Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ed Wood extra! A rare interview with Ed DePriest, director of "One Million AC/DC"

Just a man, a camera, a shirt, and a dream: Ed DePriest in the early days.

One man, no shirt: DePriest in AC/DC.
If you're going to cover the entire career of Edward D. Wood, Jr. from stem to stern, you had better be prepared to immerse yourself in the musty, shadowy world of sexploitation and pornography from the 1960s and 1970s. Fortunately for me, that particular subject has been thoroughly and lovingly documented by pop culture historians, both amateur and professional. Ed Wood Wednesdays has served as a crash course in Pornography 101, and I've been lucky to find helpful souls on Facebook, Yahoo Groups, and other places who have pointed me towards valuable resources. It was, I believe, a New Yorker named Steven Otero who first made me aware of a marvelous podcast about the history of pornography called The Rialto Report, hosted by a flawlessly polite and disarming Britisher named Ashley West.

Ashley's knowledge of the pornographic film industry, particularly that of New York in the 1970s, is unrivaled, and he has managed to convince many significant actors and directors of the era to participate in interviews. I got in touch with Ashley around the time I was writing my article about One Million AC/DC (1969), and he mentioned that he was going to interview the film's director, the reclusive and media-shy Ed DePriest, via Skype. I was flattered when Ashley invited me, along with Vinegar Syndrome's Joe Rubin, to participate in a series of conversations with Mr. DePriest back in November and December 2013. This was a big deal, since Ed DePriest did not normally grant interviews.

I was a little nervous and felt rather out of my depth, especially when the conversation turned to such esoteric subjects as developing labs and film stocks. But Ed DePriest himself could not have been nicer, and I was glad to know that he had read my piece about One Million AC/DC. Besides Mr. DePriest's career, which started with surf documentaries before making a left turn into pornography, we talked about a number of actors, writers, and technicians who played a role in the Ed Wood saga, including Lou Ojena, Pat Barringer, Pete Perry, Gary Graver, Hal Guthu, and of course, Ed Wood himself. If you read the article, you'll get some insight into what kind of guy Ed Wood was -- how he acted, how he lived, how he dressed, etc. But Mr. DePriest has had all kinds of showbiz adventures, and he's crossed paths with such notable names as Ravi Shankar, Orson Welles, and Yoko Ono!

Here is the completed article, as edited and compiled into its final form by Ashley West. I hope you will read and enjoy it.  I am so proud to have been a part of this. Thanks to Ed, Ashley, and the other Joe for making this happen.