Veteran Industry Salesman Rick Wells Dies

This story will be updated as AVN receives more memories from Wells' industry friends.

CITY OF HOPE, Calif.—Rick Wells, a former salesman for Caballero Home Video and industry veteran of almost 30 years, died Sept. 9, 2015, at City of Hope Hospital in California.

According to longtime friend Bruce Mendelson of Legend Video, Wells had a degree in physical therapy and worked in healthcare for a time, but his true passion was music, and he became an accomplished guitarist who performers with some of the biggest bands of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.

“[But] he was best known as a Super Salesman for Caballero Home Video in the early ’90s,” Mendelson told AVN. “His customers adored him claiming he was one of the most honest and truthful sales representatives in the adult industry.”

Wells entered adult as a salesman in the 1980s, when business was booming, and he quickly was able to fund a lifestyle that allowed him to pursue music.

“Music was Rick's gift, his life, his magic,” said longtime friend Dick Lane of Caballero. “Rick was a professional musician, a super musician, a super guitarist; he could play anything from rock to Bach, [and] often taught young people to play. He had a band, and once was managed by Van Halen's manager. Rick's favorite group was Jethro Tull, and could play it and sing it as well as Jethro. Unfortunately, medical problems cut short his professional musical life at an early age, he became a video salesman to pay the bills. It was his ‘day job.’

“Rick Wells was a super human being, he was full of love, had nothing but love to give to his fellow man, even when he was feeling down about something himself,” Lane continued. “He always reached out to help someone in need, to a friend, to a homeless person on the street. A deeply religious person, he would pray for others. He was, and is special. His body has left him, his spirit, his soul, as all of our souls, continues. Energy can not be destroyed, it just transcends to another dimension. His soul was too beautiful for this world. He tried to make this world a beautiful place, and did. I loved him like a brother. It pains me that he couldn't stay longer.”

Mike Kulich—founder of Monarchy Distribution and Stunner PR—also shared his memories of Wells.

"Having worked out of the Caballero building for the past eight years, I had the privilege of seeing Rick every day,” Kulich said. “We were the guys who came in early and would sit and have our coffee every morning and talk about sports, life, and he told me stories from back in his rock ’n’ roll days. Rick always sold porn but sometimes he would take time off to do studio guitar work. We both had a passion for playing the guitar. When I started Stunner PR he gave me a Fender Strat as a good luck gift. I will miss my friend and my morning coffee that we had every day. Rick was an OG in this industry, selling movies back when they were on beta. He loved the business, he loved his customers and his customers loved him. You will be missed Rick."

“He built rock solid relationships over the years leaving a positive mark on anyone who knew him,” Mendelson said. “He was a loving human being and there is no denying that Rick Wells was one of the ‘Good Guys.’  He will be missed by all.”

Joe Walla, senior sales manager for National Video Supply/Universal Distributor, sent the following remembrance:

"Here's a few words about a friend, brother in arms ... Rick Wells. I met Rick probably back in 2005 when I was playing with my band and recently had got an endorsement with Minarik Guitars which Rick was a rep for. We started chatting about the guitars, some knew Rick was a wild man for guitar as well as I am. So this was our budding bromance as they say; we talked guitars for hours. We would get together and play riffs back and forth, then start dealings on more guitars. He also reppped a line called Peerless guitars, he wanted to hook me up with their guitars as well. I was playing Quaalcom stadium for a big motorcycle event a few weeks down the road, he went out of his way to get a custom Gig master made for me with my name on it and shipped straight from their factory in Korea. I was blown away by Rick's generosity and willingness to help an unknown artist. He was always passionate about playing, he lit up when music was spoken. Rick had a great heart and would help any new artist grow if he saw there was a passion in them. Music was everything to Rick, this was a great beginning to a friendship that lasted till he passed.

"We both worked in the adult business for many years and we never asked about it till one day, what do you do for a living came up, he said he worked for Caballero and I laughed and told him I worked at the time for New Beginnings. That was our next bond as well. We got together once in a while to jam and deal guitars when he had something to trade or sell, but the last few years I knew he was sick and didn't think much of how serious this was to be. I know life is strange, who we pick as friends and why it's so. He was my friend and first artist endorsement agent, I truly appreciated he was interested in me as the artist. Rick was always a happy guy when [we] spoke, hung out because of music, help escape the pain he was feeling. I really feel sad to know that time was short and didn't realize that he would be gone so fast. I know to people who knew Rick he was an all-around great guy who deserved to live bigger than he did. I hope he has his guitar in hand and playing away happy from the pain he may have suffered here. All I know, I will miss him chatting about guitars  and saying 'yep yep,' hearing his excitement about  music. 

"Let me say this to you all, every day we live is a day that won't come back and if you love your friends and family don't take 'em for granted, say I love you more. Live your dreams and go beyond them. Sometimes we feel there is no way to achieve the impossible, but remember reality starts in the dream. Rick dreamed, I know he faced his days with a dream to play everyday ... thank you for letting me share this piece, my last is Godspeed Rick Wells till I see you on the other side! Dream big, live bigger."