You have been critical of your own output at times. How does this new album stack up to the history of Prong?
I think it’s one of the best ones, I mean, it doesn’t have the cutting-edge impact that “Cleansing” did where we were going in a new direction for heavy music in general. It isn’t anything groundbreaking, but I think it’s up there in the quality of songs are up there with the best we’ve ever done. That was important for me. I wouldn’t know where to start to try to break any ground anymore, it seems like everything’s been done. So with that in mind, it was a matter of just getting the best songs we could possibly put together in reflection of the previous Prong records, without going off in a complete different direction like we did with “Scorpio Rising”, for instance. Where I think it failed, it wasn’t the right time. We didn’t work at it as hard. I just had a batch of songs I was just fooling around with. This wasn’t like that. This was much more intense. We put the work in and let the chips fall where they may. I feel this is one of the most hard-working efforts I’ve ever done as far as Prong goes. As far as anything, really.
Between your work in Danzig and Ministry, would you say one or either have a reverse influence back to your work in Prong?
Not at all! Prong is a completely different entity, it’s its own mindset. I don’t really listen to a hell of a lot of stuff. It all comes from the heart, really. I’m not out there scouring the charts or delving into countless hardcore metal records to find influences, I don’t have he energy to do that. I’m not being a snob, I just don’t have the time and energy to do that. I don’t want to do that or bring in any other project I’m involved in. I worked on the last two Danzig records and Glenn has his own way of arranging stuff. Then with Al, I mentioned with his process, is highly computer-oriented and I didn’t wanna do that either.
Looking back, did you know at the time that “Beg to Differ”and “Prove You Wrong” were going to influence so many other bands?
For years I didn’t really see that. People have been saying that for a long time; it’s mainly people in the press. We’ve toured with younger bands. I don’t wanna name names, but the attitude we got was, “Who the fuck are you, guys?” I mean completely unfamiliar with Prong and didn’t like us. I almost feel like I’ve gotten more of that attitude out there then any congratulations. But on a personal side, I had to re-investigate the early Prong records recently and I listened to “Beg to Differ”. I haven’t heard it in years! I was like, “Oh my god!” How did this thing come about? It’s bizarre to me. I don’t know how that really came together like that. It’s like that song “Carved into Stone”. It was something outside myself made that happen. I have not a clue! I wasn’t even really playing guitar that long when Prong did that record. It’s bizarre to me the things that go down. It wasn’t even calculated. On a personal level, I’m happy with the discography, but it’s not like I go down the street and people are, “Oh,Tommy!” I don’t hear it that much. It’s mainly press people, but other bands, they either don’t recognize it or they don’t know. If anything about the past, like when I was forced to re-investigate “Beg to Differ”, I just kinda of zap it into the void. Like anything in the past, I think everyone needs to do that, it’s like a personal psychotherapy in a way. It’s all good. I don’t have any bitterness towards anything. Maybe at one time I did. It’s been so worn out, I just have a different attitude about that stuff.
The rest of the interview can be read here.