Charles Welling's Interview Part III: A Blind Man With No Limits - Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors

Charles Welling’s Interview Part III: A Blind Man With No Limits

January 31, 2012

Charles Welling’s part three of a very large 15,000 word three part interview about, you guessed it, me. He has also consolidated all three sections into one and the link to the full interview can be found on our “In The media” page.

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 31, 2012

Randy Roach Part III: A Blind Man With NO Limits

Randy Roach in his office, January 2012

With this post, we conclude what has become a truly fascinating conversation with Randy Roach. The entire interview, all three parts totaling nearly 15,000 words, may be read start to finish on its own page, here; Part III begins directly below.

But I first want to express my profound gratitude to Randy for being receptive to actually putting all this information about him, much of it never before published, out there for all of us to enjoy and learn from. Knowing something of the author makes his work all the more meaningful and fulfilling to read. Randy has also supplied several brand new photos including the beautiful pic you see of him in his office on the left as well as others, seen below. I have had nothing but fun throughout the whole process of back and forth with someone I am privileged to call a friend. Randy, for all of us, thank you.

At the end of Part II, Randy was telling us about some of the fine people who had been very helpful to him in making Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors possible. He concluded with the words “So, a lot of good people were involved in this project.” We pick up that conversation now with Part III.

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Charles Welling: Two of those key good people, as you have told me, are Ron Kosloff and Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale. Tell us about how you came to know these gentlemen and what role they played in convincing you that your article for Sally Fallon should be expanded into a full blown writing project for a book?

Randy Roach  I was given Ron Kosloff’s contact in 2003 by Bob Gajda pronounced  ( “Guy-Da”).  Bob has become a good friend, but my first attempt to interview him was actually wild…funny wild that is.  Bob can talk a mile a minute in five different directions at once.  He holds a doctorate in bio-mechanics and is the Director of the Gajda Health Plus Network in Palatine, Illinois.  Bob actually has become a huge supporter of the project.

Anyway Bob had purchased supplements from Ron Kosloff who owned NSP Nutrition(Natural Source Products).  Ron is a loyal student to the late Vince Gironda who also had a hand in the launching of NSP back in the early 1970s.  Ron had distributed for the east since the mid 1970s and bought NSP upon the death of Ray Raridon in the 1990s.  Ron is a big proponent of what has become labeled as Old School Bodybuilding Nutrition.

Obviously, I needed to talk to Ron about NSP and Vince Gironda.  Ron is very passionate about both subject matters and was even emotional on occasion when reminiscing.  He gave me tons of his time about Vince.  He even came up from Detroit to my place a few times along with a host of others from various locations in Canada and the US to shoot some Gironda training videos in my private training facility.

Ron saw how much effort I was putting into the article and wanted the project to carry on into a small booklet or book.  He wanted to see Vince’s memory live on.  He kept encouraging and nudging me in that direction when I had no intention of doing so.

With Mauro Di Pasquale, who came into the picture shortly afterwards, he seemed to have seen more in me than I did at the time.  I couldn’t understand why this man with the most intimidating resume who didn’t know me at all had all this confidence in me.  He never asked whether I was considering carrying the project into a book, he basically told me that this material had to be a book and I was just the man to write it.  Anything I needed, I was simply to ask him.

Remember, at that time around late 2003 or so, it was still an article in my mind.  The request came early in 2002 from Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation and   I began collecting data around mid 2002.  So, I had spent over a year of research on that subject of bodybuilding nutrition history.  Mauro said he wasn’t aware of anyone who had done anything of that nature before or had collected that much data on the topic and that is why he believed it should be pursued much further than an article.  And he wasn’t thinking a small book either at that time. I believe it was also Mauro who predicted more than one volume as well. As you are aware, Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale wrote the foreword for Volume I.

Charles: Was there an “aha” moment, a defining moment of clarity where you realized “I have to make this a book?”

Randy Roach  Funny, I guess it was Ron Kosloff and Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale who had the actual “aha” moments before I did.  I can’t recall any particular “aha” moments for me personally, but those two gentlemen had definitely convinced me sometime before the article was published in late 2004 to do some type of book.  This kind of made things tough on Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation.  When I decided to create a book, I just kept drafting and drafting, adding and adding, until I had this huge unedited blurb of historical bodybuilding nutrition data.  I intended to go over it thoroughly and trim it down, have it edited and such, but before doing that, I submitted it to Sally for her to give it a look over.  She ended up doing all the dirty work on the piece and called the article “Splendid Specimens,” not exactly my choice for a title.  However, I thought she had earned the right to name it what she wanted since she did so much work on it.  I was actually grateful since it freed me to begin writing the book.  So, I kind of lucked out there.

Speaking of naming articles though, I hadn’t necessarily cornered the market on title flair either.  I was originally planning to call the article and the book, “The History of Nutrition in Bodybuilding.”  Dr. Kaayla Daniels, author of, “The Whole Soy Story,” liked the article and we chatted on the phone about it.  She thought I may have a bigger audience than I was figuring on  and asked me what I had planned to call my book project.  When I told her, “The History of Nutrition in Bodybuilding,” she thought it sucked.  Kaayla didn’t seem to be too shy about telling me this.  I didn’t care, I kind of liked her straight forward manner.

Cover, Volume I

That night while laying in bed, I thought to myself, “Okay, what the hell do I call this thing then?”   I recall thinking that it was such a deceptive or “smoke and mirrors” industry I was writing about.  I liked the “smoke and mirrors” angle, but it needed something else to it.  I thought of, “Bodybuilding, Smoke & Mirrors,”  but it still didn’t click with me.  As soon as I said, “Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors” in my head I knew I had it.  Kaayla liked it as did my friend from Chicago, Terry Strand, as soon as he heard it.  That was I believe back in 2005.

Charles: So, beginning in 2002 and by 2005 you had a title set. Just how much time were you spending on writing the book?  How did you get the time for such a project?

Randy Roach  Well, I did come up with my book title in 2005, but  in January of that year I lost the rest of my eyesight right in the middle of the project.  From July of 1993 until October of 2004 I worked as a senior computer programmer for Conestoga-Rovers & Associates (CRA), an international environmental engineering firm.  I knew by mid 2000 that my days were numbered as a programmer with my sight going South on me.  I had indicated to a few of the shareholders that I would eventually be leaving. I was training about six of them around this time including the president, Ed Roberts.

By the summer of 2004, I could not see well enough to carry out my job function as I thought it should be performed.  Although I was sincerely concerned over the fate of a very large program I had built for them, I told Ed that I was going to quit at that point.  I remember him coming up from the gym and sitting down.  He said, “You just can’t quit, what if the rest of your sight goes?”  I told him that was unlikely to happen.  He basically said that I was quitting due to my loss of eyesight so I was entitled to disability.  I had no idea that I had such an option.  He then said that they had been paying for insurance on me for the past 10 years and I was entitled to it.  In fact, the very next day I received a call from our HR department due to Ed’s orders.

To make a long story short, I was granted about 3.5 years of disability receiving 80% of my wage.  This was a totally unexpected turn of events.  I was ready to just quit and let the chips fall where they may in terms of making a living as a trainer and hopefully writer.  Writer was still kind of a pipe dream at that point since I think my article was just published.

I was worried over what the insurance company would want me to do. Of course I had those old stereotypical thoughts of them rehabbing me into advanced basket weaving or something like that.  They do try to refit you into the job market.  I knew programming was out and told them that there was no way I could be set up to continue programming at the level I was doing at CRA.

I said I wanted to be a trainer and a writer.  Now, who was going to teach me to be a trainer and write books blind?  So…they let me rehab myself.  Ironically, three months after I officially left CRA in October of 2004, I lost the rest of my eyesight; just what Ed was  concerned about.  This threw me for a loop. I had experienced periods of no sight several times over the years, but it always came back in a few days or so.  However, this time it did not return.  Nonetheless, the immediate stress of earning money was removed thanks to Ed Roberts and CRA.

So, for the next three and a half years, I stumbled around my gym and keyboard learning to train and write as a blind dude.  It was frustrating at times, but at least the first volume of “Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors” was basically financially subsidized for over three years.  At the end of 2008, almost six months after Volume I was released, I terminated myself from the long term disability. I remember the insurance rep being a little shocked as he wasn’t use to people removing themselves from financial support.  However, I wanted to make it on my own.  I told him I didn’t want anyone looking over my shoulder all the time.  He just laughed and said we are not watching you.  I guess they were not all that concerned since they let me do what I wanted anyway.  I was grateful to them.

Charles: So, you have been self employed as a trainer and writer since the end of 2008?

Randy Roach  Yep.  It was both a scary and great feeling not to have to answer to anyone.  I could do as I pleased.  Again, this is when a lot of good people stepped up around me to keep things going.

Charles: Was it financially tough without the subsidy or your previous programming wage?

Randy Roach
  Yeah, it was definitely tighter on the income.  However, I did manage to pay off my house and gym plus create a bank account in order to publish the book.  At that time, I was anticipating about a $30,000 outlay just to print 3,000 hard cover copies.   This of course was before I decided to go with Authorhouse and print on demand.

Randy works with Sifu David Moylan*

I had to learn a balance between training and writing.  Training brought in money, writing did not.   I was, however, beginning to receive royalties, but that went to recovering what I had put out of my own money.  Someone had accused me of being financed by the Weston A. Price Foundation which pissed me off since I have received no money from anyone.  As mentioned earlier, I have invested about $55,000 of my own money over the past 9.5 years. It isn’t’ really all that much when you look at the time span, but the vast majority of it went out from about 2007 onward.   I’ll get it back.  You have to invest money to make money or at least show some confidence in what you’re doing.

Charles:  Randy, where did you train these people?

Randy Roach  I have always maintained my own training facility since I was a kid.  Whether it was in my parents, sister’s, friend’s, or my own basement, I always collected and built equipment.  I was probably one of the youngest guys in Canada at 23 in 1982 who had his own Olympic barbell set and custom built power rack in a house basement.  Olympic bars and power racks were in most part confined to hardcore, commercial gyms at that time.

I always dreamed of having my own home with a great basement gym.  That opportunity presented itself in the fall of 1998. I knew my sight wouldn’t last forever and that I would eventually have to look at making a full time living as a trainer, so I had a house built with a raised basement ceiling and just one support beam with nothing else cluttering the room.  I had all the appliances, furnace, water heater and such placed in a back corner room.

 Randy Roach Gym, Waterloo, Ontario. Photo taken January 2012

Between the basement and connected garage, I placed a world class gym of over 1200 square feet.  I focused on paying off the gym and the house as fast as I could. I felt in my mind that it was a race between paying off the house and going blind.  I realize now that was not necessarily a constructive mindset to carry.

Randy Roach Gym, free weights

I have spent the past 13 years building and rebuilding the gym.  As I said, it is a world class commercial facility. People are literally shocked when they go down there.  In my own biased opinion, it is the best facility around per square foot.  The only private club that rivals it is that of a good friend of mine, Mike Petrella, who lives and operates in St. George.  However, Mike is not a rival.  He is more like an associate since we both engage similar endeavors.  He and Josh Trentine were highly responsible for helping move my gym to the next level in equipment.  Right now, I am the most pleased with the gym as I have ever been.

                                                                                Charles: Is it tough training blind?

Randy with Sifu David Moylan*

Randy Roach  My own workouts were not a problem as I hadn’t been able to see myself in a mirror for years and never really visually focused on anything physical anyway.  It was the personal training that concerned me.  I was worried how clients would respond to hands-on training, especially the women.  Fortunately, it worked out better than I thought.  People like the extra attention I have to focus on them.  I soon found that I was better off totally blind than just visually impaired.  While I was losing my eyesight, I didn’t use hands-on so I began to miss many things in terms of poor performance and technique. I was also surprised at how much you can detect with proper hand placement.  It has worked out thus far.

Charles:  So I am guessing it was when you left CRA in October of 2004 that you went to work in earnest on Volume I? How did you organize yourself on a daily basis in terms of balancing time between speaking with sources, transcribing those conversations into research notes and actual writing?  And balancing this with training clients? It sounds to me like you are highly organized and efficient and that time organization may never have been an issue.

Randy Roach  That is actually quite funny since I am not organized in many ways at all.  Remember, I am the programming guy who never wrote a flow chart?  I often do most things by the seat of my pants.  I started this habit when my sight began to diminish years ago.  I more or less just visualized everything in my head and often that could get chaotic.

Now, when I left CRA feeling that I could apply almost full time hours to the book, it was only about three months when the rug got pulled out from me with the loss of my sight in January of 2005.  We were replacing my living room floor and I should have kept away from that environment.  All the crap that kicked up swelled my cornea.  This had happened before so I didn’t panic or even think much of it because I thought it would come back like it always had over the previous 18 years or so.

When I realized it wasn’t coming back, I became quite alarmed over how I was going to proceed.   I could no longer pick up any book, magazine, or printed article and put it on my magnified screen.  This was very frustrating.  I did learn pretty

Fortunately, a lot of data came available electronically through the net.  Others did their best to send their contributions in that format as well. As mentioned earlier, many were reading to me and eventually I used scanners to read to me as well.  I used the drafts component of Microsoft Outlook to save notes as I went.   I think I am closing in on 3000 drafts saved there.  I would search many things on the net, block and paste it into a email, read it, then save it as a draft.  The drafts are sorted by subject and I always keep my Outlook open for email use so the notes are readily available.   Although I have developed my own techniques, I still need help.

At times I would be twiddling my thumbs waiting for someone to drop over because an answer was sitting inches from me in a book, but I couldn’t just pick it up and peek at it.  This has changed to some degree as I’ll get to in a bit.

Randy Roach dumps his “Arnold A-Shirt!”

A lot of information for Volume II came first hand through extensive interviews.  I have conducted hundreds of interviews over the past 9 years with some continuing since 2003 and 2004.  I must have exchanged hundreds of emails with Ken Sprague since July of 2006 before finally speaking to him late in 2011.  The same with Jeff Everson.  Both of these guys shared extensive personal information without ever meeting or talking to me.  That is the first time I had ever made such trusting friends in that manner.  I still haven’t spoken to Jeff.

I have no idea of how many different people I have spoken to.  I have been speaking to Wayne DeMilia regularly since 2004.  He is a wealth of information on the industry as is Boyer Coe who has become a good friend as well.  There are just oo many to mention.  I would take notes as fast as I could as they spoke.  They didn’t seem to mind me calling back for verification.  This was necessary anyway since you need to talk to them several times from various angles to get things as accurate as possible.  Remember, I am dragging these guys back decades to best recollect what had happened and when.  Ken Sprague has been rummaging through all his court and lease records for me.  In fact, he just found another today.  Again, Ron Koeberer flew across the country on a data hunt and obtained court documentation through other avenues.

Often trying to put a chapter together, I am talking with up to seven different people several times trying to get all sides of a subject. I am doing that right now as we are conducting this interview.  Again, I have no real method to my madness so I guess it is just madness.  However, I know it always comes together when I need it to.  I think Volume III has the potential to be the best of the three volumes if I continue to ride the madness.  Wayne still thinks I am going into four volumes, but I say no.  Any fourth volume would be a book on what I will have learned over the 12 year process.

Charles: You mentioned that things have changed a bit for you?  How?  In what manner?

Randy Roach  Back in 1985 when I temporarily lost all of my eyesight, I also stopped producing tears.  For the next 24 years I had to put artificial tears in my eye every 10 to 15 minutes.  No shit, I spent all day putting these tears in no matter where I was.  This was a a royal pain in the ass.  The artificial tears had preservatives in them that even the specialists in Boston didn’t like since I was using so many of them.  I ended up using my own urine as tears to rid myself of the preservatives.  Now, I didn’t’ receive too much support over that from the medical orthodoxy, but I had pretty much lost any hope or confidence in that field since they had made a mess of me.

Anyway, about just over two years ago, I began using an oil /herb mix called scargone as a tear.  I thought it may lube better and last longer than 5, 10 or 15 minutes if I stretched it.  Well, it worked  and lasted up to two hours.  This was so much more convenient.  Nonetheless, I was thrilled to see that some of my sight started to come back.  It would still fluctuate wildly, but I was getting some back.  I was worried that I may lose my source if Eva ever stopped making her blend so I switched to raw butter.  This was actually the advice of Dr. Aajonus Vonderplantiz.  The butter seemed to work even better and I liked the idea of using a raw food with its healing properties.

Bowl of melted butter

The white wall that I was staring at from 2005 to 2009 cleared to the point where I didn’t have to always use my white cane in the gym.   It continued to where I could read the large print on my computer screen.  Now, it can change within hours, but it is good to see that it has potential for coming in again.  I still need my cane outside of my home and this has kept me from traveling.  That and the fact that I have to keep this glass jar of raw butter gently melted beside me on a coffee warmer.  I have gone up to four hours without another drop of raw butter.  I have hopes of getting more back.  Well, att least to the point where I can surf porn again.  Haha That is probably what made me lose my sight in the first place.


Charles: Can you elaborate more?Randy Roach

On the butter or the porn?

Charles: The porn…I mean the butter.

Randy Roach  Okay.  I was originally going to use coconut oil since I tried it and the oil feld good and served as a great lubricant.  I thought I would bounce it off Aajonus since he also had to deal with extensive cornea scarring from a cancer I believe. He had used raw egg whites to reverse some of that scarring.  He thought the coconut oil may be too aggressive in its detoxification effects and recommended the raw butter instead.  Raw fats pull toxicity from the body and you have to be careful as to how you approach any type of body detoxification.  Sometimes people learn this the hard way.
I also firmly believe that drugs do not and can not heal anything.  They just don’t have that capacity any longer since all their natural healing components if derived from the botanical world have been removed or chemically synthesized.  Drugs often just block a natural bodily function in order to invoke their affect.  This is exactly what statin drugs do; they inhibit the liver’s natural production of cholesterol.  I mean our livers have been producing this essential multifunctional compound since the origins of our being, yet this arrogant group of private medical/financial politicians summarily ruled the human body to be in error with this process and decide to make hundreds of billions of dollars off a group of bullshit drugs that do nothing but elevate your risk of cancers.  And to make things much easier for them, they purchased the ruling elite and had them ban all things natural so we have to run around like criminals to get raw dairy.However, that is another story.

As I mentioned earlier, I also use urine as a tear.  As bizarre as this sounds,  I couldn’t’ help but just shake my head when I found out the main ingredient in an old eye drop I used decades ago, called “Murine” was “Carbamide,” a synthetic version of urea.  Take the “M” off “Murine” and what do you get…“Urine!” The pharmaceutical industry knows all about urine and its thousands upon thousands of constituents many of which they are clueless in terms of their functionality.

Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski identified specific peptides in blood and urine which appeared to have a varying relationship with cancer.  He called these protein fragments, “Antineoplastons” and began treating cancer patients with them.  Of course, like anyone who challenges the cancer orthodoxy, he has been professionally crucified for his efforts.

About two years ago my brother, Tom, burnt himself on a hot weld while working out in the country.  He didn’t have any immediate facilities around him where he could go.  He had done this a year earlier and the burn left a scar.  Tom knows what I mess around with and is open to many things so he called me from his truck and asked what I thought he should do.  He had already been thinking of the urine, but wasn’t quite sure how to go about it.  I just told him to piss on a clean rag and wrap his hand with it.  He said the burn was every bit as bad as the one he had sustained the year before that basically went untreated.  He was surprised to find out the next dday that the burn was virtually gone.  For those who are still a bit squeamish over dropping their pants and self dispensing, raw honey workds very well also.

Raw unprocessed foods, especially fats, have a natural and gentle healing capability.  Food really is medicine so why mess it up?  Well, for one thing, you can’t patent food so why promote its raw healing capabilities.  Food has the longest historical precedence as a healing agent.  It is just that our chemically forged culture has been on a purposeful dietary dumb-down from our physicians, dieticians, through the whole general public for the past 100 years.

For me, I allowed mainstream medicine its chance for over 20 years before I opted for alternative measures.  The frequency at which I had to use the artificial tears often irritated my skin as they would spill out over my cheek.  The raw butter and urine does not bother my skin.  In fact, the urea in urine is admitted to be one of the best natural moisturizers.  I hear Madonna uses it on her skin.  I still use the urine to flush out the butter if the butter builds up too much in my eye.  As mentioned, chemicals can mask symptoms, but they do not cure.  Raw foods have healing capability and this is probably why Hippocrates  said, “Let food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.”  We know for a fact that the body heals itself with its own intrinsic knowledge.  We are kept alive by foods.  Food is information and I believe in keeping the language open and clear by not processing and cooking the words. The subject is just too extensive and probably not fully understood by anyone..

I don’t know where my eyesight will be in the future, but I know chemicals are not the answer.


Charles: So, would you say these past 7 years have been the toughest you’ve had to ever deal with?

Randy Roach  I would say it was a more challenging time for me, but not necessarily the toughest.  I mentioned in Part 1 of this interview the two barrages of surgeries I had first in the mid to late 1960s and the second in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  When you are in your late teens and early 20s the last place you want to be is patched up blind laying around in a hospital for a month at a time.   That second cluster of botched surgeries I would say were the toughest time of my life.

Volume II is dedicated to three individuals who passed away within a six month window late in 2010 to mid 2011.  One of those was Fred Kropf.  Fred was my best friend growing up and the best friend one could have had under my circumstances.  When I was stuck down in Toronto’s St. Michael’s hospital all the time for lengthy periods, Fred was down  there (along with other friends) all the time.  The bastard would make me laugh knowing it hurt like hell after an operation.  I never had to worry about money or anything because of his generosity.

It was hilarious some of the things he would do during his workouts in his basement.  He would lay on his back on a bench and somehow get a 200 lbs or so barbell up locked in his toes and start doing free weight leg presses.  In between his sets, he would smoke a cigarette.  Then we’d go drink beer.  The Saxon brothers would have been proud of us.  He didn’t care I was half blind at the time, he would let me drive his vehicles both on and off road.  He was crazy at times.  He would hit a jump in his jeep at 30 miles an hour just to see how airborne he could get us!!!     He had a lot of friends and we all miss him very much.

Charles: Your Dedication also includes the following: “To Dr. Michael Haynes, one of the very few I called Mentor. He alone invoked the biggest change in my thinking and life direction.” This sounds critical if we are really going to get to know Randy Roach. Would you care to tell us about Michael and the role he has played in your life?

Randy Roach  Hmm.I am not sure how much I want to go into Dr. Michael Haynes at this time. He was definitely an amazing man with extraordinary abilities.  I have to say that I had never met anyone like him before back in late 2003.  He certainly did have a profound influence on me and how I would look at life from that point in time onward.   I do appreciate you asking Charles and I will write more on Michael in the future.  The substance and quality of my project grew substantially because of Michael.

Randy and Ron, superb raw-diet specimens
Charles:  And another friend is that beautiful dog sitting at your side in this picture at the right. I bet there’s a story behind him?

Randy Roach  He is a great dog, but he isn’t mine.  Ronin, we call him Ron, belongs to my tenant, Tristan.  Ron is a Doberman that weighs close to 95 lbs., 85 lbs. muscle and 10 lbs. teeth.

Charles:  Does Ron eat raw food also?

Randy Roach  Yep, he eats about 90% raw beef, eggs, and dairy, with the rest of the 10% made up of postman, couriers, and occasional clients. He is a friendly guy, but has a big bark that does scare people at times.

Ron hopped into the picture taken in my office.  Actually, we tried to get him to pose, but we couldn’t get him to stop looking over at his agent, Tristan.

Charles, you must hold a special status with me since I hate my picture taken, but I did so for this interview.  My friend, Patti Fievoli, loves shooting photos and has taken quite a few of my gym.  In doing so, she pulled me into more than I intended.

That biceps shot in Part 2 was taken just two weeks after the Christmas holidays and  I have already received some digs about the tank top with Arnold on it that I won’t repeat.  Steve Speyrer, the guy who reads me gay porn over the phone, also asked me where I came upon that shirt.  Actually, Steve is a top seasoned trainer out of Louisiana.  The truth is that I have never worn the damn shirt before.  My brother, Tom picked it up for me as a gift from Venice Beach back in 1988.  Patti took a shot    of me wearing a black tank top, but I kind of blended into the dark background.  So, I remembered having that white one in my closet for years and I grabbed it for a pick…I Should have put it on the dog.

Charles:  Speaking of pics and Arnold, how did you get away with using Arnold Schwarzenegger on the cover of Volume II?

Randy Roach  I originally had this concept of a cover with Ed Corney and a ghost image of Arthur Jones’s face in the baqckdrop.  The problem was that I wanted the same picture of Ed Corney as used on the cover of “Pumping Iron.” It is an iconic shot that captured 1970s bodybuilding.  I needed to get George Butler’s permission and I had my doubts.  In the meantime, Boyer Coe gave me the green light on anything of his and he did have some awesome shots that I liked.  However, Boyer pushed hard for me to get the Corney shot.

Cover, Volume II

I was having trouble getting a hold of George Butler because he travels so much working on his film projects.  I resorted to asking Wayne DeMilia to helping me again.  Wayne originally connected me with George in the first place for interviews.  The men have been close since 1975 or so.  I remember Wayne calling me and saying something along the lines of:

“Okay, I have some bad news and some good news.  George is hesitant in allowing you to use the shot of Ed Corney because it is so tightly sewn to Pumping Iron.  George said to ask Randy if he would like a photo of Arnold instead!”

Then I said something along the lines of, “Wel…OKAY!!!!”

We never thought anything of  Arnold because we just  never felt that would or could ever happen.  So the concept remained but now it would have Arnold at the forefront and Jones in the backdrop.  Ron Koeberer found the shot we used and  George gave permission to publish it as long as I placed the proper credit and copyright for that photo inside the book.

My friend  and computer guy, Chris Pearcey, helped me develop the first cover and knows very well how to work with me.  He  knew what I wanted and began drafting prototypes.  He added his touch and we came up with about three to choose from.  Then one of my clients, Gary Neeb who is a professional in the marketing and advertising field,  brought out the final details.  I knew I had it when another friend and bodybuilding champion, Josh Trentine, said it was by far the best bodybuilding photo concept he had ever seen.   We are all very happy with it.

Thanks very much to George Butler.

Charles:  So the Arnold pic for the cover was an unexpected bonus. Were there any
other unexpected turns of event during the research and writing of the books

that merit some mention?

Randy Roach  The biggest change of events other than the sight going in the crapper was when the book went from one volume to two, then two volumes to three. They were totally unplanned. Remember, I told you that I do most things by the seat of my pants.   When I first came to the realization that I couldn’t finish the project in one volume, I was already into the 1990s trying to unravel the METRx and EAS web with the help of Jeff Everson.  I didn’t know where I would split the book, so I did a word count and low and behold the mid point came pretty much at the end of the 1960s.  I remember thinking at the time that I probably couldn’t have intentially planned that any better
if I had tried.   It was the perfect break. The same thing happened when Wayne DeMilia told me that  one book would not be enough for the 1970s and 1980s. Now, Wayne still believes that one book is not enough for the rest, but I want it to be.

I had another last minute change of events for Volume II.  The book actually ended with Charles Frazer, a vegan athlete who wrote some articles for Iron Man back in the 1970s.  I was finished and about to begin the editing process when I received an email from Richard Tucker from New Zealand.  He was thanking me for mentioning him briefly in Volume I.  Richard had written a book back in 1974 called, “Biblical Nutrition.”  I was pleasantly surprised since I had tried to track him down several years earlier.  We began some email exchanges and I came to realize that he was a raw food eater as I am.  I asked him if he was eating this way back in the 1970s. Not only was he eating raw, but much of his diet consisted of raw animal products.

See, I have made it clear for the past years that I am a raw food proponent. However, just because I eat that way, I could not inflict this into my book projects any more than it was being portrayed within Iron Game history. Ricard was not only eating raw meat as a staple back in the 1970s, he had also grown up in Chicago and trained with Bob GAjda, Terry Strand and the boys at the Duncan YMCA during its heyday.   He had also interacted with Arthur Jones back in the spring of 1972.  Richard was a natural fit to balance off Charles Frazer in my last chapter.  Richard Tucker is a chiropractor with years of training and diet under his belt. I want to get him on Carl Lanore’sSuperhuman Radio show sometime.

Charles:  Raw animal meat is about as controversial a subject as one is likely to encounter in the nutritional food wars. I remember Rheo Blair one time telling me that if I ate raw hamburger, it would make me very strong. But legally, he said, he could not tell me to do that (and I had no interest in doing so at 16 but have done so since). What are some of the similarities and or differences between Richard Tucker, and Dr. Aajonus Vonderplantiz. How have each influenced you?

Randy Roach  Both men are highly educated in the history of nutrition and where raw foods were a key factor in the cultures throughout history.  Both would probably agree that 21st century Western culture is most likely the most nutritionally retarded mass of humanity to ever grace the planet.  I was impressed with the fact that Ricard was already reading on Dr. Weston A. Price in high school back in the late 1960s.  Both men had also experimented with many ways of eating including veganism.

I know more of Aajonus than I do of Richard right now.  Richard, as mentioned, is a practicing chiropractor who eats I believe about 80% raw.  I don’t think there is anyone out there as strict as Aajonus.  Raw food research is his life and I don’t think he bgudges from his raw menu other than perhaps to conduct an experiment.  He has written two books and has derived dozens of remedies composed of various combinations of raw foods for healing purposes.  He carries a large cancer based clientele.

It is always great to connect with guys who have been doing it for decades and happy with what they are doing.  Both men state that nothing makes them feel better than raw animal foods.

Charles: Well, it sounds as though you have connected with a good number of people on this project of yours.  Volume II of Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors was released in late November of 2011.  How is the book doing out there?

Randy Roach  I won’t really know officially until the beginning of march this year.  That is when the publisher releases their statements.  However, from all sign I believe the book is selling very well.   I had a lot of people watching for it who read Volume I.  Paul Solotaroff of Men’s Journal and Rolling Stone gave me a great plug in his latest article in Men’s Journal.  It is the February, 2012 issue in an article they called, “The dawn of Huge.”  Muscle & Fitness which is probably the most circulated bodybuilding magazine is doing a review on the book in their March issue which should be out next month.  Health and Strength over in  the UK is also going to review as will more publications as time goes by.  The book is still early in its release and it takes most  people a month just to read it.  We have posted already a good number of endorsements and reviews on my site at www.randyroach.ca.

Charles: Let’s conclude our discussion by finding out how these books have changed your life. Can you share two or three principal lessons you have learned as a result of your research and writing experience over the past decade? And can you tell us, finally, in what ways you have evolved and grown over the past decade — and — what might the next decade hold for you?

Randy Roach  Sure, leave the toughest question for last!

The past 10 years have in fact been an amazing experience for me.  I would have never dreamed back in 2002 that I would have two books of such volume and be given the credit I’ve received.  Had you told me that I would be on the radio close to 30 times I would have laughed and called you absolutely delusional.  Just thinking of making a living on my own outside of the secure programming job I had was almost more than I could handle.  However, here we are in 2012.

I have grown more in these years than at any other point in my life.  ‘I’ve learned to never say “never” and don’t think you know everything or anything as a certainty.  Looks can very much be deceiving.  There is always another perspective for almost all situations.  Trying to write any historical documentation on the Iron Game industry and remain objective is not easy.  This is a very convoluted industry with so much polarity amongst its factions and a good eal of animosity separating them.  Nonetheless, I have still had the pleasure of meeting a lot of great people on the way.  I have had to learn how to best put my own judgements aside and tell the stories from the varying opinions.  Obviously, I have interjected myself to some degree which is certainly an author’s prerogative.  There are a number of things I have written that I did not necessarily believe or support, but still felt it needed to be stated.

Michael Haynes and others like him who now seem to surround me have been guiding forces over this venture of mine.  I am grateful for them and this experience.  Hell Charles, how do you think I met you??

I will write more on my learned experiences probably in a few years.  However for now,  the story still continues…

Thank you Randy. We look forward to Volume III and to your many radio and magazine appearances in the years ahead!  

*Sifu David Moylan, pictured above in the training photos with Randy Roach, is owner of the Waterloo Kung Fu Academy  

ALL images of Randy Roach, his office and his Gym, seen in this post, were supplied by Randy Roach for Charles Welling. They have never been previously published. They were all produced in January, 2012.

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