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Interview conducted by Lorry Doll
Previously published in NEON #20, 1990
All rights reserved and copyrighted 1990, 2003
NEON and blue door productions
Issue Contents
From the archives: Lorry Doll's 1990 talk with
Mike Kirkland, co-founder of Prong, one of the early innovators on the New York City Hardcore scene
Prong was born out of the CBGB Hardcore scene when bassist Mike Kirkland, drummer Ted Parsons and guitarist Tommy Victor got together to do it harder and faster then the rest. When they toured Europe for two months in '88 they had already released a mini-album, Primitive Origins, and the full length Force Fed (Spigot Records). The success of these two indies got them noticed by Epic Records. Their first major label debut is  Beg To Differ and if ya want to take it up with them catch their next show! They'll tell you exactly how they feel!

Mike and Tommy were both working at CBGB when they decided to form a band.

"Yeah, me and Tommy worked there. I was playing in a band at the time and didn't like it," says Mike. "Me and Tommy started jammin' with some ideas that we had and it turned into what we are now. Tommy knew Ted from a time he had worked on another project. He thought he'd be the perfect drummer for us and it turned out he was."

The Hardcore scene, which has been around for some time now, shows no signs of letting up. Is it getting better or worse? "Well that depends on who you talk to," Mike said. "Every year there's more bands. It's amazing. Some people say there aren't that many good bands and it's stagnated. I disagree. There's some promising bands out there. I like Faith No More, Voivod and Jane's Addiction. The Hardcore thing I really don't like. The whole Hardcore thing that started with Black Flag was the best Hardcore music, but it went down hill from there. Even though I was in a band that was Hardcore, I didn't think is was all that wonderful. Our first record was kind of a Hardcore record. I really like it, but I don't really see a future for Hardcore music."

From what I've heard, European audiences sometimes seem to be more responsive than the Americans. I asked Kirkland if that was true. "There's more of an audience for groups that draw 300 to 500 people," Mike says. "That in-between stage from the underground to the arenas. There's a real audience for underground music. That's what's really encouraging about Europe. People are really into it there. Over here, it's like you’re listening to music in your basement by bands that never play out 'cause there's no audience for them. Either you’re a total music fanatic in searching out really obscure bands, or you're like into Skid Row or Guns 'N Roses. There's no middle ground. That's what it's like in America. In Europe there's a big middle ground for bands like Prong and Faith No More."