Q&A: 2018 XBIZ Male POY Small Hands Wields the Royal Scepter

Q&A: 2018 XBIZ Male POY Small Hands Wields the Royal Scepter

LOS ANGELES — Never trust a man who has yet to embrace his darkness, who has yet to flash his fangs for all the world to see, for he conceals wickedness behind bright sermons, else he is oblivious to his true nature. Small Hands? Trustworthy. You see, the 2018 XBIZ Male Performer of the Year is the real deal.

Legions of scenes unfurl behind him like a cloak wrought from hellfire, for he is a pro fucker, with acting chops to match. He is one of the few porn stars who can claim the mantle of rock star as well, and his supremely unique brand is a natural extension of his actual personality ... his spiritual intensity ... his real-life misadventures.

And in a world where basic-as-fuck people are attracted to equally basic peers, status symbols, music and fashion, Hands is just about the least basic person in the biz. Like the black hearts and thorny roses he fondly signs beneath his social media posts, Hands embodies honest villainy, unabashed romanticism and edgy badassery. Where, then, does all that fabulously gritty imperfection stem from? Nothing less than a marvelously multi-faceted personal history, rich with vivacious variety and daredevil drama!

As a musician, Hands spent years playing for numerous bands, like his very own The Stranger's Six, and later, the Warped Tour-era Fenix TX. As an artist, he created a thriving graphic design company, where he met his beloved Joanna Angel after Burning Angel became a client. It was she who eventually seduced him into joining this exquisite underworld of adult entertainment, where Hands had to fight for his position, because of his tattoos and slow-burn fame.

Not everyone jumped on board at first, but once the alphas and the visionaries catapulted his nascent stardom into the stratosphere, discovering a black diamond in that rough rider exterior, his career took off.

He is an original, and as such, does not echo even the loudest Big Bang, lest he become an echo chamber of self-reflection, trapping creativity in a phantom cycle of overly familiar themes and rhythms and utterly forgettable mediocrity. Judging by the evolutionary aura emanating from Hands, he will never fall prey to the mainstream kiss of death. Because, the moment a man is embraced by the unwashed masses, by the trend-humpers and identity-less wannabes, success reaches a plateau.

Why else would the greatest artists reinvent themselves so often? Why else would the most legendary icons cast aside their well-established identities, scorching hard-won monuments and cash cows to the ground, before rising again, hotter than ever, with phoenix purity each and every time?

That is why Hands has his, well … his hands, in a great many pies, like crafting a deliciously intoxicating brand of whiskey. Doom’s Whiskey, to be exact. One hundred proof, and certainly 100 percent proof that Hands is a true creator, with limitless potential. A reaper of that great harvest which belongs only to those whose madness inspires a legacy of infinite permutations, whose bravery is not laced with bravado, whose manliness is not encumbered by machismo, whose gothic core is not merely a façade of lacquered vampirism, for he drinks from that storied font of abyssal wisdom.

And so, to chronicle one of the greatest spirits ever to tango so dashingly with adult movies, who can shut it all down with big tit fucking in a straight-up gonzo title, then ignite charismatically in a cinematic PureTaboo.com storyline, XBIZ traded banter in a barroom brawl with the main man himself, for this exclusive interview!

XBIZ: Tell us about your colorful life before porn.

SMALL HANDS: I grew up in San Diego, California, the son of a preacher in the late ‘80s. We were very poor and I spent almost all of my time in church — you know, six nights a week, pastor’s kid, that kind of thing. Youth group stuff. And then, in junior high school, I discovered punk, and that’s what the next big phase in my life was.

Growing up, I hadn’t even heard rock music until I was around 10 years old. I knew hip-hop, mariachi and church music, because that’s all they played down by the Tijuana border there! Then, I went to my first punk show, which was a band called MxPx in ’95 and it was actually at a church, because they were a Christian band in the beginning. They were like 18-year-old kids, I was 14 or so, and when I saw them playing I was like, “Dude, what the shit is this? This is where I belong. This is everything.” And then I picked up a guitar and started learning how to play music.

It became my passion and I began writing songs. Me, my brother and my best friend, Luke — who went on to be in several bands with me later — formed a band called A-OK. We had our first practices either in church during off hours, or we’d practice in Luke’s living room, in the middle of a trailer park. We’d tie fishing wire to the microphones because we didn’t have fancy gear. We just had a karaoke mic and one blown-out amp we would sing through, and we were terrible. His mom, I don’t know how, thought we were great. I started playing punk shows and as I got older, I improved. You also start being in better bands.

Even with all the punk rock playing, I managed to do well in high school. I was an honor roll kid, with no behavior problems. Never gave my parents any shit, never went to jail, never had a drug issue. All I wanted to do was create music or art and I started studying for an art degree. I realized I was good at painting and graphics and shit — since I grew up with comic books, I was constantly drawing as a kid. Basically, I was doing anything that involved being creative. So, from all of that, I decided, “Oh, I want to be in a band, because then I can also design our own t-shirts.” I thought it was a good world to live in, because all the things I like to do, I could do for a living. And when I got accepted to San Diego State for their art program, my band suddenly got a record deal, so we were like, “Fuck school, let’s go be rock stars!”

XBIZ: Hah! And what band was that?

HANDS: This was a band called The Stranger's Six. I was the lead singer and we toured for about five years, playing melodic punk. We did Warped Tour, played with fuckin’ everyone from The Cults to The Misfits, to Panic at the Disco, Fallout Boy, whatever. And that was awesome. That was my early 20s, from 2002 to 2007 or so. Me and my best friends traveled the country living out of a van. We weren’t making a lot of money but we were just trying to make it happen, so in between, I would work at printing companies, design shops, do vehicle graphics out in parking lots, stripe cars. And whenever I’d return home, I’d save money up for the trips that we would inevitably lose money on.

The tours were pretty brutal in those early days. But it was so fun living that rock n’ roll life where you don’t know where you’re gonna be the next night, there’s no rules and it’s Wild West shit. That was cool because it allowed me to see a lot of the country and later the world as I got into other bands. I met a ton of people, learned about them and it led me to realize man, I really like people, I like talking to people and meeting all kinds of interesting people.

Eventually, of course, you get older and not everyone in the band wants to continue and the record deal you got maybe isn’t quite what it’s supposed to be — the six figures that were promised on paper never show up. Maybe your fuckin’ video didn’t get on MTV’s rotation like you thought it would. To be fair, we were on MTV a little bit, some of the college shows and stuff like that, Fuse and shit. So, even though we did a lot of really cool things, at some point, you gotta pay your bills and a lot of the guys either went back to the “real world,” got regular jobs or went on to be in other moderately successful bands.

Then, I joined a band called Fenix TX, because when The Stranger's Six came to an end, I refused to go back to the real world. I was like, “Man, I’m smart enough and I’m clever enough and there’s enough things out there where I don’t think I have to do the real world.” You know? Because I could have gone back to college, but I had one of those moments where I asked myself, “What the fuck am I doing and why do I wanna do it?” Like, if I’m going back to college, it’s just because I don’t really have an idea, because it’s what my parents say, because it’s what the world says.

And Fenix TX was a big pop punk Warped Tour-era band, the first on Drive-Thru Records. They were long-time friends of mine, needed a bass player for a European tour and just out of the blue were like, “Hey, can you learn 20 songs in two practices and fly to Sweden?” And as a guy who had always been in bands, I knew what to do, but this was some next-level shit for me, because I’d always played for 50 people, not 5,000 people. And to go to Europe? Holy shit. I knew the songs in my head, having grown up listening to ‘em, so I got on a plane and got to see 12 countries over the next two years. I was fuckin’ living the dream, just everything I’ve ever wanted to do in life, playing sold out shows. People were singing along to the words. To this day, Fenix TX is still touring. Their original bass player is back in the lineup and we’re still friends, so I talk to them all the time.

XBIZ: And how did you pay the bills outside of that band life?

HANDS: To pay the bills, a couple of other friends in other bands and I started a printing company called Let It Ride Design in San Diego. We had screen printing equipment, vinyl gear and all of my knowledge from working at shops. And so, for a couple years, while still playing in bands, I owned my own shop and made my rent that way, making merchandise for bands, shot glasses for bars, whatever. The print shop period of my life was kind of like “Jackass: The Movie,” with a warehouse and tattooed dudes working, partying around, doing graffiti on the walls. It was a great time. And along the way, we picked up Joanna Angel and Burning Angel as a client. That’s all it was at the beginning. I was a huge fan of Joanna and I knew who she was, so I thought it was cool that we were working with Burning Angel.

XBIZ: And how did you go from having her as a client, to dating her?

HANDS: There was a male performer who I knew — he doesn’t perform anymore, he went by the name of Brian Street Team — because we’d grown up in the punk scene in San Diego together. He knew Joanna through porn and he sort of set us up on a blind date. It was supposed to be July 4 and I got too drunk in San Diego at a July 4 BBQ to drive to L.A. Also, I was kind of nervous because Joanna’s a big star and who the fuck was I? And so, the next morning I was like, “Dude, you just blew a date with Joanna Angel. What the fuck is wrong with you, man?” So I was like, “Hey, you know, I’m really sorry, I was too drunk to drive.” And she gave me one more chance, like, “Okay, come have lunch with me.”

I immediately got in the car and drove three hours to L.A. We had lunch at the Robin Hood British Pub in Van Nuys, down the street by where she lived. And we just talked for like four hours there in a booth, and that was it, man. Done deal! Been together ever since.  Actually, that’s not entirely true. The next day, I had to fly to South America to a wedding in the jungle, because I originally wanted to bang this one girl in the wedding who I had met before Joanna. I booked the trip like two months before then. And I had kinda forgotten about it, so I was like, “Oh, Joanna, shit, I can’t have our second date for a week because I’m flying to Guatemala. Bye.”

But I knew I really loved her because I didn’t end up having sex with that girl in the wedding. And the whole time I was there in this hotel room in the jungle, in the middle of nowhere with no WiFi, and I was trying to send Joanna an e-mail saying, “Hey, I’m in the jungle, miss you!” Nothing’s sending through, so five days go by and I’m thinking she’s probably fuckin’ given up on me. So I got home and I texted her and I was like, literally on the plane in LAX. The second my phone went on, I said, “Hey, what’s up?” Boom, 30 seconds later she’s like, “Hi, how are you?” And I’m like, whew! She got back to me, cool. I said, “When can we hang out?” And then boom, we were inseparable after that.

XBIZ: Awesome! And at what point did you begin working with Burning Angel, getting into porn and all that jazz?

HANDS: So, for the first two years of our relationship, I still lived in San Diego. This was around 2014 and 2015. I’m old, sorry if my memory’s bad! Haha. I remember Fenix TX played one last festival show in Arizona when I was with Joanna, ‘cause she made me wear a t-shirt with her fuckin’ picture on it on stage at an arena in front of 10,000 people, and I didn’t wanna do it. Hahaha. So we were doing the long distance thing, I was running my printing company, I was bartending and I was playing in bands. She was being Joanna, running fuckin’ empires, and at some point, just for fun I did a box cover for her. And she’s like, “Wow, this is good. You’re really good at this.” And then, of course, Joanna’s Jewish businesswoman side kicks in and she goes, “You know what? It saves me money. This is like home team advantage, do it for the team.”

And so I started just doing graphic design for her, post-production stuff, booth banners, 8x10s. And soon, I started getting into editing a little bit, and about that time is also where she was like, “Man, if you could also pull your dick out and get in front of the camera, that would save me money too.” She’s just wracking her brain for all the ways she can exploit me, haha. And at first I was really reluctant and really hesitant. I was like, “Man, I don’t know if I can do this job.” I’d be on set and I’d see how difficult it is to be a male performer. And she said, “Well, you’re gonna try it. You don’t have a choice. And if you fail, okay, no big deal. Annnnd if you do good, then I save some money whenever I wanna use you.” I did it and, I wouldn’t say the first few scenes were very good but I did a good enough job where nobody was scarred for life. The scene came out and nobody looked atrocious!

XBIZ: Sounds like a stressful time!

HANDS: Oh, dude. Yeah. The first year of performing, I don’t think I had much fun. I was just too stressed. Also I, I’m such an artistic perfectionist. Not in an OCD way, but in a visionary way. I see what could be there and where we’re going with this, but holy shit, it was a lot to learn, a lot to take in! The mental gymnastics of doing porn, as well as the physical, meant I had to change my diet and my lifestyle. I had to change my actions and my habits and the way I do things, and that’s a lot of sacrifice. That’s a fuckton of work.

Watching these other guys who were willing to do that, I was like man, these guys are fuckin’ warriors, these guys are beasts. Like, I don’t give a fuck who you are, how good of shape you’re in. If you’re a dude in porn, doing it, I have mad fuckin’ respect. Holy shit. And so, when it came time for me to step up to the plate, I still had my company. I was still playing in bands a little bit. It wasn’t like I just had nothing to do. And I’m one of those guys where if you set it up, I’ll knock it down. Give me a challenge and fuck, I’ll roll up my sleeves, at least give you a really good effort and figure out how to do it. And as I performed more, I also edited more, which helped me be a better performer, looking at every angle, every detail and my own ugly ass. I was like, “Oh my god, I’m so hideous. I need to do more sit-ups. Shit.” Haha. It was like, “Go get a tan on that ass, damn!”

But I also just started to watch guys who were good, and guys who maybe were not the best, or were having a bad day — we’re all human, fuck it. And I’m a student of things, just absorbing as much as I can, and simultaneously getting to walk out onto the field and fuckin’ put in practice the shit I’ve thought about. So if anything, I’ve gotten to this point kind of quickly, because I’m an obsessive student of all entertainment, all the arts, whether it’s music or fuckin’ acting or singing — and porn is so cool, what a cool art. I have a chance here to create a version of myself that’s anything I fuckin’ want and everything I don’t like about myself, well, I can throw that to the side. Small Hands can be the superhero version of me. And I was like, that’s sweet! How many people get to do that?

So then it became fun, and I just love sex and women. It kind of grew from there, unplanned and organically, where I started to get fans and then when you get fans directors start to go, “What’s this idiot’s deal?” And a lot of people who mainly didn’t wanna hire me before because of my tattoos and the way I look, all of a sudden wanted to hire me now. And again, there’s no animosity. It’s one of those things — I think I learned this being in entertainment my whole life. You choose to put this shit on your body, you choose to color your hair, you choose to lose the weight or you choose not to — everybody chooses, within a certain realm, with what they’re given at birth, to present themselves how they want.

And if you choose to present yourself as “the tattooed guy” to the world, and a lot of porn maybe doesn’t hire that, well then you have to find a clever way to work harder or work smarter to get what you want. And if what you want is to get in there and join the fuckin’ team and join the party and they won’t let you in the front door, maybe you gotta go in the back. Maybe you gotta climb through the roof “Mission Impossible”-style. Or maybe you just have to just work hard and the world will rumble and make noise and — honestly, I got fans, is what it was. It’s not that companies didn’t like me as a person. It’s nothing personal. Everyone wants to make money and everyone’s scared in porn to do things that don’t have an obvious track record of making money, because you’re out a lot of money for a production. I presented a risk. And at the time, I was more of a liability than an asset.

So, I was like alright — and this applies to everything — make yourself an asset. I got in better shape. I started really trying to be a better performer. I was doing everything, doing kink, double anal gangbangs and all the gnarliest stuff. And then I was going to Wicked and doing the romantic acting roles because I was like I gotta be well-rounded and that’s how I can do this. ‘Cause just on looks alone or like stereotypes, no. I get laughed out of the door. But I’m not now, and I think that’s why. Maybe a little luck and kind of just, fuckin’ I dunno, being a nice guy or something. Who knows? I would like to attribute it to just busting ass and working. But hey, man. I’m just stoked to be here.

That leads us up to now more or less. These days I’m being Small Hands. Our entire post-production for Burning Angel is me alone, plus the art direction. I’m the owner of Doom’s Whiskey, owner of fuckin’ Single Fin Bar and Grill in San Diego, owner of Bone Master X — me and Joanna have our own dick pill. And you know, I do all the music for Burning Angel. I have my own musical projects. I think I’m just a workaholic. That’s what makes Joanna and I tick. That’s what makes us work, no pun intended.

XBIZ: True! Now, let’s focus on 2017, which is the year that got you recognized by us in a big way. What were the high-profile shoots, in your view?

HANDS: I have to say, and it sounds cliché, but I attempt to absolutely bring my A-game to every scene and every director. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small or a live show — if I’m sticking my dick in you, I’m gonna give you 110 percent. That being said, as far as the high-profile stuff this past year, Pure Taboo shoots for sure. “Half His Age,” obviously, was the big monster. I was also in the very first Pure Taboo scene ever, which was “Run Far Away” with Xander Corvus and Haley Reed, and that was kind of their test baby, like, “This is what we’re doing, let’s see what happens.”

It was her first double vadge. Great scene, and it was cool because, at the time, filming it, we all knew it was pretty cool. But since it was the first one, Bree and I were like, well we’ll see what happens, we don’t know. Then, we realized, “Oh, people like this!” and then to get asked back again and again, I was like, “Oh, well shit, you guys like me being evil. Alright! I can do whatever.” And honestly, ‘cause I have dabbled in acting my whole life, I love acting and I like dramatic acting, but most of the stuff with Burning Angel, for example, is campy and funny. Which, I love comedy too, I just — it’s funny, because I’ve always actually thought of myself as more dramatic and serious, as far as in the acting world. I don’t think of myself as a funny guy or a comedian, you know? I can fucking throw a line around every now and then, but I think a lot of people didn’t realize I could be really evil and really serious. Like, we can get dark if you wanna get dark. And it’s because they’re used to seeing me as Jack Skellington in “Nightmare Before Christmas” with bodypaint on, or in a funny slasher movie with Joanna.

Speaking of which, another high-profile one was “My Killer Girlfriend,” which was Burning Angel. That was just brilliant, campy, the other end of the spectrum. Unlike Pure Taboo, where I’m pulling out every dramatic acting bone in my body, in this one, it’s like jokes and fuckin’ zombie masks and blood and gore, and I got to have an orgy with four girls, I mean come on. And since I got to do the editing, I love all the post-production, so I got to CGI all this extra blood and I got to do all of these crazy special effects, and I got to write a song for it. I just love creating cool shit, so I’d say those were some of the high-profile projects. But you know, I was in quite a bit of amazing shoots, like a couple Wicked features, a couple really fun Brazzers scenes and gnarly stuff for Kink.

XBIZ: Another great flick was “Jews Love Black Cock.” It was one of the few comedy movies last year that actually made us laugh out loud during the nominations process. What was your BTS involvement with that?

HANDS: Thank you. My involvement in “Jews Love Black Cock” is, as usual, all the post-production. It’s very loosely a “Fiddler on the Roof” parody. We’re talkin’ real loosely. That’s where the general idea came from, so for the opening credits, I parodied the theme song and the whole orchestration, which you probably didn’t notice because it was just done so well, haha. And also the girl singing is Joanna. I produced her and rewrote a funny little bit, “Matchmaker, matchmaker!” and so that was fun, I always loved music. I love to edit comedy and the dialogue. I love the rat-tat-tat of back-and-forth. Obviously, since I am not Jewish nor am I black, I could not be talent in the movie. I was not in front of the camera for this one. You just can’t be in it. “Jews Love Black Cock” — I don’t fit in anywhere, in that title, haha.

And in all of our movies, Joanna writes the bulk of it, but there are definitely some jokes in JLBC that are mine. And most of our scripts are written over making dinner and a glass of wine and just making each other laugh, thinking of silly things. Man, it was a fun movie. I wish I could’ve been in it. But it’s hard, because how do you make an “IR” movie — which, that term just needs to die. I understand the fuckin’ bit, and I also understand the companies hanging onto it because people still search for it, but it’s like, man. As usual, with me and Joanna and the world we come from, we have been forced our whole lives to think more smartly, or more cleverly, or find a different way to do stuff. It’s like yo, how do we do this where it’s not quite like “this,” but it still hits this mark? How do you make an interracial movie that isn’t just, “Oh, look at this black guy,” and also with heart and make it funny, where it’s not making fun of any race or anything.

It’s like, put it this way: there have been zero Jews and zero black people who have been offended by this movie. The only shit we’ve gotten by people being “offended,” have been neither Jewish nor black, so, it’s cool that it’s being recognized for what it is, which is a movie made with love. My wife is Jewish and she loves black cock, so fuckin’ boom! Come on. That was a fun movie to be a part of, even though I wasn’t in front of the camera.

XBIZ: Let’s delve into your work/life balance with the missus. How do you manage?

HANDS: What’s balance? Haha. I have no idea what that word is. I mean, me and Joanna are insane. We’re not normal people. We’re like hamsters in a wheel. The only way to not die or get your fuckin’ legs stuck in the rim of the wheel is to just not stop. So, I guess we find balance in each other and in our relationship because we just have no stopping mechanism for the world around us and for the work we want to do.

XBIZ: Besides scene work, do you and Joanna ever explore casual dynamics with others in your relationship?

HANDS: What do you mean? Oh! Oh yeah! You know, Joanna likes to joke, and early on in our relationship she took me aside, very seriously, and said, “Aaron, if you aren’t cool with this, I understand, or if you want to leave me, I am probably like 50 percent lesbian. Ok, maybe 60 percent. I don’t want a relationship with a woman, but I gotta fuck a girl every now and then.” And I’m like, “Yeah!” If anything, I was like ring-ring! Winner! Like, absolutely.

So yeah, there’ll be times where maybe if I’m working three days in a row and I’m out of town, Joanna will have a friend over, or maybe, you know, we’ll have a dinner party. And people have this misconception, you know, that all porn people are either hardcore swingers doing blow off everyone’s fuckin’ boners or the other way around, where it’s like, “This is work, that’s it.” But Joanna and I are our own thing. We are, compared to some, very open. And, compared to some, pretty conservative or whatever you wanna call it. So, it works for us and that’s really the only thing that matters with couples. If it works for you, cool. And that’s what works for us.

Me and her, we figured out during this magical moment, that there isn’t really a real “rule.” All this shit’s made up. So, if you’re just supposed to be with someone, whether that’s a partner, whatever dicks or pussies they have, just make a deal with them. And whatever that is, is what’s cool. And if you wanna be with your partner and be like yo, twice a month we have a fuckin’ purge situation, but the rest of the month no — ok! As long as everyone’s getting their needs met.

Or on the flip, if two people are like, “We don’t want to go have orgies, we’re happy just being monogamous.” Fuck, they shouldn’t be made to feel bad either. And everything in between, just get with your partner and fuckin’ figure it out, do you and you’ll be good. It’s about just meeting each other’s needs and addressing them. If you start to realize within the boundaries and rules that it’s not for you or your needs are not being met, hopefully you bring it up in a respectful way. And then, if it’s not happening, that’s when smart people go, “Alright, maybe we should just…”

For me and Jo, it’s not even about the sex. It’s really — because we’re so busy — the time. She would be way more pissed if I went out to dinner with some girl than fucked her, you know? You just learn what’s important to your partner and you respect that. In turn, if you get the same respect, you’re killin’ it. That’s how we do it.

XBIZ: True. Now, tell us what it was like winning 2018 XBIZ Male Performer of the Year!

HANDS: I wasn’t expecting it. 1,000 percent, not expecting it. I was expecting the actor one, haha. I feel a lot more confident in my acting than my fucking. But also, I just, I don’t know. I sized up what else was going on. That’s the one where if I was gonna get something, cool ... if not, cheers to whoever. All good. So I didn’t have anything prepared. Nothing. That’s the one where I was like, “There’s absolutely no way.” Because you know, all the other guys in the categories — I don’t even remember what I said, I was kind of drunk. I didn’t even thank fuckin’ XBIZ. I remembered it as I was walking off, like, “Motherfucker!” I didn’t know what to do. I had to watch the video back because I didn’t know what I said, and it was like, oh god, so embarrassing. So sorry if it was a shitty speech, but I was pumped, haha.

XBIZ: Beyond a year of stellar XBIZ Award-winning performing, let’s talk about your newly launched Doom’s Whiskey. Which, by the way, is deliciously intoxicating!

HANDS: Doom’s Whiskey is 100 proof American rye that me and Joanna Angel own and started and created. I’ve been quietly working on it for almost five years now, involved from the ground up, from the packaging to the juice inside the bottle to the wood that it’s aged in, and it’s basically our next baby. It’s something that you cannot download on PornHub, haha. And also, I’m a human being. It’s getting harder to suck in my gut in all these scenes and at some point I’m gonna wanna do something that I don’t have my dick out in it. So, I hope to age gracefully on a porch sippin’ my own whiskey, haha. You can buy a bottle at DoomsWhiskey.com.

Basically, I just created an idea a long time ago where I was like, “Okay, we’re gonna start an alcohol company. I want it to be whiskey. It makes sense with our brands and I also know a lot about whiskey. I love whiskey. It’s my favorite spirit.” So, I’m like, “This is a no-brainer.”

I did a lot of research and have also worked in bars for several years. I come from the alcohol industry as well as designing, packaging and doing graphics for a lot of spirits companies and wineries. I was thinking there are too many bourbons on the market, first of all, so I went with rye. It’s less crowded. Rye is also becoming, well, it’s always been cool, but now it’s cool again as far as modern trends. It’s not a weird thing that no one knows about, but still stands out enough.

I had to think about using our own resources, because there are no investors, there’s no committee, there’s no focus group; it’s just me and Joanna, gunslingers in the West. The research is just me obsessively looking at the market and deciding to, well, let’s make it 100 proof! Because that’s not crowded at all. But that’s hard to do, because most 100 proof whiskeys are really fiery and gnarly on the palette, and that’s not really what I want to do. It’s not supposed to be a joke. And also, we have to make it where it’s not too expensive. There’s a lot of things you gotta hit, and that’s where the work comes in. Roll up your sleeves!

And so, I traveled to distilleries in the United States, Canada, everywhere … just sampling stuff, getting a vibe for people. Just seeing if someone could meet my vision of this evil, dark, top-shelf rock n’ roll fuckin’ whiskey from hell. And I finally met my master distiller Garrett in Oklahoma. So we distill it in Moore, Oklahoma and age it there and then it ships out to our distribution out here.

He got my vision, we worked on the recipe together and aged it in the barrels. While it was aging in the barrels, I was designing the packaging and the logos and the bottles and the corks and all this shit. And I mean, boom. We bottled it, we fuckin’ hit the payment. Got a distro deal, and now it’s like, let’s get it in bars, let’s get it in stores, let’s get the word out, spread the gospel of Doom’s. And hopefully that’ll be something we can grow into a real cool business.

XBIZ: Badass! Any grand plans for this year and beyond?

HANDS: There’s always something. Joanna wrote a novel that came out somewhat recently. It’s called “Night Shift,” and it’s a novel about a girl who works in a really seedy adult store in Tampa, Florida overnight and all the characters that come in. It’s a fuckin’ great book and she went on a book tour for it.

I’m filming a bajillion scenes. We’ve been talking about flying to Israel or Japan next, I don’t know how much you keep track but we have a bit where we fly around the world and we make movies. We’ve been to Costa Rica and Spain and Mexico. We have something very exotic and crazy on the talking board. I don’t know where exactly, but we have a few options. We’re doing more Burning Angel shit. Fingers crossed, I’m doing more Pure Taboo stuff. All the companies that hire me, I just wanna keep killin’ it for them. I’m working on music always.