AEE Report--XCritic Speaks To Living Legend, Tom Byron
By Rob Perez
When discussing the greatest male performers in the history of porn, no conversation is complete without mentioning Tom Byron. In the business since 1984, Byron has worked with virtually every major performer, studio, seen the business rise from its earliest days of VHS to the boom times of the Internet. And he shows no signs of slowing down. No other performer I’ve ever interviewed has ever been as candid and honest as Byron was when I caught up with him on the AEE floor in Las Vegas recently. He is passionate about the business, the product he creates, and is certainly not living in the past as he and his friend and partner, Rob Black were recently honored with a number of awards and nominations for the Taxi Driver Parody—produced by Byron and Black, directed by Black and starring Tommy Pistol in the most explosive role of the year. However, one can’t speak to Byron without talking about the past but make no mistake; Tom Byron is one of the most forward thinking producers, directors and performers around today.
How many AVNs does this make for you?
How many have there been? I think I’ve missed two. Two or three. Remember, Rob Black and I were banned from AVN for two years.
Why was that?
I don’t know. Being assholes. But we kissed and made up.
What AVN was the most memorable?
Hmmm? Probably the one where we won all the awards from Elegant Angel. That launched Extreme Associates. Plus they had it in Caesars Palace with a sumptuous feast and all that. That was definitely the apex, the pinnacle.
Has the convention gotten bigger, more corporate in your eyes? In other words, how would you describe the convention from back in the 80’s compared to today?
It seems like back in the 80’s we were more running and gunning it because there wasn’t a porn show per se. We were like the bastard child of CES (Consumer Electronics Show) that they shoved into a corner and pretend that we didn’t exist. Instead we got all the traffic. We spun off and did this. Back in the 80’s the Feds were following everybody around and everything else. Now we have the Internet.
Would you say the 90’s was when porn really exploded?
Depends on what you mean by exploded. The early 80’s home videos, VHS was an explosion. A lot of people made money pretty quickly back then. The Internet is probably another explosion. I’d be interested to see what the next explosion is. It will probably be something live.
How many AVN awards have you earned?
How many I have in my possesion, maybe four. I lost a bunch of them in a move. How many have I won altogether? I don’t know. Maybe 20. Fifteen, 20 over the years. Acting awards, directing, lines that I launched, stuff like that. I include everything.
Are you proud of those awards? I ask because there are some performers who don’t seem proud to have won awards.
Yeah. Those people who are not are the ones that fell into the business. I got into the business because I wanted to get into it. I sought the business out and got into the business because I wanted to be in it. The people who don’t care about accolades or the business itself, they’re the ones that probably won’t last that long. They’re the ones that are in it for the quick buck or quick thrill. I’m in it for the long haul. All this is important to me.
What are you here promoting?
I’m promoting Rob Black Productions which is a new venture we’re going into. Basically, the worse kept secret in porn this year is that Sinister X and General Stone, who have created all the Extreme Comixxx Superhero parodies, Rob Black directed all of them under the name Sinister X. Also he directed Taxi Driver which is up for eight AVN Awards. Tommy Pistol won an XBiz award for best actor. That was a movie we produced and Rob directed under the name General Stone. He took those names because when he got out of prison, we didn’t want all the attention to be on the guy that went to prison and did the hard-edge movies, which everyone does now. We wanted people to concentrate on the work itself, on the quality of the work itself. And they did because we’re swimming in nominations and we’ll probably win a couple. And it launched the brands.
Is there anyone from your 30 year career you haven’t seen in a while you would like to see again?
There’s probably a couple. Every once in a while I just run into them. Lauren Phoenix, I wish she would come back. I liked her. She fucking left too soon. Lauren if you’re around, I always liked you. You were actually one of the inspirations for me getting back into performing again. Right after I got back into the game she retired. I just really liked her.
What about your company, Tom Byron Pictures?
Well, Ivan is doing the main thrust of the production over there. I’m busy doing other things. I’m trying to see what the next step is because the gonzo dollar isn’t what it used to be. You have people like Jules Jordan and Evil Angel and all those people, and they’re doing it but even their numbers have gone down. The stuff that’s really selling that people are excited about and give a shit about and want to own as oppose to steal [is the parodies]. We’re creating collector’s items. That’s why we’re able to sell the numbers we sell on this stuff. It’s stuff that people want to own. The other stuff, the gonzo you know, any of those movies you can go on a tube sight and they’re there the next day. It’s disposable, assembly-line porn. How many times can you watch a girl bend over and rub oil on her ass? It’s like the same movies. That day is done, it’s over. I’m happy that it’s turning full circle back to the reason why I got into the business which was to be in big movies, to be an actor and to be a porn star. There are no porn stars in that crap. I want to create something memorable not something that you forget as soon as you jerk-off all over yourself. That’s what that stuff is.
You are one of the forefathers of gonzo with the stuff you did at Anabolic in the 90’s. Do you regret having created gonzo?
No. It’s had its day and I was very good at it and other people, they’re doing it now. It’s come full circle. As much as everyone complains how business is down and the tube sights . . . what it’s done is sort of shaken the tree a little bit. We got rid of all the fucking dead wood which I’m happy about. The people that are in this business and remain in this business are the ones that knuckle down and love this business and want to contribute to it and create memorable productions.
Visit www.tombyronpictures.com, www.robblackproductions.com, www.extremecomixxx.com.
Logos courtesy of Rob Black Productions, Tom Byron Pictures, Extreme Comixxx, Extreme Associates
Lauren Phoenix Image courtesy of Glamour Models Gone Bad
Follow me on Twitter @RobGPerez