Short Cuts: Dream Theater, Magnum, Steven Wilson

CD Review: Magnum – Sacred Blood "Divine" Lies
All Access Rating: A-

Magnum - Sacred Blood
"Divine" Lies 2016
Forever inhabiting and exploring the more progressive terrain of hard rock and heavy metal, the good ship Magnum forges ahead, its old parts still in good working order. Dependent on the prolific songwriting of Tony Clarkin, brilliant instrumental chops and the emotional, expressive delivery of singer Bob Catley, Magnum's dramatic power reaches critical mass on the worldly, dynamic and engaging – if at times overly sentimental – Sacred Blood "Divine" Lies. Here's where an uplifting, heavenly ballad such as "Your Dreams Won't Die" can soothe nerves put on edge by the menacing undercurrents and tightly drawn guitar figures of a title track destined to become a Magnum classic. Where the bracing stomp and racing heartbeat of "Princess In Rags (The Cult)" propels a grandiose scheme, the rousing anthem "Crazy Old Mothers" seeks adventure and renewed vitality and finds both in spades. The divine and the sacred are found here.

CD Review: Steven Wilson – 4 1/2
All Access Rating: A
Steven Wilson - 41/2 2016

Most of 4 1/2 comprises disparate scraps left over from the critically acclaimed Hand. Cannot. Erase., as progressive-rock auteur Steven Wilson seamlessly pieces together a lush, celestial quilt of a six-song EP that holds together remarkably well. Moments of blossoming transcendence emerge from immersive instrumentals like "Year of the Plague," but it's the well-crafted, flowing melodies of "My Book Of Regrets," interrupted by a jazzy eruption and dissolving into a spacious, dreamy interlude, and "Happiness III" that worm their way into listeners' memories and set up permanent residences. A live recording of the Porcupine Tree favorite "Don't Hate Me," further manicured in the studio, closes this brief chapter in Wilson's creative arc with its haunting grace and sense of desperation, as Wilson and Ninet Tayeb exchange lovely male-female vocal retorts in a duet full of world-weary, heartfelt yearning. Mini-LPs like this are rarely essential. This one is an exception.

CD Review: Dream Theater – The Astonishing
Roadrunner Records
All Access Rating: B+

Dream Theater - The Astonishing 2016
Even those with voracious appetites for all things Dream Theater might find The Astonishing to be a lot to digest. Bulging at the seams with 34 tracks spread across two CDs, interspersed with quite a bit of filler, it might be the progressive-metal institution's most theatrical and ambitious undertaking, its grand compositions artfully emboldened and fleshed out by an orchestra and choir conducted by David Campbell. A cinematic concept album touching on themes similar to Rush's magnum opus 2112, The Astonishing imagines a future where the oppressed revolt against a totalitarian regime going to extremes to control the masses, but there is also a refreshing romantic element to the story. The sweeping majesty of "2285 Entr'acte" opens Disc 2 with dramatic force, whereas the passionate urgency and motoring drive of both "Moment of Betrayal" and "My Last Farewell" seem engulfed in a violent energy and "Dystopian Overture" blackens into an ominous storm cloud gathering strength, just before the innocent longing and immaculately conceived songcraft of "The Gift Of Music" let in the light. Settle in, because it's going to take some time to fully appreciate and comprehend what Dream Theater has accomplished here.

CD Review: Rich Robinson – Paper, Llama Blues

CD Review: Rich Robinson – Paper
Eagle Rock Entertainment
All Access Rating: B+

CD Review: Rich Robinson – Llama Blues
Eagle Rock Entertainment
All Access Rating: A-

Rich Robinson - Paper reissue 2016
Now that it appears the Black Crowes ' divorce is final, guitarist Rich Robinson can focus all of his attention on reviving a solo career that began in 2002, the year he started recording Paper.

Ultimately released two years later, Paper – the colorful cover art painted by Robinson himself – was an engaging, if occasionally messy, pastiche of different genres, effortlessly blending country, blues, soul, pop and psychedelia in a Southern-fried rock meal rich in diversity, skillful songwriting and tasty, tantalizing guitar licks to savor long after devouring them.

Kept in a New Jersey storage facility, along with his gear, the 2-inch master tapes for Paper were mangled by Hurricane Sandy's wrath, but there was a silver lining. With Robinson initiating a reissue campaign through Eagle Rock Entertainment for all of his solo outings – preparing the way for a new studio album due out this spring – came an opportunity to record new vocals, do some remastering and alter the sequencing for Paper. The results of those efforts, including three previously unreleased tracks from the 2004 sessions, are found on this reconfigured package due to drop Feb. 26, along with 2013's Llama Blues EP. New versions of Through a Crooked Sun and the Woodstock Sessions will see the light of day on April 15.

As for Paper, the warm sound of this expanded reissue is washed clean of impurities, allowing the full instrumentation, pristine vocals and the buffed chrome-plated sparkle of Robinson's electric guitar tone to shine through on the rollicking opener "Know Me," while giving a slightly serrated edge to the sunny, laid-back funk of "Enemy" and its strutting, tougher cousin "Stand Up." Even the Exile On Main Street murk of "Words Of The Chosen," an instrumental carried by gently rolling rhythms, has a certain clarity to it, while the crawl and stomp of "Yesterday I Saw You" and the smoldering distortion of "Places" assume pleasing and clearly defined shapes.

Falling from wistful '60s pop ("Walking By Myself") into a deep country blues hole ("Forgiven Song") as a mournful violin saws away, Paper somehow manages to avoid betraying its "south of Mason-Dixon line" heritage, that down-home twang rarely leaving Robinson's beguiling guitar work. More amorphous and less cohesive are the piano-based "Baby" and "Cause You're With Me," two drifting, worn-out tracks whose lovely parts never seem to coalesce into actual songs. The grand, Southern gothic vibe and undulating rhythms of "Answers," however, are more congruous and structured, making for a wholly realized offering that seems haunted by Townes Van Zandt.

Rich Robinson - Llama Blues
reissue 2016
Llama Blues was originally supposed to pair nicely with Through a Crooked Sun, its traditional blues feel echoing that album's "Fire Around." Limited to 1,000 CDs, Llama Blues became a cult favorite – can it really boast of being so if it's only three years old? – of Robinson's fans and it, too, is back on the market.

Robinson's distorted singing adds grit and honky-tonk attitude to an organic and thoroughly authentic – doing without any kind of slavish imitation – set of four songs that build small shrines to the ghosts of the Mississippi Delta. Wild harmonica blares through the Stones-y stutter of "By the Light of the Sunset Moon," while Robinson deftly massages subtle slide guitar into a stomping "Look Through My Window" and a slow burning, drawn-out "Broken Stick Crown." Stay for "Run Run," a brooding closer with a stripped-down aesthetic that's earthy and hard, but full of integrity.

While Paper is somewhat long and you wish it was the more charismatic Chris Robinson singing on these records rather than his somewhat subdued brother, both albums are well worth revisiting. Though not as immediately rewarding or as transcendent as the best stuff from the Crowes' catalog, their charms stick around for a while and make good company.
– Peter Lindblad

Origins of Ace Frehley

Ex-Kiss guitarist reunites with Paul Stanley on new album, leaks version of Cream's "White Room"
By Peter Lindblad

Ace Frehley - Origins Vol. 1 2016
Ace Frehley and Paul Stanley have KISS'd and made up, or so it seems. Not that there ever was much of a feud, at least according to Frehley.

"We've always been friends," said Frehley, in talking to Rolling Stone magazine about recording with Stanley again, as they did on Frehley's upcoming album of cover songs Origins Vol. 1, slated for an April 15 release. "The press seems to amplify negativity. I guess it makes good copy."

Some, if not all, of the rancor that sullied the band's 2014 induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame must have subsided somewhat, as the two joined forces to remake Free's hit "Fire and Water," marking the first time they've collaborated since the KISS 1998 reunion album Psycho Circus. Frehley has announced a release date and track listing for Origins Vol. 1, featuring re-imagined versions of 12 classic songs that influenced the legendary former KISS guitarist. It's the follow-up to 2014's Space Invader, which at the time had been his first album in five years. The record debuted at No. 9 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, making it the highest charting KISS-related solo project ever, propelling Frehley back to the Top 10, a place he hadn't visited since Psycho Circus.

Today, Rolling Stone magazine debuted Frehley's new version of Cream's "White Room," which can be heard here: Faithful to the original, Frehley's take on "White Room" flashes an orgy of wah-wah guitar effects behind strong, clearly articulated vocals and powerful drumming. Capturing the psychedelic whirl of the original, Frehley brings the song out of its late-'60s haze and reintroduces it to a more contemporary audience, enhancing its melodic character.

Stanley is just one of the big-name guests appearing on Origins Vol. 1. Slash and Frehley trade leads on Thin Lizzy's classic "Emerald," while Lita Ford sings and playing lead on The Troggs' staple "Wild Thing," and Rob Zombie guitarist John 5 plays guitar alongside Ace as he sings his classic KISS composition "Parasite" for the very first time. The two also give their rendering of Jimi Hendrix's "Spanish Castle Magic," with Frehley finally doing his KISS Alive I mainstay "Cold Gin" with Pearl Jam's Mike McCready also on guitar as Ace as sings. 

"White Room" is also an iTunes instant gratification track, meaning fans who pre order the LP on iTunes will receive the Cream cover song instantly. Pre-orders for physical versions can be made here: Go here for digital versions:

The track listing for Origins Vol. 1 can be found below:

1. White Room (Cream)
2. Street Fighting Man (Rolling Stones)
3. Spanish Castle Magic (Jimi Hendrix) *John 5
4. Fire and Water (Free) *Paul Stanley
5. Emerald (Thin Lizzy) *Slash
6. Bring It On Home (Led Zeppelin)
7. Wild Thing (The Troggs) *Lita Ford
8. Parasite *John 5 (KISS)
9. Magic Carpet Ride (Steppenwolf) 
10. Cold Gin *Mike McCready (KISS)
11. Till The End Of The Day (Kinks)
12. Rock and Roll Hell (KISS)

Ace and crew will be active on the road in 2016. Three weeks worth of tour dates in the U.S. have been announced, including two nights at the B.B. King Blues Club in New York City. His band features Richie Scarlet (rhythm guitar and vocals), Chris Wyse (The Cult) on bass and vocals, and Scott Coogan (Nikki Sixx's Brides of Destruction) on drums.

Tour dates are below:

2/26 - Houston, TX - Scout Bar
2/27 - San Antonio, TX - Fitzgerald's
2/28 - Dallas, TX - The Bomb Factory 
3/2 - Tempe, AZ - Marquee Theatre
3/4 - San Miguel, CA - The Ranch
3/5 - Beverly Hills, CA - Saban Theatre
3/6 - Las Vegas, NV - Brooklyn Bowl - Las Vegas
4/1 - Ponte Vedra, FL - Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
4/2 - Clearwater, FL - Capitol Theatre
4/3 - Sunrise, FL - Markham Park - Rockfest 80's
4/5 - Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse
4/7 - Danville, VA - Carrington Pavilion
4/9 - New Hope, PA - Havana New Hope
4/11 - New York, NY - BB King's Blues Club
4/12 - New York, NY - BB King's Blues Club
4/13 - Huntington, NY - The Paramount
4/15 - Wilkes Barre, PA - The F.M. Kirby Center
4/16 - Poughkeepsie, NY - The Chance

CD/DVD Review: Onslaught – Live At The Slaughterhouse

CD/DVD Review: Onslaught – Live At The Slaughterhouse
AFM Records
All Access Rating: A

Onslaught - Live At The
Slaughterhouse 2016
Presumably, Onslaught didn't actually perform at places where dead animals are processed into meat. Although a screaming abattoir might provide the horrifically ideal live atmosphere for catching a show from these veteran U.K. thrash-metal savages.

Presenting ample video and audio proof of life, the violent and energetic AFM Records release Live At The Slaughterhouse draws from two highly visceral, staggeringly brilliant gigs in Bristol and London to comprise a package that completely erases the memory of the Neil Turbin debacle of 2014 and smacks of Venom's blackened anger, while siphoning off gallons of Slayer's crazed intensity. Throwing around big, heavy hooks like brawny longshoreman even while thrashing about everywhere as if in the throes of the nastiest demonic possession, Onslaught blows the doors off their hinges here. Vocalist Sy Keeler rages with Satanic fury throughout, singing of "spitting blood in the face of God" as the rest of Onslaught explodes and engages in the predatory tempo shifts of a seething "Killing Peace." Furious charges "Chaos Is King" and "Let There Be Death" set a scorching pace, before the exotic wailing of "Children Of The Sand" signals the thrilling rise of a massive, cinematic epic that comes on like ... well, a surging sand storm gathering strength.

The propulsive, sulfuric boils, venomous tonality and diabolically clever leads emanating from the ferociously feral guitars of Nige Rockett and Leigh Chambers crack the whip on vigorous, blazing sonic rampages "The Sound Of Violence" and "Rest In Pieces," while "66 'Fucking' 6" rides a dark, ominous melody and the creepy music-box intro to "Destroyer Of Worlds" seems to perfectly build hair-raising anticipation for the riot of hell-spawned, warring riffs that awaits. And there's a tinge of regret in Keeler's voice as he ushers in "In Search of Sanity" by disclosing he hasn't sung the song with the band since the late '80s, but after Onslaught relentlessly and fiercely pounds it into smoldering rubble, the wait seems well worth it. There really is no rest for the wicked.
– Peter Lindblad

CD Review: Anvil – Anvil Is Anvil

CD Review: Anvil – Anvil Is Anvil
All Access Rating: B+

Anvil - Anvil Is Anvil 2016
Leave it to Anvil to record a wickedly playful, heavy-metal sea shanty about pirate mythology. Heaving to and fro, like a massive, creaking ship tossed about by stormy seas, "Daggers and Rum" – rife with stereotypes as it is – flies the Jolly Roger with a knife between its rotten teeth and a black heart that lusts for treasure.

It would make a fine drinking song if nothing else, and as Anvil always seems fond of history and a good gimmick – who doesn't get a childish chuckle from seeing Steven "Lips" Kudlow play a guitar with a vibrator? – the steady, relentless march of "Daggers and Rum" could be another "15 Men On a Dead Man's Chest" for a new generation. At the very least, it's an unexpectedly theatrical and fun opening to the Steamhammer/SPV release Anvil Is Anvil, a good, satisfying meal of simple, meat-and-potatoes metal from the resilient underdog trio of Kudlow, Robb Reiner and new bassist Chris Robertson.

Hard to believe it's been eight long years since the rockumentary "Anvil! The Story of Anvil" brought them temporary fame that quickly faded. Anvil Is Anvil does feature moments of inspired performances, creative vitality and focused intensity and drive, as Reiner's impressive drumming again steals the show. Still, despite the high-energy attack of "Up, Down, Sideways," the strong, sure hooks and rugged AC/DC-style riffs of "Ambushed," the thrashing excitement of "Fire on the Highway" and the raw horsepower of "It's Your Move" – a Motorhead-like rave-up that serves as an homage to the late Lemmy Kilmister and his former band – Anvil Is Anvil's flagging, pedestrian midsection and the unwillingness of these shaggy old dogs to learn new tricks make it unlikely legions of new members will flock to join the Metal Pounders' Union.

Nevertheless, Anvil is worth rooting for, the self-deprecating humor of the cover being one reason. Another has to do with their willingness to tackle controversial subjects head on, as they rumble and grind through "Gun Control" like tanks and skewer religious justification for war and hate without mercy on an otherwise flaccid "Die For a Lie." This is Anvil, for better or worse, still as capable of delivering blazing, rip-roaring metal anthems as they are of falling flat on their faces.
– Peter Lindblad                                                      

Absolutely Prong

Alt.-metal frontman talks new album, Glenn Danzig, great crossover LPs and touring
By Peter Lindblad

Prong's Tommy Victor
The road hasn't always been kind to Tommy Victor and Prong. And being in a gritty, uncompromising alternative-metal outfit can be a crushing grind.

Victor has seen it all and lived to tell about it in his 30 barnstorming years as Prong's frontman, having also served on punk and metal's front lines as a sound engineer at the legendary New York City music club CBGBs in the late '80s and played alongside other musical agitators, such as Rob Zombie, Ministry, Marilyn Manson, Trent Reznor and Glenn Danzig.

These are better days for the battle-tested Victor, as a re-energized Prong – with Jason Christopher on bass and Art Cruz on drums – gets set to unleash the blistering X – No Absolutes via the SPV/Steamhammer label. In the last four years, Prong, more prolific than ever, has been on fire, releasing a string of critically acclaimed studio albums such as 2012's Carved Into Stone,  2014's Ruining Lives and the punk covers album Songs From The Black Hole in 2015, in addition to the Official Bootleg – Unleashed in the West LP, which gave Victor and company a chance to re-make some the band's classic songs.

X – No Absolutes is as vital and ferocious as any of them, an incendiary record that's remarkably fluid and fast, while refusing to tone down the violence of its heady mix of hardcore, thrash, hard rock and metal, even as more melodic elements seep in. With a massive touring schedule on the horizon, Victor recently discussed the new record, along with a host of other topics, in this candid e-mail interview.  

With Songs From the Black Hole, you covered a pretty diverse set of classic punk and rock songs. Did the making of that album have any impact on the creative process that brought about X – No Absolutes?
Tommy Victor: I didn't notice during but looking back, yes. Especially with the vocals on X- No Absolutes. I had to interpret several different vocalists on Songs From The Black Hole. That may have broadened my eventual approach on the new record. Covering Neil Young's "Cortez The Killer" was motivational for me. That was a vocal challenge for me and Chris Collier and I built a method in making that vocal happen on Songs From The Black Hole and that definitely carried into X – No Absolutes.
In what ways do you feel you're getting better as a songwriter, and how do they manifest themselves on the new record?
TV: I think I've become a better collaborator. I'm improving there. And in the area of figuring out the puzzle of arranging songs, I have different methods these days. Steve Evetts helped me on that big time. I like getting together with another writer or two and getting feedback and making adjustments. without killing oneself doing it. We worked at a very fast pace on this record, as with Ruining Lives. I don't like overworking songs anymore. The impact of the lyrics waters down and the riffs dry up!

Prong seems to be enjoying a rebirth in recent years, with Carved Into Stone and Ruining Lives having a real palpable vitality to them – not that past efforts didn't have that as well. Still, do you feel there's something about your most recent work that has a different creative spark or a new urgency to it?
TV: Some of that transfers into the business side of things. This really started when we signed with SPV. They want consistent records and so does management, so I feel like I'm obliged to deliver to the best of my ability. It's weird when you are given a short amount of time to get things done. I think that may create that urgency that you are speaking of. I think it goes in line with this sort of music. We really haven't had time or money to overthink things. I've also gotten real lucky with having Art and Jason, Chris Collier, Steve Evetts and Erie Loch in this mix. They've really saved Prong's ass.

Prong - X - No Absolutes 2016
It seems that X – No Absolutes has more elements of thrash and hardcore than those records, even as some songs sound more melodic than ever. Was there more of a tendency to play up those elements on this record?
TV: Prong is ever attempting to find its formula, as well as keeping an eye on the successful elements of past recordings. I must say this No Absolutes record is the most stealth record I've ever been involved with. We went into this like a well-oiled machine. The old songs are so beaten into us after so much touring. And Chris Collier and I have this amazing working arrangement that has been building since Ruining Lives. So we simply seem to have been given this instinct on what Prong should be in 2016. It's nothing designed on paper. It all comes from the gut these days.

In this environment, when music is viewed as more disposable than ever, do you think "Cut And Dry," which is really intense, has a chance to be thought of in the same way as other Prong classics, such as "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck?" 
TV: I don't know to be honest. Prong was very dialed in on the preparation for Cleansing. And I think we were dialed in even more on this record. It was a whole different time back then. Prong was newer and fresher. On the other hand I think legacy bands can make some waves these days too.

Talk about the production of your most recent records, the ones released since 2012. Do you think they sound better than past efforts? And if so, in what ways has the production improved or been able to capture what the band is all about and how has Chris Collier helped this time around?
TV: I've touched on this in previous answers.I liked Steve Evetts' mix on Carved Into Stone and Ruining Lives. But I wanted a more full-throttle attack on this new one. Chris is a younger dude. He doesn't come from the analogue era, so he really doesn't care about being vintage and I wanted that for this new Prong record. That's why I've been sort of moving him up to the role of producer for Prong starting with his work on tracking Ruining Lives. Then I pulled him into tracking vocals and mixing Songs From The Black Hole. So with two records of experience in all facets of making a records with Prong, I had him co produce, engineer, mix and master X – No Absolutes. As a co-producer, I simply have to make a few key decisions on how to get a record done efficiently and of course within time and budget. Chris took the role most commonly thought of as production. He guided all the tracking and made technical decisions along the way. A lot of that is really under the title of engineering, but Chris also had a lot of input on all the aspects of making the record – from guitar overdubs to guitar positioning, phrasing, solos, and tunings. Drum parts, arrangements and, of course, sounds. He was the ears on the vocal performances as well. He's amazing.He's really a top notch dude.

Prong is Tommy Victor, Art Cruz
and Jason Christopher
"Do Nothing" could almost be described as a ballad, and the intro to "With Dignity" features some lovely piano work. In what ways do you think X – No Absolutes expand the template for Prong?
TV: I wanted some real "songs" on the record and that was the basis for getting those tracks together. Here's where Erie Loch came in. I had worked with Erie on this industrial Primitive Race record and was blown away by his talent. He wrote the basic music for those songs and Chris and I developed the treatment. Art and Jason came in with their parts after that. I guess it is about expansion. But it's really not anything too different than what Prong was trying to do on Rude AwakeningCleansing and even the last five records. I didn't want to completely abandon that aspect of Prong. Not many bands are doing this sort of thing and that therefore sets us apart. I never quite feel comfortable with being just a thrash band or metalcore or whatever. These days my biggest priority is getting those vocal hooks together. And writing current, biting lyrics. The music is really a backdrop for that in a lot of ways. That's sort of what I mean by classic "songwriting." Its just not all about the riff and technical proficiency to me anyhow.

You've been really busy lately, with recording and touring extensively. Has the schedule taken its toll or do you feel revitalized by all this work?
TV: I got real burnt out after the Danzig/Superjoint/Prong tour. I had to get revitalized by doing other things like hiking and really just taking it easy. As usual, one gets bored with the simple life and now I feel like doing shows again. I'll get sick of that and be itching to make a new record. I've been through this cycle so many times. I try not to get scared and try to live in the moment and just appreciate life.

What's the biggest lesson you learned as a sound man at CBGBs back in the '80s?
TV: I don't know if what I learned there applies to today's age. Back then it was important to be involved in the scene. I was right in the middle of it. For many years, I was a club kid. And I played in bands, hung out in clubs and then worked in a club. My whole life was centered down in the art scene of the Lower East Side. If I didn't do that, I wouldn't have had any juice to make the music business a career. Today everything is online. You don't really have to be "out there" making the sacrifices and earning street cred.

While known as a punk club, there were many crossover bands that played there that incorporated thrash, metal and post-punk. Did you have a sense at some point that the club was broadening its horizons? And do you feel that part of the club's history has been sufficiently told?
TV: Not to be an ass but based on your question, it's obvious that the club's history has not been sufficiently told. That place started out as a country,blue grass and blues bar. And it always welcomed music of any style. Yes "punk" bands like Blondie and the Ramones came out of there, but it was always eclectic with its music. Hardcore punk only existed there on Sunday afternoons. Then it would transform back into allowing art-rock bands, noise bands, acoustic artists, pop bands, funk groups – whatever – to come in. If you're talking strictly hardcore matinees, yes they would do thrash there occasionally, but it wasn't popular.

What was the most enjoyable part of your fairly recent tour with Danzig and Superjoint Ritual, and in what ways has Glenn Danzig influenced what you do?
TV: The fact that I got it done was the most rewarding aspect of the tour. It was tough doing double duty. Playing a rushed Prong set, then a long Danzig set was nerve-racking. Then I had to jump in the Prong van and do our own shows or support for Superjoint on Danzig days off. It was definitely the hardest tour I had ever done.

The main attribute of Glenn Danzig that I have appreciated over the years is his dedication to who he is. He's got big balls. He's totally committed to what he does and really doesn't care what others think.

What was the hardest tour Prong ever did, and by the same token, what was the best one?
TV: We've had some brutal tours. I must say, most of the tours we did back in the day were just not fun. There was too much pressure on us all the time and we were easily jealous of other bands. I really don't have that many good memories. I like this lineup. Or maybe it's the fact that I'm less of a little brat these days that I can somehow get along with people better. We've had some great runs recently. The last Songs From The Black Hole tour in Europe was stellar.

Has your approach to making records or the process of doing so changed at all over the years?
TV: Again I've touched on that. I really didn't have a clue what was going on years ago, and I still don't really. I just think I'm a little more trusting these days. All music is a gift. The songs or ideas that you think you come up with aren't really yours, they come from The Universe. I trust in these gifts and just make them happen now. I can't afford to question every little thing I do anymore. I just roll with a lot of things

What are you most proud of with regard to your career? 
TV: Not to act like some guru or something, but I try to avoid pride like the plague. It's too dangerous for a person like me. I'll start believing bullshit about myself and start treating people badly. Everything I have has been given to me, especially when it comes to Prong. Based on my attitude, this should have been dead in the dirt a long time ago. So actually the best moment for me in my career is right now, doing this interview with you. Everything else is bullshit. Who cares? The past is the past, it doesn't exist anymore.

What would you say are your five favorite crossover albums and why?
TV: I like early ones like Corrosion Of Conformity's Animosity. That was groundbreaking and it had all that great Sabbath overtones. Suicidal Tendencies' Join The Army. Its just so damn noisy and violent. Agnostic Front's Cause For Alarm has some great NYHC with thrash. Leeway's Born to Expire has classic crunch picking,with the CroMags style approach. Sheer Terror Just Can't Hate Enough because it's dark and dangerous.

There's that question they give in job interviews about, "Where do you think you'll be in five years?" Do you have a sense yet of what you'd like to do with Prong in that time?
TV: I'm not on a job interview! Maybe I will be in five years!