Music News

Unholy Union


So says the press release issued by Vivid Video, a porn purveyor.

Oh, joy.

Porn star Raylene will add zing to a Thunderbird Zia in-store appearance by Grammy-nominated metal goobs Pantera. This will precede the band's co-headlining stint at Ozzfest.

"This is the latest example," the press release intones, "of the mainstreaming of adult film celebrities now seen as part of the country's entertainment fabric."

Mainstreaming of adult film celebrities?

Entertainment fabric?


Porn and rock, now there's something to think about. Or yawn about.

Beware of any band using porn stars as a coattail to badassness, or worse, fame. Or porn stars who use rock 'n' roll as a springboard to notoriety or some level of mainstream respectability, or worse, fame.

As tired as the mix of porn-meets-rock is, the blend just keeps getting worse. Consider Blink 182's gazillion-selling schoolyard jock-rocker, which put porn pet Janine's CD cover photo in the bubblegum-sticky hands of millions of kids years below the age of consent. Consider porn stars cavorting in everything from Kid Rock to Everclear videos. And consider the multitude of porn stars on stage, in videos and on TV with some of the most inglorious rock mooks imaginable.

If you suspect all this has taken the danger and risk and fun out of both rock 'n' roll and porn, you're right. Both genres lose their senses of rebellion and impurity.

A porn star appearing at a record store -- a store that doesn't even sell adult entertainment products -- is just one more overused and exploitative marketing method. If Pantera is supposed to be this brutal, kick-ass, take-no-prisoners, anti-commercial kind of speed-metal outfit -- if that's what it wants the kids to see -- then why stoop to such obvious manipulation?

"The fusion is the perfect extension for the band and Vivid girls," says Brian Gross, Vivid's PR flack.

Mike Albo, editor of Hustler Erotic Video Guide, isn't buying rock's embrace of the skin trade.

"I'm really surprised that [kids] don't realize how they are just being blatantly manipulated," Albo says. "It's like, 'We got like the whole drug outlaw thing happening and now we got the porno chick here. We'll come to your store and, see, kids, we're radical, buy our record.' I don't really get it. I would think that most kids who are into the whole radical idea would take one look at that and go, 'We're being manipulated and these guys suuuck!'"

Yet porn stars on talk shows and gracing album covers can't be as bad as director/musician Matt Zane's frightful, self-congratulatory Backstage Sluts series -- porn "movies" that dress up Zane's messianic rawk-star posturing while reducing women to baloney dartboards for Eve 6 and play toys for overweight ogres like Ron Jeremy, all the while cheered on by Zane's own poseur band of mouth-breather zeroes, otherwise known as Society One. Zane's preening is second only on the hurl meter to his sycophantic sidling up with "real" rock stars and querying them in his videos with such gee-whiz questions as "What's backstage groupie action like?" and "What really goes on on a tour bus?"

Along with the vulgar sex, the Backstage Sluts series features interviews with everyone from Limp Bizkit to Coal Chamber, from Papa Roach to the Backyard Babies.

Backstage groupie action? Tour bus shenanigans? What year is this? Where's Grand Funk Railroad?

And what of saint Zane's Society One record released last year, the oh-so-cleverly titled Slacker Jesus? A Kornish/Bizkit record that is positively one of the worst records ever, ever to be committed to a digital beer coaster.

Albo: "The whole thing lately that really strikes me as odd is this whole pandering toward the mainstream. I think it's this big marketing ploy that's just really stupid and lame. But obviously some people are going for it. We'll do interviews with certain girls for the magazine and a lot of them now like just to bolster their street credibility. It's like, 'I was one of the dancers on the Verve Pipe's new video!' 'So, hey, that's groovy, does that improve your blowjob technique?'"

This whole attempt at outrageousness by sheer proxy is hilarious. There's nothing shocking about rock 'n' roll badassness anymore, and even less with porn these days. Once porn is demythologized, little is left but its own gratuity, the sense of its own absurd gestures. Your old man's porn magazines seem much more appealing than does some Zane gonzo feature that sees rock-star mooks watching confused girls from Texas or Ohio getting plowed.

Aside from movies such as Couch Tails and 69 Hours, you may recognize Raylene from the Everclear vid of the Thin Lizzy cover "The Boys Are Back in Town," or on the Brougham debut CD booklet cover, or dancing at the 2000 Grammy Awards with Kid Rock.

Raylene is also on the soon-to-be-released record called Deep Porn, an abomination of porn star/rock star duets (George Clinton with Shayla LaVeaux doing "Spanka-Vision," DJ Muggs with Heather Hunter doing a ditty called "69," and Kid Rock with Midori on a duet called "F.M.A.," etc.). Raylene provides vocal tracks to an AK 1200 tune.

For porn to remain useful, it should stay under the bed, dim and filthy. Not on the Grammys or CD jackets purchased by 12-year-olds or on the E! Entertainment network.

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Brian Smith
Contact: Brian Smith