Jesse James can be called many things: custom bike and car builder, producer, publisher, television host, and restaurateur. And yes, it's true, he is a descendant of the original outlaw of the wild west. But the way Jesse likes to best describe himself is as "a glorified welder." Jesse James is very reluctant about his "celebrity" and has never understood what all the fuss is about.
Jesse is part owner of Austin Speed Shop and has become a master at customizing one of a kind cars as well as fabricating motorcycles. In 2009, Jesse starred and served as Executive Producer in Spike's highest rated series, "Jesse James Is A Dead Man". Co-produced by Jesse's PayUpSucker Productions, Jesse took on the role of a modern-day daredevil where each episode followed him as he readied himself for a different death-defying challenge. With CGI effects, viewers got a taste of the enormity of the stunt, revealing the physiological stress Jesse's body endured. This series brought Spike TV a new set of viewers that it could have never dreamed of.
Also in 2009 Jesse started the Long Beach Education Foundation which brings much needed funds to the cities Industrial Arts program. Since its inception the foundation has brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars and has bettered the lives of students and teachers by providing them with the tools to learn a new skill.
In 2009 Jesse also appeared on the Celebrity Apprentice and quickly became the show's most popular contestant. More than 50% of the viewers voted for him to win on the shows website, he came in third. This appearance expanded Jesse's fan base tremendously and showed millions more that he is a true advocate of hard work and perseverance.
In 2000, Jesse was the subject of "Motorcycle Mania" which chronicled his everyday life as a motorcycle builder on the Discovery Channel. Surprisingly, this peek into his life became one of the highest rated shows in the networks' history and Motorcycle Mania II and III soon followed and unknowingly, a new genre of reality TV was created. Jesse established a loyal following who would tune in for 85 episodes to watch the anti-host in his best known role on the international television hit, Monster Garage, which he produced and starred in. Week after week, eager fans watched Jesse accomplish the impossible! From flying cars to lawn mowing Mustangs, Jesse continued to create mind blowing vehicles which kept this show at the top of the ratings for six years!
Before his TV gig, Jesse started West Coast Choppers by doing what he loved, building motorcycles in his mom's garage. Jesse built his shop from the ground up and through nothing more than hard work and dedication, turned it into a global empire. The iconic logo is now recognized around the world. Every inch of his custom bikes and cars are stamped with Jesse's signature work.
Jesse then established "Payupsucker Productions," so that he could share the stories he wanted to tell. In his first released title History of the Chopper, he pays tribute to his bike building heroes and for the first time, sheds light on the black bike builders that everyone else ignored. Jesse then traveled to Iraq for a first hand look inside the war and documented his experience in the feature Iraq Confidential with Jesse James. Putting all politics aside, this show highlighted the brave efforts of the mechanics who risk their lives everyday. Both features aired on Discovery in 2006. Jesse and Payupsucker Productions finished production on the third feature for The History Channel titled Jesse James: Blacksmith which was released in late 2011. This two-hour documentary took Jesse to Israel in the fall of 2009 where he apprenticed with Uri Hofi, considered one of the world's best blacksmith so that Jesse can continue to expand on his building skills and pay tribute to other craftsmen.
And in his spare time, Jesse pursues his passion, off-road desert racing. He and his team of builders have constructed a radically engineered trophy truck in which he has competed alongside legendary racers. As a newcomer to the illusive and grueling Baja races, he has already proven himself as a formidable competitor, most recently finishing in the top five.
So what is Jesse James most proud of? Two things - his three children and the fact that his fan base is made up prominently of blue collar workers. Jesse has never lost sight of that which is the reason why his West Coast Choppers brand has maintained such a strong presence. Jesse continues to stay true to his roots and finds comfort in knowing he could always earn $25.00 an hour as a damn good welder!