Capturing Colton


By Noah Michelson

Even though Colton Ford has been making music for over 27 years, has had roles in films like Another Gay Sequel and on television in here! TV's The Lair, he is still probably best known for his 10 month stint as a porn star. While he's no longer in the business of having sex on film, sex pervades his nearly-naked music videos. His newest collection of club anthems, Under the Covers, features covers of songs by the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Brandy, Swedish pop star Robyn and is due out on August 4. We caught up with the singer just a week before he's due to play OUTmusic's Stonewall concert and benefit in Times Square to chat about Pride, his porn past, and his forthcoming album.

Out: You're playing the Outmusic Stonewall Pride event on June 27 here in New York as well as Philadelphia Gay Pride. Do you remember your first Pride?
Colton Ford: Oh my God. I'm totally going to age myself: I don't remember my first Pride. Was it Long Beach? It might have been Long Beach back in the '80s. I'm 46, man. To be completely honest, I have no recollection. I've been to so many Prides through the years and I don't remember my first Pride. I imagine I probably felt entitled because you go to these Prides and you can do your thing and represent and certainly back in the '80s -- and especially where I grew up in a suburb of Orange County -- I would imagine it felt very freeing and empowering. Obviously it's a place where you can really see yourself reflected in the people around you. And I'm pretty sure I probably felt pretty titillated by the whole idea.

When you're performing at a Pride event is it different than playing a regular show?
I approach each performance the same way. I think the energy is different for every gig and that's not really specific to or contingent upon the Pride vibe. It's really about the energy of the audience -- whatever that energy is. It changes from venue to venue and place to place. Certainly there's a sense of community and obviously a sense of pride that I definitely convey when I'm doing Pride gigs but I try and do that with every gig I do that is an event within our community. One of the things I'm really trying to promote is for our community to support its gay artists and that's not contingent upon whether it's a Pride event or not. It's like, 'Hey, we're out here,' and we really need to get behind each other if we want to do this. The music business is difficult enough as it is and if someone is brave enough [to be an out artist] then it can be even more difficult. So we need to get out there and support one another.

You've worked in everything from film to music to TV to porn but it seems like you're often pegged as with the "porn star turned actor" or "porn star turned musician" label. Is that frustrating for you?
I went into the whole porn experience with my eyes wide open. I did it for 10 months -- I've been a recording artist for 27 years. But all the porn imagery and its dynamic has a huge impact. For some it's still a moral issue, for some it's curiosity, so, I would stupid to think that wouldn't be something that would be a part of what I'm doing now. To the degree that it comes into play varies from person to person. That's really an individual thing. But in the press that I do, for those people that don't know my history, I talk about it. I had to two deals with Virgin, I was with Denise Rich -- I tell my story in that I have always created music and I've always been performing ever since I was a kid. The interesting thing is my porn experience is an extension of that. The different thing about it was that I was naked, but I've never had a problem with nudity. It just seems like a continuum for me of creating and putting myself out there as a performer. I've never stopped creating music. It's not 'porn star turned whatever' -- I'm a performer who has had various invocations and maybe took a detour that is unique. Not as unique as it was now that all these A-listers are releasing sex tapes. I thought I had a cool little angle [laughs].

Would you do porn again?
No. I really got everything out of the experience that I was going to get. That's not to say that I'm not going to be provocative. I'm a little bit of an exhibitionist obviously. I'm provocative by nature and that's not an offshoot of my porn experience -- that's just the way I've always been. And I enjoy that -- I like pushing the envelope. I really don't have any need to do another film unless I'm getting millions of dollars. And then maybe I'll consider it. [Laughs]

Do you still get offers?
Oh yeah. Now that it's been six years, if I go to an event that has a presence with companies in the industry, then sure. But I know a lot of these people who run Hot House and Titan and all those places and they're always like, 'If you ever want to come back'' and I'm like, 'Thanks, man.'

It's nice to still be wanted.
Especially considering the fact that I'm in my mid-forties. Sure. It's definitely flattering. But there's just nothing in it for me that I didn't get out of it -- other than millions of dollars. [Laughs]