by Bart Skyarczynski
I really didn't expect to find a link between underground music and the porn industry. But maybe I just met the right people. Some of the coolest people I've met make porn. I didn't expect to learn much but I learned everything, and I'm still not sure what happened to me those days on the set. I do know that it was an emotional, rewarding experience and somehow I feel cleansed. This is the tale of punk, porn, Notorious Productions and a way of life that is more human than working at the bank (though Time or your mom wouldn't see it that way). Staying in LA with Athan M. (Spahn Ranch fame), I figured I'd educate myself to the real deal behind porn. Those magazines me and my "friends" found in the abandoned lot on the way home from school when we were kids— what was it all about? Why were those girls like that? Were they for real about all this seemingly open sex? I pestered Athan if he knew anyone in the biz. "Back in the Philly days I used to hang with a cat named Floyd Hardwick. Now he's out here too and he puts out kind of a porn / underground music mag called Skin Trade. I called Floyd. He sounded very cool about me coming down to the set. We talked the shit about the old school greats of industrial / alternative / whatever.
Problems came up with his busy schedule, so it was a few weeks before we could pen down a time to rock. Floyd does still shots on the sets, that is, takes pictures of key moments (i.e. cum shots). Floyd basically rules, one of the realest people I've ever had the pleasure to hang with. Real smart cookie too. Floyd picks me up in some fucked up Mustang early in the morning. He's basically old school ultra-dressed— jeans, nice shirt, jean jacket, Doc's. He's got a wit about him. The way he talks is his own. Funny yet candid and to the point. He's got the first Front Line Assembly cassette playing. "Holy shit!" I was taken aback by the hip factor, I definitely didn't expect to hear FLA— rare FLA at that! Me and Floyd's car-travel conversations after that revolved around Skinny Puppy, Cocteau Twins, Simple Minds, Cabaret Voltaire, Killing Joke and other industrial / goth / underground gems from days gone by. I guess my dress-to-impress style was a little much for the office. Floyd explained to me that the people in the office are like people in any other office.
"I think it's cool, but a big black fur coat, hot pink shorts, pink nail polish, and hair up-to-here in a pink clip isn't appreciated. They don't go for that punk shit. It's me and Jim and a few others, but me getting you in is tougher if they think something's up." He was right, of course. Later in the week when I went to the set alone, dressed in my own comfy manner, I was I asked by an actor if I "had rich parents, know karate, or just get beat up a lot." None of the above. Floyd went on to tell me how it's a tight knit group. They don't just let any schmoe down there who wants to "see chicks get fucked."
The office is fuckin' nice, of course. New carpet, furniture, all that shit. Someone's hanging up pictures of air brushed nude females in million dollar frames. There's a man at a big black desk that could be the boss at any other office of any other company. The only difference is this one has a Slayer t-shirt on and someone's breasts in his face - it's Jim. The famous Jim Powers (Lane), co-owner camera-man/ writer/ director of the far majority of Notorious Productions. He's responsible for such greats as the award-winning "Texas Dildo Massacre," a porn version of the cult film "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" that is shot-for-shot the same as the original. He also was in charge of "The Meatman," a porn that features the talent with real raw meat products. Jim has way too many films to his credit to even begin naming. He shoots 3 to 5 films a week, sometimes more. "You see all those boxes?" Jim pointed to the huge pile of huge boxes, "Those are some of my movies from this year." Jim is also a punker from back in the day in the Hellcats and Kilroy. Flipside magazine covered his band in early '84, the one with Suicidal on the cover.
He was also in a Flipside video opening for Abrasive Wheels and likes to use punk songs for his video intros whenever possible. What turns a man from punk to porn, Jim? "After I graduated, I worked on Wall Street for years. I started doing amateur porn on the side When I started to make more money doing the porn, I started bringing my work to work. I actually was doing the business side of my porn career at my Wall Street office. I had my secretary in on it. He was working on some figures for me and he accidentally left them out one day and our boss found them. He found out that I was doing porn movies and fired me so I started doing porn full time." Don't think Jim has stopped waving the Union Jack of punk. "I once did a video called "D.P. (double penetration) Party Tonight" where all the music was by Guttermouth and it's the story of these punk rockers that invade this town and D.P. every women in the neighborhood. They spray paint this house with Black Flag, Sex Pistols and all this stuff. NOFX did the theme song to the 'Monkey Gang Bang'. I've used Piss-belly, the Swinging Utters, Jughead's Revenge...Fat Records gives us a lot of stuff to use."
The punk connection continues as Jim introduces me to Troy, male porn star and an old friend of Jim's. "Flipside Magazine, wow. Jim used to send me all those back in prison." When I ask Troy if he was in a punk band, he makes me feel like a fool asking rhetorical questions. "Of course. Suburban Vigilantes back in '83. We were around for 6 months, then I had to repay my debt to society." Jim explains, "He firebombed Phases, an old night club in the Valley."
Troy is a big boy, ripped muscles and tats on top of tats, a flowing ponytail where a mohawk once stood. The Fabio of porn. "Kilroy was on the 'Rock Against Reagan' tour in '84. We played on the Lincoln lawn and all that. Troy was supposed to roadie for us but he was in jail!" I feel like I might be prying but I dare ask why Troy firebombed the club. "The guy who owned it - I was mad at him - he was pissing me off." Jim sets the scene: "It was a Friday night, everybody's out there and firebombs are going off outside the place."
From punk back to porn. Troy got his start in the business the old fashioned way. Some guy couldn't get hard and he could. Enter a life of debauchery. I ask him the best part of the business. "Getting paid to fuck. Plain and simple." Is there a down side? "Don't ever get involved, married, whatever with a girl that's in the business. They look good but they're either alcoholic, drug abusers, spun way the fuck out there, or molested by their dad. They're not walking a straight line. My girlfriend understands when she drops me off at work that people are just renting my body. She knows that when I come home our hearts are together. When you do porno, everything is mechanical. The guy sucks the tits, eats her pussy, she blows him, fuck two different angles plus one in the ass and a cum shot. It's all mechanical. At home you're having fun, you're grooving, you're all around the bed hanging out forever."
The office turns into a studio with a mattress on the ground and props to look like a back alley. A prop room with a tall shelf overflows with used dildos of all shapes and colors. The bathroom has a shower in it. In back is a garage filled with the entire back stock of Notorious Videos protected by a huge cage surrounding it.
I'm introduced to the lighting man, J.W. Gacy, by him showing me his vintage Mustang damaged in a recent accident. He has a caustic wit that is biting but hilarious. He is the third character in the team of whistle-while-you-work comrades, full of tales about bad rock bands and what an asshole Gene Simmons is. The film shooting today is "Titty Town #3." On location at someone's house they have rented out, Jim thinks the jacuzzi with a waterfall will be the center of the movie. You see, Jim has no script and no plot to speak of before going into filming. He simply makes up a story centered around "good fucking scenery." "I used to give out scripts, waste time writing them and all that. But people would show up and not even have looked at them, lost them or whatever." He even jests at the reality of script in porn. "Yeah, we worked for weeks on 'I've Got Big Titted Whores in My Shed.' Johnny here writes all my scripts!"
Enter Johnny Thrust, the P.A. He is the bastard son of the porn secretary, if you will. He helps on the set, books locations, gets talent, brings in lunch, writes the checks, makes sure everyone stays happy on the set and fills in a money shot here or there. He's snappy - quick running around the set with too many things to do at once and makes no bones about flirting with the talent. "I basically run the show so all Jim has to do is direct." Floyd is quietly loading his camera by himself on the back porch. "I've got to take stills of all the girls before we start filming. I carry a couple magazines to nip through to get some fresh ideas going. It gets so boring. Most of these are always the same. Same damn poses, different women." Floyd never thought he'd be living a 9 to 5 world of porn. He is I an excellent, trained photographer. He grew up thinking he'd be doing I some artsy, beautiful, "pro" art thing or his magazine full time. Turns out it was a chance meeting at a bank with Paul Raven of Killing Joke who introduced him to people in the business. Floyd was sleeping on the floor until then. He does porn to pay the bills, which is the reason anyone who is in porn is in it.
There are those like Holly Body (whom I am pictured with on the cover of Titty Town #3) that felt it was an education in sexuality and found the experience liberating. "I grew up in a very conservative family. There was no communication and there wasn't a lot of explanation about sex. My parents didn't even sleep in the same room. I was very sheltered and wanted the chance to go beyond that. If it wasn't for the business, I wouldn't ever have become sexually comfortable with myself. Everyone's really comfortable with themselves here. I realized there's nothing wrong with sex and that sex is an OK thing. A lot of men say they like women around 30. Well, that's because it takes her that long to be comfortable with herself. Men and women - the best gift that they can give themselves is to be comfortable with themselves sexually. It doesn't matter how big your dick is, how tight your pussy is - if you're OK with yourself that's what matters." But bringing home the bacon by fucking someone you've never met does have its harsh realities. Holly says she's lost friends because they don't like hanging out with a porn star. "It's like being a minority. It's hard to deal with others' stereotypes because I see myself as a very deep person. People have stereotyped the porn business like I used to stereotype the rock business. I thought they were a bunch of devil worshipers until I went out and saw those bands and now I know better. I have a very high respect for artists. I've opened my mind."
Dave Heartman, male star of most of Notorious Productions movies, had a rare opportunity to be candid with me on the set telling me some of the rarer but crazier goings on. "Fighting. People pulling guns on each other. A lot of wild people in the business. People who don't care about what others think about what they do." Dave's family knows full well what he does for a living. So proud of her boy, Dave's mom even wants him to bring her his films. "The whole reason I'm in porn is because of my family. My sister got me into the business. She's been a nudist her whole life. I'm good at what I do because I wasn't forced into sex, but I was open to it at an early age. That helps. You know within the first 15 minutes in front of the camera if you can do it or not. I was just a horny guy when I first started doing this. I used to pay for sex. When I first started watching porn I thought I could fuck as good as these guys, but I thought you had to be real macho, real good lookin', and I'm just average looking. Once you do porno, what else is there in life? I can make up to $1,000 a day. Some people have to work a month or 2 weeks at a hard, grinding job. I'll come over to someone's house, kick back, fuck some hot chick, eat food, use their pool, fuck in their bathroom, etc. But it's not all fun and games. It's really hard. It takes a toll on your body. There's a lot of diseases out there. You never know what these girls have and you're basically exposing yourself to everything that they have. It's hard on you. But I'd be doing it anyway 'cause I hate wearing condoms, so it's a little safer here 'cause these girls have AIDS tests. I just never thought this would be happening and legal. I can't go two square blocks without passing a location where I fucked some little 18 year old in the ass.
"It's a lot of good memories and good people in the business. It can be a big family, but then at times there are those that are cut-throat and lie. They don't give a fuck about anything but money, good scenes, production... They don't care who lives or dies 'cause they don't have to do scenes. I'm expendable. I could die tomorrow and they'll just have some other guy right there to take my place. But there are families depending on this business for their bread and butter. That's why it's a scary business because it could blow up at any time There could be a big AIDS epidemic and the whole business could shut down. If there was no AIDS it'd be a completely different story. Like my friend Rick Mastersen said on the Jerry Springer show - "It's like you've got to have a death wish to be doing porno." I feel that way every fuckin' day. I feel that way everytime I go in to get my AIDS test. Every 30 days I go in there and I sweat it out. I think the key to getting AIDS is multiple contacts. I've found that I can't have a serious relationship outside of the industry. If you find someone special they will eventually get jealous. They say they don't care, but then the night before a shoot they keep you up all night fucking them so you won't have anything left for the other girls. The longer you stay in the business, it's like you have no feelings anymore. Every year that goes by I get more jaded. I try to be a person with a mind. Not the whole "moral" thing, which we all know is bullshit, but in terms of karma. I'm not going to go out there and fuck other people over, fuck people out of money, lie. I try to be honest and hang out with people that are honest.
"The bottom line is that people love porno. It's legal, it's not going away. It's like drugs, but it's the best drug you can do because it's natural. It won't fry your body like controlled substances. It's the best natural high in the world. If you can do that and make money, then get other people off...we're providing a service."
A huge thank you to Floyd, Jim and all those who gave me their time and the interest to educate myself a step past sex ed from the 7th grade shop teacher. All the above people are the amazing souls that make the world interesting and worth living for who go nameless in the night and deserve your attention. So rent some porn today to keep the nuthouse away.