I’m a recently fifty, half-German, Taurus, animal-rights vegetarian pornographer who was born and raised in New Jersey and loves the First, Second and Fourth Amendments. I earned a BA in English with a journalism concentration from Pace University (the same school Al Goldstein attended) and I can shoot a coffee stirrer in half at 50 feet with a 9mm Ruger rifle—at least I could before I developed a detached retina. I’m divorced and live on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with a poodle named Noodle and far too much crap in my apartment. Favorite and influencing writers include (but are not limited to) Hunter S Thompson, Edgar Allan Poe, Lester Bangs, Burroughs and George Plimpton and I prefer non-fiction over fiction by a long shot. I unabashedly take drugs and probably drink more than I should. I worship at the altar of Lenny Bruce and George Carlin, I have accepted that Alice Cooper is god, and I wish I’d fucked Janis Joplin.
You wrote The Complete Linda Lovelace, the only official biography of Linda Lovelace. Why did you decide to write this book?
Ironically, I wrote the book because Linda refused an interview request! There was a lot of press coverage when Ron Howard and Brian Grazer optioned the film rights to Linda’s fourth autobiography, Ordeal, which they ultimately didn’t make, and I thought it would be nice to have a mainstream writing credit somewhere. A friend in the industry gave me Linda Boreman’s phone number, so I called her up one night to discuss doing an interview.
I was very honest with her from the start, telling her I was a writer from New York and that I worked at Screw magazine for Al Goldstein. Posing as her own secretary, she politely said she’d give Linda my message then told me never to call her again. When I mentioned this to my friend, he said that since I had an interest in her story and was good at research, I should do a book on her.
Fast forward three years: I’ve finished the book and through my research discovered that there was a lot of truth to her story that she wasn’t being given credit for (by the porn community), so I called her again and told her I’d done a book that was coming out anyway—and that I thought she got kind of a raw deal in the press—so if she wanted to talk to me, I’d give her a platform that would reach porn and anti-porn folks alike. She liked that idea and said she’d like to meet me face-to-face to see if she trusted me; I went to see her in Colorado and we really hit off and she gave me the interview, which finally tied the whole project together. I self-published the book in 2001 and reissued the revised and updated edition late last year.
How did you go about getting the permission of Linda’s family and how hard was it to get it?
I didn’t need their permission to do it, nor would I have ever asked for it.
I’m sure you have seen the movie Lovelace; I know you were a consultant on it as well. How accurate would you say that movie was compared to the research that you conducted while writing your book?
Not very accurate at all. The original script was based on my book and followed it very closely, but after Linda’s kids and feminist lawyer Catharine A. MacKinnon were brought into the project, the truthful narrative was thrown out the window and the more feminist-friendly tale of Linda as perpetual victim was given the green light. There’s extremely little in the film that has any basis in reality, but at least they spelled my name right in the credits.
What is your opinion on Linda claiming she was a victim and being forced into doing porn?
I’ve always thought that Linda’s claim of performing “with a gun to [her] head” was metaphorical. Chuck Traynor was a well-known gun enthusiast who went on to open a gun store in Las Vegas in the ’80s. I think he might have opened a place called The Gun Store, which is my favorite shooting range in Vegas!
Linda was definitely a victim of domestic abuse; legendary stories of Linda coming to the set of Deep Throat black and blue from her beatings were confirmed in at least two 1974 interviews with Gerard Damiano: one in Screw with Al Goldstein and one in the Boston Phoenix with Bill O’Reilly. When I interviewed Andrea True for Penthouse Forum in 2005, she told me that she hated Chuck. He was a sadist and he abused Linda and treated her like shit.
As far as being forced into porn, there’s no way for anyone other than she and Chuck to know that definitively, although I’ll join the rest of the world in saying that it sure looked like she was enjoying it. She often said she had to look like she was into it to avoid further beatings, which frankly is the same reaction that comes from every woman in an abusive relationship, so for people to summarily dismiss her claims I think says more about them than about her. The several instances of industry people who were there for the dog films she did, for instance, claiming that she wasn’t forced into it are laughable; what person in his right mind would admit to a journalist that they were complicit in forcing a woman to fuck a dog on film?
You are also currently working for Penthouse Forum. How long have you been there and what is your current job there?
I’ve been a happy part of the Penthouse family of magazines for 15 years! I started as Associate Editor of Penthouse Forum and The Girls of Penthouse and I’m now Managing Editor of them both, so dreams do come true.
Before you started working for Penthouse Forum, you worked with Al Goldstein at Screw magazine. Al unfortunately passed away recently so I was wondering if there are any cool stories you’d like to share about your experience with him?
Most of them will appear in my screenplay, but I think the couple of times Al took me out to dinner with Debbie Harry were high points. Al was a tough motherfucker as a boss, but he taught me a lot about work ethic, publishing, pornography and media manipulation, which I’ll never master the way he did. Other times he was a fat fucking jerk-off who I wouldn’t have pissed on if he was on fire. Needless to say, I loved the guy and miss him a lot. The world isn’t the same knowing there’s no Al Goldstein in it.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the adult industry?
I’m anti-breast implant/botox/collagen and pro-condom. I hate porn parodies with a passion and won’t review them unless I have to. Gonzo is dead to me. More studios should pay better money for real scripts. Porn talent should be unionized, producers should pay for testing and condoms, porn talent and scriptwriters should get royalties for their work and be considered the employees they are and not independent contractors. More people should stop being thin- skinned jerk-offs and coming on someone’s face is not a Free Speech issue.
Some of my favorite directors are Mason, Jacky St. James, Gerard Damiano and Candida Royalle, all for far too many different reasons to discuss here. Some of my favorite female talents are Linda Lovelace, Georgina Spelvin, Andrea True, Tina Russell, Helen Madigan, Annette Haven, Sasha Grey, Asa Akira, Ash Hollywood and Annette Schwarz, among others. I prefer silent 8mm porn loops to DVD and 3D Blu-ray shit. I think Annie Sprinkle should be given a Kennedy Center Honor right after she pisses on Jesse Helms’ grave. And I had a serious romantic crush on Jeanna Fine when I was working at Screw.
Who are some of the people that you really want to work with but haven’t as of yet?
I’ve worked for lots of publishers in this business, lots of times with no byline. I’d like to have some non-fiction published in Playboy and Hustler someday, and I’d like one of my mentors, the fucking phenomenal Dian Hanson, to get me a one-book deal or a gig at Taschen!
I like to shoot guns, play pool, take drugs, go to oddball museums, and sleep as much as I can.
Are there any projects or special events coming up that you would like to promote, if so please do so?
One that I can’t talk about, plus I’d like to finish up The Complete Patty Hearst, which I’ve researched and outlined but haven’t had time to write, although the book as it exists in my head is fucking amazing.