Funk and Spunk

Back in the '70s, funk reigned supreme not only in films like Shaftbut in shaft-like films. Today's porn flicks are mostly videos with throwaway tunes mixed among the grunts and groans. How did this evolution happen?

While Marilyn Chambers, John Holmes and Harry Reems were pumping away, flicks like The Opening of Misty Beethoven, Behind the Green Door and Deep Throat all sported a pumping bass and scratch guitar.

When there wasn't funk, there was a hint of high art: The classical score from 1973's The Devil in Miss Joneswas one of the very few adult soundtracks to wind up on a CD. Composed by Alden Schuman, who received an Emmy nomination the previous year for his TV work, it could easily be mistaken for something from an ABC Movie of the Week. And give the makers of Debbie Does Dallas (1978) some credit for mixing in a little marching music.

By the '80s, however, adult films moved to video, and production quality crumbled. Suddenly hundreds of videos were filling the back-room shelves of pre-Blockbuster vid-rental shops. MTV was setting the trends, and fuck-fests like New Wave Hookers (1985) and Blame It On Ginger(1986) featured lots of gaudy synth-pop amid the neon and lace.

Come the '90s, porn producers apparently realized that they could simply plug in computerized musical sequences, and no one would care.

"Most people don't give a shit about the music they put into their videos," says Shane Hewitt, a star in more than 45 skin-flicks who stopped acting and got into producing and directing two years ago when she married Orgy drummer Bobby Fernandez. "You wouldn't put elevator music on if you were having sex with your girlfriend, would you?"


The Camera Loves 'Em

The line between porn and the rest of the entertainment industry definitely has gotten blurrier, and many porn starlets have even found their way into music videos.

Metallica recently chose prima-vixen Ginger Lynn to star in its "Turn the Page" video. Janine graces the cover of Blink 182's new album and stars in their latest video. Madison, who left the porn biz to pursue her own musical career, found her way into vids with Mötley Cruë, Prince, Lenny Kravitz and Billy Idol.

Some of these crossovers can be found on Porn to Rock, an album that features musical attempts from everyone from Ginger Lynn, who offers the pallid "Fantasy World," replete with horrific '80s-style vocals, to Midori, who gives out one of the album's better tracks: "5,10,15,20" a dance-heavy hip-hop piece about lap dancing.

Madison, who sings and plays guitar on the album's poppy "Man on the Moon," explains her career change: "It was time for me. I had fun, made some money and traveled the world, but porn wasn't my vision for a career. Music was my vision. I like music because it's expressive— from the inside out, not vice versa."


Revival of the Fittest

Those who lament the overall decline of X-rated scores can check out Oglio Records' Sex-O-Rama, which contains remakes of tunes from porn classics. But occasionally there are some newer porn flicks that tickle the ear as well as other parts.

The Wicked One (1995) with Jenna Jameson opens with pulsating techno-beats and Gregorian chanting, and its soundtrack runs the gamut from techno rave-ups to psuedo-metal with layered drum machines and computerized bleeps. Cheap, easy and artificial, it gets an A for effort.

Pornogothic, released last year, sports the dark and foreboding sounds you'd expect it to. Starlets adorned in Lost Boys-styled makeup appear as ravenous, Oscar Wilde-quoting vampires who descend on goth-club patrons for "dressing like a bunch of freaks, mutilating their skin and playing bad fucking music."

And perhaps the all-time best stroke-and-poke soundtrack accompanies Nina, Shayla & Kylie's Barcelona Home Video (1997), which sports an original score by Fishbone and even features footage of the band recording some tracks. Kylie Ireland, a porn star with 150 videos under her belt during the past five years, also works as a publicist for VCA Pictures and nabbed Fishbone to do the soundtrack.

It's no surprise to her that, back in the day, funk and porn seemed to go hand in hand.

"Funk has a natural rhythm," she says. "Wouldn't you have sex to it?"

Which means that funk makes her horny?

"I think about sex all the time," says Ireland, "so no."

 
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