September 21, 1999
STORY AND TOP PHOTO BY VINCENT LAMBERT
It is September 21, 1999, and Will Clark is still recovering from the second-annual Bad Boys Pool Party a few days before. The 29-year-old porn veteran—who has appeared in 35 films over the past four years—conceived and organized the event to benefit Aid for AIDS, a Los Angeles–based charity. Casually dressed in jeans and sporting his trademark buzz cut, Clark is relieved that the pool party was a success despite less-than-perfect weather. As he good-naturedly talks about his longevity in an industry in which he is almost as well known for his charity work as for his films, it’s easy to see why this redheaded Iowa native has bucked all the odds to become one of gay porn’s longest-running and hardest-working stars.
You are known in the porn industry for both your movies and your humanitarian work. Tell us how you got your start.
Well, I’d been working in New York as an actor. I got a role in an off-off Broadway show in the winter of 1995. I had been in New York for about a year. It was at the Wings Theatre in the Village, and the show was called The Lascivious Transformation of Mr. X. It was this insane, nutty play. After that, I got all these auditions. But I realized I didn’t want to be out of work for six months or do Meet Me in St. Louis on the road. I wanted to act, but I had trouble finding roles. I just didn’t fit anything. I wasn’t the type they were looking for. No one was casting a young, redheaded male. So to earn money, I started go-go dancing at Limelight and Tunnel and Palladium. I also started doing escort work, and I really enjoyed that (laughs).
Did you have any qualms about using your body to make a living?
No, but I kinda thought, “Who would pay money to have sex with me?” I wasn’t a hunk or anything. At the time, as an actor, I spent a lot of time living in my head. But I didn’t think of myself as a sexual object. To then have someone pay me to dance…it was a huge compliment. I was very self-conscious and pale and thin. I worked out, but I wasn’t bulked up.
Had your Iowa upbringing prepared you for this?
No (laughs). I was from a conservative, white-bread, Republican family. I had a very normal childhood. I lived in the same house all growing up. My parents were together. They were very affectionate. My father died of cancer when I was 17. We didn’t really talk about sex. It wasn’t in the fabric of our household. When I hear other people’s stories, I think, “Thank God.” There were no huge family traumas.
What were your first experiences with sex like?
Sex kinda came later for me—really, really late. I made jokes about sex with the neighborhood kids. I remember one kid saying, “Fucking is when two people kiss with no clothes on.” I tried to think what was wrong with that. Jerking off came late. I had a few wet dreams, but I didn’t quite put two and two together. No one explained it to me. It wasn’t until I was almost out of my teens (laughs), well, 20, when I was at college that I did it. I used to wear sweatpants without underwear, and it started rubbing and I got hard, then had the discharge. And I got this wave of pleasure.
Did you have a roommate?
Yeah, and thank God he wasn’t there at the time. Oh, my God. And I was like, “What just happened? And how can I do it again?” I was like a sexual moron.
Did you use porn at all?
Well, in my junior year, my roommate had a subscription to Sports Illustrated, and I started jerking off to the swimsuit issue. It was the only thing that was available. My first experiences with porn were a few years later. There was a guy I had been corresponding with in St. Louis, and he brought out a porn tape. It was really stupid. The guys were in a frat house, and they were having sex in the kitchen. I thought the acting was crappy.
Did you think it was something you could do?
It never occurred to me. I wasn’t interested.
Had you dated a lot in school—guys or girls?
Well, I’ve always had an interest in both. I had fooled around with girls here and there, but nothing too serious. I didn’t have much time to date in high school. Also, when my dad got sick, the last thing I wanted to deal with was that. After I started jerking off, I met a girl and we fooled around. We didn’t go all the way, though. Then I met this really hot British guy. He was great. He laughed at my jokes! I tried to fuck him, but he wasn’t into it. So he fucked me. It was kind of awful at first, painful. But then it got better.
Okay, so you ended up in New York…
Yeah, so I was in New York and doing some dancing. Then, I decided to be a writer. A promoter I was working for in 1995 said, “I know some people at Falcon. Why don’t you send your pictures to them?” So I did.
And what did Falcon say?
They said, “You’re too white, you’re too hairy, you’re a redhead. We don’t care for any of that stuff. And you need to bulk up.”
Did you take that personally?
I knew that already; I knew I wasn’t the Falcon type. They weren’t interested, which was too bad because I would have loved to have work for them. But it got me thinking. I hooked up with some old friends in San Francisco and one friend, Rob Boxer, had worked for Hot House. So I called up Steven Scarborough and went over there. I did the whole interview thing—in my clothes. They took me into the other room and said they wanted me to take my clothes off and get a hard-on. They were worried that I thought they were objectifying me. But I was, like, “Objectify me! That’s why I’m here!”
And that led to your first film?
Yeah, they put me in Dr. Goodglove, in which I fisted Steve Pierce. And I didn’t really know what I was doing. I was fisting this guy and going, “Where is the erotic thrill? I’m sticking my hand up someone’s ass.” It was no big deal to me. I kept asking if Steve was okay, and both Steve Pierce and Steven Scarborough were like, “You don’t have to keep asking that. The man can take a Mack truck up his ass!” All I could think of were legal problems if I damaged his ass!
Before doing the film, did you give a lot of consideration as to whether or not you should?
I figured I’d do a couple of movies, get it out of my system and move on. I also figured if anyone saw it, I would be a writer by then and no one would know what I looked like. I figured it was irrelevant to my life. I said I didn’t want to be on any box covers, though. I thought that would protect me a bit. Because it was different if someone watched the movie versus just walking by the box. But before I knew it, I had done six movies in about six weeks.
Does your family know about the movies?
Do they know you’re gay?
Are they cool with that?
They’re okay. It’s not something we talk about. I have taken my boyfriend home a couple of times. They like him and think he’s nice, but they sort of have a problem with the gay thing.
Let’s talk about some of the directors you’ve worked with. Do you have a favorite?
I like David Thompson a lot. We’re friends, and he’s a former porn star, so he runs a very casual, loose set. There is work to be done, but there’s a loose feeling. I did a scene for Mark Kleim for Brush Creek. He’s a kooky guy in San Francisco, and I had one of the best times with him. He just said, “Go have sex and I’ll film it.” He was so laid-back. I’ve worked with Chi Chi LaRue, and that was great. I did Night Walk with Gino Colbert. He’s also kinda laid-back, but you work long days with him because he’s so meticulous. He’s also got great stories.
What do you think is your best work?
Well, some I haven’t seen.
Do you usually watch your own films?
I used to, but I’ve kind of fallen behind. I’ve got about 10 at home sitting in my drawer that I haven’t had time to watch. The one I always tell friends to get is Island Guardian, which I did about three years ago in Hawaii for Titan. York Powers and I had this amazing scene in the mud.
Who is your favorite person to work with?
Cole Tucker is up there. But it’s hard for me to separate the people I like from how good the scene is.
Is there anyone you’d like to work with?
I’d love to work with Jason Branch and Blake Harper. Tom Matthews is also amazingly hot. Tommy Lord is cute too. And Dean Phoenix is the best kisser in the industry. We made out in a scene in SNAFU, and a year and a half later, I still remember that kiss!
What do you attribute your longevity to?
I think it’s a combination of things. I have a popularity with fans, and that’s important. I’ve been good at marketing on the Web. I take care of my fans when I tour—give them pictures and promotional materials. The columns I write and the fund-raisers I do help raise awareness of my presence. Everything sort of blends together. Plus, I’ve been very lucky. I mean, I’ve thought the career has ended at least a thousand times because the phone stops ringing. And it does for everybody. And you get to a point where you say, “I guess I’m over now. I had a good run.” Then you do other things, and suddenly, boom, you get another movie.
Do you think it has anything to do with how you constantly change your image?
I think the change in looks has given me a certain longevity. It was serendipitous because I started out looking a certain way because I thought that was what others wanted. When I was dancing, I thought I’d work the apple-pie look. I like the apple-pie look, but it’s not who I really am. Then, I shaved my chest for a while because I figured that was what porn people looked like. But over time, I became more comfortable with myself and my career. It’s become a reflection of who I really am. I’ve enjoyed the evolution, the story arc of my character, and so have the fans. That way, I can be all things to all people. Now, I’m back where I started.
Let’s talk about your charity work and the humanitarian awards you’ve won. How did you first get involved?
Well, I started doing charity work in June of ’97. When I lived in Chicago, I worked as a volunteer for Stop AIDS Chicago. Then I did a couple of little fund-raisers in New York. At one, I saw Blue Blake and how great he was onstage. I didn’t think I could ever host a show as well as he did. I was in awe. Then in ’97, I called Aid for AIDS and asked if I could help. That started a huge chain of events. The same week I had won a leather title in New York, Mr. Northeast Drummer. At the same time, I met my boyfriend, Rob, that same day, and my Web site [www.willclarkusa.com] started that day too. So June 15, 1997 was a huge day. After that first benefit at the Gauntlet, I thought, “This is something fun that I could do.” I started calling people I knew in the leather community and asking if I could do something at their bar for their favorite charity. And it snowballed from there.
Did you create the Bad Boys Pool Party event yourself?
Yeah. I did this birthday party for myself and Dino DiMarco and Sam Dixon in March of ’98. And after that, I was talking to Mickey Skee and he was doing promotion for his Bad Boys of Video book. And I was in the book, and I thought some other guys in the book would make great bartenders. I said, “Hey, why not call it the Bad Boys Pool Party and promote Mickey’s book and the guys in the book?” And that became the hook of the party. And it evolved from that. The first party earned $8,300, and the second earned $10,600. And the first birthday party earned a hair under $4,000. All three benefited Aid for AIDS’ general fund and the Joey Stefano Fund, which benefits porn stars with HIV and AIDS. It’s been really rewarding to see people in the industry benefit from the fund. And it’s been fun—the fans get to meet their favorite stars, the studios and stars get publicity, and the charity raises money. It’s a win-win situation. That’s how I like to operate my life. Everybody gets something out of the experience. There are no losers.
So, where do you hope to take all this?
Well, that’s an interesting question. I’ve signaled the demise of my career many times and then something comes up. I thought this was just a little six-week thing I was going to do, and here I am four years later, still going strong, with columns in three magazines [Dude, SkinFlicks and International Leatherman] and an online column [Porn Star Confidential, which is syndicated to seven different Web sites]. I estimate about 2,000 people read my online column every week. I also write an online journal, which people like. And I do all the fund-raisers.
And you’ve won all those awards. Tell us which ones.
Well, I won the Leo Ford Humanitarian Award at last year’s GEVAs. I won the Special Award for Gay Causes at the AVNs, and Aid for AIDS gave me a gratitude award at the last pool party because I’ve raised $25,000 for them in the past two years. And I calculate I’ve raised about $50,000 to $60,000 for a variety of other causes. But I couldn’t do it without the stars, the companies, the fans and their generosity. I live by the adage, Give the fans what they want, then give them more! It’s a great way to live.
Reprinted from Manshots magazine (1999)
September 20, 1999
BY VINCENT LAMBERT
Lean and lanky Thomas Lloyd arrives at the French Market restaurant in West Hollywood fresh from his workout. Wearing a tank top, shorts and a baseball cap, the 32-year-old screen stud orders coffee and lights up the first of many cigarettes. Settling all six feet and three inches of himself into a chair at an outdoor table, the star of such films as Redwood, Fallen Angel II, Dirty Hairy and Animus begins talking about his Topeka, Kansas, roots, and what led him to Los Angeles and the business of making porn. It is September 20, 1999.
You’ve had quite a year. How did you get involved in the industry?
Well, it’s a long story, but it was a total accident is what it boils down to. When I was 30 years old, I was still living in Kansas City and I went through a midlife crisis.
At 30! I spent the entire day in bed on my 30th birthday with the covers drawn up over me and the shades closed. I was Mr. Doom and Gloom because I was trapped in Kansas, and I really wanted to work on my music and get it out there to the public. But I wasn’t able to do that in Kansas.
What did you do in the years leading up to 30?
I went to college for three years in Topeka and spent my senior year at university in France. After that, I returned to Kansas and went into postgraduate studies for secondary education. But during my student teaching, I was repressed. I had just come to terms with my homosexuality at the age of 26. When I came out, I came out! I was tired of being in the closet.
Had you dated women?
Yes. I had known since the age of three that I was attracted to men, but I was an only child. I was adopted. We lived in the country, distant from other people. I was a strange kid. I didn’t have a whole lot of friends. So I didn’t know that other people didn’t feel this way.
I was just weird. I’ve always been independently minded, always doing very strange things. I was like a mad scientist because I was always into science fiction. I loved Star Trek. I’d be off by myself, in my own little world, even when I was with other people. I spent most of my time in the school library.
But you knew that you had these feelings for men?
Yes, but I aped everyone else. I started dating women, like everyone else. I pushed those feelings aside. But I didn’t really think in a sexual manner. I mean, I remember my dick getting hard, but I didn’t associate that with anything sexual. I had no idea! I was 17 before I ever masturbated. And my cousin showed me how. We jacked off a bit together, just ourselves, side by side. But I thought he was really hot. That was when I realized that I was very different.
What do you remember about your discovery?
Oh gosh, there was so much at once. I was totally intrigued with it. I’m sure my mother wondered why there were fingerprints in her can of Crisco because that was my favorite lubricant. (laughs)
What happened when you were 26 that made you come bursting out of the closet?
Well, I had been struggling with these issues for a while. I went through a highly destructive phase, doing all sorts of drugs and losing the will to live because I was not being me. I started having more and more thoughts of guys, and I didn’t know how to express it because I didn’t really know any other gay people. I’m sure they were there, but I hadn’t perfected the gaydar. I remember that I picked up a copy of the local newspaper—it was a very liberal town, even for Kansas—and there were personals for men seeking men. I would read those ads every week and stash it under my sofa, and I’d have to get really drunk before I would dare read through it.
One night, it was just before Christmas, the neighbor girl from upstairs came down. She was cute, and she stripped and wanted to do it. I had been sexually abstinent for about four years at that point. I was trying to kill my sexual urge for men by killing my sexual urge entirely. I even reduced the masturbation a lot. I was trying to make myself asexual. So, I tried to do the nasty with her and it just wasn’t working and she repulsed me. I couldn’t even get hard. So I sent her out, had a couple of drinks, pulled out the personals and dialed a number right then. I left a message on the voicemail; the guy called me back within 20 minutes and said to come over. I did, had a dick in my mouth and said, “Yes, this is what I’ve been missing!”
Were you scared to do it?
Yes, I was petrified. I knew no one. All I knew was what I heard in the press, you know, about the Jeffrey Dahmers, who will take you in and run you through a band saw and eat you for lunch! But the guy I met was nice. He was not exactly the most beautiful man in the world, but at that point in time, to me he was an Adonis. He was a guy who had a dick, and he fulfilled this fantasy I had been carrying around for God knows how long. Once I figured it out, I went through about one week of saying, “I’m bisexual.” Then, I said, “Forget this. I’m not bisexual, I’m gay.” I promptly told my friends, and they were, like, “Who cares?”
Did you tell your family at that point?
I told them a year and a half later. At my 10-year high school reunion, I took my boyfriend. And since my father is a doctor in the community and most of my former classmates are his patients, I knew that word was going to get back to him. So I figured I would tell him ahead of time and get it out in the open. It did not go well. Mom burst into tears, and Dad turned white as a sheet and stormed out. But my boyfriend and I were the hit of the prom.
Have your parents come around since then?
Not really. But we never talk about it. It’s not a subject I bring up and they don’t touch it.
Do they know about your work in porn?
No, they don’t have a clue. If they did, they would probably hire an assassin and kill me. And I’m not kidding.
Does that make you uncomfortable? Do you wish they knew?
Well, they’ve never accept me in anything I’ve ever done. And I deal with that. I don’t like the fact that I have to hide things.
What was your first experience with watching porn?
The only porn I have ever watched, before I ever participated, was a straight porno when I was 18 at the Princess Cinema in Topeka, Kansas. I was very drunk with some high school buddies, and it was the most foul and disgusting thing I had seen in my life. I walked into this theater that smelled of...you know, and there were a bunch of old men tossing off, watching these horrible women with sagging body parts on the screen. It was just foul and repulsive. Before I ever got into the industry, I thought porn was dirty and disgusting.
Did you think it was something you might want to do?
Oh, no. Never in my life did I ever even consider the notion of doing porn or even nude photography.
So what happened?
I just surprised myself. I always liked to be a show-off, but up to that point, my showing off had been limited to more cerebral things. I never considered myself physically appealing. When I look in the mirror to this day, I still see the geeky, lanky, 17-year-old kid with the horrible skin condition staring back.
Did your decision to do porn have anything to do with you self-esteem?
Yeah, and this is not an insult, but I’ve found that a lot of models have low self-esteem, unnecessarily. They probably felt like I did. They grew up in a situation where they felt different and people treated them like second-class citizens. It’s something that carries over, and we all find ways of dealing with it. And being a show-off is one way of dealing with it.
So how did you ultimately get out of Kansas and into porn?
I was a French translator for Exxon. I hated my job. I wanted to work on my music and get away from the corporate side. So I sold everything, bought a plane ticket to San Francisco, packed up my musical equipment and went.
Why San Francisco?
Because I’d never really been to California. I thought it was an artsy-fartsy musical community, plus I was tired of being in the closet. I wanted to be someplace where I could totally be me.
And that led to modeling?
Yes, while looking for a job, I saw an ad in the paper that said “Models Wanted.” I had done some fashion modeling back in Kansas, so I answered this ad and it turned out to be nude modeling for the Internet. I’d never done anything like that before, but my new philosophy was to try new things, I said, “Sure, I’ll audition.” And I stripped and they said, “Looks good.”
Have you always been in shape?
No, it’s always been a struggle. I was a very fat child. Late teens, I got lanky and scrawny but not very much in shape. I never hit the gym until my late twenties. I looked pretty good, I guess. We went to the photo shoot, which was in the Redwood Forest, north of San Francisco. And it turned out that we were doing promotional stills for the Internet for the video Redwood, which Titan Media was shooting at the time. While I was up there, Bruce Cam from Titan Media saw me and asked if I’d like to do a scene in the movie.
What did you think?
I didn’t know what to say. I was so embarrassed. I thought, “Do I really want to have sex, in front of a bunch of people, on camera, and then have the universe see me having sex?” Then I thought, “This could be cool,” because I was really getting off on doing the nude poses.
Were you comfortable being naked?
I started off being shy, but I got into it. I surprised myself. I never knew I was an exhibitionist. It brought out the monster in me! (laughs)
Did you enjoy the attention?
I loved the attention because I had never really gotten a lot of attention before.
How long did it take you to decide to do the scene?
About five minutes. I’m impulsive at times.
Did you shoot the scene right then and there?
The following day. Shot it in a greenhouse with the entire cast and crew standing around outside. And I was so nervous.
Who was your scene partner?
It was Austin Woods. I think he was a newcomer too.
Were you comfortable with what you had to do in the scene?
Not at first. They explained what I had to do, which was to go into the greenhouse and pounce on the guy.
And you were the top?
Yes, I am exclusively a top—in real life and film. I was very nervous at first, then that exhibitionist in me came out.
How long did the scene take to do?
Oh my gosh, all day. About five or six hours. But it got really warm in that greenhouse.
Any problem with your cum shot?
Never. That is never a problem. If and when I get aroused, I never have trouble. It’s all a matter of chemistry with your partner. I’d rather get to know my scene partners beforehand, but I usually meet them two minutes before I have some part of them in my mouth!
After doing that first scene, did you plan to do other films?
I thought it was a onetime deal. But Titan called me back four months later to shoot Fallen Angel II. I was given a copy of Fallen Angel I to get an idea what it was like, and when I saw Steve Cannon, I was just drooling. I was praying I’d get a scene with him! But I didn’t.
Did the leather content turn you off?
No. I keep getting cast as this leather-daddy type, I guess because of my size, but honestly, I’m pretty vanilla. I love wearing leather because it looks good. But—I hate to disappoint the leather fans—it’s not really me. I’m just not that rough. But I agreed to do it, and I had fun. Damon Page was my partner. He’s a beautiful man, and we had a ball. Bruce Cam directed again.
Were you also working on your music at the time?
When I shot Redwood, I had just gotten a job as an accounts manager for a large food company. But soon after, I became the Webmaster for the company that was doing the CD-ROM for Redwood. I ended up producing and developing the CD-ROM for Redwood, and I composed the soundtrack.
So how did you end up in Los Angeles?
Well, I really didn’t like San Francisco. I like warm weather. So I thought I had a job in Los Angeles, so I moved here. The job fell through, but I made other connections and got some Web design projects. I started freelancing, and now I have my own Internet design company.
And that led to L.A. porn connections?
Yes, then I started going to porn events in L.A. I guess Will Clark’s first Bad Boys Pool Party was my big launching point. Nobody knew who I was until then.
What made you attend that event?
When I moved out here, I was contacted by Jamoo and he interviewed me for his book Superstars #2. We got to be friends, and he brought me to the pool party. I started meeting people. I’ve never solicited any studio for work. I want to be the one that somebody really wants for a film.
So who came calling?
Greenwood Cooper, for their first hard-core film. Then Can-Am, I did their Web site. Then Chi Chi LaRue used me in The Final Link. Then All Worlds used me for Animus. Studio 2000 contacted me for Czech Point. I haven’t done a whole lot of videos. I’ve only done 11 in two years, which isn’t a lot. I’d much rather do a very few quality videos as opposed to a ton of mediocre videos. That’s not what it’s about for me. Even today, every time I do a video or a photo shoot, I fully expect it to be my last. I treat it that way because I don’t want to get a big head. I want people to know that I am not a porn “star.” I’m just a guy who does videos, and I do it for fun.
So you don’t consider this a career?
No, and I never will. The day I stop bringing a little joy, a little pleasure, a little excitement to somebody’s life, that’s the day I hang up my cockring forever. ’Cause that’s the only reason I do it—to bring something, to touch somebody’s life, to bring a little excitement that they can’t experience. I had 27 years of not being able to experience a lot of things that I only had vague fantasies about.
Do you have a favorite film that you’ve been in?
What was it like being directed by Wash West?
Wash is incredible. He’s a sweetheart to work with. He has this vision. As a model, it can be annoying because he knows what he wants. He wants these really awesome shots. It’s worth the time and trouble. But it makes for long shoots.
How does his technique differ from other directors?
He takes a lot of time. He gives some direction but enough free reign to do what turns you on.
How comfortable do you feel with the acting aspect of the films?
I had done some acting way back in high school, and I enjoy it. But I was not as prepared for Animus as I should have been because I didn’t have as much notice. I had one day’s notice.
How long did it take to film?
Five days, which is long. I was in a lot of scenes, a lot of night scenes. I’m not exactly a night person, and my eyes look red in some scenes.
Is there a favorite scene that you’ve done?
The one with Tommy Lords in Animus, because he was new and fresh and innocent. But I’ve loved everyone I’ve been with. No bad experiences, other than getting my face slammed against that wire fence in Fallen Angel II. I had fence prints on my face for weeks!
What has been your experience with the fans?
Mostly good. I’ve had some strange requests. The thing I find most annoying is that people assume I’m an escort, which is not the case. I don’t see it as a bad thing, but I am not one. I like to get personal with my fans, but not that personal.
Do you watch your own movies?
Always, but just once. Only for criticism. To see how I look. I do not turn myself on! My type is anybody but me.
Do you enjoy knowing that you’re getting other guys off?
Yeah, that is hot. I’m hoping to fulfill a fantasy. I know what it’s like to need fantasies, and I think it’s the coolest thing to fulfill someone’s fantasy.
What’s ahead for Thomas Lloyd?
You know, I kind of play it by ear. I would like to think and hope that eventually my music career will take off. I am releasing a CD of music that I wrote for The Final Link soundtrack.
How would you define your image?
Thomas Lloyd is just the boy next door. I am just the boy next door. I’m not stunningly gorgeous. I’m just me.
Reprinted from Manshots magazine (1999)