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Jesse G. James
Jesse Gregory James is a multi-layered person. He was a television personality and is CEO of motorcycle manufacturer West Coast Choppers, their signature is custom-made motorcycles. James garnered his fame with his impeccable work, though it was being the host of Motorcycle Mania and the former series Monster Garage on the Discovery Channel that brought him to a level of celebrity born of main stream exposure rather than that of the outstanding reputation he’d built for himself. Jesse James metamorphisized from Chopper Culture Trailblazer to a Pop-Culture Icon when West Coast Choppers, the celebrated Long Beach, California custom motorcycle shop he built from scratch, became part of the backdrop for The Discovery Channel’s popular series “Monster Garage” (2002). As the show’s heavily tattooed, charismatic bad-ass host, James transcended his mechanical background to become a mainstream celebrity with all manner of fans.
The reason I decided to design my website as a biographical collection of information is because, to me - he has created a career around technology. Not only has he succeeded, he has done it all entirely on his own terms and merit.
Jesse Gregory James was born on April 19, 1969 in Lynwood, California to Larry and Carol James, the younger of two children. Jesse James claims to be related to "the outlaw Jesse James" from his great grandfather's cousin. James states he grew up in Long Beach, California, but that he did not spend his entire childhood there. James' parents divorced while he was still in grade school in South Gate, California and he and Sister Julie were then moved to Riverside with their father, Larry James and attended La Sierra High School.
James has three children - two daughters, Sunny and Chandler, as well as a son, Jesse James, Jr. – Chandler and JJ Jr. are from his first wife, Karla. He also has a daughter, Sunny, by his second wife, Janine Lindemulder, an adult film star/producer, and a former Penthouse model, however, he had no participation in her life until early 2007. Sunny was born January 2004. On July 16, 2005 James married actress Sandra Bullock; they met when Bullock arranged for her eight-year-old godson, who was a fan, to tour the set of Monster Garage.
On Oct. 20, 2002, he married porn star Janine Lindemulder – also known for gracing the cover of the band Blink 182’s more popular CDs as a nurse. The following year, James left Lindemulder while she was seven months pregnant with his second daughter, Sunny. The couple’s divorce was finalized in 2004. He went on to date A-list actress, Sandra Bullock, after the actress arranged for her eight-year-old godson, who was a fan, to watch the taping of an episode of his show. The unlikely coupling culminated in a July 16, 2005 wedding in Santa Barbara, CA – a marital merger which raised his profile outside the reality TV/motorcycle worlds in which he normally circulated.Interesting Facts:· On January 26, 2007 James was fined $271,250 for selling motorcycles that violated California air standards. James sold more than 50 motorcycles from his Long Beach shop that failed to meet California emissions standards.
In 1998 Jesse opened West Coast Choppers in his mother's garage. The company grew quickly and soon moved to a larger facility. In 2000 the Discovery Channel made the documentary "Motorcycle Mania" which chronicled Jesse's everyday life and was to became one of the highest rated shows in the history of the network. Following the success of the documentary, the Discovery Channel approached Jesse with an offer to host a new show called "Monster Garage" where James and a crew of mechanics modified vehicles under a short deadline. Jesse later established "Payupsucker Productions" under which he produced shows like "History of the Chopper", "Iraq Confidential with Jesse James" and "Green Scream" in which Jesse plans to break the land speed record with an eco-friendly hydrogen car.
West Coast Choppers employs 50 workers in an 18,000-square foot facility and produces 12 to 14 custom bikes each year for select customers and companies. About 200 bikes have been built at West Coast Choppers. The company has started modifying cars as well, with about 15 cars constantly being in their shop at different stages of modification. Although his bikes cost as much as $150,000, and often required as much as a year-long wait, James’ mix of quality workmanship and personality attracted big dollars and A-list celebrities, including basketball player Shaquille O’Neal, model Tyson Beckford and the aforementioned Kid Rock. James became known for tailoring each of his special-order motorcycle to the specific buyer, a process so specific that he actually took numerous measurements of the rider and factored those into the design of each bike. With its newfound visibility and financial success, West Coast Choppers’ staff ballooned to over 50 people and began to outgrow its 18,000 square foot space. The attention even made the name “West Coast Choppers” a recognizable clothing brand.
Celebrities sought James out personally, as well as professionally.
Monster Garage was one of, and at one point - the most - popular television show for the Discovery Channel hosted by Jesse James. Each episode was an hour in length and was conceived and produced (along with Jesse) by reality automotive show mastermind Thom Beers. The show aired the series finale on June 12, 2006. Jesse G. James, the host of the show, did not participate in the actual builds.
Sensing his growing mass appeal, the Discovery Channel made James the host of “Monster Garage,” a reality show in which he supervised teams of mechanics and engineers tasked with transforming ordinary vehicles into one-of-a-kind machines. A typical transformation was when an old milk truck was converted into a mobile milking station that could not only milk a cow, but pasteurize and dispense it by the glass. James’ real life business, West Coast Choppers became an integral part of the TV program, as the “Monster Garage” team often utilized James’ shop and machinery to help them meet the challenges of the weekly show. Conveniently, the warehouse that served as Monster Garage's set was located mere blocks from the real-life West Coast Choppers' Long Beach location. In practice, as the series progressed, some liberties were taken with the first two rules, at times becoming punch lines. In one episode, when a Chevrolet El Camino was turned into a Figure 8 race car, James discarded plans for a spoiler on the vehicle, sarcastically citing the first rule. Starting with season 4, the winning team also donated a toolkit to a high school of their choice.
The Rules of Monster Garage:
According to the show, the rules for Monster Garage were as follows:
1-When complete, the monster must appear to be stock.
2-The team has $3000 (later raised to $5000) for parts.
3-The team has seven days to complete the monster.
A) The First day is for designing.
B) The next Five are for building.
C) The Seventh day is to test of the monster!
Failed Monsters and their Ultimate Demise
Succeeded monsters destroyed in Day 7
James found time to write a book of his own. It was published by Viking Studio and Penguin Group.
· "I Am JESSE JAMES"
Published by Meredith Books first was a book about the TV series.
· Inside Monster Garage.
MBI Publishing Company has published Monster Garage instruction books under the Motorbooks brand, separately or also sold together as Monster Garage Gift Set and The Big Box of Monster Garage:
· "Monster Garage: How to Custom Paint Damn Near Anything"
· "Monster Garage: How to Customize Damn Near Anything"
· "Monster Garage: How to Fabricate Damn Near Anything"
· "Monster Garage: How to Weld Damn Near Anything"
Other branches of the "West Coast Family" include the Chopperdogs fan club and Jesse's Girl clothing line. Since 2006 James has published Garage magazine. James has also built and is racing an off-road Trophy Truck and a Figure-8 race car. West Coast Choppers is also sponsoring race teams in Top Fuel Drags and Super Late Model NASCAR. James recently bought Austin Speed Shop, which builds custom cars including a Mercury for Jesse himself. Through James' show "History of the Chopper" there are also glimpses of his involvement with the Hells Angels and other 1% outlaw motorcycle clubs. One of James' latest ventures is the Cisco Burger restaurant, which opened on April 28, 2006, just down the street from West Coast Choppers. The 1950s style hamburger stand - named after his beloved pit bull which is now deceased - features Kobe beef burgers, low-fat burritos, organic vegetables, and biodegradable wrappings.
(Quoted from the book "I am JESSE JAMES" - the book he, himself authored.)
"The show, is about people not unlike myself: the rapidly vanishing breed of unheralded artisans who fabricate the stuff of daily life, like cars and refrigerators. The 60-year-old man pounding metal for 40 years sitting around at noon eating lunch every day - I want to shake his hand, That guy behind the scenes making his knuckles bleed." —Jesse G. James.
"I stuck to my guns and stuck to what I liked and forced everyone to change." —Jesse G. James.
"People who can make something with their hands could run the world." —Jesse G. James.
"I don't do anything that I don't want to do."—Jesse G. James.
"Pay Up Sucker!" —Jesse G. James.
"Jesse Who?" — The first slogan used for the West Coast Choppers clothing lauch.