Memory Screened: Jason Jessee

Check out Jason Jessee’s Memory Screened from last year’s Oct/Nov 2011 issue where he talks about his favorite pro-models through the years. Full text below page if having trouble reading.

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Memory Screened
Jason Jessee

Words and photos Seb Carayol

What has Jason Jesse been up to, you may ask? “I don’t know, climb trees, use chainsaws and stuff, have fun” was his first reply when being asked a few months ago at his Santa Cruz compound, while members of the punk-rock band that Jason manages (The Highway Murderers) were busy figuring out the perfect axe to throw into a wood log and not onto your rental car, which is good news. Climbing trees, throwing axes, firing guns, fixing up random shit, building even more random shit… Nothing unusual. Such is daily life at Jesse’s headquarters, a heavenly place between a super-fun Jihad training summer camp and an all-skateboard memorabilia episode of “American Pickers.”
On a shelf inside his warehouse, it took him a minute to figure out what boards to pick, “I prefer other people’s boards,” he almost apologized, but Jason ended up pulling it off, sparkling his career’s reminiscences with a few good anecdotes. “Steve Steadham got me on Powell for a month,” he noted, “and then I rode for Vision but I got kicked out. You know Gaile Webb, you ever heard of her? She used to do safety demos a long time ago, and I got in trouble at one of her demos cause I wasn’t being… very… safe. I just stepped over a fence that said, ‘Don’t cross,’ to get to my car. I guess that was pretty, oh, that was crazy. I was stoked. And then Santa Cruz came out in ’86, Steve Godoy called them for me saying I needed a sponsor. So I got on but I got kicked out of Santa Cruz too for about two days, I was 15, I ran away from home and my mom called and said, ‘He’s not 18 yet, you have to kick him off until he comes home.'” And so on. You just know when you got a good Memory Screened candidate: the board talk only takes a tenth of the afternoon. The rest involves Daniel Harold Sturt antics, a swastika-adorned gas tank, emblazoned bikers jackets… But these are other stories.

Santa Cruz Neptune-Shark (1988)
Art by Jimbo Phillips
I had this tattoed on me already, on my back, and then I went to NHS and they asked, ‘Do you have any ideas for a graphic?’ So I said, “how about something like this?” and showed them the tattoo. They xeroxed it, they laid me down on the machine and xeroxed my back, I still have the xerox somewhere. And them I’m not sure who redrew it, maybe Johnny Mojo. He’s cool. I like him.
The tatto itself was made by Mark Mahoney. If you have a chance to meet this guy, you should, because he’s unreal. So cool. Everything he does, the way he dresses, everything, he’s the king of cool. I wanted an underwater scene on my back, I don’t know why, just because of being from here, and being close to the ocean. He just tattooed it, straight up. I wonder if he knows that this piece ended up on a board. I think he does, and that he has the board, though.

Krooked Gest board (2006)
Art by Mark Gonzales
Mark asked if I wanted to do a guest board, and he was gonna come up with a graphic by himself. We’ve been friends since I was 12. We used to skateboard a lot together since we were little. I went everywhere when I was 12, we used to hang out at my house in San Clemente. We went to all the punk rock shows, always, with our skateboards, it was crazy. And then I rode for Vision and I started travelling all over Europe and stuff. For that board it’s just Gonz, I talked to him on the phone when he was at Deluxe, and before he moved to NYC and stuff we hung out again, he’s the kind of friend you just see and you don’t have to make friends again. There were just 200 of this board made, I think.

Guadelupe One-Off
Art by Dave Friel / Rick Blackhart
This one, Dave Friel, he worked at NHS for like 20 years, he called me and brought it all up. It’s his idea and I was like, for sure, he got an icon image from church and did all that stuff. It related to me personnally maybe just because of the whole white cholo thing. He thought I was the first white cholo, ever. But I wasn’t. I was never one, not even the second white cholo. I wish. It was just the whole Jesse Martinez thing, he was my idol. I travelled with him a lot. In the 80s, everyone hung out. For four years I was constantly travelling. It was cool breaking into every scene. Anyway, th veneering itself, Joey gave it to Blackhart, and then Blackhart gave it to me, and then I just made that thing stick to it, it looks kinda neat. I glued it and then I used a hairdryer and that’s the way it came out.

Jammer One-Off (2002)
Art by Jimbo Phillips
The Jammer shape, the whole Jammer thing. This board almost came out. Whalecock boards, Dave Carnie, it came out pretty close to this shape, but nobody did it just like this, this thick and everything, looking really like a banana, we made it in 2002.
The hammer thing is just cause I love hammers. They’re handy, and super random. They’re so nice. You can get a lot done with them, it’s kinda tough, whatever. I would hate to… be… hit with one. And they’re used for bodywork, everything. They’re great.

The Driven Hi-Bond Modified (2003)
Artist unknown
That one has my motorcycle on it. I mean, I’ve had it for 19, 20 years. I am not into the whole motorcycle scene. Like it’s become gross. I really love motorcycle riding, and putting them together is fun, but to ride as an enthusiast, not… cause I swear to God, they weren’t cool for a long time. And it was cool not being cool. And no one had them. These old dudes were over it, they were like, fuck that shit, it sucks.
This one I put one together from a 1949 panhead. It’s just a chopper, Max Schaaf would know what style it is, he’d know how to answer these questions. The slogan is a (Hell’s Angels’ chief) Sonny Barger quote, from his first book, and it’s just perfect.

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