Interview: John Stagliano

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Roger T. Pipe

It started as a cure for writers block. I was working on some other projects and would come home every night and write in a journal as a warm up. One day, I was reading alt.sex.movies and found some reviews of porn flicks. I've always loved movies and porn, so I decided to review some tapes form my personal porn collection. I wrote a review, found that I liked it and posted it to asm. The feedback was positive and I just kept writing. I found it a great way to get me started each day, writing about something I enjoyed and pretty soon, people were asking me to review their films and work on a web site. The rest, as they say, is history.

John Stagliano Interview

With the recent obscenity incitments, (Read More Here) I wants to bring back this interview from a few years ago. It is one of my favorites and perhaps gives some insight into the man as well as the pornogrpaher we have all grown to love. Enjoy.

Buy John Stagliano’s Movies at DVD Empire

John Stagliano’s Movies at Gamelink.com



www.EvilAngel.com

April 2002


Before we start, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this. In all the
time I’ve been involved in reviewing adult movies, you are by far the most
requested interview subject. On behalf of myself and the many readers, thank
you.


John Stagliano and Tricia Devereaux


You’re very welcome.

Is
there any particular place you would like to start?

Just
get me talking and we’ll cover everything.


Maybe we can start with a little background. Where are you from?

I
grew up in Chicago.
I was born at the end of 51 and went to high school from 65 to 69. I went
through puberty right around 1963, right when the sexual revolution was
happening. There were all these interesting images starting to come up in our
society and on TV. I’ve always felt that that was significant in my development.
I was in college during the fall of 1969. I dropped out of college after that
for a few semesters. I just barely managed to avoid the draft because I was
seventeen at that time. There were a lot of riots on campus and I didn’t get
back into school until just after that. Of course you don’t remember any of
this, you’re too young. I was around some of the student unrest, but not too
much of it. It was an interesting time to go through puberty because of the
sexual revolution.

Were
you a film major in school?

No,
I didn’t even know that
Hollywood
was in California
when I first came out here so it never entered my mind that I could have a
career in the entertainment industry. I majored in about six different things in
my first two years of college from English to Journalism to Engineering you name
it. There was a time when I really wanted to be a baseball player. Then I got
into economics. It was a little bit hectic bouncing around like that. By the
time I got to my senior year. I had lost interest in economics although I had
enough units to complete my major. I had transferred to UCLA as a junior. When I
was in my senior year at UCLA I took almost all theater arts classes and modern
dance classes. The playwriting classes I took were really interesting


John Stagliano and Tricia Devereaux

So
you finished school out here at UCLA and did you go right into dancing after
school?

At
UCLA I was taking modern dance, but at first that was mostly because the girls
would wear these little leotards that would creep up into their butts. That
would just drive me nuts. There were very few girls in economics classes.

The
best reason to change majors is to go where the girls are.

When
you’re that age such things are very important. I don’t think I was cut out to
have a career in economics though my original plan was to get my PhD in
economics and become a professor. I am glad that I didn’t because I have other
interests and have probably had a fuller life because I didn’t follow that path.

So
what did you do after college?

In
addition to the dances classes, I started taking acting classes in 1973.  I took
acting classes from 73 to 75 and went out on the occasional audition but I was
terrible as an actor. I was till trying to write a little bit. I had a
motorcycle instead of a car so I was able to work part time. In the fall of 75 I
started taking dance classes seriously this time. That was a good time. I
remember going to a class in 1976 and there were six girls in the class that I
had had sex with. Clearly this was a successful career change. (He laughs) No.
That’s not really the whole reason I did it. More or less, I like the
physicality of dancing. Early in life I wanted to be a baseball player. By the
way, we are watching the Cubs as we do this. I love the Cubs. I did like being
physically active. Dance combined artistic expression with physical activity and
I liked that. I had also developed an affinity for music, so that tied in as
well. These were all things that I didn’t think I had any talent for. I don’t
know if it’s my Italian heritage, the fact that some of my grandparents were
from Florence
but there was an artistic side of me that started to come out when I was in
college. I started to do fairly well in modern dance because I liked to create
stuff. I had never done anything like that before. In the fall of 75, acting
wasn’t going very well. I was putzing around trying to find something to do and
I started taking dance classes full time. Within a couple of years, I had had a
couple of jobs.


Dancing jobs?

Yes.
I got one job in the fall of 77 doing a musical circus. It was a troupe of
dancers that went to Central and
South America.
It was just like a
Las Vegas show. It
didn’t pay that well, so you didn’t have to be that great a dancer, but I did
take the job. I did that and came back to
America
and took more classes. In January of 79 I answered an ad because I was looking
for more dance work. It turned out that the ad was placed by Paul Schnieder who
was the boyfriend of Dorothy Stratton from Star 80. By the way, I had a small
part in that movie. So anyway, I answered the ad for male strippers at a club
called Chippendales. I was in the first show that they put on. All the other
guys in that first show were gay. Within a couple of weeks, the gay guys were
gone and contest dancers had taken their place. This was the disco era so guys
from dance contests ended up being the dancers at the club. Since I had some
dance training I could do a more dramatic act. I stayed with the group. That was
a significant thing for me because I got to be creative with what I was doing.
By the way, Paul Schnieder promoted that first show, was there for about a month
before the owner decided to take the show over himself. He kicked Paul out,
whether he was justified in doing so or not, I don’t know. About a year later,
Paul had some sort of lawsuit going against Chippendales. Also his girlfriend,
Dorothy Stratton was dating Peter Bogdonovich and somehow they both ended up
dead in a condo in
Century
City.
The rumor is that it wasn’t a murder/suicide, but that they were both killed by
the owner of Chippendales. The owner was later indicted for attempted murder of
a guy who started a rival dance group. He ended up committing suicide on the
night before he was to be sentenced. After he was sentenced, the Government
would have had control over his assets, but if he wasn’t sentenced when he died,
the family would still have the money. Anyway, I don’t have any sympathy for the
owner of Chippendales because he did push Paul Schnieder out. I’m sure that he
screwed Paul over in some way. At any rate, I was there for all of that.

How
long were you a stripper?

I
was a stripper from January of 79 until I started producing porn movies in the
summer of 1983.

How
did that happen?

At
the beginning of 1982 I had just turned 30. I was a male stripper, still putzing
around in Hollywood
trying to do something creative and I knew some guys in the porn business. Do
you mind if we go back a little?

No,
go ahead.

I
got associated with the porn business in 1973 while I was still at UCLA. Bill
Margold had put an ad up at the student center looking for nude models. Mostly
he wanted girls, but for some reason he agreed to meet me. He pointed out that
he was editing this little porno newspaper. I told him I wanted to be a writer
and he had me write a story for him. He paid me a penny a word and I made
fourteen dollars and fifty cents for that article. That was my start at creating
porno. I wrote a few more stories for him and worked a couple times a year doing
some soft-core modeling. Then I would get a girlfriend and she would want me to
stop or whatever. There really wasn’t much work then so it wasn’t like I was
passing up any real income. The video industry hadn’t hit yet, it was all on
film. I did maybe a half dozen films of which I did well in two and bombed in
four. With that kind of success ratio, they aren’t going to hire you much. I did
some loops. The first time I did any hard core was in
San Francisco
in 1974. I did fine back then, but I was 22 years old. Performing on camera is
difficult. The younger and more virile you are, the easier it is to overcome the
mental blocks and distractions. Also in 1974, I took a job doing a live sex show
on stage.


Where was this?

This
was in Hawaii.
Margold got me that job as well. I think I lasted two weeks doing that.

Why
so short?

I
was doing six shows a night with a hard on where you aren’t supposed to cum.
It’s choreographed so the people aren’t supposed to be able to tell if you’re
really fucking or not. The girl kind of gives you head covered until you get a
hard on. Then you screw her sideways. Sometimes we would put it in and sometimes
we wouldn’t. If the Vice Squad was in the audience we would get a tip from the
owner or manager. They would tell us not to fuck at all. When Vice wasn’t there
it was fine. I remember the local cop, this Hawaiian guy poked his head in and
yells “go ahead John fuck her.” Mostly they made their money of Japanese
tourists. That was fun for a while, but I just couldn’t handle it.


That’s a lot of shows.

Yeah
it was. Back to my porno experiences in the seventies.

I
had some contacts in the business. Stripping was really fun and creative for me,
but after a while I decided I needed to do something else. There was someone in
Bill Margold’s building who was publishing these little hard-core magazines on
newsprint. They had pictures and stories and went for three bucks in adult
bookstores. I was interested in those things and I talked to him. He agreed to
consult with me for like fifty bucks an hour on how to make these. I made one
myself. During the seventies I was working part time at these marketing research
facilities. We did research for banks and savings & loans to help them find new
locations. I had to prepare an application. There were photographs of the
shopping center where they wanted to locate. I worked on all aspects of those
reports, including writing several of them. I was really good at graphically
laying that stuff out. Segueing into producing a little porno newspaper where
you had to put the pictures and resize them wasn’t too big a leap. This was all
done before computers, but I liked doing that sort of thing. I had a head start
on producing the porno magazine, plus I had written a few stories for Bill
Margold. I just put those skills together and spent about two thousand dollars
and was able to print my own little magazine.

How
many issues did you do?

I
did six issues of that one. I took some of the pictures myself, but most of them
were bought from pictures from photographers who had stuff laying around from
old layouts.

What
was it called?

I
did “Heat” one, two and three, another called “Angel” one and two and one called
“Hot Slut Orgies.”

If
anyone has any of those, they would be collector’s items.

By
this time they would be falling apart because they are on newsprint. I have a
few of them wrapped in plastic, but I doubt there are many left. I would always
put in one main story, my best one for the issue. Each of those six stories has
ended up in the current Buttman magazine that I publish now. It was a lot of fun
to do and today Buttman Magazine is fun for me. The way it ties in is that the
guy who doing the still photography for me back then was also running Pretty
Girl International. He was booking me on occasional still photo shoots.

How
long did you do that?

I
did still layouts in 81, 82 and 83. I had not problem on those. There wasn’t a
film crew and I was getting laid regularly as a male stripper. In 1983 video was
just starting. Bobby Hollander had shot some stuff on video in 82 and I was
quite aware of that. David House was the photographer and he had met Bruce
Seven. Bruce had shot a few bondage movies and a girl/girl movie. David wanted
to get into producing movies himself. Because he had shot with me and had done
the artwork on my magazine, we had a good relationship. We were going to be
partners; however it was going to be all my money. He wasn’t making any money
running the agency and I was stripping, working for Strip-A-Gram and still
working for that market research company when they needed me. I remember in May
of 1983, I made a thousand dollars a week for that month. I was working
basically three jobs and I saved enough money to finance this first video. It
was shot in July of 83 and was called “Bouncing Buns.” We rented Bruce Seven’s
house. He was going to be the cameraman for part of the movie and David House
was going to be the cameraman for the rest of it. David was shooting the first
scene and for some reason, he missed the cumshot. He lost confidence after that
and wound up telling me to just pay him for his work rather than be partners.
That’s what I did. I paid David and I took the movie. I spent four or five
thousand of my money and paid him for casting and as a still photographer. Bruce
wound up helping me finish and I gave him ten percent of the gross on that movie
I think. Bruce and I become good friends after that.

Was
that the first time you had met him?

I
had met him before we shot that movie. I remember the day that David too me over
to meet Bruce. We went to his condo over in Canyon Country and he showed me this
girl/girl movie he had just shot. It was one of the best things I had seen in my
life and we hit it off immediately. Bruce and I would just and talk about porn.
That was a great area of interest.

You
and Bruce shared an interest in the porn that was being shot?

The
whole reason you’re here is not because of all this other shit in my life. It’s
contributed, but you’re here because since age eleven, I have been looking at
pornography. My father had naked women on playing cards which I managed to find
in our house. He had a couple of magazines stuffed under the seat of our car
once. That meant that every night I was going out to check under the seat of the
car to see if there was another one. I started masturbating at age eleven or
twelve like any healthy young man. I was consuming whatever pornography I could
find which at that time was mostly Pageant magazine that showed pictures of
Raquel Welch in a bikini. That was the raciest stuff you could find at the
newsstand. There was a newsstand that sold Playboy, but they wouldn’t sell one
to me. I did manage to get a copy or two of Playboy here and there. At age
sixteen I started taking the train from suburban Chicago
to downtown where I could buy magazines at real adult bookstores. We’re talking
1968 here, when I was sixteen. I remember being downtown that summer during the
Democratic Convention and seeing the rioters and policeman all over the place.
There I was going in and out of the adult bookstores. I looked old enough to
pass for twenty one and  they didn’t check I.D.s as closely then so I was able
to sneak into a couple of the nudie theaters that showed softcore movies. I will
never forget seeing a movie called “Ursula the Slut” which is to this day one of
the best movies I’ve ever seen. I also remember jerking off in the theater.
There was this black guy in front of me. I was sitting there and there was this
thing waving around up near his chest. I was thinking what the fuck could that
be, but it was his dick. This guy was like Mandingo or
Lexington
Steele only bigger. It took me years to believe that it was a penis that big. I
remember being sixteen and riding my bike into other porno theaters just inside
the city limits to see the nudie pictures. I remember “Sandy
the Reluctant Nudist.” It was like a nudist magazine only they had cameras
there. They showed a little story about how it was the first time for
Sandy.
I remember that she had a great ass. I was an avid consumer of porno through my
college and young adult life. Even when I was a male stripper and getting laid
regularly, I would go to porno shops and buy porno books to get off. In 1982
when I was looking for something to do besides flounder around trying to be an
actor or a dancer, doing the little porno newspaper was a natural thing. Doing a
video was the next natural step. The magazine involved long hours of working
alone. I would do the layout, put it together and send it to the printer. I even
drove around to stores to try and sell it myself.

How
did you go about selling those?

I
remember calling Ruben Sturmann’s company “Sovereign News” that would later
become GVA. He never took my stuff. A few distributors took my stuff and about
half of them paid me. The most fun was going to an adult book store where I
would talk to the owner and he would put must stuff up. If they sold them, I got
paid. There was a store down in
Orange
County
and there were selling a lot of my stuff. I would go down there and pick up
checks for a few hundred dollars at a time. There were several stores in the Bay
area that would move a lot of stuff. I was only doing one issue every six weeks
so eventually the older issues stopped selling. That coincided with the time
when David proposed doing the video. I stopped doing the porno magazine and
started thinking about doing this video. In the spring of 83, with Bruce’s help,
we made “Bouncing Buns.” It’s pretty bad. There are a few good shots of butts.
John Leslie told me years later that is was one of his favorite videos because
it starred Stacy Donovan. It has a good butt shot on the cover of Stacy in these
little shorts. John said it was great because I got close ups of her butt while
she’s walking down the street which nobody would shoot back then. I sold that to
VCA and they gave me a royalty deal. I eventually grossed about twenty four
thousand dollars one after spending around eight thousand. The original budget
of four thousand got bumped way up as soon as found out how expensive it was to
edit a movie back then. Eventually Bruce bought his own editing facility and we
were partners for a while after that. We were partners for about five movies
into 1984. In the summer of 84 Bruce got an offer to make the Ginger movies for
Vivid. He was good friends with Ginger. I had other stuff to do on my own, so we
split up. Bruce went way up early on and I struggled for many years. I would
produce a movie and then try and sell it to somebody. I would produce a movie
for eight and try and sell it for twelve or fourteen. I did that for years. I
did get VCR which become LBO, to give me 28 thousand for a movie and started
working with them a lot. They were very generous early on. I had a good
relationship with them for a few years. Bobby Hollander came in and edited a
bunch of stuff I shot for them into comps and we became friends. I wasn’t that
happy working for them because it was a bit of a nuthouse. Ted Snyder was one of
the owners and I remember Ted coming in one day. He had guns and all sorts of
stuff. He had this spring loaded knife and he would hit a button. This knife
would shoot across the room and smash into the wall. Teddy wound up getting
murdered by his wife. That’s another story in the porn business. There are a lot
of stories, but you don’t want to hear all of those.  In any case, I sold movies
to LBO and VCA in 87 and 88. In 1988 I was going to do two more movies for VCA.
They were called “Salsa Break” and “Legend of Reggie D.” I had just shot
something called “Very Dirty Dancing.” That one was sold to my foreign agent. He
paid me for that movie, but then sold the domestic rights to Caballero. I then
sold two movies to Caballero for twelve thousand. They had been shot for around
eight thousand, so I wasn’t making a lot of money. I hear directors don’t make
much more than that now, but in any case, I was on the lower rung of the
producing ladder. Caballero got into trouble over “Very Dirty Dancing.” It got
nominated for Best Video by the XRCO that year, my first nomination and it won
the award for Best Group Sex Scene. However Caballero was being sued by Vestron
who owned “Dirty Dancing” over the title. Caballero struck a deal with them
where they changed the title to “Very Sexy Valle.” Caballero owed me nine
thousand dollars on the two other movies I had sold them. Even though I had sold
“Very Dirty Dancing” to my foreign agent, they still said I was responsible for
the lawsuit. It was a crock of shit. Two years before that, I had shot a movie
called “Daddy’s Darling Daughter” that John Keeler (Jane Waters) shot. I spent
nearly thirty thousand on that and made about twenty back before the guy went
out of business.

Did
you direct that?

I
only produced “Daddy’s Darling Daughter.” I helped John Keeler a lot with that
one, but he directed it. He was my Director of Photography on a lot of my movies
in the 80’s. So anyway, I lost money on “Daddy’s Darling Daughter” and wasn’t
getting paid on a lot of other movies. I had Caballero holding nine thousand
that eventually Al Bloom paid out of his own pocket plus interest. He didn’t
have to do that. He could have gotten me the money faster, but he was a
gentleman about it in the end. In the summer of 88, I had Caballero fucking with
me, all this money owed and I had just shot these two movies for VCA. They
wanted to be able to cut a soft version. It would have been easy to cut a soft
version from what I shot. They had Cass Pailey, their editor, take a look at
them and he said that they couldn’t cut a soft version easily enough. I wound up
cutting the soft versions in a day for those movies. They wanted to pay me
twelve thousand and I wanted thirteen five because I had spent a lot more than I
thought on those movies. I had these two movies, I’m owed nine thousand from
Caballero and I am thinking this is not an easy life. Trying to produce movies
and sell them just wasn’t working. I was good friends with Ed DeRue and Linda
Courso who had started 4-Play together. They were selling the “Loose Ends”
movies that Bruce directed and went on to form Film-Co. Bruce and I had gone to
dinner with them many times and had shot some intros to their old loops. I
rented Eddie’s house in the late 80’s. They had just sold 4-Play and Linda
wasn’t working. I told them I wanted to get out from under all the debt and
distribute myself. Linda offered to be my salesperson. There was a guy named Hal
who was doing a gay line. Linda put together a deal where she would sell my
movie one month and Hal’s the next because you really have to have several
movies coming out in order to keep a company going in this business.

Why
is that?

They
aren’t going to pay you unless they have something they want from you. They have
to want the next movie if you expect to get paid. So we put this together in the
summer of 88. By the fall of 88 I still had the two movies that were supposed to
go to VCA. I didn’t really want them to by my first released for the new
company. There were pretty good, but I wanted to hold off. So I shot “Dance
Fire” and “Bare Essence” at the same time with Kathleen Gentry in the lead.
“Dance Fire” was like a sequel to “Very Dirty Dancing” with the same characters.
I still think that “Dance Fire” is one of the best movies I’ve ever done. The
acting is pretty bad in some parts, but it has some interesting erotic stuff.
“Dance Fire” was my first release and in December of 1988. I shot “Mystic
Pieces” which was financed by my foreign agent. He gave me an advance on my
other four movies of five thousand each. He bought all the foreign rights for
five grand a piece and I was happy. Today that’s nothing. He made a killing, but
he was still taking a risk by advancing the money. He financed “Mystic Pieces”
because he wanted another movie to sell right away. So with these movies, in
January of 89 I started Evil Angel.
We had a 10 by 10 booth at the CES show that
year. I had five movies in the can and the packaging done for four of them. That
was a good start for a young company. A lot of these companies come in with one
title and they aren’t ready. I had good credit at that time and had like twelve
credit cards that I just maxed out to get them all done. I was like sixty
thousand dollars in debt. I used every bit of credit I could get and even
borrowed a little bit of money from Ed DeRue. It was only five thousand bucks,
but he was hesitant. He said he didn’t like to loan money to friends and today I
totally understand that. I managed to pay him back really quickly, but I really
needed that money then. In that December of 88 and early 89 period I was really
stretched. I was living in that shithole cottage I used to live in. The first
movie came out and sold OK, around two thousand pieces. The average price back
then was around seventeen dollars. We got some money coming in. I think “Salsa
Break” only sold sixteen hundred out the door, but it was starting. As the
spring went on, money was coming in to the point where I was able to pay all of
my credit card bills and pay Eddie back. That spring I shot a couple more
movies, “DeBlonde” and “Rock N Roll Heaven.” I had those releases coming out and
was working on this idea of trying to eliminate crew members. I wanted to use
fewer and fewer people. On those two movies I used a Betacam. A Betacam has the
microphone mounted on it. I had already shot some stuff by myself using those
huge camera we used to use. The camera would be on one shoulder and the
portapack on the other. I would walk around on the beach with those and talk to
the girls from behind the camera. They were just masturbation scenes, but these
were the first Buttman character ideas. I put that idea together with another
idea I had which was to do a buns fetish tape. I always thought that there were
never enough butt shots in movies and I would try and put the camera down. One
of the problems was that in the 80’s we were shooting these stupid features with
these stupid scripts that weren’t any good most of the time. I did the best I
could to make good movies, but most of them were these contrived stories. The
thing where I was picking the girls up on the beach and getting them to
masturbate had gone well. I thought that combining that character with the buns
fetish was a good idea. I could put myself in the movie as an actor and do a
couple of cheap movies before the fall when I had my next feature planned. This
cheap little thing I wanted to shoot, “The Adventures of Buttman” was to keep my
company going. The name Buttman came from Brandy Alexandre. Batman came out the
same month that I shot that movie and she said why don’ you call yourself
Buttman. I said what the hell, and now I’m stuck with it. So I shot “Adventures
of Buttman” in the summer of 89 and released in September. It had good packaging
with a really nice picture and it had a good initial push. In June of 89 I shot
Tianna, a month before I shot Buttman. I cast her in the first scene along with
Jamie Gillis. He was an unbelievably fortuitous choice for the movie. I knew
that he was into butts, but it was still totally lucky to put those two
together. I had considered using Brandy Alexandre and putting her with Mike
Horner in that first scene. It would have been OK because Brandy’s cute and Mike
can perform well, but it wouldn’t have been real like it was for Jamie and
Tianna.


Tianna was married to Patrick Collins at the time right?

Yes,
that is how I met Patrick. I hired him as my salesman in September of 1989.
That’s how he got his start. The next year I financed the first Elegant Angel
movie and gave Patrick a quarter of it. At that same time I advanced Bruce some
money so that he could start his own line. This was in 1990 and that’s when I
started selling both the Elegant Angel and the Bruce Seven lines.

What
about the name Evil Angel? There was a movie of that same name with
Christy
Canyon
and Erica Boyer.

Yes,
I did that for VCR. I shot that at Bruce Seven’s house. I already had that name
since 1982 when I was doing the porno magazine. Back when I was stripping, Evil
John was my stage name. There was another guy named John and I did Dracula on
stage as well as a chains and leather act. Angel was the stage name of a girl I
was dating at the time. I suggested that she use the name Evil Angel. She didn’t
want to, but I always remembered that phrase.

In
addition to the movie “Evil Angel” you also did a movie called “Gang Bangs” for
them.

I
did the first gang bangs. That was my idea.

A
lot of people reading this might not understand what a huge thing that was.


There were no gang bang movies. There was no concept of a gang bang movie in
1985. There was a scene that Hal Freeman had in “Caught From Behind 1” that had
three or four guys with one girl. I had the shots from that scene in one of my
magazines.

A
gang bang was a concept that was in porn in the 70’s, but you almost never saw
it. I liked the title because I knew it would sell and I wanted to see four or
five guys with one girl. No one was doing that.

I
loved that movie and still own a copy today.

You
know I actually had “Gang Bangs 2” booked with Elle Rio who was so hot. She was
showing a picture around Jim South’s office where she was pulling her ass apart
and showing her gaping asshole. Even back then, she was very hot. I also had
Candy Evans, Keisha and Ronnie Dickson for “Gang Bangs 2.” Then in 1986, Paul
Thomas had been busted, they were hassling people for shooting porno. I decided
I wasn’t going to shoot porn for a while and was that a mistake. That would have
been great.


Candy Evans in a gang bang? That would have been great. It was pretty impressive
that you had Christy
Canyon
in the first one.

And
Erica Boyer and Nina Hartley. There was another girl in that movies named Karen
Summers who I shot a few times.


Bruce was in the movie as well, as the lecherous lap dance connoisseur.


Brockton O’Toole was
there and my music guy was in it.

Like
Gang Bangs, the entire Buttman concept was really different for porn. I was
managing a video store then and that reaction to that first Buttman movie was
mixed. Some people loved it and others were confused. It was a concept that
revolutionized porn and not everyone got it. Were you aware of how
groundbreaking it was at the time?

The
concept was a combination of a couple of things. I wanted to make a movie where
the girl could look right into the camera and be sexy. That was the number one
thing I wanted. I had seen still pictures done that way. I had done that stuff
following girls around the beach before and I figured having me behind the
camera would be the gimmick. Around that same time I talked to a guy who wanted
to an amateur movie where the camera is turned on while on its side, you see it
move up onto a tripod and people come around from behind the camera to make
their porno. The camera is part of the scene and not a removed thing where
you’re trying to tell a story and not acknowledge the camera. I always thought
that was interesting. The masturbation stuff I shot was done around that same
time and I give him credit for fertilizing the idea. I remember I was doing
those masturbation things with the camera on one shoulder and the portapack on
the other. I set the camera down on the beach to shoot some of the in between
stuff. I started talking to the camera and it fell over onto its side. I just
kept talking to it that way and that was the birth of the Buttman character.
Having edited all of my movies, was significant to my development as a
pornographer, I learned a lot about my abilities and my flaws. Seeing the camera
turn over like that and realizing I could use it was intriguing. It just so
happened that it came about at the same time I wanted to do the buns fetish
movie.


Given that it was so different, do you think you could have sold the idea to one
of the major companies?

I’m
sure someone would have bought it because the sex is good. I probably would have
gotten about twelve or thirteen thousand for it and I wouldn’t have been able to
shoot it on Betacam. You know, it would have been really difficult to shoot it
the way I did because I spent a little more on that one. I shot it on Betacam to
get the better quality and I knew I could get that extra money back because I
was a manufacturer. I was able to spend more on it. Since it was my company I
could do what I wanted. It probably wouldn’t have turned out the same had I done
it for someone else.


Times have changed, but the original Buttman wasn’t an anal movie.

Not
at all, it was a butt movie. There was really only the “Caught From Behind” line
that was devoted to anal back then. Bruce did “Loose Ends” but anal wasn’t big
until the mid to late 90’s.

Even
in “Gang Bangs”, I don’t remember an anal scene.

The
first one I did probably doesn’t have an anal scene in it. I believe Peter North
licks Nina Hartley’s butt and there are a lot of great butt shots on stage, but
it’s not an anal movie.

Now
if you tried to shoot a gang bang without anal there would riots.

I
had two scenes with five guys, one with four and one with three. The two five
guy scenes were both shot in the pool hall biker bar. Christy
Canyon
was supposed to spit on some guy’s face and it just barely dribbled over her
lip. It was pretty stupid.

I
have to say though, that scene probably got me through college.

The
Christy
Canyon
scene with five guys?

I
watched it so much the tape nearly wore out. Christy was the first porn girl I
ever liked and that’s got to be one of her best scenes ever.

She
was so sexy and only eighteen back then.

Where were we? Evil Angel had a few releases; you had just put out Buttman and
hired Patrick Collins.

We
ended up having Bruce direct some girl/girl movies that Patrick owned a piece
of. Those were the first Elegant Angel movies. The first one was “Ghostlusters”
and then “Snatched to the Future” and “Where the Girls Sweat.” We shot that in
Seymore Butts’ gym where I would later shoot “Buttman’s Ultimate Workout.”

How
soon after the first Buttman movie did you release another?

I
did “Bend Over Babes” that was half a comp and the next real Buttman movie,
“Buttman Goes to Rio”
didn’t come out for another six months.

Why
so long?

I
was shooting “Shadow Dancers” one and two and they took forever to edit. I was
editing my own movies, running my own company and still trying to make movies.
It was hard to squeeze stuff in.

Do
you still edit all of your movies?

I
did them all until 1999 when I hired another editor. Last year I went back and
edited almost all of my own stuff again and I won best gonzo director from AVN.
I think the two go hand in hand.

The
Shadow Dancers movies had Sean Michaels in some great scenes, one with Tianna.

That
was in part two. The first part ends with Sean and three girls.


Interracial scenes like that were far less common back then.

At
that time interracial was considered a fetish. I did some interracial movies in
the late 80’s with Ray Victory and Jack Baker. They were for VCA, one was called
the Godmother. I had my friend Delores as the lead in that one. She is this
little four foot eleven Italian woman character actress. Through the whole
movie, you see over her shoulder. You find out at the end of the movie that she
is this crazy street woman. It was one of my more brilliant scripts I thought.

You
were doing pretty much everything for Evil Angel, shooting and running the
company.

I
still do all of that stuff. The only thing I don’t do now is star in the movies.
Even then, I was careful to put myself in certain scenes. I wasn’t a top
performer even then.


After that first movie, the Buttman character really seemed to take off.

Yeah
it did. I should have done it more often. I did the Rio
thing just for fun. The
Rio
movies sell, but just a little less than the other Buttman movies. I just love
to go to Brazil
and I have a lot of fans there who love the stuff I do there. The breakout movie
for me was Ultimate Workout. It won so many awards, including the Best Group Sex
Scene which you can’t see any more because
Alexandria
Quinn was only 17. That was the first time I shot Rocco, it was the first time
Zara Whites worked. I had five main sex scenes and that little throw in one in
the alley with Patricia Kennedy and TT Boy where he wasn’t even supposed to cum.
TT Boy was great for me in that one. He had already shot two scenes that day. I
had fun with that whole beginning where I’m running through the alley. There are
no edits from the time I open the door to the gym and when they pull me out from
under the massage table. It’s seven minutes without an edit. It’s seven minutes
without an edit and I just love that bit of footage. We had to coordinate that
with Seymore and TT and Randy Spears. That is one of the best things I’ve ever
shot.

It’s
really a shame that the Alex Quinn scene had to be pulled. That had to be a
shocking revelation to find out she was under age.

It
really was. It was a hot scene, but what was so significant about that movie was
working with Rocco. I was in this nice room with natural light. The windows were
all on one side and the light was diffused and pretty so I didn’t have to worry
about the lighting. He did the sex and I just followed him. We worked together
really well. The Zara Whites scene was a lot more stylized and by today’s
standards it’s a lot more mediocre. At that time, it was really good.

And
she is just so beautiful.


That’s another factor, she was so pretty and wholesome. She was also fun to
shoot. I put that movie on just a few months ago and she still turns me on.

You
mentioned “Mystic Pieces” a little while ago. I want to talk about that for a
bit. It’s a great feature, great script, great sex, just an amazing piece of
work. And it had Tori Welles.

Tori
Welles, yes. It was shot during her first month in the business. She gave a
great scene.

That
is one of the few features from that time with a great script and great sex.


Should I put that movie on DVD?

Hell
yes and do a full commentary because there so much going on there.

You
think I should do that one before some of the other early movies? I have two
movies that sold really well in the pre-Buttman days, “Dance Fire” and “Mystic
Pieces.”

I’d
go with “Mystic Pieces” it really is a classic.

Can
I get you to write to box copy for the DVD?


Sure. I think that is one of the top five adult features of all time.

It
didn’t get nominated for any awards from AVN.


That’s shocking. The sex was so good, even by today’s standards, its way ahead
of feature sex. It came out in 1989 right?

Yes,
89.


Right in the middle of that vast porn wasteland, where everything was bad
Cinderella or Video Exclusives would be features. Movies were so horrible then.
They couldn’t quite abandon the idea that every porn had to be scripted, even if
it was horribly done.

Yes, and it was important
that there had to be a story. What Buttman gave me is the idea that scenes could
be independent. I was throwing away crew members as we went. I had the Betacam
with the microphone hooked onto it so I didn’t need a boom guy. I used to hook a
monitor up to the camera so someone could check the shots, which is what
everyone did in the 80’s. I figured I’m looking through the viewfinder and I
edit the movies. I know what I’ve got. I’m experienced enough to know when I
have the shot and when I don’t. I didn’t need someone to check my focus because
I was really good at it. It was so much faster with nobody around and no
distractions. Eventually I even lost the still photographer. What I get is
intimacy. When I’m in a room with a couple, especially with Rocco, and there are
no distractions, there is real intimacy. I know Brandy Alexandre used to say she
got off performing for the crew, but that wasn’t what Buttman was about. It was
less about putting on a show and more about fucking the other person. To get
back to what we were talking about, I decided that the more important thing was
to shoot the best sex scene possible with this beautiful girl. If you’re going
to try to manipulate her character to fit into some stupid story, then you’re
not going to get the best sex scene. You’re not going to get the best tease or
the best wardrobe and the best build up. It’s much easier to shoot only one
scene in a day and be totally into the scene. In the 80’s the formula was much
different. You have to shoot the whole thing in one day or two. You can shoot
five sex scenes in a day. I shot ten sex scenes in a day.

When
was this?

I
hired out as a cameraman when I was trying to raise the money to start Evil
Angel. This would have been in 1988. I hired out for Video Exclusives which is
now Leisure Time. I shot ten sex scenes in one day. This was not a little camera
either. It wasn’t quite as heavy as a Betacam, but it was one of those big
industrial cameras. That’s a stupid formula for shoot sex. You’re worried about
getting it over with and you will get moments of great sexy, but you are
handicapping yourself. When I have one scene to shoot I can take my time with
the tease and when the sex starts, it’s all that matters. We aren’t worried
about anything else. That is what Buttman became, no scripts, just loosely tying
the scenes together for fun and shooting the best sex we could. Keeping in mind
that there was a lot of story-tease at the beginning of the scene. People who
say that gonzo has no story aren’t looking at my movies. They aren’t looking at
what I slaved over editing the beginnings of these scenes. I try to build up
anticipation and eroticism to start a scene. I’ve shot a few Buttman scenes
where I’m just talking to the girl and then the starts start, but most of my
Buttman scenes start outside, or there is something weird going on. That is a
story. It’s not a conventional story, it’s not people saying lines from a
script, but it is a story. To me, it’s far better because it’s more natural and
spontaneous. It’s also sexier by my standards.


That’s something that always bothered me about what the industry magazines call
gonzo. Buttman may not be a scripted feature, but there is a story. The scenes
are all set up with some element of tease and something to make us want to
watch. Few people shoot that kind of gonzo. You do, Seymore does, or has in the
past. There is a reason to have sex and with your stuff, it didn’t always happen
right away. We might see a girl at the start of the movie, but it might take two
hours of tease to finally get to her. That kind of build up just isn’t done very
often.

I
always ran into the same problem when I would be writing a script and two people
come into a room. Everyone knows that when two people come into a room in a
porno, they are going to have sex. Why? No. They can have sex at the end of the
movie, but we’re going to have tease.


Gonzo has been bastardized. What Anabolic shoots, great as it may be, isn’t
gonzo. It’s two or three people on a couch who have sex.

It’s
wall to wall sex. Gonzo is an art form and is more sophisticated than that.
There are so many things you can do when you know the camera is there. You can
do the interview style like Ed Powers does, you can do what Anabolic does, and
you can do what I do. There are variations on what I do, some with weird
characters that people come up with.

Even
in some of you features, “Face Dance” for example, there is a lot of gonzo feel
to it.

I
did that on purpose. I wanted that feel.

We
need to come up with a better name for wall to wall tapes than gonzo. It’s
unfair to real gonzo movies.

I’ll
let you argue with the powers that be on that one. I have already tried for
years.


Another thing that Buttman did for porn was it changed it from simply
voyeuristic to a more vicarious and personal feel. Before Buttman, we watched
people have sex and that was great to look at, but it wasn’t as personal.

The audience was able to
come along on the adventure with me. That really came from those acting classes
I took in the early 70’s. There was a sign on the wall that said “no acting
please.” It was about how to use your instrument, your person and convey the
appropriate emotions for that scene. How do I make it real? I take that into a
scene that I’m directing. How do I make it real? When I started going Buttman
and could direct from behind the camera, we started improvising. When we wrote
scripts, the lines sounded like shit anyway. When I started doing Buttman and I
could direct from behind the camera, and we can improvise, then I could change
things up. I could say something on the fly and the girl isn’t prepared with a
set answer. She just has to talk and that’s more real. The great thing about
Buttman is that I am an actor in the movie and directing in a subtle way. I am
moving it towards that goal of having spontaneous responses.

How
many Buttman movies have you shot?

I
have no idea. Fifty?

When
you were showing me around earlier, we were talking about the fire that nearly
burned your house down. That was in a couple of your movies.

It
was at the beginning of “Wet Dream.” I should have been in “Buttman’s Inferno”
but I didn’t want to cut any sex out of that movie. We carried it over so you
could see what happened, which of course was that the house is still standing.

I
was still managing stores then and we had to keep a log which Buttman movies
came in what order so people could follow them.

We
let them follow the adventure.


Another thing that happened quite often was that customers would come in and
believe one hundred percent that these set ups were real. That you were just
really picking up girls on the beach.

Really?

It
happened a lot. They would argue with us about it.

(He
laughs) That is the greatest compliment that I can get. When people ask me that
question, it means that I made all the right choices in directing and editing.
It sometimes takes a lot of editing because the improvised scenes with these
girls can take a while. I’ll say “let’s go have sex” and they say OK. I have to
tell them no, it’s not real. What if I were really a pervert with a camera? By
the time I edit it, you see maybe a quarter of what was shot. I shoot it on the
fly and edit it without dissolves. There is a lot more skill in doing that than
people think. People look at my movies and think that it looks really easy. You
see them shoot the stuff and then they leave everything in. It’s boring.

Many
people have tried, but no one has figured it out.


That’s why I appreciate talking to you Roger. You’re someone who appreciates
what I did, but to tell you the truth, I’m over that. My ego has been built up
enough, let’s move on to the next phase of my life.

If
you had to pick a favorite feature that you’ve done, what would it be?


Buda

I
consider “Buttman Confidential” a feature, so that’s my favorite. In a more
traditional vein, “Buda” is probably the best feature I’ve done. Hopefully this
next one will be far superior to “Buda.”
I feel that every time I do a feature,
I have grown so much. I look at “Wild Goose Chase”
and there are good scenes and
a good overall concept. Then I also see the weak points, things I would shoot
differently today. “Face Dance” was a step up from that. “Buda” was several
steps above that. In between them was “Buttman in the Crack” which was fun, but
not nearly as good as “Buda.”


Wild Goose Chase

I
almost forgot about “Wild Goose Chase.”


We’re doing that on DVD now so it’s fresh in my mind. It was named Best Film.

That
was a great movie and it holds up well. In fact, the only thing that doesn’t
work, and everyone did it at the time, was the inter-cutting the scenes.


Yeah, the Jeanna Fine scene with the Joey and the wrestlers scene.

The
practice never worked for me. As a fan at home, jerking off, to be watching
Jeanna do that incredible scene, then to cut away.

You
know I hate inter-cutting. We used to do that in the 80’s. Never any more. I
hate it.

The worse stuff for that
were the old Ginger Lynn movies. They would always cut away from some hot Ginger
scene, to Sharon Mitchell. That is one thing that has really changed over the
years.

What
you are talking about is part of what I call the technology of making porn
movies. It wasn’t obvious to us in the 80’s that we were developing a
technology, but we were. We were saying, let’s intercut because this could get
boring after a while, but we were wrong. The best scenes are the ones where you
get into the people and you go on the ride with them. It’s what Rocco says he
does with girls, he take them on a trip. He wants to go to stronger and stronger
levels of sex. You don’t want to stop that, you want to stay right there with
them. This is just one thing that has evolved. The gonzo thing and making movies
more natural, throat fucking, hard anal, gaping anal, all of these are things
that we have developed as porn as an art form.

Even
intercutting two good scenes was horrible because it ruins the natural rhythm of
the scenes.

The
problem is that sometimes in a script, thing will happen simultaneously. In
“Wild Goose Chase” the idea of the Jeanna Fine scene is that she is fucking
these two cops who really want to arrest Joey Silvera. He has to finish fucking
and escape before they catch him. I was trying to build tension. It is really
hard to make two scenes fit together.

You
have had a long relationship with Rocco Siffredi. How did that develop?


Rocco came to America
for the first time in the spring of 1990. Patty Rhodes who was a line producer
for Fred Lincoln, had worked with Rocco in
Europe.
She brought him around to get him some work. People weren’t hiring him right
away because he was a new guy. People just don’t hire new guys. Patty brought
him over and he doesn’t speak English very well. I was trying to figure out how
to put him in a feature. He showed me these pictures that he had done and I was
wondering what he was doing in porn. They were these great looking fashion shots
that he had done. Then he turned to a picture of himself fucking this girl with
that huge dick and I just said “OK, you’re hired.” I didn’t have to think twice,
but it was still a risk. Rocco will look back on that and know that these people
were idiots for not hiring him. That first trip was difficult for him. He didn’t
work until the very end of that trip. After I worked with him and before I met
Zara White, the two of them worked together for Suze Randall on a still shoot
for Club.
I talked to Zara and she said that she would work with Rocco and only
him. Here was this beautiful girl and wanted a huge amount of money, but I
wasn’t going to pass it up. He was really disappointed with that first trip. We
just hit it off well.


Ass Collector Review

I could tell that Rocco carried himself differently than
other actors. He knew he was good and didn’t have to prove it. I also liked the
fact that he had ambition and was going to do something better with his life.
Compared to just about any other porn guy, Rocco produces very well. When you
look at the scope of “Rocco Never Dies” and see how big it is, it’s very
impressive. His new movie “Ass Collector”
is even more ambitious. He’s got
helicopter shots and all sorts of great stuff.

When
is that due out?

It
will be out in September and the trailer is going on his next release. Every
once in a while, I look back and see how fortuitous my relationship with Rocco
has been in. I haven’t won many awards for things that I didn’t shoot with
Rocco.

In
general, the people who have worked with you and for you, have stuck around for
a long time. Rocco, John Leslie, Joey Silvera etc. It seems as if people who
come under the Evil Angel banner tend to stay with you. That’s very rare in this
business.

I
have been fortunate in my success. I can tell a good movie when I see one,
probably better than most people in this industry. I’ve shot them, I’ve edited
them and I know what works. I failed with Zupko, but I know porn and I I’ve been
quite fortunate. Patrick Collins has a very nasty mind and he’s not a bad
pornographer. I had a relationship with him for a long time, although that
eventually dissolved because he wanted to be his own boss. John Leslie was at
the top of his game when we started working together. I met him on his first
feature in 1975 and talked to him occasionally through the years. I liked his
VCA stuff which was obviously very good. He was making some great features for
them in the late 80’s. We didn’t start a relationship until 1994. He had a
script for a movie called “Dog
Walker.”
VCA didn’t want to shoot it because it was too rough.


Their stuff was pretty tame.

It
still is. They wanted to make their movies and have no legal problems, but they
still got busted. I was lucky that I got John. Joey and I hit it off when I
would hire him as an actor. There was an understanding of what was necessary to
make a scene comfortable and produce good sex. Long before he started directing
I would walk him into the warehouse and say “see that empty space there Joey?
That’s waiting for you.” Then he made his first movie and it wasn’t that good.
He was friends with Michael Rubenstein and went with him for a while. By his
eighth movie or so I was talking to Joey about selling his stuff. It’s important
for me to have long term relationships, but the main reason these guys stay is
because they are making so much more money than anyone else has ever offered
them. I am lucky that I can offer them so much more. I don’t own Rocco’s movies.
They own their own movies. When I was producing movies, if someone could have
offered this deal to me, it’s what would have worked. What didn’t work for me
was selling a movie outright for twelve thousand dollars or even twenty thousand
and then walking away. Then it’s their responsibility to do the box and make
sure it’s selling, but it’s my identity. Why would they care to build it up when
their company and their ego is more important? What has worked for me is to try
and keep my ego down and let them be the stars. This is your movie John Leslie.
You make it good and it will sell. You make it bad and it won’t sell and you
will make a lot less money. Joey is now shooting transsexual tapes and this was
a big risk on our part to start doing that. We knew it was different, but he
took that chance. If someone was paying him five thousand dollars to shoot a
transsexual movie, they wouldn’t be nearly as good. It is so hard to deal with
people who are flying on female hormones. These are hard to put together. He did
all that work and is has paid off for him. Because I have managed to keep just
good people at the company, we have managed to keep our reputation up and
therefore our sales stay up and they don’t have any incentive to leave. I don’t
have any contracts with these people. They are all free to leave any time they
want and take their whole catalog with them. However, Jules
Jordan
has to wait a year because I told him that he had to give me a year.

The
only short term relationship I can recall was the one you had with Thomas Zupko.

I
did make the deal with Zupko. I liked that first movie a lot. Maybe it was just
really good pot that I was smoking when I watched it.

This
is “Anal Ball” we’re talking about?


Anal Ball Review

Yes.
“Anal Ball” had that first scene and it was different. It had really good music
and I love the editing in that movie. He had layers of stuff going on, two or
three sounds going at once. I really liked it. Some of the sex was good. Some of
it was pretty lame, there are a couple of pretty bad ones. But there are also a
couple of really good ones. I thought that if he could do that all the time,
then I wanted to sell his stuff. Unfortunately his basic feeling toward women
and his approach to sex is so antithetical to what I like that the second movie
came in and totally turned me off.

You
didn’t release that one right?

Not
“Pussy Crimes” no.

He
came into the industry and had you singing his praises, which is about the best
thing that can happen for a new director. Then just as quickly, he was out on
his own.

It
just didn’t work.

I
didn’t like “Anal Ball” and found it really anti-sex.

What
about the movie he was nominated for last year?

“In
the Days of Whore?”


Yeah, what did you think of that?

I
thought it was really good. I don’t think it was his best movie. “The Abyss” had
better sex, but the story and style of Days of Whore was really good. I felt the
same way about his big movie this year “Shades of Hades.” It’s beautiful, but I
just didn’t get the sex.

The
feeling I get from him is that he’s like an adolescent boy who knows he is never
going to get laid. In the back of his mind, he hates girls and feels insecure
around them. All of his energy is redirected into this weird shit that he does
to them. I hate to be so crass, but that is the feeling that I get from him.

But
that kind of porn has become a trend.

Yes
it has.

I
spoke with Jules about that Aurora Snow scene he shot. It’s a beautiful scene
with totally hot sex and then he does the internal anal cumshot that gets
expelled and eaten. To me, that just didn’t fit.

I
didn’t like that either.

It’s
not anything that I would ever want to do with anyone I would have sex with.

But
there are people who would do that and would love it. It’s a small percentage,
but I’ve met them.

That
kind of porn just doesn’t work for me. I had a good relationship with my mother,
I love my wife, and I like women.

Then
what the fuck are you doing in the porn business?

I
guess I’m just a romantic. What’s wrong with taking a beautiful woman, fucking
her up the ass and then cumming all over her face?

I
agree with you and I think I’m fairly well adjusted as well. That being said,
there is a place in porn for all that weird shit. I like watching a lot of it. I
have to be pretty fucked up to watch it, but I like it.

What
about rape scenes?

I
can like a rape scene if I really like the girl and it’s done well. The guy is
really important in a scene like that, their attitude towards sex. If it’s a
sexual thing, I am going to like it a lot. If it’s just a degradation thing then
I’m not going to like it. I’m all about the sex and pretty girls and
appreciating them. I’m not about the psychology as much as other people are.
That’s a downfall in me, in that I’m a late comer to the throat fucking and the
hard sex. I’m not someone who tried to push that. Gaping assholes happened in my
movies, but I never went out and looked for it until Assman and these other guys
did it in their movies. I saw the stuff Max Hardcore was doing, but I wasn’t
sure I wanted to ask the girls to do it because they might not like it. The fact
of the matter is, some girls are going to like doing that stuff and some girls
aren’t. You have to get the right girl for a scene like that. The biggest
problem that I have is trying to figure out what has made me successful and
figure out what Rocco has that I don’t have. I’m not sure that I can shoot some
of the stuff that he does because I’m just not into it the same way that he is.

And
that will always show in the final product. What makes what you do so good is
that you appreciate female bodies, so when you shoot these long tease sequences,
it comes across. If someone who was more into gaping assholes than nice butts
were to shoot what you do, it would be phony. It would be just as hard for
someone who didn’t like rough sex to shoot what Max does.

It
would be impossible to do it well.

You
shoot what you love and you’ve found a large audience who likes what you shoot.

People who aren’t into the rape scenes and more into pretty girls walking down
the street. That makes my dick hard and I want to see more of it.


That’s another thing that you bring across, the mainstream sexual impulse. If we
were doing this interview at the beach or the mall, girls would walk by and we
would see her. That is what kicks off most sexual fantasies. It’s not some girl
sitting on a couch already naked that jump starts these thoughts.

What
drives me nuts about porn is just what you said right there. Exactly that and it
doesn’t get translated into video very often. Anabolic for example, drives me
nuts. I love their hard sex, but their scenes all start with the girl sitting
down. I don’t know what she looks like and I am not at all intrigued by the
girl. She has not done a single sexy thing and all of a sudden there is a dick
in her mouth. Can I just get a little turned on by her body first? Could she
talk a little bit and let me see her legs and her ass. The more the better to
tell you the truth because when the dicks come out, I usually hit fast forward.
I am into seeing girls and not as into seeing the sex as I used to be. Maybe
it’s because I have HIV and I’m not as sexual as I used to be. On the other
hand, I have always been this way. I have always loved watching girls be sexy.

I’m
the same way. Growing up in
California,
girls in bikinis have triggered nearly all of my fantasies from the time I was
nine.

I
used to go down to the
Newport Beach
surf competitions in the 80’s and took reams of pictures of butts.
Orange
County
girls may be the prettiest in the world.

You
did a movie called “Surfside Sex” that had some great girls in bikini stuff and
one of the best facial pop shots I have ever seen.

Is
that the one that happened at sunset?

Yes,
Peter North pulls out and shoots up onto Aja’s face and it is an image burned
forever into my brain.

That
same house was used for Bare Essence. I got lucky with the back lighting on that
shot.

Back
to the tease and how it’s missing, it is also missing from features.

The
whole key is how to get sexy shots while still telling a story. I am going to do
that in this new feature. I am also going to take a lot of time with the sex. In
features, it’s too easy to start forgetting about your sex. You put so much
energy into the story that you don’t spend the proper amount of time on the sex.
If you just expend the proper amount of energy on making sure that the sex
scenes were as hot as they should be, you can make a well rounded feature. I
don’t think I’ve quite done that yet, though I have come close on occasion. This
one will hopefully do that.


That’s really the problem with most feature directors, Michael Ninn, Paul
Thomas, Michael Raven, whoever. They all should be removed from their own sets
when the sex starts. Get someone who can shoot sex to do those scenes because
the feature guys just can’t do it.

When
you have someone like John Leslie who can do both, it shows. He can really shoot
sex, though he’s not nasty like some of the people today. He can also shoot
story.

So
can you.

OK,
if you say so.

When
anyone asks me who the best director in porn is, it’s always you and John
Leslie. Everyone else gets to line up for third place because you can both shoot
great sex and great features. It’s difficult to be able to shoot features, gonzo
and straight sex.

And
to make the girls look pretty.

Most
guys who shoot hard sex don’t even try to make the girls look pretty. Max
certainly doesn’t.

No,
but what he does do is create these totally unbelievable images of these girls
in pigtails, with cum all over her face and her lipstick all smeared. If you’re
into that, it’s great. There is an appeal to that. You may be appealing to the
serial rapist, but there is still an appeal.


Getting back to Joey shooting the transsexual stuff, I remember the first such
scene. It was right in the middle of one his regular movies.

Shot
right here in this house.

That
was a line that no one crossed at that time. Were you worried at all about that?

No.
You know I am so involved and my company and Evil Angel and the company image. I
went into an adult bookstore and was looking around. Do you know what I wanted
to see? I was looking at these trashy titles where I didn’t even recognize the
name of the company, but they had a really raunchy boxcover. That’s the one I
wanted to see because that’s the one that looks like it’s doing something exotic
and interesting. These pretentious box covers that we’re doing, some of them
even at my company, just aren’t hot enough for me sometimes. When you’re talking
about the hard core porno fan, there are so many fans who are slightly bi-sexual
if they see a transsexual it’s going to tweak them. They don’t even know it’s
going to do that to them before they get into it. You can always hit the fast
forward button and it was just one scene. To me, taking chances is the fun part.

It’s
still a line that isn’t crossed in most movies.

Some
day it will be totally crossed. There will be a bi-sexual scene in a movie. It
may happen in September from a director we know.

Oh?

I
haven’t seen the final version, but I have seen the trailer.

Vivid put a gay scene in one of their features and people kind of freaked out.

Some
people will react that way, others will be cool with it and some people will
really enjoy it. If you look closely at “Buda” there are two guys giving each
other head in the background. I didn’t shoot much of it because the guy couldn’t
stay hard. He’s got this long hair so you could almost think that it’s a woman.

What
scene was this?

The
scene where the transsexual has the knife on Rocco. There are gay guys in the
corners screwing around.

What
about doing a gay line with the Evil Angel name on it?


Tricia Devereaux has this male masturbation thing. I shot one of the scenes and
I’m not sure about. I’m not gay. I have some interest in transsexuals, but no
interest in guys so I don’t really know what to shoot. To tell you the truth, I
am not interested in any new lines for Evil Angel. I just want to make movies.
My career is going to be focused more on making movies and less on servicing the
company. I have done enough of that. I love porno, I love my company, but I am
not filled with ambition to make the company grow. Jules
Jordan
fell in my lap. He was doing some really good stuff, but I had to think hard
whether or not I wanted to take on another producer. The thing that pushed me
over the top with him was that he was really interested in the business side of
things. Long term, this guy is someone I want associated with my company and it
has already turned out to be an incredible choice. It’s a pleasure to deal with
someone who is serious and likes porno the way that the does. Sucking cum out of
the ass not withstanding, he’s still really good.

He
just needs to be reminded the he doesn’t need that to make his movies great.
Some directors need that, but Jules’ stuff is strong enough on its own.

But
he’s a fan still. He listens to what other people want and it’s difficult for me
to censor that. To tell you the truth if I was younger and really into porn, I
could probably get into like that stuff. I’m just a little jaded, you’re a
little jaded Roger, you watch this stuff all the time. In the porn business, a
big percentage of what we are is circus acts and weird stuff. Stunts are fun to
look at sometimes.

Do
you still watch a lot of porn?


Since the baby and Tricia moving in, my watching of new porn has gone way down.
Once in a while I look at other stuff, but not nearly as much as I used to.

Is
there anyone out there who impresses you?

From
a company other than my own? Anabolic has done some hard stuff. I go to video
arcades every few months and put my dollars in to bounce through the channels.
I’ve seen some stuff from Elegant Angel that I liked and bits of scenes that
were hard and nasty. Probably my favorite person that I don’t sell is Brandon
Iron. I like his blowjob stuff, I like him as a person and I like shooting him.
He is way too insecure as a person sometimes, but I really like
Brandon.
If there was any way I could justify selling his stuff I would. I just don’t
think he knows how to shoot good tease yet. That being said, sometimes he gets
going in his scenes and there is an edge to it that I really like.

He
seems to struggle with how he is on camera and the nice person he is off camera.

Yes,
it’s a big contrast I like the hard sex. Joey is shooting it a lot now, maybe
too much so. The biggest problem with the porn business is that as a producer, I
still feel responsible if a girl gets her ass hurt by Christoph Clark in Eastern
Europe or if Joey pushes a girl a little bit too far and she thinks it was an
unpleasant experience. Most of the time those things don’t happen or I wouldn’t
be doing business with those people. Most of the time it’s a positive experience
for these girls. The problem is that we are paying them to do harder sex, we are
rewarded financially to do weirder and weirder stuff. There is a financial
incentive to ask these girls to try it. Sometimes they try it and they don’t
like it. That’s unfortunate and that’s my biggest problem with the porno
business today. Having a family, I am more aware of it now, but I try and keep
my perspective and understand that it’s just porn. Everyone is here voluntarily
and everyone is just playing around. There are risks involved and we will deal
with those risks.

Is
there anyone throughout your career who you have always wanted to shoot, but
never got the chance?

In
the last few years, there have been a dozen girls who I wish I had shot. There
are just too many to name. One girl is Belladonna. I haven’t shot her yet. She
has committed to star in my next movie, so I’m excited about that. There are
girls that Joey shots that I see and really like. Some of the girls that Jules
shoot are great. Ryan Conner has got one of the greatest asses I have ever seen.
That being said, Amber Michaels has better energy and I would really like to get
her for my movie. There are a lot of American girls that I really want to shoot.
It’s been so long since I’ve shot American girls. Not shooting them for the last
five years has really been a huge mistake. That’s where the sexual energy is.
Young girls in American are more sexually experimental and are more aware of
different kinds of sexuality. As human beings, we are moving ahead in our sexual
development and that happens better here in American because women are more
empowered. They are more independent, have more money and the girls who get into
porn have options. They could go work and make a few hundred dollars a week
doing something else or they can make porn. In Eastern Europe
or Brazil
if they want a different job, their options are far less. The American girls
could choose to go to college, but they want to do porn. Those people who choose
to do porn tend to be the most interesting and the best people to work with.

Part
of the appeal of European girls is the lack of breast implants.


That’s true, but if you look hard like Joey does, you can find some natural
American girls.

Who
have been your favorites to shoot?

Even
though I haven’t shot her yet, I’m going to say Belladonna. There is no girl
that I have ever seen on video who has turned me on as much as Belladonna. Body,
face, energy, the whole package. I liked shooting Tricia Devereaux. I’m
prejudiced of course, but I loved shooting her.

If
you could pull a movie with your name on it, and make it disappear, what would
it be?


There are times when I think that “Buttman Confidential” should have never been
made. I wonder what I was thinking. Then there are other times when I more proud
of that movie than anything I’ve done.

What
about “Rock N Roll Heaven”?

I
like that movie. Come on, we had four people playing rock and roll music live
with people fucking front of them. The music was in sync most of the time and
you don’t get live music like that. I did something different there and if
nobody appreciates it, I don’t give a fuck. I think it’s great and I consider it
one of the best movies I’ve ever done. So it certainly isn’t that movie. If I
had to pick one, “Buttman in the Crack” really has not aged well as far as I’m
concerned.

That
one doesn’t feel like you. It was almost like you doing a movie using Greg
Dark’s style.


There are certain interesting elements to it. It wasn’t fun to shoot because
it’s a studio movie and Buttman is not a studio character. Parts of it look
forced.

Can
we talk a little about HIV?


Sure. As I said before, it has changed my approach to making porn because I am
not getting laid myself. It’s almost as if that has squeezed me down to being
more visual because that is my outlet. Maybe it’s a good thing for my career,
but it’s a bad thing for my personal sex life.

How
are you doing health wise?

I
have been non-detectable since a few weeks after I found out that I was
positive. That’s because I went right on the drugs and have stayed on the drugs.
They have had no adverse affects on me. Non-detectable means that you can’t
detect it with the best DNA tests available. There is a tiny bit in my
bloodstream. I still have it technically, but I have never suffered any ill
effects other than the nausea from the drugs. That has been minor.

You
have a baby now.

And
the baby is negative and hopefully the baby will be fine.

That
is wonderful news. You did shoot a scene with Tricia for “Buttman’s Toy
Stories.” A lot of people thought that was taking a risk.


Toy Stories Reviews

Most
of the people who watched the movie probably saw it without knowing we are both
HIV positive. Hopefully we did a good enough scene that it didn’t matter. The
XRCO gave us an award for that one. I think Toy Stories is a good movie, but I’m
not sure it’s the kind of movie they should be giving awards to just because the
scenes were so simple. They were well done and if they are giving me that award
because I do those scenes well, fine. They are three of the best Buttman movies
I have shot, but I hope that’s why it won the award.

What
sort of movie do you think should win the award?


Something like “Buda” or John Leslie’s “Chameleons” where you’re ambitiously
trying to make a big budge movie where the sex is hot at the same time.

So
think that it’s time to go away from Video Vs. Film award and break it down into
best features vs. best all sex movies?

Yeah. Then again, AVN nominated “Buda” for Best All-Sex DVD and… you’re
frowning, you know what I’m talking about. I have no fucking idea how they came
up with that.

Did
they explain it to you?

When
I talked to Mike Ramone, I got the feeling he was very intimidated or something
was going on. Maybe he doesn’t like me, but I wish I could have a conversation
with him. I think it was his decision along with some other people. I didn’t
like the decision and I expressed that.

It’s
not an all-sex movie.

It’s
absolutely not an all-sex movie. They just assume that because it’s Stagliano
and he’s Buttman that it has to be gonzo. It’s not! You know, it’s good that I
feel persecuted in some way because I work harder. Everyone is always kissing my
ass. It’s better this way. I think they put it there because it had a chance to
win in that category. AVN has so many categories and part of it is motivated by
pleasing the advertisers. To have a high budget shot on film thing separate from
a high budget shot on video thing is ridiculous. They should be in the same
category. Just call it the best porno movie of the year. That is what I hope
“Fashionistas” will be, but it will be shot on film, so they can still give
Vivid or Wicked their best video of the year.

You
said something to me when we spoke in Vegas, about critics including myself, and
how what we do really isn’t fair.

You
aren’t choosing to look at the movie for your own entertainment and for that
particular fetish. You are looking at it because you’re a professional in the
business. You will never bring to it the same mindset as the fan who has gone
out of his way to buy that movie. You won’t judge it in the same way. You won’t
be able to. There are so many subtle psychological things that go into watching
a porno movie if you have a particular fetish. I happen to like butts. If I want
to go to the video store and find something to get me off, it would be a movie
that showed butts every minute. I just want to see big, beautiful butts, get off
and get on with my life. I don’t have time for all this other shit.

I
agree with you to a large degree. The first year I did this, all I reviewed were
movies from my own collection or things I had waiting in a video store to buy on
the day they came out.

And
that’s a good thing. I will say this, if you can bring a breadth of knowledge to
your craft. You said you have experience in video stores and realize that there
are other things that people get off on. You know that there are people who get
off on stuff like that Jules Jordan thing with the cum out of her ass. If you
can recognize that there is a segment of the audience who likes that and judge
it based on that fetish. If you can say, this was done well for this fetish,
then you can review movies fairly.

I do
understand that and I’ve always been up front about what I like and don’t like.
Readers should know what they are getting and judge accordingly.

Your
reputation depends on how fair you can be. You are totally beholden to the
consumer and must be fair to them. You aren’t beholden to the advertisers which
is a better situation to be in.

I
just have to say I feel and hope no one comes after me.

We
live in an age where we I realize that I might actually say something about
someone that would make them become violent. That’s pretty scary.

I’ve
had a few angry phone calls and a couple of husbands who threatened to kick my
ass because I didn’t find their wives attractive.

You
know, we know these people personally and yet our dicks respond independently
from our feelings about them. Some girl might be a wonderful person but she just
doesn’t turn you on as much as another girl who is a total bitch. Everyone has
to rise about that.

I
never base my reviews on personal feelings, it just doesn’t work that way. It’s
hard to explain that to some of the people I like.

They
have to realize that there is no growth without criticism.

You
can say that because you’re mature and self confident. Not everyone in this
business can say that.


That, and I’ve already made it. I’m not struggling at this point. And you caught
me at an usual time. I am very caught up in this new movie and I more positive
and energetic now. I have to gear up for this film. I’m still scared to death
that something will go wrong. If you talked to a few months ago when I was
working on something that might have been mediocre, who knows?

What
you call mediocre is probably still pretty good. You don’t have to watch some of
the crap that I do.


That’s true, how do you waste your life like this?


Thanks, you’ve now invalidated my existence twice in one afternoon.

(He
laughs) I didn’t do that.


Anything more to add?

I
think that this art form has barely gotten started. The potential of what could
happen when you take a really good production and erotic ideas. That’s barely
been touched yet. Great movie makers are making movies about other things. We
are just developing this art form because it’s only been around since the
sixties. Human beings will only enjoy sex as recreation if they aren’t at war or
struggling to survive. There are all kinds of forces pushing this art form into
what it is. That’s why you shouldn’t feel too bad about your existence. You are
promoting an artistic human endeavor that is unappreciated by the general public
and yet can be something greater in time.


Thank you for your time, you’ve been most generous.

Thank you Roger.

Buy John Stagliano’s Movies at DVD Empire

John Stagliano’s Movies at Gamelink.com

www.Buttman.com

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One Response to “Interview: John Stagliano”

  1. adroitami says:

    Great interview


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