January 28, 2021

Dan Duchaine: Interview by Nelson Montana for Testosterone.net

Nelson Montana interviewed Dan Duchaine for Testosterone.net (the predecessor of T-Nation) during the late 1990s. Montana introduces Duchaine describing his contributions to bodybuilding via his articles and books about anabolic steroids.

“It wouldn’t be too much of an overstatement to say that talking to Dan was an epiphany of sorts. This is the man! The Michael Jordan, the Babe Ruth, the veritable Da Vinci of modern day bodybuilding. Although we spoke at length on various topics, the crux of our conversation was about, what else? Steroids! I took full advantage of every moment to pick Dan’s brain on the subject that he almost single-handedly brought to the forefront of the bodybuilding community.

“As many Testosterone readers may already know, Dan has written countless articles and several books, including the well-received diet bible, “BodyOpus.” But none are more infamous than the original “Underground Steroid Handbook.” This modest 18-page pamphlet was the very first piece of literature on the practical application of steroid use for bodybuilding purposes. Although there are a few inaccuracies in USH, it presented an innovative, brutally frank, and often brilliant blueprint of steroid descriptions and their applications. He also offered what was, at times, a “crudely humorous” yet startlingly eloquent philosophy concerning the use of performance-enhancing substances. To this day, there is hardly an iota of information written on the subject of steroids that hasn’t in some way stemmed from Dan’s original observations.

“At one point during our conversation, I stopped being an interviewer and became a fan. You can’t really blame me, though, as it was a chance to get a first-hand account of history from the guy who literally “wrote the book.” I asked Dan, “Are you aware of the impact you’ve had on the public’s understanding of steroids?” Dan’s response was succinct, yet sounded as if it was one he had answered many times. He said, “I simply took the subject of drugs out of the doctor’s office and placed it on the kitchen table.””

Duchaine discussed various topics including his own steroid use and the debate over the permanence of steroid-induced gains and muscle memory. (The reference to Craig Titus in prison refers to a previous incarceration on MDMA distribution not the current sentence for murder.)

“I haven’t done a real cycle in some time. You know, I started weightlifting weighing 155 pounds, and today I’m 210. I think that proves that steroids are still your best bet for obtaining and keeping muscle. Once you build muscle, whether it’s with steroids or not, you’ve built it. It’s muscle. I wouldn’t be surprised when Craig Titus gets out of prison if he still has plenty of muscle on him. Even if he hasn’t been training all that much, once he starts training seriously, it’ll come back. After you build a foundation, even if you only used steroids for a total of a couple of months, it may be the best investment in building muscle that you will ever make. That doesn’t mean you have to be married to steroids for the rest of your life. Build a foundation and go from there. That’s a very sane way of doing things.”

Dan Duchaine also briefly discusses his conviction for steroid trafficking in 1989 when he pleaded guilty on two counts of steroid distribution and was sentenced to three years in prison and five years probation.

After my first indictment in ’87, I was working at Champion Nutrition. It was considered a federal conspiracy if I was involved at any time with any amount of drugs. Because of my high profile in the sports community and my notoriety for being the upstart of all of this, it was easy for them to find me guilty by association. The funny thing is, the sale of steroids never went “great guns” until long after I was no longer involved in it. I wasn’t that big of a player. They got a hold of some dealings that my girlfriend was doing, but of course they wanted me, so I just said, “Yeah, the stuff’s mine.” They got me on one bottle of Dianabol and a bottle of Cytomel the first time and for GHB and clenbuterol the second time.

It was kind of funny because we fooled around with some homemade clenbuterol, dissolved it in alcohol, added some red dye, and kept it in the refrigerator with pictures of skulls and crossbones on it. The jug had a label with big lettering on it that said “Do not drink!” When the FDA came in to search the apartment, the search warrant read “For possession of clenbuterol.” So they went into the bedroom, opened up one of the drawers, and out fall all of these boxes of Mexican spiropent. One narc says to the other, “Forget about that stuff! We’re looking for clenbuterol!”

At the end of the interview, Nelson Montana explains why Dan Duchaine was so influential in bodybuilding:

Like all great innovators, Dan paid a price for thinking differently. But it’s never the people who “aim to please” that make a difference. It’s always the men who stick their necks out and take risks that make the discoveries for future generations to remember. There’s an old saying, “No one ever erected a monument to a committee.” In other words, it’s the individual who’s important, the lone voice of reason and madness who breaks the rules and reassembles them in a way that makes it impossible for people to ever view things in quite the same way. Dan Duchaine is such an individual. It’s irrelevant whether you think his contributions have been mostly positive or negative. He has forever changed bodybuilding.

Nelson Montana’s full interview with Dan Duchaine can be viewed at the T-Nation website.

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