Gregg Valentino is in a good mood. Gregg Valentino is always in a good mood. "What contains an Oak and two a-holes in it?" Gregg asks me. "I don't know, what?" "A picture of Arnold with Lou and Franco in it." Ouch! Gregg has his share of haters amongst professional bodybuilders and Internet bulletin board posters (posers?). But attend any pro show where Gregg mans the Muscular Development booth, and you'll see a throng surrounding the Rambling Freak.
Like an onion, Gregg Valentino is a man with many layers. With another spread in FHM due out any minute, an upcoming appearance in a Kid Rock Video, an article featuring him in Men's Fitness to be published in the near future, and a tell-all biography being written as he pounds out his latest Rambling Freak column for Boss Blechman, Valentino is a man with many irons in the fire. When I interviewed him for GetBig.com, he was in a lighthearted mood.
TB: We did an interview on Bodybuilding.com and there was a lot of response to it on the GetBig.com bulletin boards. A surprising number of the posts were positive, but there were the inevitable haters. Is it true what the haters are saying, Gregg, that you sell synthol on your web site?
- The haters are right. I do sell synthol on
my web site
- . I sell it for a specific reason: people are constantly asking me about synthol, so why shouldn't I make money off of it? When I was a drug dealer, I used to sell deca too, but I never used deca. I hated deca. I happened to like equipoise. Just because I sold deca doesn't mean I used it; and just because I sell synthol, that doesn't mean I use it.
TB: Obviously the thing people harp on about you are the arms and the whole synthol thing.
- I understand where the haters are coming from. I really do. You fear what you don't know, what you don't understand. Stick people in a dark room and they're scared, turn on the light and they're no longer scared. Some people don't understand me. They think I'm this guy with this monster ego, but I'm not. I never claimed to be better than anyone just because my arms are bigger than everyone's. I don't hate any of the haters back. If I saw me too I'd feel the same way.
TB: Gregg, you say you don't put synthol in your arms. But what did you put in those arms?
- Believe it or not, I trained 23 years without taking anything and got my arms up to twenty-one inches. I started injecting vitamin B-12 into my biceps. That s*** used to burn like you would not believe. My partner Paul used to break my balls, "You should just do a cycle. F*** that vitamin s***."
The first steroid I ever took was Anabolex. Enthanate was the first injection I ever used. I injected in my shoulders. I enjoyed the pump I would get. Even the B-12 used to give me a pump in my biceps. So I thought, "Let me see what it would be like if I stuck the juice in my arms." So I injected my arms; but I also always moved my shots around. My arms and shoulders just responded best.
But I was a d*** about it. I'd drop needles on the floor, blow on them, and stick myself. I'd reuse needles. Don't ask me why. I was dealin'. I had thousands of needles floatin' around. It was just laziness. That's how I developed the abscesses.
TB: About a year back someone posted a picture of your arm with a huge hole in it on GetBig. Where did they get that and what the hell was wrong with that arm, bro?
- I took that picture. They got that picture from my web site. I wasn't hiding anything.
TB: But what was up with that diseased looking limb?
- That abscess in my right arm was so bad that I was squirting brown puss out of my arm. I was shooting enough to cause puddles. I could squeeze my arm and the goop would shoot out - literally - six feet. It used to make people sick. Bob Bonham has a videotape he shows everybody at Strong and Shapely of me filling a quart jar with puss and blood from my right arm.
TB: Were you walking around with fevers when you had that abscess?
- Oh yeah, but I knew what to do. You bang down the Tylenol and Advil mixed together. You pop some dura-cef [antibiotics]. And you drain it.
TB: Gregg, let's be real here: do you get a lot of ass [women] because of your arms?
- Abso-f****in'-lutey not. I have short man complex. I have a Napoleon complex. Thank god I have a big dick, otherwise I'd be really f***ed. Look at me: I'm bald, I have two different colored eyes, I have a big nose, I'm short and squatty. But I get ass because I've got narrow hips, a big f***in' wang, and an ability to bulls*** with anybody. Girls are usually repulsed by me. They look at me like, "That's ri-god damned-diculous!"
I'm a guy magnet. I attract stalkers. I walk through a nightclub and guys push their girlfriends aside to get to me and say, "Oh man, you've got big friggin' arms!" Being short, all I do is smell everybody's breath in the clubs. It's horrible.
TB: You've got the guys who hate on you because they misunderstand you - after all, you're not competing, you're not trying to take the bread off anyone's table. But then you got the guys who I suspect hate on you because they're jealous of you. For example, there were no posts about our last interview on Musclemayhem, or, if there were, they were censored and removed as soon as they appeared, which wouldn't be unusual.
- I don't really follow the web-site scene. I'm not big on these chat rooms or bulletin boards. First of all, I'm a computer illiterate. I have a hard time typing up my own column much less navigating all the web sites. But I must say this. Of what I know, Ron at Getbig has always shown me props, whereas MuscleMayhem is a dictator. If you ask the questions they don't want you to ask, they delete those posts. You don't see Ron doing that.
TB: No, you don't. It doesn't help your cause that Tom Prince moderates the boards over at Mayhem.
- (scoffs) Tom Prince. My secret admirer. Here's a joke for you: what do K-Mart and Tom Prince have in common?
TB: I don't know, what?
- They both have boys' underwear half-off. (laughs). I don't hate Tom Prince. He hates me. I don't hate anybody.
TB: I hear your boy Victor Martinez is in hot water.
- Victor and I have been friends for a long time. What happened to him has happened to many, many, many professional bodybuilders. You just don't hear about it. You heard about Vic because he's hot: he won the Night of Champions; he was a favorite going into the 2004 Arnold Classic. Vic and I have been tight for years. We were laughing together at the Olympia Expo. Ten years ago we were two mo-mo's bodybuilding. Who'd have thought, ten years ago, that we'd be working for the best bodybuilding magazine together?
TB: MD is the best bodybuilding magazine on the market right now. I say that as a fan and as a guy who subscribes to all four major magazines. And, no, I do not write for MD (although I'd love to).
- I know I've talked about this before, but I can't say enough about Steve Blechman and how he's helped me. The man has pulled me, personally, out of the gutter. He gave Victor opportunities that nobody else came offering. He gave Dexter Jackson a column and a cover. Dexter's been a world-class bodybuilder for years now, and no magazines have put him on the cover before Muscular Development. I mean, this guy is potentially the next big thing in bodybuilding after
- . Look at Dexter now. He won the GNC! (Right: Dexter at the 2003 Olympia.
TB: I never hear anybody say anything bad about Blechman.
- Steve is a great guy. Steve has done a lot for me. He's like the wise old uncle that is your favorite relative when you're a kid. There were these little groupie bitches following me and Victor around out in Vegas [at the Olympia]. These women sat at the table where we were eating with Blechman. Steve thought they were with us. He bought us all dinner, the pigs included! And these bitches were eatin' eighty-dollar dinners. Steve is just a generous guy.
Steve treats me with respect; he treats me as a fellow human being who matters and not like some sideshow oddity. Steve asks me what my opinions are on things. I told him a long time ago, that I didn't like having the women on the cover of the magazine. We debated this back and forth. Look at MD now: pro bodybuilders on the cover. Steve just took on Mat Duvall. Mat's going to be on the next cover of MD. And, by the way, I got a great story about Shawn Ray coming up, so you GetBig guys better read it!
TB: Is the stuff you write about every month in Muscular Development for real? I saw your marriage proposal to Brandy Dahl.
- When I worked with Brandy at the Olympia Expo, we were joking around. Nasty talk back and forth. She said to me, "Would you let me do anything to you?" I said, "I'd let you f***in strap on a dildo and crack me in the ass if you wanted." She said, "I'd do that, but you'd have to clean your ass out with an enema first." I said, "No problem," reached into my bag and pulled the enema I keep with me out.
I got problems with my s***. So I squirt water up my ass before I work the expo, that way I'm not running out of the MD booth to hit the s***ter. Brandy and Christina Lindley were laughing their asses off. They're both real sweethearts with jammin' bodies. Ron Avidan was there taking pictures when I was burying my face in ass.
TB: What else happened at the Expo?
- You know who had the audacity to give me dirty looks was that guy Brad Hillaburgh. This guy was looking at me like, "Oh, please, look at him!" You know, I don't compete, so I don't consider myself a threat to the pros. But you could see with Brad that his biceps came to points.
Let's not pull no punches here. This guy steps on stage looking like that. I'm not accusin' him of doin' synthol, but why is he givin' me hard looks when he's got points on his biceps? Yo, wuz up with that? The most gratifying part to the Olympia expo was Nasser El Sonbatay stopped me and asked if he could get his picture taken with me.
TB: No! How'd he look?
- Unbelievable. Huge. Great guy, what an unbelievable guy.
TB: Who are some of the other good guys in bodybuilding?
- That depends on how you define good and bad. There have been guys who have been good to me. Steve Blechman took a chance on me when a lot of people thought he was crazy for doing so. King Kamali is down with me; he buys me sodas at the clubs, he goes out of his way to hook me up with girls. He's always been very nice to me. He talks to me with respect. Craig Titus has always been very nice and respectful to me.
When I went to his Olympia after-party, people were having trouble getting in, but Craig got me and Bob Bonham right in. His wife is an absolute sweetheart to me. I always seem to get along with the guys who speak their minds or cause controversy. Mat Duvall is a really good guy. I love him and I love his girlfriend, Bethany Howlett, IFBB fitness pro. Both great people! By the way, Bethany's father played professional baseball.
TB: Who would you consider an ambassador for the sport?
- . They're stand up guys.
TB: You know, I'm sorry I busted your balls in the last interview because everyone says you're a really nice guy and I think I read you the wrong way. I hear you always stay at the expo booth and even give away photos to kids.
- You're not going to find guys who really know me sayin', "Yo, that guy Valentino really f***ed me over." When it comes to people like the fans - I don't like the word fan. Fan is a dirty word to me. I like the word supporters better. I'll tell you what. They used to say that George Steinbrenner is a bleacher seat fan with the rights to the Yankee clubhouse. That's the way I am. I'm like a bleacher seat supporter but with my column I have a sounding board.
I'm also a dad and I have a soft spot for kids. I remember being a kid asking Ed Corney for an autograph and he barked at me, "Arnold would charge you five dollars for one!" All I was asking him to do was sign a program. When young kids come up to me, I try to give them something - I bring a big bucket of candy with me. When supporters want to take a picture with me and they have a digital camera, I let them take two or three shots until they get one they're satisfied with.
I had a kid come up to me. He looked fifteen, sixteen. He had paid me for an 8 X 10. He was with his father. They put their money on the table and I wasn't sure who the money was coming from, the father or the kid. They took the photo and left. Later on it was haunting me. I didn't know who put that money on the table. If it was the father that's one thing, he's a workingman and I'm a workingman. I shoulda asked the kid. If it was his money I would have given it back to him. I don't want a kid's money.
TB: Fifteen or sixteen isn't a kid.
- To me it is. I remember when I was a kid. I can't believe anybody would look up to me. I tell people at these events, please don't look up to me as a role model. I am far from a role model. I appreciate that people support me. I just want to make sure that I give back. I never, ever snap at anybody.
I take the time to talk to the people. Bob Bonham hates going to the clubs with me because when guys stop me to talk, I stop and talk to them. If they think enough of me to stop me and show me some respect, I'm gonna show them some respect too. But when you're trying to exit a club with Bob and some Latin pigs in tow, the flesh pressin' can be a pain in the ass to the people you're with.
TB: I hear Lou Ferrigno isn't so nice.
- There are plain-old leaping a-holes in bodybuilding and Lou is one of them. Lou Ferrigno is known to be a scumbag. Young kids can come up to him at a show - ten year olds - and when they ask him to sign a piece of paper he'll tell them, "Twenty dollars." If you see him at a show and ask him if you can take a picture with him, he'll demand twenty dollars. He's charged kids in the single-digit age, eight or nine, for a picture.
The way I look at it is this: okay, Lou Ferrigno, you have a right to make a living, but you're a millionaire. You're a millionaire. So when a kid asks you to sign a magazine or a pair of lifting straps and you're gonna try and hit 'em for twenty dollars, I'm sorry, but in my book, you're a piece of shit.
TB: Who are some of the other a-holes in the sport?
- is a cocksucker to people. We don't really talk to each other. I don't know if he would even talk to me.
TB: He supposedly found God now?
- He found God, right. Believe me. All of a sudden he found God?
TB: A lot of people might jump down your throat for saying that because of his health issues.
- Let me get this straight: I wish Flex Wheeler nothing but good health and a long life with his family. What I'm talking about here is his personality and approachability by fans. By the way, what would you call Flex Wheeler in drag?
TB: I don't know, what?
- Lenda Murray (laughs). Did you ever notice they look alike? Put a wig in Flex, you've got Linda. They could be brother and sister. They even have similar physiques. Franco Columbo is also known to be a dick.
TB: What do you have against Franco?
- I was at the very, very first Arnold Classic with my wife, Bob Bonham and a group of people.
TB: This was the Arnold Classic Rich Gaspari won?
- Yeah. Columbo was there with his then-wife, Anita. And he'd be hitting on girls left and right. I went into the bathroom and when I came back out into the hallway he was hitting on my wife. My ex-wife was a very shy girl. She didn't talk much, she just stood there. I walked up to him and was like, "Hey, Franco, how you doin'?" He basically dismissed me and told me to get lost. He kept kickin' it to her.
I said, "Not for nothin', but this is my wife you're talkin' to." He pretty much told me to get lost again. She was trying to walk away but he kind of had her cornered and wouldn't let her get anywhere. I stepped in between him and her. I said to him, "Yo, dude, I told you: this is my wife. You can see she's not interested in you." He says to me, "Who the f*** are you?"
I was going to blast him right then and there but my wife grabbed my arm. I told him, "You're a f***in' disgrace," and my wife and I left. I wasn't afraid of Franco Columbo. He's a lot smaller than me. I woulda kicked his f***in' ass. He's known to be a dick.
TB: I heard you almost got it on with Mike Matarazzo.
- Hah! (laughs) Mike is another one of my buddies. I did a charity event in Jersey one year, driving Mike, Lenda Murray, and Kevin Levrone around. I like Matarazzo. He's a stand up guy who speaks his mind. We got into an argument in the car about the Howard Stern show. He told me he was watching the Stern show and that it was the funniest thing he'd ever seen. Howard had a rubber prop on his head and was acting like, "Naow I knawh that I'm wetarded."
TB: I think he was cutting on Gary Busy in that skit, making fun of Gary's motorcycle crash.
- Matarazzo thought it was the funniest thing he'd ever seen. I said, "Yo, I think it's funnier when Howard has the lesbians on and they play Lesbian dial-a-date." Mike says to me, "Well, I don't see what's so funny about that. Supposin' your sister was a lesbian, would you laugh?" So I said, "I don't see what's so f***in' funny about makin' fun of a guy who's a paraplegic in a wheelchair. If you had a brother who was hit by a car and was a paraplegic, would you be pissed off?" We started arguing about the show.
He was telling me, "You don't know what the f*** you're talkin' about" and we were goin' back and forth. I wasn't payin' attention to the road and I was going into the oncoming traffic lane and they were like, "Dude, watch the road!" Ask anyone, I'm not the best driver. I'm one of those buddies that really has to pay attention to the road.
TB: You're friends with Titus, Kamali and Victor Martinez. Those guys don't get along. Does that ever put you in a weird situation?
- No. I'm around Victor a lot. I've known him for a long time. We go to dinner at [NPC Middleweight competitor] Carlo Filippone's restaurant Angelo's in Fairview, New Jersey. I don't hang out with Kamali and Titus. If I see them at a club, I'm cool with them, and they're cool with me. As far as what they feel for each other, I don't get involved with that. That's their beef, not my beef.
TB: Who greases your weaser?
- Maya and Jessica Alba. It's a dead heat tie. Now we're talking. If I had to pick one I'd probably go with Maya. She's got that slutty-slash-ghetto flava' and reminds me of my Julissa. I like a little bit of a beak [nose]on a girl.
TB: Let's keep with the theme and start with a s*** story.
- Me and my partner Paul had a friend in Brooklyn named Angelo. This guy was rich! Rich as a motherf***er. Paul and me were building our gym and Angelo had all this Nautilus equipment in his home gym that he was gonna let us have. Angelo gave us the keys to the house and told us to go in the basement, get the equipment, and leave through the garage. So Paul goes there with me and Paul is a rotten foul motherf***er.
TB: What do you mean?
- He s***s really bad. He s*** in a bar one time when we were bouncing at Studs. It [the odor] went must have been fifty feet through a closed door. The bartenders were like, "What the f*** is that?" The D.J. shut down the D.J. booth. I never smelled someone who smells that bad.
So Paul takes a s*** in this guy Angelo's bathroom and the whole house stunk. He's fartin' in there, the house reeks. We're pulling the equipment out. As we work I feel a s*** comin' on for me. Paul is rushin' me, "Come on, come on, come on." We're leavin' and I gotta go really bad. We had left the keys in the house like Angelo instructed us so I couldn't get back into the house to use the bathroom.
But the garage was open. So I take some newspaper and I go in the garage. I close the door, spread the paper on the floor and I'm takin' a s***. Paul is outside beeping the horn rushing me. There I am bent over, wiping my ass. The garage door opens-it's Angelo with his wife and kids. He had an electric garage door opener. I thought it was Paul beeping to break my balls to hurry up. He was beeping to let me know the guy was home. Angelo caught me shitting on his garage floor. It was the most embarrassing thing, to turn around and see those kids with their heads in the car and they're looking at me. Their jaws dropped and I'm there bare ass with my newspaper.
I was embarrassed as f***. The wife goes in the house with the kids and the kids come running right back out, "Oh my God! The house!" The wife has to open all the windows. Paul is talking to Angelo, trying to calm him down, and Paul is blaming the s*** I took in the garage for his s*** in the bathroom that'd stunk up the house. The wife comes outside and she's screaming, "Valentino, you're disgusting! Angelo, the f***in' house stinks!"
TB: Your boy Paul sold you out like that?
- Yo, listen, here's one incident that shows you the type of guy Paul is. We went to Show World. There were a bunch of prostitutes and strippers up there. Paul was dating one of them so we went up there to see Paul's girl. We didn't even want to see the show; we just wanted to see Paul's girl.
We were hanging out by the entrance inside the place, sitting on a ledge. One of the strippers was like, "You can't sit there." We were like, "f*** you." This bitch gets all crazy: "f*** you white boy motherf***ers"-she was black. Pauls like, "f*** you." All of a sudden these bouncers come out of nowhere and shit gets sticky. We're fighting them, knocking dudes out, I was pounding motherf***ers. I picked up the podium thing where the woman stands collecting money at the entrance and I threw it. It bounced off a wall of peep show doors. All these men come scrambling out trying to zipper their pants. We created a big melee.
There's a turnstile to exit and enter the place. We fought our way to it. I slipped through but Paul got stuck. As he's struggling with the bouncers to get through the turnstile, the bitch who started the whole thing comes up and - crack! - she hits him right in the eye. He freaks out, "You f***in' bitch!" and he drops her with one shot. This six-foot-four-Kobe Bryant-lookin'-tranny-stripper-pig-whore comes out of the crowd with a knife. I said, "You motherf*****!"
I picked up a full Coke can that was on a seat. I threw it. She was turned away from me because she was trying to stick Paul. The can picked up speed and hit her right where the traps are. Boom! Cops came. They shut off part of 42nd Street. You'd think a mass murderer was there. There were thirty f***ing cops there. I was married and I wasn't supposed to be there. So Paul tells the cops, "I threw the can." I said, "No-no-no, I threw the can!" Paul said, "Shut the f*** up. I threw the can." The tranny wasn't sure who threw the can. The cops arrested Paul and took him down to Midtown North Precinct. I had to go down there and get him out. He took the blame for me. Eventually the charges were dropped.
TB: Got any other bodybuilding jokes?
- If Mr. Potato Head was a bodybuilder, what would his name be? Dave Palumbo!
TB: (laughs) Dave gets hot chicks man. He was married to Barbara Moran. He's engaged to Colette Nelson.
- Dave's my brotha'. I like Dave and I love his column in MD. Here's one for you: why did Chris Cormier slap the girl on the Santa Monica pier?
TB: That's so messed up. Why?
- He misunderstood Flex Wheeler when Flex told him, "Let's hit the beach!"
TB: (laughs). Jeez. Didn't Chris get arrested for that?
- Why can't
- ever get hemorrhoids? Because he's the perfect a-hole. If Arnold says, "I'll be back," what would Gunter say?
- "I got no back."
TB: (laughs) That's messed up.
- What does Lee Priest see when he looks in the mirror? The top of his head.
TB: Anything else you want to say?
- Hey, read my column and keep an eye open for the book which is gonna drop! Peace dawgs!