9.10.2009

chrome ball incident #339: soul by the pound









"I didn't want skating to be the place where I whored myself. I'll work for an hourly wage installing outdoor vinyl siding but I won't skate for a wage... For some reason, I can't bring myself to make money off skating." -Jesse Neuhaus

Admittedly an odd one tonight.

The first time I received a request for the enigmatic Chicago legend Jesse Neuhaus, I kinda just wrote it off as just another weird one-off request. Of course I remembered the guy... a young Lettus Bee-looking Alva upstart from the early-90's who really seemed poised for greatness at one point... but I honestly just chalked him up as a flash-in-the-pan one-time ripper, the likes of which seem to fill my days anymore (Trent Gaines, Tony Henry, John Moh, Nanda Zip... the list goes on and on).

Yet Jesse's name kept popping up over the last year or so until the amount of requests for a post grew too large to ignore, so I decided to look a little more into it. I honestly didn't know what happened to the dude, if he was dead or in jail or what... turns out the end result wasn't quite that scandalous. The story goes that dude flew out to cali and really started to make a name for himself but somewhere along the line after only a few short years, he got so disillusioned with the industry side of california skateboarding that he just decided to shine it and ended up taking his pogo stick back to chicago. fin.

he never fell off (still rips today actually) and as the ads above will attest to, dude definitely had some skills and a promising career ahead of him (that nollie melon is still a jawdropper). jesse just decided to keep his skating simple and pure. He pops up every once in a while with random photo in a mag (usually in articles about his home city) or a small-scale passion project of some sort but that's it. dude walked away from the spotlight and never looked back.

i realize the reality is probably not nearly as fairy tale-like as I'm presenting it here (or as rare) but in this era of double pits to chesty where a session is too often referred to as "training", any tale of integrity is truly appreciated. Jesse's tale took place almost 2 decades ago...I can't help but wonder what he thinks of all this now.

i think i'm gonna go out and do some slappies.

big up to ryan gee, andy jenkins and my man rob sissi.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

So that's where that lightpost logo comes from.

Excellent post. Always love your commentary.

jason from oz said...

Awesome post. Pat Brennan's bigspin late 360 shove-it, nice!

SPRNTRL said...

Probably one of my favorite posts to date. Keep up the good work

iSapien 1956672 said...

i'm forwarding this to him after this i post this

K said...

I seem to remember a little blurb about him in Slap way way way way back. He had a cat named Jaxx.

Anonymous said...

This may be odd but what about an all flash-in-the-pan post? All those guys you mentioned (Trent Gaines, etc) were sick! I think Tony Henry had one of the first b/s noseblunt slide ads ever.

Adam said...

He reminds me of Franz Kafka, who didn't want to make any money from the books he wrote because he felt that it 'debased' the meaning of his writing.
It's sort of the same thing with Jesse Neuhaus and his take on skating, but I don't think Kafka was turned off by the book industry. Maybe I'm wrong, though.

Nigel said...

There was an Atlanta guy named Daniel Powell I heard the same thing about. I used to see him at contests, along with Markovich when he was an am, and Powell was on the same level- if not better. He rode for Underworld Element at one point and started getting coverage, but he just wasn't feeling the whole move to California / be a pro thing.

chops said...

Thanks guys. I was wondering how this gonna go over. Stoked.

yeah, jason. huge brennan fan... just wish he had gotten more coverage. r.i.p.

thanks isapien.

what up, k... yeah, actually now that you bring it up, i kinda remember it too... wasn't it in like one of the first issues?

anonymous, already working on it... although john moh might be a tough one.

i can see it, adam. never knew that about kafka but makes sense.

i remember daniel powell from the old underworld days... andy howell really seemed to really push that dude. wasn't he on experience for a minute too? jaycee would know...

Anonymous said...

Jesse has killed it for over twenty years. Awesome skater... Awesome person.

. said...

there's no fairy tale, but there's definitely a healthy dose of integrity in how Jesse approaches skateboarding. He skates more ( and alot better ) than alot of dudes cashing cheques to this day and gets on with living his life how he sees fit. No big drama. Who said just cause your good enough that you need to chase sponsorship? skating needs more people like Jesse respect my brother.

Dan B

JayCee said...

Lovin' this post Chops. I wanted to comment earlier, but kept spacing. I've always loved this dude's style. I would see those photos in the mags and then I finally saw his part in the G&S Footage video. Still one of my favorite video parts to this day. He lived in the East Bay for a good while when he was skating for FUN and I always wanted to roll around with him but I never really got a chance. He'll always be a fave though.

As far as the Daniel Powell thing, I think I kinda sorta remember his name being thrown around the Experience camp, but I think that was after I stopped working there. I might have been working for Deluxe already. At that point, there were all those other companies coming out of Water Distribution: FIT, Profile, Cream, C/O wheels, and maybe a couple of others that I can't remember at the moment. I think Experience was already on it's last legs so it might have been just sending him a couple of packages and calling it a day. Couldn't tell you for sure though. Kid was definitely good. I'll ask Rick I and see if he knows what happened to him after Element.

JayCee said...

Oh, and that photo of him doing a frontside ollie for a FUN ad, that's the old warehouse where Ben Sanchez used to live with his brother Aris and their family. Damn I loved that place. Some amazing skating went down. Locals included Ben, Mike York, and Shamil Randle, just to name a few.

Seabreeze said...

This dude is one of precisely two skaters who I have been unable to take my eyes off of when they were on a miniramp. The destruction was complete.

iSapien 1956672 said...

http://www.upriseskateboards.com/news_detail.cfm?Id=303&BlogCatId=0

Anonymous said...

Daniel Powell was on the cover of the Oct. 1992 Thrasher. He did have a pro model on Experience. The graphics were Sebastian from The Little Mermaid. I think he needed to make some money a.s.a.p so left Element to turn pro. I also know he grew in the same area as Brian Chung and skated for Stratosphere in Atlanta.

B said...

skated at that chicago park couple years back he was still ripping for sure

Anonymous said...

here is what he's up to now... http://www.blutwn.com/