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xmag.com : January 2001: Matt Zane

Mate Zane As Stewart Copeland so eloquently put it, "Growing up, you don't get laid a lot playing jazz."

By Don Zulaica

Sure, a lot of guys get into rock n' roll to get girls, but how many guys get into porn to be a rock n' roller? 26-year-old Matt Zane, Gen-X pornographer and son of a porn mogul, Chuck Zane, is perhaps the only one. You might know him for the Porn to Rock spots on MTV, or the Backstage Sluts and Loud Times video magazines, which feature frothy interviews with Fred Durst, Korn, Papa Roach, Eve 6 and The Genitorturers. Maybe (but probably not) you're familiar with his band, Society 1, which is essentially the reason for everything else. Truly, he did the nookie for it all--to be a rock star.

Whether being a porn impresario throwing an orgy, or a Society 1 rocker on the road with Orgy (the band), interviewing groups for his videos, or founding a label (Inzane Records) to promote his own group, Matt Zane is one thing for sure: driven. He's also beyond eager to talk about all of his projects like any fearless self-promoter.

When did you come out to California?
Zane: My father moved here about a year before I moved out, in '90 or '91, because he was getting his pornography distribution company together. All pornography is basically based out here in LA, the San Fer
nando Valley. I was in high school. All my friends were going to college, and I didn't have any plans because I didn't get to graduate from high school--I didn't have good enough grades.
And I figured I wanted to be a musician, and The Doors movie came out in 1992. You know, the Sunset Strip and the whole bit. And I thought if my friends were going away to college, I'm going to go to LA because my father's living out there. So I hopped in my car and moved in with my dad in LA. He had a big house out here and gave me a room. I hadn't lived with him for like 10-12 years, but he let me stay, and that's how it all started.
Exotic: Did he wean you into the porn business right away?
Zane: Well, not actually. I thought that because of all the bands that got signed out here in the late '80s, that they were just handing out record deals. So I moved out here and told my dad that I was going to get in a band and play down on the Sunset Strip and get a record deal. And he said, "Well you just can't do that. You have to do something. So you're going to get a job and you're going to go to school or something." So I went to MIT, the Musician's Institute.
Exotic: Playing what?
Zane: I went there for guitar, but I also play some keyboards and I program. Guitar was the first instrument I started playing, when I was 13. So I worked on the weekends, and went to MIT, and started getting into bands. The first three months I was out here, I immediately started playing the Strip.
Exotic: So how did the porn connections come about?
Zane: Well I was doing what I was just talking about from '92 to '97. I got in a band and played, and never got anywhere with it. Playing coffeehouses, the Whiskey, the Troubadour, everywhere. But nothing came about. And as I got a little older, my father kicked me out of the house, so I had to go get a place to live.
I wound up basically being a typical starving musician living in the ghetto. I was living in the bowels of Reseda, with rats climbing underneath my house. Cockroaches everywhere. I didn't even own a refrigerator, a television, there was plastic over the windows. I was living like a fucking bum.
And my father came over to the house one day, because I'd been out of his house for over a year, and he wanted to see what was up. And he saw that I was taking the music thing so seriously. He never really understood because we didn't really grow up together--my parents were divorced. He felt bad that I was living like such an animal.
And he said, "Look, why don't I hook you up with someone that can teach you how to direct porn movies, and you can go to work for yourself. I'll buy your movies to begin with and then you can in turn sell porno movies to other companies, and this way you don't have to live like an animal and you can still do your music thing." And I said, 'Yeah, sure. Sounds great.'
So I hooked up with this guy, and learned how to do movies for a couple of weeks. My dad gave me my first chunk of money and helped me set up my production company and said, "All right, do it." And the rest is history.
Exotic: And then this kind of led back into music...
Zane: Porn was a catalyst, a big springboard into a lot of other things. Basically when I got in it, I realized very early on that the porn industry is really lame, and it really needed a facelift. I was the youngest kid in the business at the time, and I said, 'I'm going to make something called Gen-X porn,' and it bled into this whole rock and porn thing.
But basically what I wanted to do was take the younger generation and bring it to adult film making to give it kind of a breath of fresh air. At the time, when I did it, I got really ridiculed and lambasted for it in the porn press. Everybody just thought I was a big joke, and that I was going to go away, and it was going to totally fall on its face.
Exotic: And now it springboards you back into the music industry, and with videos like Backstage Pass and Loud Times. When did you start seeing the crossover happening? Did bands start approaching you at some point?
Zane: No, not at all. It wasn't anything like that. To make a long story short, first I needed to make something that was cool. I hosted these parties called "House of Flesh" where I'd throw these huge parties with live orgies, and then I went out and hired a bunch of underground electronic musicians to start putting soundtracks on the pornos. Then I started getting clothing sponsors, and then I started throwing parties in clubs. Then some of the pornos that I did I started adding the elements of the music and the younger cast members and actual extras in actions sequences and so on and so forth. Doing things like trying to rip off Quentin Tarantino at the time, to make it more appealing for people to watch. And after that happened we said, "All right, now we're going to try and do the crossover. Now we've got something to try to pull these music guys in with." So what we'd do is we'd take a box of my pornos and go to rock shows and try to get backstage and start talking to these people. We'd give them a lot of pornos, we'd hook them up and allow them to come down to sets, we'd bring porn girls down with us, and we'd say, "Hey, give us an interview. Tell us about some backstage experiences." And that's how the Backstage and Loud Times videos all started, like back in '96.
Backstage Sluts came first, because it was directly related to the porn. In the beginning, it was really hard to get the rock guys involved because nobody knew who I was. It was like, "Who are you? What is this for? What the fuck are you talking about?" It was a big fucking joke at first. You could see it in the early movies--Fred Durst with the big wig on. Then we edited out all the sex and released them Backstage Pass 1 and 2 so we could have a mainstream distributor. And that's when things really started to take off. So then we could re-approach all the guys that were in the Backstage videos and start the Loud Times videos. Now Loud Times is a viable video magazine, so all the promotional people for these bands are calling us to get bands involved.
Exotic: Do the full-on porn Backstage videos do better than the edited versions?
Zane: The edited versions do better because it's harder to get porn than you think. You can't just walk into a porn store and ask for Backstage Sluts, because distributors in the porno world don't understand why people would want this title. They ask me, "Why am I getting so many orders for this title?" And I tell them, 'Well, have you turned on your television set in the last six months?'
Exotic: It's so funny, all the guys who get in a band to get girls or involved with porn, and you've gotten into porn to help propel the band.
Zane: You know, Kid Rock said, when someone tells him, "I'm into this for the music," Kid says, "Yeah, why are you really doing this? We're all musicians, we're all in it for the music. You really did it for the money and the chicks."
And you know, I'm one of the guys who really isn't doing it for the money and the chicks. Because if that was the case...man, I've had more chicks than 90% of all rock stars, and I have more money than most of them, too. I didn't do it for that. I do it for the music, and I can honestly say that. But I did all the porn and other stuff for the band; I invested most of what I made into starting a label for my music.
For more information check out www.society1.net




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