Don Lemmon is a prominent nutritionist, fitness guru and author who has worked with countless Hollywood celebrities and models all over the world. His list of clients includes Ms. Olympias, Ms. Americas, actors, models, Penthouse Pets, Playmates, etc., which you can see for yourself at his site. But what's more, he is also a former musician and an ardent metal fan after all the years. We had an opportunity to talk with him and thought the interview was simply too interesting not to post it here! Ok, now to the business...
P: Don, we are just beer-guzzling, metal-loving slobs, and therefore aren't too well-versed in the fine art of nutritionism, but we certainly like hot chicks, and that's what you seem to have in abundance among your clients... do any of those models like metal?
D. L.: Actually, Deanna Riordan who is the hot brunette tilting her sunglasses and the blonde bombshell Cindy Pucci are absolute metal NUTS! My wife, Nadia, also on my site is so into Metallica (old school) she surprised me by taking us to see Alcoholica, the premier Metallica cover band just this past weekend here in Vegas!
P: Well, about Metallica... Have you seen our banner? (You can see it here). It says "Korn + Metallica = Pet Shop Boys" Would you agree with such an assumption given their current state?
D. L.: I saw that. I was just trying to be as honest as possible while answering your
questions and not look like a liar or a poser. Have you seen metallicaisgreedy.com or fucklars.com ? Korn just plain sucks man. They do. I used to love driving around on a cold winter night with friends jamming death metal in the stereo and speeding down old deserted roads. Can't do that with today's music and definitely not Metallica. By surprised to see Alcoholica I meant, unpleasantly by the way.
P: And, in general, how's metal doing in Hollywood these days?
D. L.: I think with this new Marky Mark Walberg film, Rock God, coming out, odds are it is becoming much more accepted. The trend began with that film Matt Dillon played a metal band leader in Seattle back in 92 or so. The commercial twist Metallica has taken and their label's use of them as puppets in this Napster thing is another sure sign metal is Hollywood chic.
P: Any stars that you know that like it?
D. L.: Brad Pitt, Nick Cage, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck do. My attorney was in charge
of Affleck's latest movie Pearl Harbor and I hear he is into Megadeth and
P: Do they openly admit it if they do or do they just keep it to themselves?
D. L.: I don't think it's something that's say a secret like if someone were homosexual. I will say that the days of cruising with your stereo loud or walking the beach with a ghetto blaster are gone so no one really knows what's playing in those head phones while they are off jogging. A gym in Hollywood, the Hollywood Gym plays metal quite a bit and Eric Roberts kid has a metal band. I think the real secret is the ones who are closet Britney Spears perverts!(Laughs).
P: And, if yes, then why? Is it considered "uncool", unappropriate" in those circles or what?
D. L.: Not really. The thing is, many believe only degenerates are into black or dark stuff when that's not really true. This is why it isn't marketed as much by the big labels as the squeeky clean nonsense like backstreet boys (whom I won't even dignify with capital punctuation, laughs). Somehow metal survives. I would like to see it more mainstream but fact remains, someone is buying it. And maybe who does is just as surprising but I have yet to meet anyone 'hiding' the fact.
P: Another thing I've always wondered is what the hell are all the former "hair metal" stars doing now? Obviously, nobody cares for them anymore but they still seem to be enjoying high life... Are they simply living off the millions they made back in the day or what?
D. L.: (Laughs). Well, it's a cycle if you want to be a pop sensation. You have a life
span. What's funny to me is that the hair bands of the 80's really put out thier best work and best selling albums AFTER 1990. Think about it. Warrant's first album was crap. Their second one released in 90 was pretty cool. Pop, but cool. Same with Winger, Motley Crue, etc. Come 92 and 93 they all released their best albums and they were nothing near bubble gum. But the market changed. Grunge came along. We didnt have a choice. The old market left high school and new Jr High Schoolers were coming along. No era is the same.... Except metal. As far as hanging on. Many are hanging on because they love it and others are doing it because they have no other options. I hope the new bands of today that think they will be rock Gods watch Behind the Music. They're in for a surprise.
I only know a few late 80's/ early 90's acts that made money and held onto it. I
also know a few who sold their home sex videos because without that, they would
be broke. At least they could have had the dignity to admit they sold the damn
things instead of pretending they were stolen. But I guess it was all part of
the hype in selling it.
P: Speaking of which, I know that you used to play in a band back then, which band was it?
D. L.: White Diamond. We had an album with Atlantic which was canned. Kind of a poppier Pearl Jam but we were NOT pussies. I played bass.
P: Was it one of those "hair" ones?
D. L.: Emphaticly NO. Laughs. We had hair but made a pack. We would leave Cleveland and go to LA but leave the hairspray behind for the wannabes!
P: Why did you break up?
D. L.: We came from diverse backgrounds. When all was said and done and the tour was to begin, my drummer was doing drugs with porn stars, my singer was battling his girlfriend over having an abortion or not, my one guitarist wasn't dealing with the little celebrity he was building and my other guitarist just didn't care either way. The label dropped us due to all the above. There was a bit more to it but that sums it up. Labels sign and drop acts all the time. I myself was the American dreamer who held on to the idea LA was the place to be while the others went home.
P: Did it ultimately get you in the business you're in now or were you doing nutritionism before that?
D. L.: I have been into nutrition a long time. I guess it's my calling. Laughs. But yes, going to LA opened many doors that I am grateful for.
P: Why did you even choose such an unusual business?
D. L.: Nutrition was a hobby. I always wanted to look good and realized early on that exercise only worked so much if you didn't eat right. My lifestyle resulted in a number of celebrity clients, models, athletes, musicians and eventually my book. My first step into entertainment was the band. All the while I also went to school and ran my own businesses. After the band, I took a break to finish some more school and write my book. That led to a QVC video project and that led to writing a few movie scripts and now acting. Funny thing is, I know my delving into music isn't complete. Only now, with the internet and accessiblity of recording studios, I can produce my own stuff and market it.
P: What are some people you've met in the music industry?
D. L.: That would be a long and interesting list. Some of my website graphics for instance were made by Gene Simmons' webmaster and the last trip to LA my sister and I had lunch with one of the industry's biggest label owner's attorney. He by the way loves ROCK.
P: And, speaking wider, in the entertainment business?
D. L.: That's vague too. In LA either you're someone who knows someone or a pretender. Genuine people get to know a lot of other people quite easily. What it boils down to is that many people you think are cool or famous are just every day Joes that wish they could go to the grocery store without being gawked at. Kind of funny really.
P: Why do you think metal isn't as popular as it once was?
D. L.: Oh, it is. It's just that the public is force fed so much more shit these days than before and metal seems buried. maybe it is. But realize, the bigger you become, sometimes the less you are noticed because in a big fish bowl, it's easy to be just another fish.
P: Do you still care for metal after all those years? I mean, do you still look for new good stuff, buy albums, check websites, keep yourself updated, etc.or has it all pretty much died out with time?
D. L.: ALL the time. See the links at my site. I dig metal. I do enjoy metal that has meaning behind it though. Just a steady guitar riff or a rip off of Lars Ulrich drumming isn't going to cut it. I want passion man! Heavy Metal rules but come on, there are also too many wannabes clouding the path to the good stuff!
P: If it didn't, is it the mainstream metal you know and like or the true underground stuff?
D. L.: I think Buck Cherry and Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock and all that current music is BS. What's good about it was stolen from real bands 15 and 20 years earlier. Sometimes worse, only 5 or 10 years ago! No originality. But it's the industry's fault ramming this crap down our throats because today America is dumber and they appeal to dumber music. My 2 cents may piss off a few people but go ahead folks! Buy a guitar and play it if you have a better opinion! (Laughs).
P: What's your vote for album of the year so far?
D. L.: Current music, I do like Creed. They seem real enough but their current stuff is 2 years old now. It's hard to say because these bands today have one good song (stealing riffs from the old school) and the rest of their stuff is junk.
P: Does this mean you don't really listen to any stuff from our bandlist? Because, to us, Creed IS mainstream and radio-friendly alternative!
D. L.: I agree and I think I got lost in the rant a bit. I dig Yearning, EverEve, MDB, Lake Of Tears like anyone else with common sense. I just wish I could get them to exchange links!
P: Returning back to chicks, is that true that most of them have to make their way up to fame through bed?
D. L.: Without a doubt. Do not be fooled into thinking any one at the top doesnt AT LEAST have a direct connection there. Not all are whores but plenty are. That's why you see them as big deals for a short time and they disappear. They ran out of people to screw for a meal ticket. Those who make it and stick around usually at least know or are related to someone. Not a bad thing, it always helps, but still, it leaves plenty of quality actors and actresses left without work. I know of a few MEN in rock that offered their poop shoots just to get signed and at least two that were willing to be Monica Lewinsky for a night or MORE just to have that record deal. It isn't odd. But I won't name names, sorry.
P: Are they really all that smart as the magazines they pose for claim?
D. L.: No way. Some yes, but mostly hype. Watch some of these people on film or in interviews. It's scary.
P: Whenever I read "vital statistics" for Penthhouse or Playboy models it always feels like they are some unearthly geniuses I rarely see around in real life. Why aren't they involved in some nuclear physics or rocket science then? Maybe, they should? Maybe, the world is missing a lot there?
D. L.: I see what you meant now. Some really are smart but not most. It's hype. Many are said to be younger than they are too. All hype. But again, most girls with brains wouldn't be caught on film naked BUT THAT'S NOT ALL GIRLS. Some realize an opportunity and I do know several who do not sleep around but pretend they will just to get work. Yeah, but the bigger myth is they slept with Hef. That's not true. He lives an image too. Many girls are tramps but let me make it abundantly clear NOT ALL girls are tramps. Some just look so good it would be stupid not to hire them. The girls on my site are pretty much so all girls who look like bimbos but in reality are smart cookies. I wouldn't have them there if they were bad news.
P: Your wife, Nadia, is a bodybuilder. Would you agree that it's becoming a hype lately to feature muscular women in different magazines?
D. L.: It's like having midgets work for you. A novelty. Something weird to the "normal" human. But Nadia more was a tiny bodybuilder. A fitness type performer. She only did it for fun. She is only 24 but has outgrown it all.
P: Do you think muscular girls are more attractive? Have you always been that way or is it something you've developed with time?
D. L.: I have always liked fit women. Women that look like men have serious issues I couldn't even begin to delve into. (Laughs). My wife is what I have always liked in a woman to be honest with you. She's a real gem.
P: Anyway, I just happen to be vegetarian (other 666metal people laughing hysterically). Would you agree with everybody and his mother that metal and vegetarianism don't go together?
D. L.: (Laughs). No but I would say that you are missing out on something. But I do not know why or to what extreme you carry your beliefs. If I did, I could at least use your current habits to make you healthier etc with or without adding meat. I know a few vegetarians that are in metal. The one guy from Anthrax is a yogurt freak.
P: Do you think it's better to eat meat or not?
D. L.: Eat meat. Just as meat spoils or contains contaminants, plants spoil too and contain WAY more damaging chemicals from pesticides and fertilizer than meat. Besides, animals filter toxins in their organs, not their muscles. So meat is generally clean. Some fish however swim and live soaking up poisonous waters....
P: And, to close off, what nutritional advise would you give metalheads with abnormally high levels of alcohol in their blood?
D. L.: Consider alcohol a carbohydrate. Only eat carbs when and after you drink. All day prior to and just before, go high protein. Protect the liver and prepare it for the damge which ensues! I plan on having a drunken holiday season so don't let me be the one to say don't drink! Just don't drink and drive! What if you hit a curb and spilt it? (Laughs).
P: Thanks for the interview, Don! We really appreciate your time!
D. L.: Have some of the newer bands send me their stuff and I will post reviews on my site for them!