s are really excellent I think-I even like things like Drowning Pool. Alice In Chains is great-and there is a lot of stuff out there that is really good. I mean Static-X , and Life of Agony are amazing groups. Helmet-they’re coming back. A heavy band is Hatebreed-I think they are great-and Slayer is my favorite band of all time. (Talk to me Kerry King. I could take beautiful pictures of you…I know the KFK in KFK Industries has to stand for Kerry Fucking King. We could talk about the inspiration behind your pretty, pretty clothes. You know you want to send me a t-shirt-the power of MusicIncider compels you-LOL.)
MI- Tell me what you want your fans to know about you.
Tommy- They can find out through the lyrics, and the lyrics are printed on my new album. I think that is my communication with world. I really don’t need anyone to understand me anyway. I would just like people to know you could be vulnerable and go through different cycles of life and be human and understand that . We are very fragile and my own vulnerablities are more apparent on what I write about.
MI- If you were God what would you do? What would you change?
Tommy- I’m not God-and I don’t know what being God would be.
MI- If a genie came down and said to you that you can do anything you want for a week-what would you change?
Tommy- End human suffering-the pains people go through, whether it’s emotional ,Financial, they ask why, you know there is books written about it why there is pain in the world so they can find God. If there wasn’t pain in the world we wouldn’t know what pain is so may we have these pains to know who God is. I don’t know the answer to these questions. Everybody has been through pain and things. and you don’t want to live anymore I mean why do we go on.
MI- If you would be a superhero who would you be?
Tommy- I was a big Marvel fan. I think Iron Man is cool.
MI- Okay-we will make you Iron Man.
MI- Who did the new art work for the new album it’s fantastic?
Tommy- Frank Lotto, it’s Dan’s brother , it was taken and I contributed to that and then he did the final design.
MI- That is a beautiful cover. I really like it. Tommy-Really? I’m glad you like it. Do you know where it was taken from?
MI- No. Tommy – It was taken from the top of a tarot deck. MI- I thought it was that. Tommy – It looks like a skeleton of Cerus.
MI- What do you think about Schwarzenegger being governor? Tommy- It’s all a ruse. It just shows the connection between Hollywood and the control the government has over Hollywood in order to brainwash everyone into Sciencetology and mold America into certain beliefs .
MI- What do you think about the things going on in the middle east?
Tommy-I’m not happy about any of this stuff, I mean like the only reason to have war is to sell more weapons and spend billions and trillions of dollars go into the whole war machine it’s the whole thing about it , who says the American way of life is the greatest thing . Weather they are Muslim they should like they want too.
MI- What is your opinion on the legalization on drugs?
Tommy- I’ve changed my mind on it several times, to really get involves with society you really can’t get involved with Drugs you can’t do them. The laws are another money making machine and you have to realize you don’t really have much control of your life. If your into control so many people are on them to control. And alcoholic is bad and so is smoking but certain drugs are okay it’s all how you use them. We are machines and that is they way things go. I stay away from them because I don’t want to go to jail and drinking is the same I don’t want to kill anyone.
MI- What do you think about MTV?
Tommy- It’s a joke, it’s ridiculous, I can’t stand it. It’s my personal thing
MI- If someone would wave a magic wand and gave you 3 wishes for Prong what would you wish for?
Tommy- 20 years younger, there is a lot of things I’d do over , I don’t live on those things , thing are what they are I can’t change time.
Mi-If you were stuck on an island and you could bring two people, two cd’s, two books, and your favorite bottle of liquor – –what would it be and who would you bring?
Tommy- Zepplin 4, Berlin, and Jimmy Hendrix. A bible, and The Nothing Man by Jim Thompson, .Crown Royal-unlimited supply. (Editor’s note: Tommy would also probably like The Killer Inside by Jim Thompson-by we only gave him two.)
MI- And who would the two people be? Tommy- Everybody drives me crazy so it doesn’t matter who it is.
MI-Do you believe in psychics?
Tommy- I do, but not the way they take themselves in a John Edwards type thing. If you have a good imagination , the real psychics are more martial arts guys that are spontaneous that aren’t in control of their own lives-they rely on a higher power to take them over. In todays life? I don’t see anyone doing that in todays life .
MI- What would you tell a young band about? What would you warn them about?
Tommy- Don’t do it. Find another way to make a living or do it as a fun thing, don’t do it completely. Don’t believe in what everything people tells you and live in reality.
MI- How do you think the industry has changed over the years?
Tommy- It is pretty obvious with the amount of albums being sold. With the internet, the amount of albums being sold is the main thing. I come from an era where we pressed up our own records- you know, like the vinyl. I come from the time that was before I even heard of cd’s, and it was so much easier then. There wasn’t any of the online anything no internet. I went to stores that just sold magazines, and there was a lot more underground things going on. The communication level is how much more you can communicate now. People don’t realize no one really cares right now. It doesn’t have the impact that it used to. The written word doesn’t mean anything like it used to. We live in a place that is infomercial and reality shows. Music has definitely went that route- where everything is a lot more disposable and no one really cares anymore. It has no impact.
MI- Do you think the industry cares about the musician?
Tommy- Absolutely not, and I don’t think it ever really did- except maybe in the 60’s when things were new. Rock music isn’t new anymore- it’s old. I could say we try to do things differently and that is the main concern-but hey, what has someone not done before? and if they have or haven’t no one really cares. It is like scientists do their research. They tell people what to play. There is no freedom in a world that in this time the way it is.
MI- So how does a New York boy end up in fucking California?
Tommy- I don’t know it’s not something I’m crazy about. It’s like I got kicked out financially. I don’t come from a rich family and I can’t afford to live there. My career couldn’t afford it, and it was cheaper to run the band out here. It’s easier to survive out here. So I had to be here to stay alive.
MI- Have you ever thought about starting your own label?
Tommy- No. MI- Why not? Tommy- Because it’s a waste of time-years ago we had one and we could make it work but record sales are too low now. No one is slinging thirty thousand records-back in the old days in New York alone we were selling twenty thousand record we pressed up ourselves-and today you can’t even sell that in the whole country now.
MI- What do you think of that twelve year old girl being sued for downloading the kiddie songs ?
Tommy- I didn’t hear about that. MI- Oh yeah, a 12 year old girl was arrested about 2 or 3 months ago for downloading Bingo or something like that off of napster , or one of those fuck sites like that and they are arresting everybody now.
Tommy- Well something has to been done, everyone has to survive. What about Metallica, those guys are billionaires. It’s the whole industry making their living off of it. From roadies to managers, people have to do what they have to do to survive .If everyone is getting music for free, what kind of quality control can be put on anything? Then everything should be for free. Then you give out gas for free, give out free cars-it’s got to stop . I mean even Ozzy can’t sell that many records so a lot of families and jobs are on the line, you just can’t give things away for free.
MI- If a movie was made about your life ,what would you want the theme song to be and who would yo want to play the staring role of you? Tommy- (Laughing) that is really easy like Johnny Depp ,you know,
MI- And the them song? Tommy-Tired of Being Alive. MI- What would you name the movie? Tommy- Tired of Being Alive.
MI- who do you think the 5 greatest guitar players are of all time including yourself
Tommy- That is easy: Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Tommy Iommi, and Pete Townshend.
MI- What is your favorite movie of all time?
Tommy- The Shining.
MI- Where were you when 9-11 happened and how did it effect you?
Tommy- I was in a deep depression in my apartment and completely void of the world with one exception-I had complete communication with one person and she called and said turn on TV. She said the world was coming to an end and I was like, cool man I just wanted it to all blow up. I was believing it was going to continue until it was all down. I was reading a lot about things on Revelations, and I just thought it was really coming down.
MI- Tell me about your religious beliefs?
Tommy- I am Christian and Catholic. MI- What are you studying recently?
Tommy- I did a lot of Crowley reading , I’ve gotten away from it recently. I don’t think it hasn’t really helped me. Bill Wilson had a lot of impact on me-the big book of AA. I’ve done a lot of research into that and I do believe you have to get into touch with your higher power and to be creative.
MI- If you could design a memorial for the victims of 9-11 what would it be?
Tommy- Build the Trade Center just like it was.
MI- Who would you want to splash a bucket of flesh eating ants on who would it be?
Tommy- There are so many people-the chick from that TV show-Jillian Barberie.
MI- Name 5 bands that have the greatest influence on music.
Tommy- Zepplin, The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, Nirvana
MI- Do you believe Kurt was killed or a suicide?
Tommy- Suicide, I believe. MI- You really do? Tommy Yes, I really do
MI- What pisses you off more about the world today?
MI- Tell me a joke-clean or dirty.
Tommy- I don’t have any, I’m terrible about that
MI- What is your favorite quote of all time?
Tommy- Every man and woman is a star. (I see one thing sticking from all that Crowley reading.)
MI- Do you believe in reincarnation?
MI- Have you ever had a paranormal experience?
Tommy- Yes. MI- What happened? Tommy- Well, it was the influence of drugs-I was visited by spirits.
MI- If you could being anyone back from the dead and have lunch with them who would it be?
Tommy- Bela Lugosi.
MI- Do you have a message for your fans?
Tommy- Check out our new website http://www.prongmusic.com- it should be up and running soon. It’s run by the band and we are going to try to be interactive with everybody.
Thanks Tommy. It was GREAT talking with you. We will catch you live again soon.
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