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Tom Byron Interview - Tom Byron's Movies
Sept 2001
Also see Tom Bryon Interview #1 and Tom Bryon The Retirement Interview (#3)

I guess we can start with the Kid Vegas news.

Weíve been talking about that for ten minutes.

But the recorder wasnít on.

So I have to say it again? Like I said before this fuck up turned the recorder on, we donít want to take an established, jaded, tired director. We donít need someone who is just banging them out for a buck. We took Zupko when we just a lost guy wandering in the desert and gave him an identity and a purpose. Heís come up with some great results. Sure he has his flaws, but so does everyone else. Heís been a great asset. Vegas is a guy who already has a reputation.

A reputation for making shitty movies.

Hey, whatís more of a challenge than that? Taking the guy who makes the worst movies in porn and making him into a good director.

So heís going to be directing for you guys?

That and doing some publicity for us.

Heís good at that.

Yeah, publicity made Kid Vegas. By the way, heís Mr. Vegas now.

Because heís grown up.

Yeah, something like that. I keep hearing things about stink bombs, but I donít know anything about that.

The other thing we were talking about was the mess with AVN. As we sit here in the new Extreme offices and look back itís been a year since you guys stopped advertising with them. They donít acknowledge you at all, clearly you wonít be getting any AVN award nominations next monthÖ

Oh no. No nominations? How do you know this? Itís news to me. Iím crushed. That whole thing is silly. You have to think of it this way. Every time an issue of their magazine comes out and weíre not mentioned, it hurts them more than it does us. They go around pretending to be a news magazine with objective coverage of the industry. Not only does that discredit their journalistic integrity, if they had any to begin with, but it also brings attention to us. Weíre in all the stores, weíre doing more business than ever and our sales are skyrocketing, yet we donít show up. Anyone reading the magazine is going to wonder why we arenít in there. Itís bringing more attention to the whole thing than if Fishbein had just shrugged it off. Gene had some issues when he left, some things he wanted to get off his chest. He felt he was being restrained there and he let loose. Paul didnít like it and pulled our ads for that month. He pulled Rob off the cover and tried to play tough guy. We just decided to hell with the whole thing.

What about the lawsuit?

We were never not going to pay them. We had a deal worked out with Stewart. I guess Paul likes lawyers so he decided to throw a lawsuit at us. So weíre paying him. Guess what, next month that bill is all paid and weíre done with them. He would have gotten him money a lot sooner, but he wanted to play tough guy with the lawyers. At the end of the day would you rather give your money to your lawyer or pay your bills with it?

Are you guys taking the money you used to spend on AVN ads and putting them to work elsewhere?

We advertise in major publications that go out to millions of people as opposed to the forty thousand that AVN gets. Weíve been in Adam Film World for a few years, but now we put mail order ads in all of the Larry Flynt Publications, Hustler, Barely Legal and all their other titles.

So these new ads get into the hands of porn fans and not just distributors or store owners.

Right. AVN is a trade rag, not many porn fans read it.

They have a circulation of forty thousand?

Thatís what they claim. There are more video stores in America than that. When you do the math and take your nine or ten thousand that you had in AVN, then spread it around to millions of porn fans, it stands to reason that youíre going to do more business. We have proved that over the last year.

Then porn fans let store owners know what they want to see.

Exactly. Our mail order keeps growing every month. Itís amazing. We built up a web site, we have a strong presence on the Internet and we get our product to the customers.

Youíve got the Extreme site an then also Geneís web site. He probably gets more readers monthly than AVN does.

We track his traffic and yeah, it blows away forty thousand. Your site probably gets more than that in a month, even if you double AVN and figure eighty thousand people. You get that right?

I get around three hundred thousand visitors a month.

See, thatísÖ what?  Three hundred thousand a month? Thatís repeat visitors as well right, because I go there every day.

Thatís unique visits.

See, that kind of thing blows away a trade rag. Youíve had a presence on the web for a long time, way back when rec.arts.movies.erotic started. I donít have Geneís exact number, but they are good.

Now AVN has shut down his old site.

But they still maintain the URL and point it right to the main AVN site. I think thatís kind of funny. The guy who wasnít worth keeping or fighting over is still bringing them plenty of traffic.

You were talking earlier about a new series that has no anal in it.

Iím doing this thing called ďOperation Just CoozeĒ and I came up with the title before the war. In light of what has happened, I am dedicating this movie to the men and women fighting for our freedom. After all, whatís more American than porn?

Tell me a little about the movie.

Itís basically Whack Attack with no anal.

Is that because some girls donít want to do anal?

Yeah, some girls are really good looking and we paint ourselves into a corner with this anal in every scene thing. Doing a movie a month, I end up working the same girls over and over. Donít get me wrong, I wish I could use Nikita Denise in every fucking movie because sheís so nasty and a good time.

When does the first one of these hit the shelves?

Itís due out near the end of October.

And you said Extreme was working on some simultaneous format releases.

That has taken a while because you need a month lead time on the DVDs.

What sort of bonus materials are you working on for the new DVDs?

Weíve always had extras, the behind the scenes, the extra scene, what other extras do you want Rog, weíll put them in just for you.

You need directorís commentary. We need you sitting in a room talking about who youíre fucking in the ass.

Are you serious? Wouldnít that just be the most distracting fucking thing? Director commentary in a porno, how useless.

Well, it works for features.

But I donít do features and the guy here who does features is Zupko. Would you want to listen to him rant for two fucking hours?

What you should do is just record one director commentary track and put it on every DVD, who cares what movie itís for.

Seriously, what should we put on?

How about another behind the scenes with the new offices?

Thatís a good idea. What else?

How about porn critic commentary, maybe with some contract girls sitting on my lap?

Come on, the only thing worse than listening to Zupko rant is listening to a porn critic drone on and on.

And I was just about to compliment you guys on the last behind the scenes bonus. Elegant Angel has one now.

That figures, Patrick has never had an original thought in his fucking life.

They did put that de-virginizing thing on their DVDs which is pretty cool.

You know, I was thinking the other day about something Pat and John Stagliano always say. They say they shoot what makes their dick hard. Whatís that about? First, I donít want that visual in my head, ever. Second, I donít shoot what makes my dick hard, I shoot what makes the audienceís dick hard. Iím jaded. Pat, John, weíre all jaded. Thatís what weíre about here. We make Americaís dick hard.

The new Extreme slogan. Speaking of what makes Patrickís dick hard, you guys have your own line of foot movies now.

We have our foot guy here. Rod Fontana shot Lower Extremities, did you see it yet?

I saw part of it. It was disturbing.

It was disturbing, but as far as feet goes, itís pretty good.

I guess, feet donít do it for me.

Me either, feet are feet, you walk on them, but for people who like them, I guess itís good.

This new Zupko superhero movie looks pretty interesting.

Yeah, I peeked into the editing room a few times. Itís nice to see Zupko do something different. Usually itís all about dark, he has to make it dark.

Sometimes his stuff is more than dark, itís downright hostile.

Zupkoís heart is in the right place.

I was just talking with him about the fact that if this war with AVN werenít going on, they would be all over Shades of Hades. It is a Michael Ninn or Michael Raven type of movie that they love.

Thatís something else for people to think about when they get their nominations this year. Not that they ever really meant anything anyway, but now they are totally invalidated. Any award that you hold in your hand in January wonít have any meaning because it wasnít measured against the best company of the business. We are the best company in the business, in terms of sales and in terms of diversity. Thatís one thing about Evil Angel. They just signed Jules Jordan and Nacho Vidal, two more gonzo shooters. Their whole lineup is all gonzo. Itís all hand held, gonzo. VCA and Wicked do all features and all safe, politically correct movies. We go from my stuff which in any other company would be nasty, but here is middle of the road. We have Zupko doing features, Rod taking feet up his ass, our European stuff, we do a little bit of everything.

What you said a minute ago about the AVN Awards sounds a lot like major league baseball in the years before Jackie Robinson. How can you tell who the best team is if you leave someone out?

Exactly and the same holds true of their charts. People think they made the top ten, but they didnít. We know weíre doing more sales than last year, so they have those slots because we have been taken out of the equation. I donít see how anyone can think that putting an ad in AVN or winning an AVN Award will improve your sales. We have proved that it didnít.

On the other hand, when you guys first started, you have AVN Awards all over your promo. You guys displayed those things proudly.

Thatís true. We did have to start from scratch. At the end of the day it was the work we did, not the awards that have increased our sales. They are so out of touch with the consumers that they donít know what they are doing. We have a consumer driven product where customers demand our stuff by name. There arenít many companies like that. Anabolic and Evil Angel are like that. People demand their stuff like they do ours. With everyone else itís box covers or pretty girls. I look at a new company like Jill Kelly Productions with a four page ad and I have to shake my head. Spend money on productions and talent, donít throw your money away.

But they are a new company like you guys were and it does help make them visible to stores. You guys donít need it now, but you did then.

Oh, Iím not saying that AVN didnít have a hand in the early success of our company. Iíll give them props for that. After that first year, it became a tug of war with Fishbein. I remember he did two pages on John Bone because he had some girls go out for a few minutes on WWF with the Godfather. Here we were on national TV with our own company and we couldnít get in there. We couldnít seem to get our share of the press pie. Everyone knows that AVN belongs to Vivid, Wicked and VCA. Itís their magazine. If they were to pull out, AVN would close tomorrow. In a way, I understand and donít envy Fishbeinís position. On the other hand, donít hold yourself up as a saint and expect people not to pull the rug out from under you. Donít purport to be a beacon of truth then not live up to it.   

AVN has their hands tied. They canít say too much about the industry because they would be dead. They canít say too much about girls not doing interracial and companies condoning that because theyíll be out of business. AVN canít say Taboo 2001 sucked, which it did, because they will lose too much ad money.

Hey, that movie is going to move nine thousand pieces, be nice.

Oh itís going to win a bunch of awards, but letís face it, it was a bad Michael Ninn wanna-be movie with lame sex. Sure it will a ton of awards, but what good is that?

Exactly, it wins awards, but for who?

There could even a writer at AVN who saw that movie and thought that it sucked as badly as I did. They would just pass it around until somebody loved it.

That works both ways. The first Whack Attack movie was originally an ĎEditors Choiceí title. That would have been a really nice thing for us, our first release getting the Editors Choice. Because I did that thing where I called Patrick a dirty, rat bastard, lying cock sucker, Pat complained to Fish. Fish took the movie and reviewed it himself. He dropped it by a half point, called me a punk and moved another titled into the Editors Choice slot.

Itís easy to manipulate like that. Give the movies to people you know will like them.

Have you noticed that all the artsy-fartsy movies are reviewed by Kernes? If you gave Mark Kernes a Slap Happy, he wouldnít have a clue what to do. You turn around and give it to a guy like Ramone and he likes it. We could go on and on about this because it amuses us. We donít mind thumbing our noses at them and they pretend not to respond.

They have other people do that for them.

I know and I wasnít going to even talk about this guy, but we have to.

Who?

Mike South. I have never seen a bigger ass kisser in my whole life. The thing is, I like Mike. We did a thing in Houston right before he signed with Elegant and we hung out and I got a kick out of the guy. I like him personally, but every time I turn around, he has to put his two cents in about Extreme. Maybe heís jealous because we didnít invite him on board when we left Elegant. I donít know where heís coming from, but heís constantly stepping on his dick. I think the real root of his animosity comes from those last few months at Elegant. In the time leading up to the show in Vegas, Rob and I were both kind of cocky and fed up with Patrick. Rob and a few other guys really busted Mikeís balls unmercifully. You know how Rob can be and Mike was the odd man out. That could be the source of all this. He rips our movies which is fine. Personally, I canít sit through a Mike South movie. To me, itís like watching an Ed Powers movies. I see this old, fat guy paying for sex. Heís a fucking John with some money and scams these girls into fucking him. There may be a disturbing little thrill to that, but I just canít watch it. I say this to you Mike, I have no beef with you whatsoever. You amuse me, like a clown.

On to happier topics. I talked to this cute girl the other day, Jenna Haze. She tells me she wants to have sex with you and you put her in a scene with Marc Davis. What the fuck is wrong with you?

Marc is the one who had her number and hooked up the whole thing. Iíll put her in a Lord of Asses movies and fuck her ass.

That seems like a good note to end this on, so thanks Tom, weíll talk to you again.

Thanks Rog.