Dick Wadd is one of the three long-standing studios still trading today. The studio was started back in 1997 by two real San Diego pigs who produced and directed content under the pseudonym Dick Wadd. They coined the term ‘bareback’ which has become the best-known term for a sex act ever – it even made it into the Oxford English Dictionary.
Dick Wadd did bareback movies when no-one else dared. And they cornered the market in extreme fetish sex with their two favourites: fisting and piss. Their very distinct black and white DVD covers dominated the porn charts and were the most expensive to buy. Yet they still sold in droves. Their classics include titles such as Niggas’ Revenge, Bay of Pigs, Cluster Fuck, and the Police series. Their most famous series, filmed in the world’s sleaziest sex clubs, included Pigs at The Troff, Pigs at The Zone, Rough Trade LA, Jackhammered, and their biggest seller – and most famous porn film ever – the incredible Pigs at The Hoist. This classic was recently voted the seventh most important gay porn film of all time.
The studio made very realistic and masculine muscle and bear/daddy porn before it became fashionable. That was around the time Rocco Steele, Austin Wolf, Cutler X, Ricky Sinz, Matthew Rush, Francois Sagat, and Dolf Dietrich were just learning how to jack their dicks at high school.
With most models in their late 20s to 40s, this was a strict ‘No Twinks’ zone. Just real men fisting, pissing, raping, and ass-fucking to their heart’s content. Even their business cards had a giant picture of a huge muscled hunk’s arm past the elbow in another fukka’s gaping fisting cavern. That was surely an eyeopener for a lot of their business contacts.
Paul Stag, who recently won Director of The Year and the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 Prowler European Porn Awards, started his adult film career at Dick Wadd. Paul spoke exclusively with the boss, Dick Wadd himself, for Alphatribe. Dick Wadd rarely gives interviews, but made an exception for his favourite fetish magazine.
How did Dick Wadd come about?
I have a watersports web site, waterboys.com, and host watersports parties. My friend, Wally, who had owned the infamous Mineshaft in New York, came to Wet n Hot (wetnhot.net – a watersports party that my partner and I founded in Palm Springs) in 1997. Wally said to me, “The world needs a good watersports video.” I thought to myself, I can do this! The rest is history.
Is it true you and your team coined the term ‘bareback’?
Yes and no. My partner came up with the word. We were sitting around one day and tossing out title ideas for a film. My partner said, “What about Bareback?” and I said, “That has a ring to it.” So I named my fifth video BAREBACK. I register all my titles, and Bareback is copyrighted to this day. The industry, and entire gay world, took to using the term for unprotected fucking.
What was the casting process like before social media and the internet?
For the first three videos, I just gathered fuck buddies from my personal life and parties and filmed us playing. I was Chet Thrasher in those videos. But I directed, filmed, and edited as Dick Wadd. After those videos came out, guys could print an application from the web site (online forms had not yet been invented!) and send in pics. I would then do a phone interview. I would also interview guys at leather events and video release parties.
What were the stars paid before the millennium? Did you ever have exclusives?
We paid models anywhere from US$500 to $1,500 for each production. I never had exclusives because I truly cared about the models. The life expectancy of a porn model is two to three years. It’s financially advantageous for a model to hit it hard. That means working for as many companies as possible until the market reaches saturation and they’re over exposed.
Most models know nothing of the business at the beginning of their careers, so I would explain this to them when they asked to be exclusives. I also explained that other companies that signed exclusives rarely fulfilled their part of the deal. The exclusives usually didn’t make the contracted number of videos. As a result, those models weren’t able to film with other companies. It meant they didn’t make much money, and by the time the contract ended, they were yesterday’s news.
Who are some of your favourite stars and who was the piggiest model you ever worked with?
My favourite models were the ones from the early days. I’m a certified public accountant (CPA) by training and my approach to videography was always collaborative. In my early, novice days, the models and I bonded and co-created the videos. Later, when I was well-seasoned in videography, I gave more technical direction.
The videos were always spontaneous, real, and unrehearsed. The only direction I gave was technical, like, “Get your hand out of the way.” I never felt I missed out on anyone or anything. I loved the porn business because I was able to utilise every skill I had ever acquired (finance, accounting, videography, marketing, fucking) and express myself fully through my work. What a gift!
I only worked with genuine pigs (my guys never did this for money, rather for self-expression). Each of them was incredibly hot and piggy in his own unique way. The 1990s were vastly different from today. Coming out as a pig in the ‘90s was tantamount to social suicide in the gay community. It’s been my experience that the more marginalised a group is, the more insightful and compassionate they are. As a result, I felt honoured to work with some of the nicest guys on the planet.
There were so many great tops in the videos (not that I would know from personal experience or the after parties, ahem!) so I can’t name anyone in particular. The bottom who stunned me (and it takes a hell of a lot to stun me) was Bud, who took a leg on camera one day.
Being a bareback studio in your early days must have been tough. Did you suffer industry criticism or legal obstacles?
My video, Bareback II – Crime Pays was nominated for a Best Production award at the 1998 AVN awards (the GayVNs had not yet been created). There were protesters everywhere. No-one knew what I looked like or who I was, so I just walked around and terrorised the picketers. I didn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of winning because of the controversial nature of the underlying material. Bruce Vilanch hosted that year and did a good job of deflecting the criticism.
The legal obstacles we faced were not due to barebacking in the videos, rather watersports and fisting. These practices were essentially illegal in many US jurisdictions and foreign countries. Many of the freedoms that viewers enjoy today are a direct result of companies like Dick Wadd. We fought aggressively to assert and maintain our First Amendment rights.
There was one year when the city council of Cathedral City (near Palm Springs) tried to stop us from having Wet n Hot, the world’s largest piss party which is still iconic to this day. We hired the best First Amendment lawyer in the US, at no small expense, and the city backed down.
As the industry has finally worked out what the viewers want and gone raw, how much hypocrisy have you seen from formerly ardent condom-only studios?
I am also a yoga teacher. I believe in karma, which is no more than actions and consequences. In the DVD days, I authored my own DVDs. I admonished my viewers to get safer sex education, then make informed choices – to weigh the risks inherent in any activity against the intrinsic enjoyment they receive from that activity. I was never a de-facto proponent of barebacking, even though it was what I exclusively portrayed, because for me, art imitates life.
I barebacked in my personal life and I’m a pig. Every single guy I ever hired was someone I would fuck and who got my dick hard. Every single activity ever depicted in my videos was an activity I enjoy. The videos are an authentic extension of the core of my being. I never sought commercial success. The videos were all unscripted. I was there to have piggy fun and document the process.
The models would gather the night before for a cast and crew dinner. That’s where I would see who had chemistry with whom. They would sometimes come up with a premise for the videos. We’d gather the next day and I would ask, “Who wants to go first?” The videos took shape organically from there.
In retrospect, it turns out that viewers prize authenticity and raw masculinity. Condoms don’t play on film and never did (Editor’s note: straight porn has never used condoms at any time – pre, during, or post the HIV/AIDS epidemic that started in 1981.)
Other directors and producers who were previously ardent opponents of bare-backing on film, are all now filming exclusively bareback. That’s because bareback is now the only profitable style of man-on-man video. These producers are 100-percent hypocritical, and worse. In the old days, they would maintain their stranglehold on the porn industry by blackballing any models who appeared in a bareback film, thus attempting to get and keep the prettiest models. I didn’t pay attention to those mercenary hypocrites. I just did my own thing because, as we all know, pretty doesn’t necessarily equal, or define, hot.
What have been the best and worst developments in porn over the last twenty years?
Online porn has been the death knell for most porn companies. Not only they are forced to compete with free content, they must also deal with rampant piracy.
The best development in porn has been the affordability and accessibility of video technology. That has made production available to companies and individuals that could not have afforded to produce 10 or 20 years ago. At the same time, the affordability of the technology has caused a general erosion in porn production values.
You specialised in fisting and piss, two of our readers’ favourite things! Have you had distribution problems with these titles?
As I mentioned earlier, these activities were illegal in many states and countries. We operated before the days of online porn, sending VHS tapes and DVDs all over the world. We were able to successfully satisfy our viewers’ appetites for our material. I cannot comment on how we did that. I’ll just say that we were very creative in our distribution methods.
Arguably your most famous film was Pigs at The Hoist. What was it like filming that porn blockbuster?
It was an extremely difficult film to make. I never allowed any drugs on my sets… period! But I know other companies routinely plied their models with drugs.
Pigs at The Hoist was the costliest video I ever filmed. It was a budgetary stretch as I had to fly myself and my crew to London, the world’s most expensive city at the time. And we had to fly the models in from all over Europe, house and feed us all, and pay the models.
I had hoped to film a video and a sequel at the same time. However, it was apparent on the first day that I would, at best, only be able to film one video because several of the models were fucked-up on coke. I had to hire a rent-a-cop, pat the guys down, and quarantine them in a holding pen the second day in order to get enough footage for a video.
Despite the challenges, it was a joy to film that video because the guys were so fucking piggy and they represented raw masculinity at its pinnacle. Every single guy in that video was a walking, talking, physical embodiment of a Tom of Finland character. And they were all unapologetically, joyfully piggy.
Your Niggas’ Revenge series, where rough white racist rednecks are gang-raped by huge raw black cocks, was infamous and so damned hot! What feedback did you receive?
I debuted Niggas’ Revenge at Mid-Atlantic Leather to a crowd of about 50 guys standing around my booth, most of whom were black. I was scared shitless. Midway through the first scene, the standers by started cheering. I never had any adverse feedback about those videos, largely because the white supremacist assholes who taunted the black guys always got their comeuppance, which is how it should be. There is no place in the world for racism.
You were the last bareback studio to attend the IML leather market before the 2009 ban on bareback. Thanks largely to the campaigning of Blue Bailey/Stefan Ferris, that ban is now being lifted. How do you feel about the situation and will you attend again?
I run a values-based organization. One of our organizational value statements is, “We support those persons and institutions that support our growth and development.” IML did not support us, so we stopped supporting the event. I have not attended IML since the ban was instituted, nor will I ever return.
You were and still are heavily involved in the world’s biggest and best watersports event Wet n Hot held every July in Palm Springs. What are your best memories from that fantastic celebration of piss play?
My partner and I founded Wet n Hot in 1997. To this day, WnH is my favourite event, bar none. The first WnH drew 238 pigs from eight different countries. As I mentioned, at that time, being an out pig was tantamount to social suicide. Guys everywhere were furtive pigs, sneaking around and looking for other pigs who were few and far between and very hard to find.
I was writing the Waterboys magazine at the time and the waterboys.com website. I would hand-code the personal ads for the site as a free labour of love. I advertised the event in the Waterboys magazine and pigs came from all over the world.
When we all gathered that first year, guys were crying because they had never met so many likeminded souls before. The event was at once uber piggy and spiritual. We have done everything we can to maintain the original nature and character of the event, and have succeeded in that vein.
WnH is the piggiest, most inclusive event I know of. Guys of all ages, body types, and gender identities attend and are welcomed into the fold. My fondest memory at WnH was in 2016, when some attendees learned that I was the event’s founder. A group of guys blindfolded me and threw me into a wading pool the first night. When they took off the blindfold, there were guys standing around with their cocks in my face, jacking off and pissing. There was a steady stream of between 80 and 90 guys and streams that lasted over 15 minutes. I couldn’t count the number of piss and cum loads I took. I also took home eight wet, well-seasoned jocks that night.
WnH is a place where dreams come true, and mine certainly did that year.
What are you most proud of from your illustrious piggy career?
I am most proud of WnH, and the friendships and relationships that have been forged there. I can’t count the number of guys who tell me that they met their husbands or partners at WnH. Nor can I count the number of guys who have told me that WnH was the best time they’ve had in their lives, or that the event changed their lives in some meaningful way.
To have facilitated those meetings and experiences, and to serve the amazing pig community, is an honour and a privilege. I’d like your readers to check out WnH. There are reviews from prior years by our attendees that will give them an idea of how unique and magical the event is. We had 987 very satisfied pigs in attendance this year. If you’re a pig, do yourself a favour and check out WnH.