Jason Jessee – Juice Magazine State of Skate Interview

Name: Jason Jessee
Hometown: Watsonville, CA / San Juan Capistrano, CA / San Clemente, CA
Age: I’m 12 or some shit. I have no idea.
Sponsors: Converse, Santa Cruz, Brixton, Hard Luck, Indy, OJ’s, Grant’s Pomade, life, Madson Sunglasses and Stance Socks. There are so many. I feel whorish. That’s a lot right there. From head to toe, and all points in between, for skateboarding. 

What set-up are you riding right now?
Exactly. I’m riding my own set up. I set it up. All those sponsors I just named, that’s what I’m riding right now and I have Ralphie from Bill’s Wheels set it up because he’s my favorite.

What’s the most fun DIY, skater-built or renegade spot that you’ve skated lately?
Everything. That’s like playing favorites, so I have no idea. I don’t know. Whatever you got is my favorite. That’s the answer. Whatever you have is my favorite. Let’s go.

Have you ever built something to skate?
Yeah. I built a metal quarter pipe out of my neighbor’s metal scrap bin. It was my favorite, only because it was just all garbage. It was made out of metal and it went to vert and it was only a foot wide and Mike Anderson did frontside rocks on it and it was perfect. It was made to see Mike Anderson do a frontside rock on it, for real. Then I took it to the dump. [Laughs] I’m not even kidding. I took it to the metal recycler. It was the best shit ever and then we dumped it. It was so dumb.

Who do you like to skate with these days?
My friends… every single person on Converse. No. Don’t say that. Yes. Wait. It’s impossible to say. It’s whoever is down to skate. Wait. I don’t know. What’s the question? Jonathan Michael Powers is my favorite.

[Laughs] What’s the coolest skateboard graphic you have seen lately?
I’ll head over to a skate shop and look. I’ll have to get back to you on that.

Best thing you’ve skated in a skatepark?
I have no idea because I hit my head so hard too many times.

Favorite skateboarders of all time?
That’s a good question, but I refuse to answer that question because it’s impossible. I have so many idols. That is way too hard to answer.

Is there anything that hasn’t been built to skate yet that you’d like to see built?
Not really. That is a really hard to answer question too. These are like trick questions. I don’t know. I just want to get along with everybody. That’s all.

Best road trip you ever took?
I’m not sure if I’ve ever been on a road trip. [Laughs] I’m serious. There have been a lot of really uncomfortable ones, but they were all really fantastic. I don’t know. That’s just playing favorites and I can’t do that right now. I just want everyone to get along.

Any skate-related charities you support?
I don’t even know what that means. I have no idea how to answer that question. I have no clue. I just want to get to the end of the day every day. Are there charities that I should be aware of? Name a few. I don’t even know.

Yeah. Well, there’s the Tony Hawk Foundation, Grind for Life, Stronghold Society, Skateistan… and all kinds.
Whoever is down for doing bitchin’ shit in skateboarding, I’m down for, of course. I’m down for all of it. I just don’t even know. It looks like the Tony Hawk Foundation is super bitchin. I guess I need to pay more attention. There are so many rad things. Every single thing that’s positive in skateboarding, I love that shit. I don’t know. See how long these answers turn into. It’s going to look like I’m just retarded and I drank too much coffee. Maybe I need to start a foundation. It would just be for Aspergers and it would end up costing me so much more money than I’d planned on spending. I’d be like, “I just blew it.” I don’t know. [Laughs]

What music have you been listening to?
C-Bo and a little bit of Mac Dre and I like Morrissey. I can’t help it. I’ve been switching back and forth. It goes from C-Bo and Mac Dre and then I get super into the Smiths all day and that bleeds into Portishead and Massive Attack. I don’t know why. That’s just how I’ve been going lately.

What do you consider the responsibilities of a professional skateboarder?
Just to be professional, and what I mean is that, if you can get on any board and do… Wait. Start over. Okay. The responsibility of a pro skateboarder absolutely is to be yourself. Just be yourself. That’s how every professional skateboarder should be, exactly who they are, right? That’s the responsibility. Don’t water yourself down or ever second guess yourself. The responsibility of a pro skateboarder is to be exactly who you are. I wouldn’t want Louie Lopez to be anybody else but Louie Lopez. He’s the best. Kenny Anderson, I wouldn’t want him to be responsible for anything else but being himself. Greyson Fletcher, his responsibility as a pro skateboarder is to be exactly Greyson Fletcher. It just goes with the person. Steve Olson isn’t even a pro skateboarder. He’s a pro human. He’s just himself. Everyone that’s ever met him is so grateful that he’s himself. That’s how every human should be. That should be the only responsibility.

Which skate shops do you support?
Anyone that puts effort into keeping skateboarding alive is cool. Every skate shop that’s down for skateboarding is what I’m stoked on. We did this North American tour with Converse and we went to all these skate shops and every single one of them got me so stoked. You go into a skate shop and you can tell the ones that are into it and the ones that don’t give a shit.

Favorite skate photo of all time?
Right when you asked that question, my mind just turned into every type of Play-Doh mashed together. Right before you asked the question, I was thinking of all these bitchin’ photos in skateboarding, and then, right when you asked it, it just turned into colored Play-Doh. You know what I mean? It’s impossible.

What is your take on girls skateboarding?
How do you answer that without sounding like a total creep? Come on. Next question. Ass shots. I don’t know. No matter what I sound like a creep. I can’t even answer that question.

What skateboarding memorabilia do you have that means the most to you?
The only thing that I can think of is what little is left of a piece of my brain. I hold everything sacred to me in skateboarding, so I have no idea. All of the above. I don’t want to answer that without sounding like a skateboard hoarder because that’s what I am. You’re making me really look at myself and hyper focus on all my insecurities in skateboarding. There’s a ton of memorabilia that I love, but I’m not going to tell you though. [Laughs]

Who contributes the most to your local skate scene?
There’s a ton of people, right?

Top three favorite skate tricks?
There are so many involved. How do you narrow it down? There are so many contributing factors to that question. That is what Bill Murray would call a loaded question. [Laughs] Right? Good luck answering that thing.

Do you think skateboarding should be in the Olympics?
I don’t even know what that means because I don’t know what the Olympics are. I just remember the Olympics are like ice skating and gymnastics and I loved watching that when I was a kid. I was like, “That is so sick. How do they do so many flips and shit?” Ice skating was hilarious because you just wanted to mimic it on your skateboard to your friends. That was it.

What is your proudest moment in skateboarding so far?
My proudest moment in skateboarding was when skateboarding was birthed. I was so proud and I wasn’t even alive yet. I had no idea that was going to be my proudest moment when skateboarding was birthed, huh? Right?

Okay, you’re getting a bonus question. Tell me what you really think about these questions.
Dude, it’s cruel and unusual. That was painful. Those were cruel and unusual questions to put someone through. I’m not taking it personal. I’m not mad at you and I’m not going to take it personal.

[Laughs] Okay. Good. I know this was hard for you. I appreciate you doing it. Thank you.
Totally. Those were super general questions for a real sophisticated mature person to answer but, man, I just wanted to ruin myself. Those are questions that would set me up to look like such a dick. I don’t want to be a dick. I love skateboarding. Those made me scared to answer. You know when people answer questions like, “Oh, yeah, dude, I was there.” You’re bored right off the bat. I bet Steve Olson’s answers were interesting, but if anyone took those questions to heart and sat down and answered them, it seems like it would leave a lot of people out. They are really impossible questions to answer without touching on every single part of skateboarding. You’d leave so many people out. You know for a fact that skateboarding is so personal to me and so sacred and I love it more than you have any clue, but you do have a clue. It’s exposing the inner parts that you know in your heart. You don’t want to voice them or expose them because then you feel like it’s going to get picked apart. You know what I mean?

Yeah, man. You said it in issue 53 of Juice. “Everything sacred will get raped.”
Yes! I swear to god. Every day you wake up and you hold these things sacred with a passion and you’re like, “This is my shit.” You wake up and you have an identity. No one can rape this shit. I can leave and not talk to anybody and do my thing and feel really comfortable and then, when you expose it, you don’t want people to make fun of it. You don’t want people to pick it apart. It’s like your child. You don’t want people to mess with your kid. You’ll kill people and you don’t want to kill people. You want to keep things sacred and just be stoked on life. You don’t want to bum anyone out. Obviously, there are sponsors out there that have made my life. They’ve made it possible for me to be an individual. At the same time, it sucks because you have to be careful and not say the wrong thing and blow it. That’s the last thing you want to do. I cherish everybody that’s ever believed in me. I cherish that. I’m forever grateful. You know what I’m talking about.

I know exactly what you’re saying. We couldn’t exist without people supporting us. It’s the coolest thing in the world.
Exactly. I don’t want to leave anyone out and you guys have done so much cool shit for me in my life. At the lowest point in my life, you guys put me on the cover and gave me hope to keep moving forward. I’m not shitting you. The photo of me with my hat on, and not to mention the frontside ollie of me on the cover, you have no idea how much speed I was on and how much I hated life right then. Those were some low points and you guys kept me going to where I am right now, so thank you.

Well, thank you. It goes both ways. We’re stoked.
For five years now, I haven’t done that shit and it shows because I skateboard. I look back at those covers and I’m like, “They went out on a limb and put me on the cover and I was the biggest piece of shit.” You guys rule. Tell Terri thank you. I don’t know if I ever told you guys that. You made my life.

Absolutely. We believe in the good in people. You’re a huge important part of skateboarding because you cherish it. People need to see that. You can’t over or under expose that. That’s just reality. When we put people in the mag, it’s got to be people that believe in it. You’ve never stopped believing in skateboarding. You never stopped being a skateboarder.
Never. I can’t help it.

You sped up for a little while. So what? People go through shit.
Yeah. It was a nine year period of time. You got the beginning and the end of it. It was the darkest time of my life and everything is cool now. I’ve sorted it out. Relationships are so fragile, but skateboarding is not fragile. It’s always there. It’s the shit. It’s so weird and so odd. You can include what we just talked about right now too. That’s real. After the questions were done, that felt the most normal. You know what I mean?

You know what’s up. I’m down. It was good talking to you.

JASON_JESSEE_INVERT_ARTO_SAARI J. JESSEE stalls a stylish Invert like it was 1987. Arto’s bowl! Photo by Arto Saari



When we started Juice Magazine 22 years ago, you could count the number of skateparks on one hand and grindable pool coping was mostly a distant memory. Now there are thousands of skateparks all over the world, along with a vast quantity of DIY spots built to skate. In 1993, the majority of skateboarders listened to punk rock or hip hop exclusively. Now skateboarders listen to almost every kind of sound created. Two decades ago, skateboarding related charities were non-existent. Today, there are numerous non-profits giving back to skateboarding in many ways. One of the most important differences between now and then is that, 22 years ago, there was a clear division between old school and new school skateboarding. Now that wall of separation has followed the same path as the Berlin Wall, allowing for an unprecedented unification of skateboarders all over the globe. Great strides have been made for girls that skate as well as the acceptance of skate history and long overdue recognition for skateboarding’s pioneers and its artifacts. At the same time, the current generation of skateboarders is taking skateboarding to new heights, previously unimaginable. As the landscape of the skateboarding industry changes on a daily basis, and the topic of skateboarding in the Olympics rears its head once again, along with the disturbing subject of who controls skateboarding being tossed about by corporate entities, we decided it was time to take a good look at the State of Skate. We asked 20 questions to 100 skateboarders, ages 8 to 58, and found that skateboarding is as diverse as the skateboarders that are addicted to it, no one controls skateboarding except skateboarders, and the State of Skate is savage and strong. Now get out there and skate tough!

JUICE MAGAZINE STATE OF SKATE features interviews with 100 skateboarders including: Tony Alva, Dave Hackett, Chris Strople, Duane Peters, Steve Olson, Dave Duncan, Steve Alba, Tony Magnusson, Pat Black, Jesse Martinez, Bill Danforth, Jim Murphy, Ric Widenor, Lester Kasai, Glen Charnoski, Bryan Pennington, Peter Furnee, Jeremiah Risk, Ryan Smith, Jason Jessee, Omar Hassan, Cam Dowse, Jen O’Brien, Depth Leviathan Dweller, Brett Roper, Travis Beattie, Chris Gentry, CW Dunn, Chris Albright, Charlie Wilkins, Cairo Foster, Pierre-Luc Gagnon, BJ Morrill, Dr. Lenore L.A. Sparks, Sid Melvin, Jesse Irish, Packy Fancher, Greg Lutzka, Jimmy Larsen, Adam Dyet, Luis Tolentino, Greg Harbour, Frank Faria, Ryan DeCenzo, Dave Bachinsky, Johnny Turgesen, Casey Meyer, Edward Sanchez, David Gravette, Ben Hatchell, Brian Geib, Felipe Gouveia, Eric Santos, Kyle Smith, Cameron Revier, Josh Stafford, Justin Grubbs, Etienne Eden Archila, Sanzio Piacentini, Josh Elder, Eddie “Mighty” Moreno, Kevin Kowalski, Otto Pflanz, Jeremy Smith, Adam Wiggins, Jimmy Wilkins, Danny Gordon, Jake Hilbish, Corey Blanchette, Adam Legassie, Nick Santos, Trey Rounds, Curren Caples, Justyce Tabor, Andy Anderson, Sarah Thompson, Coral Guerrero, Collin Graham, Derek Scott, Ace Pelka, Sonny Rodriguez, Jarren Duke, Mikayla Sheppard, CJ Titus, Noah Schott, Emily Earring, Julian Torres, Wyatt Wisenbaker, Josh Forsberg, Nathan Midgette, Roman Pabich, Yago Dominguez, Jack Winburn, Jonas Carlsson, Kiko Francisco, Bryce Ava Wettstein, Desmond Shepherd, Matty Jessee and Luke Kahler.


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Juice is an interview magazine featuring skateboarding, surfing, art and music. Since 1993, Juice has been independently owned and dedicated to the core. Juice Magazine specializes in coverage of core skateboarders, surfers, musicians, skatepark builders, artists, photographers, rock n roll, metal, hardcore, pools, pipes & punk rock. Keep Skateboarding A Crime.
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