"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.