Being on The Tyra Banks Show

Posted in Uncategorized on February 26th by .

Ever wonder what it's like to be on the Tyra Banks Show, or any other major talk show? In this post I'll take you through a step by step description of the process of getting on her show — from the initial phone call to hugging her goodbye after our segment.

The first thing you need to know about Tyra is that she works her tail off and has a great, hard working staff. It's her vision, but they make it happen.  A special shout-out to exec producer John Redmann.  The next thing you need to do is be ready and bring your "A" game 'cause it all happens fast.  

I got the call from Tyra's staff asking me if I would be interested in coming on the show on a Friday to talk about my memoir "Gladiator – A True Story of 'Roids, Rage and Redemption."  Then Saturday I did the pre-interview.  

Monday I'm on a plane from Los Angeles to New York. Tuesday I'm on the Tyra Banks show.  The reason the pre-interview you is because the want to make sure you're lively and great on the phone — meaning you will make a great guest.  

The pre-interview was a new experience for me.  Most of the talk shows I've done were for the American Gladiators.  There have been numerous — from Good Morning American to the Tonight Show — and I simply showed up on set and talked about Gladiators — talked about being Nitro.  

Being on as an author was definitely new territory.  I knew I couldn't go on and be that cocky-guy who lead with his fist — but I also wanted to be exciting, interesting with a touch of salaciousness.  The pre-interview went on for nearly 90 minutes.  Even though I knew I was going to be on the show, I was nervous, thinking I was going to screw it up somehow.  

I think the most important thing is being true to yourself and your message and not pushing or forcing to try and be something you're not, so they'll think you're great. 

I arrived in New York late Monday night for my appearance the next day.  I won't bore you with my nightly rituals, except to say — I called my girlfriend, told her I missed her, then drifted off to sleep.  

My publicists and I arrived at the studio in the early afternoon and were immediately buffeted into a dressing room.   No sooner had I put my bag down, when a bouncy producer walked in and handed me my script and asked me if I wanted to run through it once.  Huh?  

Remember that pre-interview?  

Well, they take all of the good stuff, put it into a question answer format, and basically hand you an outline of the show.  This is what Tyra is going to ask you.  This is how you're going to respond, or at least did in the pre-interview.  Hint- hint.  Wink-wink.  

Bouncy, cute producer tells me she's going to be Tyra and I'm going to be me, and wants to run through it once to see how it plays. Alrighty, then.  We go through it once and I'm disappointed because all the questions are geared around sensationalizing the side-effects of steroids.  

I'm more then disappointed, I'm disheartened.  

Because I know my book goes miles deeper and at the heart of it, it's about: identity, love, family, addiction and survivorship told through the prism of celebrity.  I also know that to connect and really resonate with Tyra's female audience I had to find a way to work in the "human" side of the story into my segments. 

I had to let her audience know this book was an emotional journey — about a little boy whose parents we're divorced when he was 5 years old and who cried inconsolably until a man told him "big boys don't cry."   

That boy took those words to heart and didn't cry when he was ten years old — and his older brother died in his arms — then spent the rest of the life trying to become whole again, trying be human, trying to feel.

Yes, this journey involved drugs,women, celebrity — but I also knew even at the darkest points my humanity shined through in my life and on the page.  

Suddenly a producer popped in — whisked me down the hallway to the stage area — all I can think about is how to get the story I want tell across while still satisfying the producer's needs. Now, I'm standing behind a curtain at the back of the stage while they are doing my introduction and it's really something.  

"Most famous Gladiator, huge hunk, every women's fantasy."  I feel myself swell up with pride until — the announcers says — "Who grew breast from steroids.  Welcome Dan Nitro Clark!"   

The stage manager pulled back the curtain and tells me to "Go, Go!"  I stumbled on stage feeling awkward as hell, not sure whether to smile and wave, or hang my head down in shame and embarrassment.   I kinda did both.  I think.  You'll have to watch my entrance and let me know. 

So, I'm sitting next to Tyra, still a little thrown by the introduction — being in front a live audience staring, by having three cameras targeted toward at me like canons.   But now, I'm more determined then ever to tell the story I want to tell and not get caught up in this whirlwind of sensationalism about steroids.  

I make up my mind right then and there that no matter what she asks me — I'm going to answer her question then start talking about "human" aspect of the journey.  Tyra asks me the first question, "When did you start taking steroids?" I give her the one sentence answer and dive into, "But what I really want to talk about is how we stereotype boys and girls at a young age."  

I could see Tyra look at me a like, "Ahh, what??".

I keep going and tell the story about my parents being divorced, being inconsolable, the words big boys don't cry, and how it affected me.  I tell her about my brother dying in my arms, and how I didn't cry.  

I tell her about how I spent the rest of my life building this huge body, all to protect that kid inside.  

And I'm talking FAST.  Real fast, just trying to get the story out.  And I'm aware that I'm talking hyper-fast which makes me even talk faster. I keep thinking at any moment they are going to "Gong me" and stop shooting and tell me to get the hell back to the script.  

As the words keep spilling out of my mouth, I see Tyra keep eyes shoot down to her script then back at me with a glare that says, "What the hell are you talking about?"   I now realize I've been talking non-stop for close to a few minutes when Tyra suddenly looks at me and says: "Oh my God, how did your brother die?"  

Her question is sincere and her eyes are full of compassion.  I take a deep breath in and tell her the story. Then we took the interview from there moment by moment.  

Kudos to Tyra for letting me have that moment and being such a pro that she knew a better story when she heard it, and for trusting herself and me to go with it.   

Be brilliant and please check out my book "Gladiator."  I think you'll be stunned and shocked. It's actually good.

Dan "Nitro" Clark

On the Beach.  Smiling.  Walking toward a place I want to go in my life.

Dan Clark Nitro American Gladiator

 

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  Why are some people healthy, happy, and fit and others are not?  It's simple. There are those who "do" and those who "do not."  It's pretty clear which category the fit people belong in and which those who struggle with obesity fall in.  But the more importantly: Why and how are some people able to stick with programs and others are not?   

Personally, I've been training all of my life and HAVE managed to "stick with it" for over 30 years. What's the secret?  Well, instead of giving you a Top 10 List — which we've all read countless times – I thought it'd be more effective to share with you a "real-life experience" that will illuminate what I think is the absolute best way to stick with any exercise program. 

It started a few months ago when a very good friend of mine (we'll call him Dave) begged me to help him lose weight and start some type of exercise routine.  I hemmed and hawed and was reluctant to because I didn't know how serious he was, but also because I was seriously over-extended and didn't have time to help him. I had just started writing 2 books and was in the beginning of creating a program called "Ten Thousand Pounds" which is my and my partners take on tackling childhood obesity in America.  But Dave wouldn't give up.  He relentlessly hounded me to help him, and it's literally impossible for me to turn down someone (especially a friend) who wants to better their lives by becoming more healthy and fit.

I finally agreed to meet him at the boxing gym a couple days a week at 6:30am — even though it is the absolute "worst time" of the day for me — because I get my most productive writing done in the morning between 6:30am and 1pm.  Normally, I cherish and guard that time with a religious fervor. But I figured if I could make an impact on his life, it'd be worth it. 

Dave started off like gangbusters. In the first month we banged it out and he got GREAT results. He lost 25 pounds, his cardio increased, and he dropped 6 inches from his waist! Now, that's what I'm talking about!! It was a big sacrifice but I felt for me it was time well spent. I am helping him change his life!!!

Then a funny thing happened during the second month. 

Dave's enthusiasm started to wane and he dropped from 4 times a week down to 2 times. I did everything a workout/accountability partner should.  I motivated, inspired, castigated, pleaded – whatever it took to get him to the gym; nevertheless, he didn't even show up for our first workout of our third month. When I pressed him as to why — he came up with the normal laundry list of excuses: Tired, had a meeting, it's hard, was out late the night before, and the classic: "you like it, it's easy for you."

What Dave doesn't realize is that I have all the SAME excuses as he does:  I'm tired, I've got a meeting, I don't have time, I don't want to, I was out late the night before.  

The difference is fit and healthy people ACT in SPITE of their excuses.  

Does that make sense? 

If there's one thing that I can share with you that has made all the difference in my life, it's the simple secret of ACTING IN SPITE OF YOUR EXCUSES.  Be a person of ACTION and learn to IGNORE that voice that tells you: it's too hard, I'm tired, I don't want to; and LEARN to take ACTION in SPITE of it. 

If you do this one simple thing, if you learn to act in spite of your excuses, I promise you it will make all the difference in your life.  I know it has in my life.  

Now go and be brilliant!

Dan Clark

Btw – that's me below not listening to all the excuses, and jumping on the back of crazy damn bull and riding it.  In this case, I probably should've listened, because I quickly discovered getting off the bull HURT a lot more than getting on it! 

Dan "Nitro" Clark Bull Riding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Started a new book today…

Posted in Uncategorized on September 9th by .

 Sept 9th, 2009.  Today I started writing a new book.  The subject matter is different than Gladiator, but still in the memoir space, and a subject that is very close to my heart.  I know writing this book will be enormously painful, yet I’m also filled with hope and an overwhelming sense of obligation.  

It’s sad… a bit of an elegy.   But also filled with hope.  It’s about my son.  Tyler. 

More.  Later.  

Be well, 

Dan

Dan Register.jpg

 

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Can you tell a woman’s age by looking at her topless? This question was put to test this week when I went in for an interview on the Playboy Morning Radio show on Sirius Radio.  I didn’t know what to expect as I hadn’t listened to the show before, but I was relieved when it started off like any other interview.  We rapped about the Original American Gladiators coming to out on DVD and my new book "Gladiator – A True Story of Roids, Rage and Redemption" when out of the blue, the host Andrea Lowell, (Playmate, Surreal Life) asked me how old I thought she was.

When I hesitated her co-host Kevin Klein suggested she take her top off and perhaps that would assist me in guessing her age.  How her being topless – was supposed to help me guess her age was beyond me.  What were they thinking – that breasts were like trees – and you could count the rings around the nipple and tell its age? 

Well, I figured I didn’t really matter because there was no way she was taking her top off.   But no sooner had the words left Kevin’s mouth when Andrea proceeded to whip off her top.  The next thing I know she’s sitting across from me topless.  And all I could think was:  I’m in so much trouble – my girlfriend has Sirius radio. 

When I still didn’t take a stab at her age, Kevin suggested she go and jump on the mini-trampoline, as a way to help me along.   Before I could say, "That’s not necessary," Andrea was bouncing up and down on the trampoline egging me on to guess her age.   (Btw -This made it really difficult to count the rings)   After a while Andrea tired and sat back down and told me she wasn’t putting her top back on until I guessed her age.  Hmm.  Difficult proposition. What’s a guy to do?  I stammered, stuttered and then sucked in a deep breath and calmly said, "Twenty six."   Her face went blank, then one brow went up in curiosity.  She told me I was right, then asked me how I knew.  I smiled and said, "I counted the rings."   Andrea was quite impressed.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her, I looked her up on IMDB before I came on the show and already knew her age. 

On a more serious, but not less fun note, I want to give a shout out to two of my favorite radio shows — Up All Night with Jason Smith on ESPN Radio.  He’s a witty guy, who I always get a kick out of and am glad to go on with.  We’ll probably next rap when my San Jose State Spartans play the USC Trojans on Sept 5th.  I’ll be talking smack and cheering on my Spartans – even though they probably don’t have a chance. 

The other program Day-Break USA radio with Scott West.  Scott show is always fast-paced and fun filled and full of insight.  Check out both of their shows!

Be well,

Dan "Nitro" Clark

Dan and Nitro Cover

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To ‘Roid on not to ‘Roid?

Posted in Uncategorized on June 27th by .

    I had an interesting interchange with a young friend of mine about whether or not to use steroids.  I say young – he’s young to me, but not a kid.  I believe he’s in his late 20′s.  Not that I’m old like father time.  Hell, I just had my 45 birthday… but I’m wise in years of experience.  I’ve seen a lot in my life compared to those who’ve been submerged in suburbia.  Not that’s it’s a bad thing.  It just wasn’t, isn’t my path.  I was shoved into the world – as a young kid we rarely stayed in one place more than a year or two.  Well, this friend of mine — we’ll call him "Rick" — has been asking me a lot about steroids.  He’s obsessed with them and what he thinks they will do for him and how they will change his life.  Just recently he said, "I’d love to be able to bench 500 pounds and scream and throw it on the rack, like you did when you were Nitro on "American Gladiators."   The kids a smart kid he read my memoir Gladiator A True Story of Roids, Rage and Redemption a few times.  

I have to say… it feels odd now to be admired for being a Hercules who hoisted up heavy weights.  But at the time it meant everything.  I realize now it means nothing.  But what’s different?  What’s changed and how do I share this with my young friend?  The best I could come up with is:    I wish I would’ve spent more time building a life back then my body when I was young — because eventually your body will fail you — but the life you build around will only continue to grow.  I really hope he understands me.    It took my a lot of years to realize that: Steroids and drugs are a hopeless reach for happiness.  Because you’ll never be big enough or strong enough or high enough to fill what is missing inside.  Eventually you’ll have to learn the process of building a life, and realize that the honey, the reward, comes from putting your nose to the grindstone and walking toward a place you want to go.   I dedicated my book to: My son, my family, and that bright shining smile of nieces and nephews that became more important than the roar of the crowd.   That distinction has made all the difference.    Even though he wasn’t asking me for advice, I say this to my young friend: Build your life from the inside out.  Know that your enough.  And realize that where ever you go there you will be. 

Be Brilliant,

Dan Clark

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    Choosing a book cover in never an easy task.  We went through a couple different incarnations that I'll SHOW you in this post for my book - Gladiator – A True Story of Roids, Rage and Redemption.  Early on I had my ideas of what I wanted and then it changed as the content of the book changed.  The book became extremely personal and even though it's framed by "Gladiators and Steroids," the heart of the book is about: identity, love, family, addiction, and survivorship.

     I thought these themes would resonate with readers because I always knew the Gladiator audience was more sophisticated then the wrestling audience. I also believed if I made the book extremely personal and candid and made sure not matter how dark the journey got — that my humanity shined through — I would reach beyond the core audience and into readers who'd never watched Gladiators — but love a great story. By the feedback and reviews, I humbly think I've succeeded. Here is the INITIAL COVER the publisher came up with:  

 

First Gladiator Cover

 

 

    Again, the book is an extremely candid look at a life — that was pretty freakin' wild, astonishing, and at times heartbreaking — and I wanted the cover to reflect that. So as cool this cover was with the burnt edges, it just didn't do it for me. The SECOND COVER was intriguing:

 

Gladiator Cover 2

   I loved the colors on this cover, the large font, the ominous feel. But at the end of the day, it didn't feel like it was the appropriate cover for a Memoir.  It felt like it was written by a reporter or someone not associated with the show, so I asked the publisher to keep trying.  

   This COVER is my FAVORITE and the one I fought to use. I lost the battle.  First off, I'd change the color of the font to red. But what I love about this cover is the juxtaposing of the images of "Current Me" and "Nitro" on the front. You get to see the "journey" in a snapshot. The journey from Gladiator to the man I am today. I think that's interesting and more appropriate for the book. Especially with the female readers. And, thank God, there's been a lot.

 

Dan and Nitro Cover

 

Here's the COVER THEY USED. I like it, but really believe the cover above is the best one.

 

NitroBookCoverCurrent

 

That being said, I'm most appreciative of the people at Simon and Schuster — they've done a great job. Plus, there's always PAPERBACK!  

What do you think? Love to hear your feedback.

Be brilliant!

Dan "Nitro" Clark

DanNitroClark.com

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Gladiator Book Tour Seattle!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 14th by .

Had a rocking time tonight at Third Street Books in Seattle Washington while promoting my Gladiator – A True story of Roids, Rage and Redemption. Special thanks to my sis’ Michelle and her crew for showing up.  Also Jessica the host from Third Street books rocked and was great.  She’s a voracious reader and compared my writing style to that of Chuck Palahniuk of Fight Club, Choke fame.  Blown away.  A huge compliment cause I’m a big fan of Chuck’s in your face, unrelenting style.  

Also a shout out to the Ron and Don radio show in Seattle for having me on air with them and publicizing the book event.  Peace be with you guys.  

Off to sleep and onto Orcas Island Washington for a little R&R.