Daniel Duchaine 1952-2000 by Shelley Hominuk

Jan. 13th, 2010 – A few of us remember that ten years ago today, Dan Duchaine passed away. We get together and reminisce about the times spent with Dan belly laughing and missing our friend. It’s as if he just got up from the table to go to the bathroom and then re-join us in a few minutes. Sadly though, the realization sets in. It’s not going to happen. It is still so surreal. People who have lost a friend or a love one know this feeling all too well. (I remember like it was just yesterday, calling Will Brink asking him to write an article to let the world know that we lost Dan).

Our conversations then turn to our amusement of how Dan has been portrayed in the last decade. Those who truly knew and spent time with Dan are not like the ones chomping at the bit to talk about him to get their 15 minutes worth of fame.

Most, if not all of the participants in Shaun’s Assael’s “Steroid Nation” did not have the time to attend Dan’s funerals. There were two services. One on the West coast, and one on the East coast. Peculiarly enough though, they did had time for a stranger; a New York Times bestselling, ESPN author (this image is a parody of Shaun Assael’s two best selling books, not to be taken seriously).

Despite being hounded through the years, I have only granted one interview and that was for “Steroid Nation”. Any other claims to such are false. Currently, there is a movie producer in Hollywood who has been requesting that I work with his movie production of Dan’s life. After getting a sense that this was just another media person trying to cash in on Dan, but not really caring whether his movie is completely accurate, I declined. I think Dan deserves a movie, as he was absolutely brilliant :: an innovator in bodybuilding, and his life was very intriguing and controversial :: But, a movie needs to be real, not fabricated. Dan’s story doesn’t need to be! Can you imagine how off the wall a television reality show would have been if they had existed back then? I know, because it was actually a part of my life for awhile.

I have learned my lesson unfortunately, through Shaun Assael. I gave Shaun the benefit of doubt and agreed to see him when he flew to Denver, (where I lived at the time), so he could interview me in person. I knew that he was on a mission being ESPN based, and in my mind, I had to speak up and share my experiences with Dan. I knew all too well, that his business frenemies were on a course of vengeance and notoriety and that makes for a good story line. Not to mention, what a great situation — since Dan is not available to rebut what’s said about him.

Shaun was nervous and stuttered throughout the whole interview, indicating deception and a hidden agenda. When I felt this, I knew then that I needed to be guarded. I could hear Dan in my head “What have I told you about reporters? Why are you wasting your time and trying to make me look good – I am supposed to be the BAD GUY!” I even offered to divulge to Shaun, a story line correlated more to steroids. He wasn’t interested. He was just interested in digging into Dan’s personal life. Shaun promised to show me his creation before it went to print as I informed him that he would probably fall upon a lot of mistruths, and I could help him sift out the garbage. Not surprising, he never did.

Instead, the next thing I knew, Steroid Nation was being advertised at the ESPN Book Club, “Dan Duchaine: a founding father of the steroid movement.”

Yet, these ESPN excerpts really didn’t have much to say about Dan and steroids ::  Instead, it exaggerated what we are led to believe what his personal life was like :: How Dan was a drug dealing addict and took insane amounts of drugs and pills, which, those who were close to him know is a lie. I spent a lot of time with Dan and can confirm, it never happened. Actually, seeing Dan have an occasional beer was unusual. The book panders to the typical stereotype that anyone who is associated with steroids is screwed up and everyone pays the price.

Steroid Nation states that how Dan deliberately ruined not only his life, but also his wife’s by accidentally acquiring a flat tire on his motorcycle, and how he is to blame for his fictitiously named girlfriend’s plastic surgery tragedy. I can personally vouch that Dan was not psychic or a plastic surgeon. He loved these women very much, and blaming him for these terrible misfortunes, are low blows. I never look at him as an old man as depicted in the book either. Heck, he was just a few years older than I am now, and I do not consider myself old. For those of you who have speculated that Dan and I were romantically involved, it’s unfortunate that a friendship of the opposite gender is beyond your grasp of comprehension.

Although I was just a small mention in Steroid Nation, I can confirm, that most of my segment was completely off-based. I and others named in the book, like Patrick Arnold, found a lot more that just wasn’t true.

I didn’t help Dan through any break ups, nor did I take him to the theater and opera. It was the other way around. Dan was the one who had the passion for the arts and asked me to accompany him from time to time. I remember one well-known performance we attended that was strictly in French. I was bored out of my mind. I was completely out of my element, immature, and didn’t understand a thing that was going on. Dan was mesmerized. On the drive home, he asked what I thought about it. I told him that it seemed like the ballet dude with the biggest package I had ever seen in my life was trying to bang it out with his sister, and she wasn’t having it. Dan burst out laughing, nodding his head. He then provided as he always did, a more refined explanation so that I may too, acquire an appreciation for theatre. We attended many. Dan was very much a gentleman, which was really never conveyed in any of his articles. I recall one incident at an Expo in Anaheim, Monica Brandt saw Dan and ducked away so that he wouldn’t come up to her. Of course, we did anyway and I’ll never forget seeing Monica physically tremble. Dan felt so bad! Even though she wouldn’t come up, Dan apologized to her for all his crudeness about her in his articles, “Monica, I’m sorry, don’t take my writing personally, it’s my image and expected.”

Most of Dan’s Dirty Dieting fans remember all too well, “Dan’s Deviant Delights”. Most do not know how Dan came up with this particular segment. A good friend of Dan’s owned a book shop where you could buy the most outrageous magazines and videos. In fact, my tattoo originated there because of one of the times I accompanied Dan. Periodically, Dan would recognize some bodybuilders on video porn covers, which he would rent and review in his column. Dan knew who I thought was hot and had crushes on. He would be like a kid in a candy store when he’d find a video with my crush doing gay porn. He was delighted to prove my crushes were secretly batting for the other team, hoping to not be found out, and that I was SOL. It was almost like a double mission – one, to get me, and the other, to expose to the rest of the world how ugly the need for drug money could actually become in the world of bodybuilding.

Also for the record, I did not clear out Dan’s “porn collection” when I found his body. Are you kidding? Dan would experience great pleasure having this discovered as he loved freaking people out. He would see this as a great way to be found.

I could go on and on about what Dan shared with me regarding his relationships and personal life. However, I don’t feel that they have any part in his identity as the Steroid Guru. Just as I don’t feel that my accountant’s divorce has anything to do with my tax return, or the fact that my doctor has two step sisters, has an effect on my health.

There are many inconsistencies and inaccuracies within Steroid Nation and of course, in various website and magazine articles throughout the years. Dan Duchaine didn’t die of steroid use nor did he expose children to steroids as one website condemns him to hell for an article entitled :: “Dick and Jane’s First Steroid” ::  If the article is actually read – one instantly sees that the title is a play on words for a bodybuilder’s first steroid encounter. Dan was, and will always be one of the greatest, most articulate, funniest writers of all time.

I didn’t find Dan’s blue body or that it looked like he was sleeping. Other things that bother me, such as how a certain person didn’t know Dan all that well over the last 10 or so years of his life, and wouldn’t return Dan’s phone calls, but had time to put his spin on the story. It bothers me that he brushed Dan off, but was available for the ESPN writer. How someone else backstabbed Dan, went behind his back and jeopardized his career by claiming to be him and writing for PentHouse; not to mention, being coerced to employ both her and her husband at the time. Then there are claims that Carrot Top looks the way he does because she is married to him and was once associated with the Steroid Guru. Trust me, Dan didn’t have anything to do with Carrot Top. A disgruntled previous assistant also contributed a major portion of Steroid Nation’s content. It was never a secret that Dan and this person had a huge falling out, or that Dan didn’t like men much.

Then, there is the VPX company who made millions of dollars by using a photo of Dan holding one of their products. Seriously? I was right there. This happened at the Arnold Classic 1999. They walked right up to my booth and asked Dan to come around for a fan photo. You can see my booth in the background! Shortly after Dan passed away VPX started trumpeting their false promotion of Dan’s endorsement with this clanestine obtained picture to prove it.

These were the people interviewed to best rely Dan’s story? I can name off who should have been off the top of my head – but they weren’t. These were all Dan’s situations with these people, not mine. It is what it is.

Sadly, there were a few deaths linked to DNP and Dan was responsible for introducing DNP into the bodybuilding world. However, he is not responsible for these deaths, nor any other death associated with any drug use. Dan stated prudently and very DIRECTLY disclaiming – DO NOT DO THIS. You can find this in practically every article he wrote. Dan really cared about people. He didn’t want other people who didn’t know as much as he about the dangers to suffer the consequences. “I have done this, don’t do it!” Instead, he knew people would do what they wanted regardless, so he decided he would present possibly, a safer way. AND, he found satisfaction doing so as he didn’t care about being ‘the bad guy’. He was brilliant and loved pushing the boundaries of experimentation.

One of the sections in Steroid Nation touches on when his assistant and Dan got into a argument over his interfering with Dan’s bodybuilder girlfriend’s DNP use. Dan was very PARTICULAR and precise when it came to this kind of thing. He did not let others experiment – he knew all too well the possible dangers. Of course he was upset with someone who had no knowledge, yet was advising, not just anyone, but HIS girlfriend? Dan spent thousands of hours with the doctor who did the DNP research from Germany. He knew a lot more than obviously, an assistant ever could.

There’s an unbiased book written by Neil White, one of Dan’s prison roommates, entitled “In The Sanctuary of Outcasts”, that doesn’t get into bodybuilding. Woven into the text, though, Neil paints a picture that shows who Dan really was. On his personal journey, you get the picture that Dan spent hundreds of hours doing meticulous research. The book shows that dedication and gives one a sense of Dan’s constant evolution, not to mention, shares some funny stories which are so true to Dan’s nature.

I’m not trying to make Dan out to be a mild-mannered pussy. He would be the first to kick my ass for doing so. While Dan was involved in far more controversial activities than the average Joe, he was never reckless. He was always well researched and precise, and if anyone was ever at risk, it was himself. He spent thousands of hours at medical libraries, and poured over research from all around the world regarding anabolic steroids, and enhancing performance drugs and supplements. He would even have research papers translated if it wasn’t in English. He was also renowned for knowing how to beat drug tests.

There are a few people who are trying to make themselves into the “new steroid guru” by showing where Dan was wrong about some subtle scientific things. Everyone makes mistakes – we’re only human – but Dan would adjust as soon as it was determined that he did and then build on the new information he had. That’s part of what made him the man so many people followed and that’s why he was a true pioneer, ahead of his time.

Dan had a rather unfortunate upbringing, but he never played the victim and made people feel sorry for him. The movie, “The Blind Side” reminds me of Dan. His childhood was very similar to Quinton Aaron, being alone, yet finding ways to survive. However, Quinton’s misfortune is now recognized and he is celebrated for his accomplishments.

Why isn’t Dan? There is a fascinating story behind all of his steroid dealing and consequences, it just has YET to be told by those who are totally in the know…

Ms Behav'nS. L. Hominuk, web mistress of QFAC.com, nutritionist, author and publisher of many books including “Physical Enhancement with An Edge” brings 18 years of knowledge and experience to the health industry. “Ms Behav’n” also contributes to various websites, health and fitness magazines and can be heard on several radio shows throughout the United States and abroad. Ms B is well acquainted with many eastern/western physicians, researchers and owners of many of the dietary supplement companies. She is always on the inside track of the latest developments in health, diet and related issues. You can often catch Shelley at many of the latest health and wellness seminars, fitness and bodybuilding shows.

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