Porn is a hard act to follow. Literally.
But former skin-flick actor Colton Ford, whose foray into filmed fornication gained him underground notoriety in 2002, is trying to put his penis-bearing past behind him.
Two years ago he allowed cameras to follow his transition from porn star to pop star in the documentary film Naked Fame. And now, the fruit of that years-long labor has come to fruition as Ford drops his debut album, Tug of War, a glistening, gutter-rich release that gives his chops a shot at professional redemption.
The question is, will anyone accept his shift from tight-abed top to talented troubadour? Or will the cocksure crooner forever be the hunk who played 'Head Games'?
In a recent interview, Ford attempts to untangle that tawdry web—in anticipation of Tug of War's February release—by detailing how he became an adult-film A-lister, the reason he has no regrets, why his new career makes perfect sense, and why he thinks you should bank on him.
Because, if all goes well, there truly won't be a check his ass can't cash.
Michael A. Knipp: There's no point in beating around the bush, so let's get right to it. Before you embarked on your new career as a recording artist you were a porn star. How did you fall into that career?
Colton Ford: First, let me clarify something. I've been a recording artist for about 25 years, and I've been performing and making music all of my life. I did porn for 10 months. What I'm doing now with my music is a continuation of a long journey for me. The opportunity to do porn came to me six years ago through my partner at the time, Blake Harper.
MK: How old were you when you started making adult films? What were you doing before you turned to porn? Why did you decide to go that route?
CF: I was 39 when I did porn. Before that, I was in a jazz quartet, had two major label deals, was signed to Denise Rich, paired up with Frankie Knuckles, basically just doing my musical thing. In between my deals, I had a corporate job. The corporate experience was always a means to an end, and it had to end. An opportunity to do porn came to me through my partner at the time, and after thinking about it I decided to go for it. It enabled me to get out of corporate America, experience a fantasy with my partner and create Colton Ford, which I've used to draw attention to my other endeavors.
MK: What was it like filming sex and getting paid for it? Did it demean your intimate encounters in any way?
CF: It was work. Sure, there were moments of pleasure, but the priority was to get the shots needed for the scene. Very mechanical. As for getting paid for it, I wouldn't have done it otherwise. It in no way demeaned anything in my mind, but it does require that you diligently separate the whole porn thing from your every day experience.
MK: Did you ever feel morally bankrupt? How did your family take it when the first film came out?
CF: For me, the whole preoccupation with the porn experience is kind of funny. I mean it is what it is, and [ it ] has the weight that you give it. I would feel morally bankrupt if I was somewhere shooting at people, you know what I mean? This is just consentual sex. Everyone does it, and some people share it with others. It's that simple. My family has been cool. They know who I am and recognize that the experience didn't change me.
MK: Any regrets?
CF: No regrets. It was a very unique experience and adventure.
MK: With that behind you, now you're breaking out as a pop artist. You've been performing music on and off for 25 years, but why now did you want to leave the adult industry and pursue a music career?
CF: My musical endeavors have been a constant in my life. I got everything out of my porn experience that I was going to get, so when it was time for me to move on, it was time for me to move on. It just so happened that things started opening up again with my music right around the time I was getting out of the adult industry.
MK: How is it going for you so far?
CF: It's going great! Things are really starting to move now that we are getting closer to the release of the album. The business of music is, by its nature, unstable and out of control. I just try to stay focused on the things that I can control and enjoy all that is happening now.
MK: Are you dealing with any resistance within the music industry because of your previous profession?
CF: As you would probably expect, there are some people that are having difficulty viewing my project as a credible one but that's OK. They'll come around. I'm getting a tremendous amount of support outside of that small group.
MK: I've heard some of your songs and they're not bad. But, it's probably gonna take a lot more than a good song for people to take you seriously. How do you plan to combat the haters?
CF: Well, I would encourage any 'hater' to listen to the whole album before they form their opinion. There's a lot in there musically that I think speaks to a wide audience. Beyond that, I try not to personalize shit. Love [ the book ] The Four Agreements! I keep my eye on the prize, push forward, and continue to represent my intentions through my work.
MK: How do you think mainstream America will accept your music, or are you specifically targeting the LGBT demographic?
CF: Mainstream America is Gay America, Black America, Hispanic American, Asian America, etc. I'm targeting anyone who is open to what I think is great music. I'm looking to reach people of all types, ages and backgrounds. Now, I am fully aware that music is a subjective thing. What one person feels is hot, another person may not necessarily like. I just try and please myself musically and get my work out there for people to hear.
MK: What do you hope to accomplish with your debut disc?
CF: I hope to reach as many people as I can with my music, and put myself on the map in a way that affords me the luxury of living comfortably off of my art. Anything beyond that would be icing on the cake.
MK: I'm not trying to jinx you in any way because I certainly admire your determination and the hurdles you'll metaphorically have to jump as you try to make a name for yourself in the music industry, but what will you do if this project doesn't work out as well as you hope? Will you try again? Will you return to adult films?
CF: Quite honestly, I'm trying diligently not to get ahead of myself here. Now that's not to say that I haven't thought about the future and the possibilities. I have, of course. I just don't want to get stuck there and distracted. My being present now and attentive to the business that I currently have on my plate will put me in a much better place with my career on down the line. If I was consumed with and caught up in my fears about the future, I would be missing out on all the good things that are happening now.
MK: What's the one thing that you want people to know about that they don't?
CF: I'm actually straight. I just did the gay thing for my career. [ Laughs ]
Michael A. Knipp is a freelance writer and founder of Line/Byline Communications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .