Long-running industrial/crossover mainstays Prong released their twelfth full-length, Zero Days, today. To celebrate, Decibel asked frontman Tommy Victor — who ran sound at CBGB’s in the 80’s — to rank the five most insane sets he worked sound for. What follows were his answers; Victor has clearly witnessed and contributed to some legendary performances.
Dark Angel (February 8, 1987)
I was way into this band before I worked this Combat Records show. I still consider Darkness Descends one of the most influential early thrash metal records. Gene Hoglan was like no drummer ever heard at that point and still remains one of the best in the biz. It’s also very memorable because I run into Gene a lot, who is now with Testament. I think Possessed headlined. A rare and amazing early thrash experience at the club.
Soundgarden (March 10, 1989)
I must mention this CMJ showcase, not to be opportune because of Chris Cornell’s passing, but because this band just blew me away. Bands that took traditional, maybe even classic rock, and made it artsy and cool really appealed to me. I knew the band was going to be huge. They were on fire!
Dag Nasty (July 5th, 1987)
Probably the tightest, most talented and powerful band I mixed on the Sunday hardcore matinee was Dag Nasty. They played great and I truly had a blast mixing them. A lot of the bands on the matinees were rough around the edges and a little disrespectful at times. These guys were very pro and always very nice. It was refreshing and a joy to be behind the desk for them.
Agnostic Front (August 21, 1988)
I didn’t mix this show (producer Norman Dunn did) but I worked the 16 track 2″ tape machine and the levels that embedded the steamy tracks for this band’s Live At CBGB record. It’s amazing that everything worked considering how insanely crazy the show was. They’d have 20 to 30 of their friends on stage, constant stage diving and general extreme violence in the crowd. A memorable show to say the least and one of the great hardcore moments of the club. And it’s documented on that record. I’m proud to have been involved.
Sheer Terror (September 6, 1987)
These guys were my favorite NY hardcore band . I loved mixing them continually. They were heavy as hell and had a certain smarts to them. The band was crushingly tight and had great gear that would help me pummel the audience with intense volume ( with help of the very good system at the club) Eventually I recorded and produced their iconic “Just Can’t Hate Enough” record. This band went on to influence Pantera, Hatebreed and many aggressive bands for years.