Tommy Victor

Founder, Guitarist, Songwriter,
Frontman and Driving Force behind

Prong / Tommy Victor Discography               

Tommy Victor is the lead guitarist and frontman for Prong, the industrial metal / crossover thrash outfit he founded in New York in 1986. Victor has also performed and recorded with Ministry and Danzig, and has appeared on albums from Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Trent Reznor and Soulfly, among others. Prong's music has left a lasting impression, as the band is cited as a major influence by dozens of artists from the industrial and alternative metal genres. Prong's music was used in the intro to the MTV metal music video show "Headbanger's Ball," and dozens of bands have recorded covers of Prong's songs, including Demon Hunter and Six Feet under, each of whom released a cover version of "Snap Your Fingers, Snap your Neck".

In 1986, Tommy Victor was a struggling guitarist and songwriter in New York City, working as a soundman at the famous New york club CBGB's. Victor found some common ground with the club's doorman, bassist Mike Kirkland, and the two musicians started a band. A few months later, former Swans drummer Ted Parsons was recruited, and Prong's initial, three-man lineup was in place. By the time Parsons joined, Victor and Kirkland had already written a number of songs, so the trio immediately began cutting their teeth in the New York club circuit, and booked some studio time in early 1987 to begin recording the first Prong record. They independently released Primitive Origins in August '87, grabbing the attention of the hardcore punk scene in NYC at the time.

Over the years, there has been some confusion over Primitive Origins, with some sources calling it an LP and others referring to it an an EP. The effort contained 8 tracks, certainly enough to be considered an LP, but the songs were short for the most part, and the entire effort only contains 18 minutes and 12 seconds of bone-crunching music. For their part, Prong's members have always considered Primitive Origins an EP, bestowing the "debut album" tag on its next effort, which they began recording just a few weeks after Primitive Origins was released. This time, the band included 13 tracks on the record, spanning just under 30 minutes in running time, and Parsons injected his input this time with writing credits on four tracks.

Force Fed was released in January, 1988, just five months after the Primitive Origins EP debuted. Like its predecessor, the album was released independently, though both were picked up later that year by the British label Southern Records, who distributed the titles in Europe. Force Fed offered a glimpse of the musical direction Prong was taking. Whereas Primitive Origins conformed to the hardcore punk style, Force Fed added elements of the crossover thrash sound the band would gain notoriety with on later releases. Force Fed allowed Prong to increase its fan base outside of the punk scene, and caught the attention of Epic Records executives, who signed the band to the CBS Records imprint in early 1989.

Classic Prong Lineup (l-r): Parsons, Victor, Kirkland

With a major label record deal in place, Victor, Kirkland and Parsons hit the studio to start laying down the band's major label debut. Unlike their first two projects, which they produced themselves, this album would have the benefit of an experienced producer in Mark Dodson, known for his work on albums by Anthrax, Suicidal Tendencies and others. Titled Beg to Differ, the album hit stores on March 12, 1990 and catapulted Prong into the limelight of the evolving heavy metal landscape. The album included the track "Lost and Found," parts of which were used by MTV during commercial breaks of its "Headbanger's Ball" show. Some fans that followed the band from the beginning consider Beg to Differ Prong's purest release, as subsequent releases saw the band experiment with electronic elements as they evolved into an industrial metal outfit. Videos were filmed for the album's title track and "Lost and Found," expanding their audience thanks to heavy rotation on MTV.

Despite Prong's early success, Mike Kirkland decided to leave the band just a few months after Beg to Differ was released, and was replaced by Troy Gregory, who had replaced
Metallica's Jason Newsted in Flotsam and Jetsam. It became apparent immediately that the perfect replacement had been found, and the trio began writing material and hit the studio in late 1990 to begin working on a new album. Like their previous effort, the album was helmed by Dodson, who also contributed some backing vocals to the project. Titled Prove You Wrong, the record hit stores on September, 21st, 1991 to a mostly positive critical reception. The album expanded Prong's audience even further and becoming the band's first release to chart, peaking at position 34 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. Videos were released for "Unconditional," "Pointless," and the title track, gaining even more fans for the industrial heavyweight.

Following the release of Prove You Wrong, Gregory departed the band over creative differences, joining The Swans, the same band Parsons had played with before joining Prong. Killing Joke's Paul Raven was brought in, and Victor decided to make the band a four-piece by also adding Killing Joke keyboardist John Bechdel. An EP entitled Whose Fist Is this Anyway was released in 1992, consisting of five remixes of previously released songs and a new track titled "Talk Talk." Like Prong's previous major label efforts, the EP was produced by Mark Dodson, but it would be Prong's last Dodson-helmed project as the band severed ties with the producer a short time later. The band spent the remainder of 1992 writing new material and the first part of 1993 searching for the right producer to work with moving forward.

Prong's revamped lineup entered the studio in late 1993 after recruiting acclaimed producer Terry Date. Date had built a reputation with dozens of metal albums from the likes of
Metal Church, The Accused, Dream Theater, Overkill, Dark Angel, Soundgarden and Pantera. Victor and the rest of the band hoped he would be able to produce a hit record without altering the band's signature sound. Released in January 1994, Cleansing achieved those goals in a big way, becoming the band's biggest commercial success while also striking a chord with critics and longtime Prong fans. The album included the track "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck," which quickly became the band's biggest hit and is still their most recognized song today. The album spent several weeks on the Billboard 200 albums chart, peaking at position 126. Videos for "Snap Your Fingers,..." and "Broken Peace" continued the band's favored act status on MTV, airing seemingly every week for several months on the network's "Headbanger's Ball."

Primitive Origins

Beg to Differ


With their popularity at an all-time high, Prong was booked alongside Sepultura as the opening act for Pantera. The opportunity was immense, coming at the height of the popularity of Dallas-based Pantera, who's 1994 album Far Beyond Driven had just become the first-ever extreme metal album to debut atop the Billboard 200. Sepultura had also just released the biggest album in their eight year career, Chaos A.D., which also marked their transition from pure thrash as they added elements of punk and industrial. The exposure heightened demand for the band's live shows, prompting a headlining tour with support from Clutch and Drown in the US; and support from The Obsessed and Life and Agony in Europe. Prong's trajectory was at its highest level ever, but they were about to demonstrate just how fragile success in music can be.

Not long after getting off the road from tours supporting Cleansing, Prong went back into the studio with Date to work on a follow-up. The band's fifth full-length, Rude Awakening, hit stores in May 1996, debuting at No. 74 with over 10,000 copies sold in its first week. Now, while those numbers are far short of the ridiculous numbers Pantera was pulling off at the time, they still made Prong one of the biggest extreme metal acts of the mid 90s. Epic didn't see it that way, however, and ended the band's record deal less than a month after Rude Awakening's release, making the album's title ironically appropriate. The end of major label support effectively shut Prong down and Parsons and Raven joined the UK industrial band Godflesh. Two years later, Victor was hired by former Misfits and Samhain frontman Glen Danzig to be the touring guitarist for his eponymous band. Victor would hold the position off and on again for seven years, intermixed with other projects. He finally achieved his goal of playing and writing on a Danzig record on Circle of Snakes, released in 2004.

In late 2000, Victor decided to end Prong's four year hiatus. Enlisting longtime Madonna guitarist Monte Pittman, Jake E. Lee bassist Brian Perry and drummer Dan Laudo, Victor began preparations for a US tour and began shopping around for a new record deal, eventually signing with an independent Spanish label called Locomotive Records. The band embarked on a 42-stop trek across the US in 2001, recording a pair of dates in Detroit and Chicago for a live album. The result was 100% Live, released in October 2002. The band went back into the studio in December 2002 to begin work on Prong's sixth album, its first in seven years. The sessions lasted about three months, and the effort wouldn't be released until November 2003. Perry left the band just before the sessions commenced, so Pittman handled bass duties in addition to his guitar parts.

Scorpio Rising debuted on November 4th to very little fanfare, failing to chart in the US, the UK Germany or any other European country, while also failing to impress critics. The album was also handcuffed by Locomotive's limited promotional budget. Victor spent the next couple of years alternating Danzig and Prong tours, while spending several months working on Danzig's Circle of Snakes album as well. The vacant bass position was filled by Mike Longworth. Dan Laudo left Prong in 2005, and was replaced by Aaron Rossi, known for his work with Strife and John 5. Victor, meanwhile, joined Ministry to help write and record Ministry's 2006 album Rio Grande Blood and take part in a supporting tour. The collaboration spawned a Grammy nomination, and Victor signed on with Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen's label, 13th Planet Records. Jourgensen would appear on a track on Prong's next record, and Victor would take part in the 2007 Ministry set, The Last Sucker.

Prong's seventh album, Power of the Damager, arrived in stores on October 2, 2007. While the album failed to chart on the Billboard 200, it did reach position 47 on the Heatseekers chart, and was met with a far better critical reception than Scorpio Rising, and sales were stronger as well. Victor released a follow-up in 2009 consisting of remixes of all the tracks from Power of the Damager. Titled Power of the Damn Mixxxer, the album failed to strike home with fans or critics and would be Prong's last effort on 13th Planet. Victor explained that a variety of factors influenced his decision to leave 13th Planet, including his concern that Prong would be labeled a Ministry clone. The eighth Prong album, Carved Into Stone, debuted on April 24th, 2012, on Long Branch Records, a subsidiary of SPV / Steamhammer. The effort still did not chart on any major charts, but reached No. 13 on the Heatseekers chart. A ninth album entitled Ruining Lives followed on April 23rd, 2014, charting at No. 77 in Germany.


Tommy Victor has had an endorement deal with Schecter Guitars for several years, and uses them almost exclusively onstage. His primary onstage axe appears to be a black C-1 custom Schecter model, though he also plays a Schecter S1 and the Tommy Victor Signature model, as well. In the studio, Tommy gets a Gibson SG and Gibson Les Paul Custom into the mix.

Guitars: Schecter Tommy Victor Signature Model, Schecter S1, Schecter C-1 Custom, Gibson SG, Gibson Les Paul Custom

Amplification: Marshall Valvestate 8100 Heads, Framus Cobra Amp Head

Speakers: Carvin, Crate and Mesa Boogie 2x12 Cabinets Effects: Vox Wah Pedal, Digitech Chorus/Flange, MXR graphic EQ, TC Electronics boost

Tommy in the studio with a Schecter C-1 Custom