Since a few days the rumor was that Jesse James might not have his “Chopper Live – The Revenge” custom bike done in time for the Discovery TV 4-way Build-Off this Monday & Tuesday. A couple of weeks ago, thanks to a crazy design, Jesse’s project already didn’t make the deadline requested by the Discovery production guys (Pilgrims Production) to give them enough time to edit the full shooting of the 4 bikes in competition while they were built. These are the TV show images in the American Chopper 2-hour special you are going to watch on Monday evening just before you are given the opportunity to text message your vote for your preferred builder/bike.
Whatever your preference in terms of personality and style of bikes, no true custom builder can be challenged on hard work and tenacity, 2 qualities that Jesse owns more than many. On his bikes, Jesse works mostly alone, calling for help only in extreme cases.
Jesse doesn’t care too much that the Discovery will not be able to get all images of his build until completion for the Monday evening show. What is more important for him is to make it on time on Tuesday evening to the Las Vegas Hard Rock Cafe stage with a very rideable custom bike, not with a pretty rolling sculpture. My name is Jesse…
Only those who never built something from scratch with their hands will not understand, but all others know that in our business bad things happen (in this case a bent main shaft drive), especially when you are the first to try something radically new, fabricating a one-off chassis and assembling on it parts that never met before on a motorcycle. Jesse’s story is not a publicity stunt. I was a far away witness, in contact with Jesse by email and text messages, of what unfolded for him during the last 4 days.
Last Thursday December 6, Jesse tweeted “Rolled the dice on a crazy design and it’s just not working…”. Then, again, on Friday December 7 at 2 a.m. “With my back against the wall, I called the best, Chris Rusch and Bert Baker. So blessed to have these guys drop everything and jump on planes to lend a hand and see if we can fix this. Working again all night…” Saturday December 8. 12.31 p.m. Text from Jesse on my phone “Cyril, I will not make it to the build-off. You can announce it. Want details?” 12.37 p.m. I reply “Not making it? Explain and send all details”
During this time, Christo Doyle from the Discovery channel tweets a picture of the Las Vegas Hard Rock Cafe and Casino stage being completed for the Live TV Show on Tuesday December 11 (9 ET/8 C). Then Christo tweets again “Saturday and still no Jesse James here. Today we are shooting desert riding shots around Las Vegas, but only with three bikes…” 3.17 pm. Jesse to me “All new frame & transmission design failed. Remaking everything. Pulled in Bert Baker and Chris Rusch to help. Worked till 4am last night. Parts I need are coming on plane right now. Going to work all night again…” Me to Jesse “You still can make it. Either way it goes, continue to try. Update me with texts pictures at any time.” Jesse to me at 3.25 p.m. “I will try and try …”
Sunday December 9, 4.30 a.m., Jesse tweets a picture of a new tranny saying “Sometimes it’s easier to start from scratch. should know if it works in a few hours…” 8.45 a.m. Sleepless in Austin, Jesse texts me a picture of himself still shaping some steel. Picture is as blurry as his vision and the one of each of his helpers. On social networks fans of Senior, Junior and of the Gas Monkey duo are now convinced that their favorite builder got an extra big chance to win. 2.00 pm Hearing promising news from Austin, but Jesse didn’t confirm to me. His bike has to be en route in just hours to make it to the build-off. During this time in Las Vegas, Discovery Chopper Live show production meeting is going on with host Sal Masekela and all the builders, minus Jesse… 3.20 p.m. Jesse texts to me “IT RUNS. FIXING A FEW THINGS AND WILL BE ON THE WAY TO VEGAS.” I ask Jesse to text me a picture of him (I can’t show you his bike…) Here it is. Looking exhausted enough?…. By the way, the bike is BADASS…
In conclusion. Jesse got the tools, skills and heart to not give up. With the help of a couple of friends of the industry he was able to finish what he started. And if he didn’t finish on time? Remember these words “An artist cannot fail because it is already a success to be one.”
Note: I would have written the same article for any builders in the Build-Off in the same last minute difficulty.
American Chopper Live. The Build-Off Revenge Between Jesse James, The Teutuls And The Team Of Richard Rawlings With Aaron Kaufman.
This Monday And Tuesday (December 10-11 at 9 pm ET/PT On Discovery Channel), many of you are going to tune in for the revenge that many fans have been asking for since last year when Paul Teutul Junior won by popular votes the 1st build-off competition against Jesse James. On Monday, the first part of this American Chopper two-night special will show you the 4 builders at work, trash talking each other (for fun & ratings), then you will have the opportunity to vote for your preferred custom bike/builder. On Tuesday, live from Las Vegas Hard Rock Cafe & Casino, with a little bit more of trash talking (still for fun) the build-off winner will be announced.
Cutthroat family drama event? Of course, it’s the way the Discovery Channel market it to create the largest audience possible. Reality? Between you & me, builders involved respect each other much more than what you can think, see and hear from them. Rivalry is good, entertainment is also good if you know how to recognize it. One thing I know for sure is that on Tuesday after a 10-year long-running cable TV reality series punctuated by family feuds and lawsuits, the stars of “American Chopper” Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. are going to get extremely emotional, at least inside, realizing that they are showing their bikes for the last time front of the cameras.
To “refresh” the competition, Discovery needed new characters. They found them with Richard Rawlings and Aaron Kaufman (nicknamed Tom & Jerry by Paul Sr.) already starring in another Discovery TV show called “Fast N’ Loud” where they bring derelict cars back to life in their Texas “Gas Monkey” garage. To spice the show on Monday, these 2 are never shy to verbally challenge Jesse James and the Teutuls on their building capabilities. But I know most of you are more interested by the bikes builders have built during the last 6 weeks than the hype required to create audience with a reality TV show. So, what do I know? I just give you a couple of hints until tomorrow Monday evening. The “Gas Monkey” duo restored a rigid knuckle from a basket case, Jesse did his fabrication thing on a “racer”, and the Teutuls intended to build a rideable street legal bikes. In the video below, Jesse James tells you a little bit more. Enjoy the foursome show hosted by Sal Masekela. Legendary rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd will headline the live show on Tuesday.