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Conversations with Mike Barbella

Porn Valley- I had a chat this afternoon with the oft traveled Mike Barbella who’s now over at Jet Multimedia in sales along with another industry veteran Steve Miller. Putting Barbella and Miller in those positions gives Jet, a relatively new company on the block, some impact and authority with long time industry experience behind the wheel.

Barbella: I pride myself in my sales skills. I’m a phone dialer, not an order taker. I get the job done. Jet Multimedia is not necessarily the most known product out there or not necessarily the most outrageous product. So far, Steve and I have been working pretty well together and there’s been a great improvement in sales. With myself and Steve we have a prove track record.

Gene: So what are you moving.

Barbella: Jet’s had some titles that have been out there like Candy Stripers. So we’ve come up with some new lines like Daddy’s Dirty Little Girls which the name says it’s all. It’s doing quite well and one of our better movers. And we also have another title that’s going to be coming out tomorrow. It’s My Neighbor’s Daughter. It’s our first release on that series. And we have a she-male line which is called Barely Female. Those are some of our stronger lines along with a series called Twisted Tales. It’s along the lines of Perverted Stories. We also do something called Uniform Sluts; and D.P. Darlings is the D.P. line. Generally we have about four releases a month and we’re going to be taking it up to 8 a month. And we just came out with a four-hour line which is pretty nice. They’re called Hot Shots.

Gene: What’s the website.

Barbella: It’s and currently under construction. We’re revamping it just as we’re doing that with everything here. About a month and a half ago we hired a new art guy. So from this point forward everything you see will be under our new art director. He’s done a wonderful job. You’ll notice the advertisements are getting better and we’re doing a little more publicity. Our presence is becoming a little more known and that’s because we’re working harder to create our name.

Gene: Don’t take this the wrong way but you can almost develop a quiz show based on all the companies you’ve been with. I think the first time I met you, you were with Metro.

Barbella: Prior to Metro was Intropics Video which was purchased by Metro. In the process of it being purchased, I went with the company. I was also with Zane many many years ago. We built up Zane. Then I worked with- oh boy- I could recite the list. It would be easier to say who I haven’t worked for. I worked for Homegrown Video. I worked for Notorious. I worked for Astral Ocean Cinema.

Gene: And you were with Cream.

Barbella: Yeah, that’s correct.

Gene: JM Productions.

Barbella: The only difference with JM was that I was strictly doing their mail order for a year and a half. Fortunately he gave me a job as a friend at the time when I needed one. But as the time went on, it got to a point where my urge to sell and my urge to sling porn and move numbers is always going to come out. That’s why I don’t mind working at a company like Jet. It’s a bit of a challenge.

Gene: What brought you into the adult business.

Barbella: 15 years ago I answered an ad. I just got off the boat from New York. I answered an ad here to sell porn and tape on the phone. This fuckin’ dirtbag was giving me an interview. He was my age. And he looked like a real dirtbag. At some point during the interview he took me outside to show me his brand new 300 ZX. It was a beautiful red, and the first year they came out.

I thought to myself look at this dirtbag. Actually that dirtbag was Jeff from JM Productions. To this day he still does extremely well. But he brought me into the business and I will always be loyal to him. He taught me everything he knows and he taught me well. I proudly will announce that he’s my mentor.

I worked for him loyally several years. Back then he used to have long hair and we were young. I swear to God I walk into this porn place and I look at this fuckin’ guy. I say to myself, what the hell have I gotten myself into it? But I was hungry. I came out here looking for sand and girls. That’s all I wanted. I had no clue. I landed in the Valley. Right off the plane I got a job as a waiter in a little place called Spumonis. I get a job and I’m a waiter at night and selling porn during the day.

Gene: When I first met you I think you had to have been with Metro. Because it was at the time when these guys were coming across as all corporate and everybody’s wearing the suits. I ran into you at a trade show.

Barbella: This year I went without a booth and did quite well. We sold quite a bit.

Gene: You’ve had your highs and lows in the business.

Barbella: That’s another thing. My only downfall as far as this business goes has been my own fault. At the age of 27 I met a girl who was 19 or 20. She was great. She introduced me to speed. I was doing quite well. I had a great car and a nice house on the hill. I spent a year with her. I would go to work every day and she didn’t. I’d come home and party with her at night. Shortly into our little stint I became addicted to speed. That was my downfall. I spent three years getting high and going to jail. The last time I saw her she was running naked down by a Von’s at 4 in the morning. The overzealous security guy wanted to frisk me because he thought we were both on drugs. That was literally the last time I saw her. She was also going to a rehab.

Gene: You guys were so well suited.

Barbell: She was my soulmate!

Gene: I used to hear all kinds of Barbella horror stories.

Barbella: You probably did.

Gene: About how you threw furniture and were going nuts.

Barbella: I guess I have a short man’s complex. I can’t find a tall enough truck! I’m 5’5′ and a fuckin’ Italian from New York. Especially when I did drugs I had a bad temper. Sometimes there had been times when I had fights at conventions and spun peoples’ wigs around. I’ve mashed a few computers and held them over my head until I was paid. You may have heard some things and they were all true. And there’s probably a lot of stuff that I left out but for the most part I’ve been clean and sober for several years.

Gene: You wound up in jail.

Barbella: Unfortunately I did some prison time. And that’s the scary thing. All my arrests basically involved one or two lines of speed. When it came down to do the time I was doing time with hardcore criminals. I was no longer a casual user and it brought me to a place where these convicts and felons and murders were now residing and I was with them. It was a pretty shitty place to be.

Gene: But all this is behind you.

Barbella: Completely behind me. As a matter of fact I had a kid fourteen months ago. My first son. A beautiful little baby, unfortunately he’s got cerebral palsy.

Gene: How are you dealing with that.

Barbella: It makes you deal with it better. Prior to having him when that bitch came home and told me she was pregnant, I wanted to put her through the roof. Up until the day he was born I was thinking what the hell did I get myself into. But when he came out, there was a lot of serious issues that needed to be dealt with. It made me put on my hat and gloves and dive right in there. I have done so. With whatever his outcome is or whatever it’s going to be, he’s truly an amazing inspiration to me. For that in of itself, this is a wonderful thing. But I’m not that dad that likes to talk about their kid all the time. But he is a wonderful, wonderful kid, and sort of mild as far as cerebral palsy goes. It may be almost unnoticeable in the future, we hope. We’ll see. But he gets a lot of good care.


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