In a wide-ranging interview, affable Dirk Caber (dirkcaber.com, @DirkCaber) talks about his adventures in gay bondage porn, playing the tuba, his thoughts on last year’s Rentboy.com raid, partner Jesse Jackman’s unusual phobia, and much more.
As you will learn by reading this Q&A, Dirk is not just a porn star. He’s also a musician, a writer and a self-described “Grade-A perv.” And, he has something to say! To read more about this most interesting and talented of personalities, read below.
But first — some pictures!
Hey Dirk, thanks for granting this interview! Many Metalbond readers will recognize you from your work with the kink-dot-com sites including Bound Gods and Men on Edge, as well as Titan, Bound Jocks and other sites. What are some of your most memorable porn shoots that involved bondage?
We could start with my very first film, TitanMen’s “Kennel Master,” in which I bind Tony Vega to a suspended tabletop, drizzle him with hot wax and work him over with a wartenberg wheel. Similarly, two years later I filmed again for TitanMen in “Loud and Nasty,” in which I bind my partner Jesse Jackman to a saint andrew’s cross and torment him with a violet wand. In both cases, it was my scene partner’s first experience with bondage and SM, and it was amazing to take them someplace new and unexpected.
In terms of me being bound, I have to say anything involving Van Darkholme behind the ropework will be an adventure, but I’d say the Bound Gods scene with Morgan Black in which I’m suspended 10 feet off the floor upright in a cruciform position was one of the most astonishing, partly of course because of the visual impact for the viewer, but from my vantage more so, just because of how comfortable I was.
A personal highlight, though, actually wasn’t officially part of a porn scene, though video from many of these demos are available online. For some years Bound Jocks set up a demo area in a corner of the Mr. S booth at IML in Chicago. For a few of these years Kristofer Weston would bring me in as one of his “assistants.” Kristofer himself is a master with rope; his speed and creativity on the fly is just amazing, and like Van, I’ve learned a lot just from watching him. But being able to spend a couple days just tying up and tormenting guy after guy in public like that was such a thrill. I hope we get to do that again.
Any funny or interesting behind-the-scenes stories you can share?
There are certainly a lot of them I wouldn’t share! A number of times the word “oops!” has come out of someone’s mouth as we’re working out the knot work. Bondage and BDSM takes far more off-camera preparation and setup between takes; much of this can be worked out well ahead of time, but there’s a lot that just can’t be foreseen until someone is actually tying the rope.
Some of this is frankly quite silly, and nothing makes getting rope work elegant and symmetrical and comfortable more difficult than a sub who can’t stop laughing.
How did you get involved in porn in the first place? And are you glad that you did?
An entirely apropos question, as it was because of my background in BDSM that Paul Wilde, then director at Titan’s ROUGH line, first approached me about appearing in porn. I’d some years earlier become involved with the sadly now defunct Gay Male S/M Activists (GMSMA) in New York. I’d found some brilliant mentors in the scene, immersed myself, and in a few years went from taking classes in technique and safety to teaching. I got a reputation for knowing my stuff (and being fun to practice with!), and through my Recon profile Paul found me, suggested that it was not common to see someone who knew his way around a flogger and a hank of rope who also looked like he should fit the role. He said if I were ever interested… And two years later I finally said yes.
I figured I’d make one or two, and Titan would find someone younger, better looking, more hung, and that would be that, but hey, I’d have made a porn, what fun, right? Now, five and a half years after filming that first scene, to my deep astonishment, I’m still at it.
How has it all affected your life?
As Jesse and I were becoming more and more visible as gay porn stars outside the gay world, I knew it was only a matter of time before my computer- and internet-savvy parents came across us somewhere, so about two years ago I figured it was time for a second coming-out, this time as a porn star. Sitting down with them at dinner, I started out enumerating all the amazing things that have come into my life since starting in porn. Among these, a catalog of new close friends, many of whom my folks have met and love as well; a reversal of my post-2008-economic-collapse financial decline, a ready-made fan base also taking an interest in my music, the ability to invest some time again in rebuilding the music career, the ability to travel around a bit to film, make appearances, and do some advocacy work for the gay community.
And of course, the biggest benefit — meeting the man of my dreams. I’ve become a far stronger, more outspoken and passionate man than I ever was before. I love the broadened opportunity to meet people, and hopefully do some good. I can’t say this is a place for everyone, and I will say that there are certain personality sorts who should NOT go into porn. However, for me, it was absolutely the right decision.
In your bondage porn shoots, it really shows that you are having a good time. Are you into bondage and other kinky stuff in your off-camera sex life?
I have a Scruff profile, a BigMuscle profile, and we’ve already referenced my Recon profile. Some guys in their profiles there will say they have a kinky streak. I, conversely, have a kinky tornado swath.
Are there any adult sites or adult performers you have not yet worked with, that you would like to?
There are a number of retired stars I never had the chance to work with and wish I had: François Sagat, Wilfried Knight (alas, more than retired), and I still have a serious crush on Alex Baresi. I can catalog a number of stars I’d look forward to working with, though they’re not specifically kinky.
Studiowise, I’d love to work more with Men At Play and with Raging Stallion’s Fetish Force, and sometime soon I’ve been looking forward to working with HardKinks in Madrid. However, observing how generous Kink.com, Bound Jocks, and of course TitanMen have been with me, I certainly have not lacked for kinky work.
Sometime here I want my chance to bind Brock Rustin on camera — he can take it hard and loves every minute of it; that would make for a HOT scene and would be so much fun to film.
Do you have any mentees?
Ten years ago I gave this hot tattooed ginger firebrand his first taste of bondage, and I created a monster. He’s one of my little brothers now, one of my nearest and dearest friends.
Last year the feds raided the offices of Rentboy, arrested the employees and shut the site down. You were quite outspoken about this on your personal blog, and you were even interviewed by Dan Savage on his Savage Lovecast podcast. Has any recent information come to light abut this?
Not a lot has been said. And as many of the administrators at Rentboy were good friends, I understand they might need to keep close-lipped about the situation; the less of their defensive strategy that gets leaked, the better their chances to emerge the other end of this travail as unscathed as possible. It was sad to hear of Rentboy liquidating the contents of their offices to help subsidize their legal costs; there were some amazing and awesome relics of NYC nightlife and sex culture in that facility. And say what anyone might about the legality of what Rentboy offered, the truth is that they offered the safest and most accountable means in the United States for clients and escorts to connect.
Ultimately it seems that the authorities, having seized computers and other records from the Rentboy offices, were hoping to find in those materials evidence to confirm their accusations. The indictment was delayed three times, and then ultimately all charges were dropped. This suggests that nothing legally damning was found, surprise, surprise. Alas, I don’t foresee Rentboy resuming operations anytime soon, or resuming the good work and outreach they performed for our community.
I’ve spoken of this on my blog twice. I keep asking why prostitution is illegal, who exactly is the victim that these laws are supposed to protect, and the most compelling argument that ever comes up is that it protects women from being victimized. The difficulty with this is that it fails to address the actual problem, that there are men out there who see women as victimizable creatures and use prostitution as a means of enabling the tendency. The problem is the behavior of a few certain men, not the institution that they utilize.
Drawing an analogy: Let’s say it has been observed that one of the most shoplifted items are (to choose something at random) jars of peanut butter. As it is difficult to identify the sort of person who would steal a jar of peanut butter, the authorities resort to the next best thing, outlawing grocery stores. By eliminating stocks of purchaseable peanut butter, you solve the problem of it being stolen, right? Anyone who wants peanut butter ought to be able to plant themselves some peanuts, harvest them, grind them up, salt and sugar the paste to their own taste, add crisco if they don’t like how the oil separates out. That way any of us can have peanut butter by legal means, right?
Not all of us have the time to cultivate peanuts, especially in the quantity that will produce a significant amount of peanut butter. If someone lacking that resource is desperate enough to have peanut butter in the first place that they’d resort to stealing from a store, you know they’re now going to steal it from any other source they can. Shoplifting a jar of peanut butter from a grocery store is a pretty innocuous process; however, once that peanut butter becomes a coveted possession for those who do have it, stealing it becomes a more involved and potentially more violent process.
The argument is made that, if prostitution were legal, rape of women in general might be more frequent, right? Amazingly, in the period when Rhode Island accidentally legalized prostitution, the number of rapes dropped statewide, both in populations of prostitutes and in the population in general. There are two theories as to why this might have happened. One, that by making it less daunting to hire a woman for sex; men were far more likely to pay and hence didn’t need to steal it, i.e., rape. Two, that by oddly reducing the cultural sense of the victimizability of women by taking the legal stigma of being a prostitute away, the inclination among men to victimize a woman somehow diminished.
So victimization of women as a justification for the criminalization of prostitution is a major fallacy. And of course this completely fails to address the more personal angle: Prostitution in my demographic doesn’t even involve women. If the big issue is victimization of women, why make it illegal for men to engage in prostitution with other men? Going back to my previous analogy, I’m finding my shoe store being shuttered to prevent people from stealing peanut butter!
This is a gross oversimplification of a very complicated issue, of course.
In addition to being a gifted porn star, you are also a talented musician. Not many adult entertainers also play the tuba and the piano! What can you tell us about your passion for music?
There are more of us who play instruments than you think. As there really just isn’t enough money in making porn to make a career out of it, at least not for very long, no porn star doesn’t also have a day job. I was lucky enough early on to make my biggest passion and worst habit my career.
Music runs in my family. My grandparents played piano, organ and sang; mom plays piano and sings. Thanks to a dad with an eccentric mechanical bent I grew up in a house with a number of reproducing player pianos. I learned to read music about as fast as I learned to read, and I think I came out of the womb singing.
My first lessons were on violin, which I studied from about 8 to 14. Piano lessons started when I was 10 or 11, and while most parents need to push their kids to practice, my folks couldn’t pull me off the instrument. Through junior high and high school I had a reputation for picking up instruments and learning them sufficiently in a couple weeks to play with the orchestra or band. Hence I was given all the oddball instruments. Among others: alto, bass and contrabass clarinets; english horn, contrabassoon, french horn, harp and ultimately tuba.
I hated tuba the first year I played it, and was very happy to get to the end of that school year, return the instrument to the school, and say thank you but no thank you. Fast forward a couple years to when I was interviewing as a music composition major for college, and the interviewer in looking at this catalog of instruments I’d dabbled on suddenly said, “Oh, you play tuba!” I kinda acknowledged that I had once played a tuba. He said, “We haven’t had a tubist for six years. We have a scholarship for you.” Whereupon they equipped me with a much finer instrument, I found an excellent teacher, I discovered the fun of playing in brass quintets, and I was hooked. I’ve played tuba ever since.
First and foremost, though, I’m a composer. Right now I’ve just finished writing and editing three sets of twelve piano pieces each: Bagatelles, Morceaux, and Etudes. I’m starting a set of simpler piano pieces for Jesse to play, and I’m working on a larger piano sonata. The focus on piano music reflects a goal of having a CD of solo piano music ready for distribution in a year, my first real CD!
Your partner, Jesse Jackman, is also a porn star. What can you tell us about him that people might be surprised to know?
Many are surprised that, as a guy who likes his spicy sex, I managed to fall in love with such a sexually meat-and-potatoes guy as Jesse; until he met me he’d had no interest in and no experience with kink at all. I think the biggest surprise with Jesse (and he’s revealed this himself publicly recently, so I’m not overstepping anything revealing this) is that, as big and powerful a guy as he is, he has one irrational terror: He has globophobia. Yup, he’s terrified of balloons. Not so much just balloons, but the potential of a balloon to pop. This extends to a few other items that burst, like those peel-to-open tubes of biscuit dough.
Do you guys have handcuffs, rope or other restraints in your bedroom?
We do. The bed itself is one I built, modeled loosely on the Dungeon Beds I’d seen, but made of timber and designed to be taken apart and easily moved. It’s a STURDY and impressive piece of furniture. There are several dozen eyebolts scattered around, some for looks, some to hang the sling from. Hanging off various corners of the bed at the moment are a few lengths of chain, four padded leather wrist & ankle restraints, two floggers, a single tail, and a few other odds and ends.
That said, it’s very rare that any of those see much use these days, at least on each other. Jesse has come to appreciate my description of a flogging expertly administered as “the world’s best backrub,” but otherwise he lets me practice my skills on other, more enthusiastic partners.
Metal would like to thank Dirk Caber for this interview!
To see scenes from Dirks various porn shoots, click here.
For Dirk’s official site, click here.