In a new interview with Kevin McKay of the 99 Rock WKSM radio station in Florida, PRONG mainman Tommy Victor discussed the circumstances surrounding the 2018 departure of the band's drummer Art Cruz. Cruz initially left PRONG to play with LAMB OF GOD as a session touring drummer before being asked to join LOG permanently as the replacement for Chris Adler.
"Oh, man. It was a dramatic period, let's put it that way," Tommy said. "We never knew whether he was gonna be in the band permanently, with LAMB OF GOD, 'cause we didn't know what the other guy [Chris Adler] was doing. So it was about a year where we were just in confusion about what was gonna happen. So, it was a tough period."
Asked if Art was "open" with the rest of PRONG about where he stood with regard to his potential LAMB OF GOD membership, Tommy said: "Not really. He sort of sprung it on us a little bit. Art's a kid, and I get it. He was afraid to make the call. And then he was gonna come back, and he didn't do that. He left us in a couple of difficult situations here and there."
Despite the turmoil, Victor said that he is still "absolutely" friends with Cruz.
Two years ago, Cruz spoke to zZounds about how he initially landed the gig with PRONG. "I had been friends with Tommy from PRONG, and WINDS OF PLAGUE had played with DANZIG in 2008," he said. "Tommy was in [Glenn Danzig's] band and it's more of that family thing; you keep your family close and really awesome things can happen. He reached out and asked if I wanted to tour with them as a merch guy and driver. All pride and bullshit aside, I didn't mind going out as a merch guy on tour, I love what I do and just wanted to get back on tour. There’s no sense of, 'Oh, wow. I'm a drummer. I shouldn't be selling merch.' You know what, no, I started there, and I just wanted to tour. So long story short, I'm on the tour and PRONG's drummer gets into a fight with Tommy, breaks his hand hitting the wall. 'Hey, man, tomorrow we're playing the first-ever Knotfest with SLIPKNOT in Iowa. Like 30,000 people, and we don't want to drop off. Can you learn the set?' 'Yeah, I'll learn the set.' That was actually Randy [Blythe] from LAMB OF GOD's first show back [after spending time in a Czech prison] and my first show with PRONG. We actually played a MISFITS cover together, 'London Dungeon'. The show was great and I've been with PRONG ever since."
Cruz made his recording debut with LAMB OF GOD on the band's self-titled album, which came out in June 2020 via Epic Records in the U.S. and Nuclear Blast Records in Europe.