By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
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Aaron Muentz—who hasn't been called Aaron Probe for a while now—finds it kind of funny that there are whole websites full of naked punk girls on the Internet now. He remembers one poor desperate kid in Idaho carrying around a ratty copy of Probe zine for most of the early '90s because that was all the naked punks he was ever gonna see. And he remembers the huge shitstorm that settled on his doorstep once he casually tossed a few topless pictures of a girl (and later some naked guys) in the first issue of his zine, becoming one of a handful of people who had tried—after a fashion—to marry punk and porn.
"It doesn't seem that long ago, but the attitude to nudity in the punk scene was kind of different than it is now," he says. "I started by accident, and it ended up being my crusade. You had the Christian value system coming at you from one side, and then you had the politically correct thing. More often than not, people were for it. But when they were against it, they hated your guts."
He was accused of getting girls drunk and tricking them into posing, of exploiting women and exploiting the scene. People called for a boycott; a clerk at Amoeba Records pulled his mag off the shelf. But he also remembers bringing a box of 60 hot-off-the-presses copies to a show and selling every one in seconds. And until now, that was pretty much how punk porn was going to work: at the basement show, they'll hate you; but in the bedroom? It's usually a different story.
Like early punk, early punk porn was comparatively abrasive and intense, rubbing up against the queer scene, the fetish scene, even the avant-garde art scene. Maybe that's why it never really penetrated to the more mainstream sectors of the music. In the early '80s, a gay skin mag in LA called In Touch hit up Henry Rollins for some sexy shots and asked him what he thought of his gay following (for the record, he said he was very flattered); Richard Kern and Lydia Lunch fist-fucked formulaic mainstream porn with such films as Fingered and Right Side of My Brain as part of New York's no-wave film scene at roughly the same time. But there has never been breakout punk porn—like thousands-of-visitors-per-day punk porn—until now.
"It says more about porn than it does punk," says Spooky. "I look at myself as a punk rock guy doing a little porn. The mainstream is more accepting of adult content, and probably every subculture is more comfortable with it now. We just happened to be punk rocker/Goth kids. This is the only thing we knew."
* * *
"Punk porn?" laughs Mari Macha. "Real punk porn would be free. It'd be Xeroxed—it wouldn't take itself seriously. It would be something that would be so ridiculous you couldn't even get off on it, and it would go out of its way not to feature standard beauties. And if standard beautiful women did get featured, it'd be in the context of being a joke."
Mari is a model—as well as a writer—for Punk Erotic, the Southern California site that trades on the grittier, scarier side of punk, eschewing the scrubbed-up women of Suicide Girls for Sid-and-Nancy style shots. When she's not writing or modeling, she's got a very respectable job—we won't say what—in a very local city—we won't say where. She connected with Punk Erotic because she thought there was a little of the spirit of punk in the raw photography of webmaster Geoff Cordner, a professional who got started in punk with the Big Boys and the Dicks in Austin in 1978. But Mari has looked at the competition, too. So far, she thinks a lot of this so-called punk porn is—basically—bullshit. At least as punk. As porn, it's just the same old thing. Interaction between the models and the members, feel-good working conditions and female-friendly content aren't enough, she says. If punk porn is an alternative, it should have something alternative to say about what's sexy, what's erotic, what's worth $9.95 per month for wank-related activity. And it should start, she says, by offering alternative girls.
"Punk is supposed to be anti-beauty, anti-fashion, an anti-aesthetic," she says. "So why is it that a lot of these girls on the sites, if devoid of punk trappings, would totally fit the mainstream image? You could clean these girls up and put them in a regular magazine, and it's not just one or two of them—it's all of them. And if you could put them in a regular magazine, that defeats the purpose because it's exclusionary in the end. It's discriminatory. If you cleaned these girls up, people would still want to jerk off to them. And you know what? They're all fucking white. I'm Mexican, and when I see something that's like a big fucking white blanket, I notice if there aren't any spots. But traditionally, punk is really white, too."