by Christian Duque
Do you remember when the fitness industry was all about muscle, great lines, and awesome poses? Ah, those were the good old days, before social media. Back then, magazines ruled first, and if you weren’t really newsworthy, you didn’t make it onto these glorious pages. However, in the days of social media dominated, it’s about getting attention, getting more attention and ultimately being an influencer.
I have news for you. Many of the supposedly greatest stars in bodybuilding are not recognized, no one wants their autographs and no one will stand in line to meet them. However, if you look at a guy like Big Lenny, he gets bullied !! Everyone wants to meet him, talk to him, and it goes so far that the guy needs an entourage. If Andrew didn’t film and Brad didn’t mind his business, Lenny would likely go insane. At one point it was believed that Jason Genova (aka The Sith Lord) was the main force behind The Delray Misfits, but that was likely the miscarriage of the century.
The truth is, Jason and the Misfits walk parallel streets. They rarely, if ever, crossbreed these days, but both of them do great things. In 2014, when I wrote 80 episodes of Muscle In The Morning, there was no mention of Lenny, Jason, or the Misfits. Still, back then, Dave [Palumbo] didn’t see them as bodybuilding-related. Not only did he not want to report about it, he hardly took any notice of it. Over time, however, Dave saw smaller businesses take advantage of this ragged bunch of pranksters. Wherever they went, hits and engagements followed. It wasn’t long before Lenny, Andrew, and Brad were at Dave’s sprawling residence and, of course, Species Nutrition’s international headquarters. Lenny and Co. had made the big time and that was just the beginning of everything. Soon Lenny would be making various appearances on RX and winning over many of her toughest fans (ages 60 to 85). In fact, it was on RX that Lenny – maybe or not – broke a bottle over his head – on the air !!
Dave Palumbo is a top name in the bodybuilding media. Here’s a guy who made it big after getting fired by Steve Blechman at Muscular Development. When Steve threw Dave and John on the curb, Dave bounced back. He knows what it is like to be the outsider, to be laughed at and to be laughed at even more. When all was said, I believe Dave saw real promises in Lenny, Andrew, and even the smaller members of her retinue. It got to a point where Dave wanted more and more Misfits on RX platforms, but that hospitality came at a price. If these guys hadn’t brought the hits with them, would Dave still talk to them? I would say no. I would say he would have to acknowledge her after putting her on so many times, but their friendship would be a distant one, if anything.
I find it sad that Leonard felt the need to do such a stunt. Seasoned RX muscle cohost Juan Romano was skeptical. He didn’t think Big Lenny had actually done it; Gregorio Valentino also interfered. The truth is, given the ongoing pandemic, it would have been utterly reckless if Leonard had really hit him on the head with a bottle; But even if he didn’t, RX still carried the story. From all of the people who saw the play, it can be assumed that at least a handful of them will want to get Lenny on stage.
Whether or not he actually smashed a bottle on the head – some people, super impressive people, could take up the challenge. And that’s the only time I’d raise concerns about videos like the one that inspired this article. It worries me that people will see this and think that this is the norm in this industry to get in the press. I don’t blame Palumbo, Lenny, or anyone in his camp. They just had a little fun, but social media has dominated all of our lives. There are people who are so obsessed with attention that there really isn’t anything they wouldn’t do. It all started with Jackass on MTV and it’s been on a downward spiral ever since. It happens in all the scenes, so of course it has its place in the world of big muscle and insane strength.
Lots of people have walked on the message boards, tried to analyze the video, look for blood, and detect sounds. I don’t really care about any of this. Whether or not Lenny actually broke a bottle on his head, the point is, it gave him airtime. Regrettably, I also acknowledge that it got him into the press through this Iron Magazine article. I could sit here and brag about our numbers, but I won’t. I’m just saying this – LOTS of people read IM, and while there are certain subjects I may not want to cover, I am a journalist. We can’t choose what’s new and what’s not. We answer people – and – people want to know.
The truth is, people like to watch The Delray Misfits because they are against the current, they have no limits and that is a big part of their style. Not only do they condemn cookie cutters and cookie cutter contents, they loathe them. If the Misfits suddenly became real role models, they would lose a large part of their support. That being said, at what point do you draw the line, at what point is that too far?
For many, that day and time never comes. For many, especially those who get monster hits, such a thing just doesn’t exist. If you got to the top through insolence, then you’d better outdo yourself or someone else will. It’s like shock rock. I doubt Ozzy or Marilyn Manson ever said, “You know, that could be too exaggerated.” Once you start thinking this way, you’ll likely move on from Tiger Stadium to the lounge at the local Howard Johnson. Hence, I understand that the Misfits, to tone them down, would look like asking Ozzy Osbourne to sing country love ballads. Should stars still exercise discretion about what they do?
These are some pretty profound questions, to say the least; Questions I am sure to have been asked in movies, music, and yes, bodybuilding.
Far be it from me to argue that stars exercise a certain amount of discretion. It is not my job to do this; I just hope not to see, read, or hear from someone who tries a similar stunt, maybe actually does it, and gets hurt. What are you saying? What do you think of this news?