What happened to Jesse James of West Coast Choppers and where is he now?

Key things

  • Jesse James, a talented chopper bike builder, has had an interesting and varied life full of ups and downs.
  • He rose to fame through his television career, starting with appearances on shows like Motorcycle Mania and eventually hosting his own show, Monster Garage.
  • Despite the controversies and controversies surrounding him and his business, Jesse continues to indulge his passion for building bikes and recently launched a new streaming platform called Outlaw TV.


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One of the most talented and inspiring chopper bike builders ever, Jesse James has built and owned some incredible vehicles during years. We could see his talent on the small screen starting Monster Garage in 2002.

The Californian entrepreneur has certainly led an interesting and varied life with many ups and downs, which we will cover in more detail before revealing what Jesse is up to on a daily basis in 2023.

From tumultuous marriages to controversial fines and legal issues surrounding his helicopter customization business, Jesse has been through it all and lived to tell the tale. Read on to find out how he still manages to indulge his passion for high-end craftsmanship and American goods.

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Jesse James before ‘Monster Garage’

Jesse James
West Coast Choppers

Jesse James was born and raised in California and called it home until 2010. It was at this point, after his television career, that Jesse decided to change things up completely and move to Austin, Texas, where he still lives. and still works today.

Jesse James Bio

Full name

Jesse Gregory James

Birthdate

April 19, 1969

Place of birth

Long Beach, California

Current residence

Austin, Texas

A talented craftsman with a brilliant eye for detail and a passion for business that is incredible what Jesse James has done over the yearsprimarily at West Coast Choppers making unique bikes for high end clients.

Before that, the star worked as a bodyguard for rock and metal bands such as the iconic Slayer and Danzig. It wasn’t until 2002, at the age of 33, that Jesse’s life changed completely when fame and TV success found him.

Jesse James rose to fame on the Discovery Channel

Before Jesse James got his big break in 2002, he first appeared two years earlier on the Discovery Channel. The show was called Motomania and went behind the scenes of the custom bike builders, which helped highlight the amazing work Jesse completed in his West Coast workshop.

From there it was clear that audiences wanted to see more, so the decision was made to give West Coast Choppers their own self-titled show Monster Garage, which aired from 2002 to 2006. The show revolved around a team racing against time to complete weird and wonderful structures. From this moment on, Jesse James is thrust into the spotlight and his life will have to adjust dramatically.

The show was a much-loved success and no doubt a driving factor for many of them The fortune of Jesse James. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Jesse James is worth $50 million today. Rumors have been circulating since 2006 Monster Garage recurring; but to date there has been no comeback. James has talked about being uncomfortable with such a high-profile lifestyle, which is why moving down to Texas made sense for the TV star in his later years.

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The best helicopter builds on the west coast

While these helicopter designs may not be to everyone’s taste, you can certainly never underestimate the creativity of Jesse James and his team. More often than not, choppers were themed or came with a strict brief from clients who wanted to realize their dreams.

Some of the coolest West Coast Choppers builds are from old episodes of the show Monster Garage, at a time when West Coast Choppers was based in California and thriving. While footage of these old builds can be hard to come by, you can watch these old episodes on Amazon Prime.

West Coast Choppers closed its doors back in 2010, but the business is back in business as it reopened in 2013 in Austin. The job is still likely to be top drawer since West Coast Choppers is still owned by Jesse James. You can read more about these great West Coast Choppers builds herein addition to seeing some awesome Orange Country Choppers builds.

Funeral helicopter

Few wrestling stars are as iconic as the Undertaker. As if he didn’t look menacing enough, the custom made helicopter only added to his menacing demeanor. This chopper is crisp white, with ghostly airbrushed details.

Kid Rock’s Chopper

Another star who enlisted the help of Jesse James and his team at West Coast Choppers is Kid Rock, and he needed something loud to reflect his bright and strong personality. The crew certainly nailed it by putting together an epic looking chopper with an orange finish with matte black detailing.

Shaquille O’Neal’s chopper

If you’ve ever watched the NBA, you’ll know that the players are pretty big guys, so finding the right chopper bikes can understandably be a challenge. That was certainly the case for superstar Shaquille O’Neal, which is probably why he instructed Jesse and his team to build a helicopter the size of Shaq. Finished in a powerful combination of purple and green, you could definitely see it coming.

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Jesse James At the Center of Controversy

Jesse James with a custom helicopter
Kimi from West Coast Choopers

Despite the huge success with his company West Coast Choppers, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the entrepreneur and TV star, as he reveals some hidden truths. For example, he was once married to the famous actress Sandra Bullock, but unfortunately that was not the case and it wasn’t long before rumors of affairs began to spread. Jesse would have preferred to deal with it in private, but the nature of their relationship meant that the news was covered in newspapers and on television.

Other stresses came with his work, and one of the most notable involved his West Coast Choppers logo. It has been pointed out how the logo resembles the Iron Cross, which has close ties to the Nazi Party; the logo also has a potentially less sinister source of inspiration, as it also closely resembles the Maltese cross.

The last big problem for Jesse was a huge $250,000 fine from the California Air Resources Board for non-compliance with air pollution regulations. Add that to the other controversies in his life, and it’s easy to see why a move to rural Texas was so appealing to the entrepreneur.

Controversy surrounding Jesse and West Coast helicopters

  • Marital issues with ex-wife Sandra Bulluck came into focus
  • The West Coast Choppers logo had unfortunate ties to the Nazi Party
  • Jesse was fined a whopping $250,000

Jesse continues to indulge his passion for bike building

You could forgive Jesse James for going in a different direction in life, especially considering the problems and controversies that plagued him while he was in California. However, his interview with Graham Benslinger a few years ago shows that he is still indulging in his passion for building helicopters in Austin, Texas.

He still builds bikes for famous celebrities, he tells Graham he spent about two years building a bike for UFC owner Dana Whitewhich is not just about bikes, as seen in his crazy car collection. The engraving on Dana’s bike alone took Jesse over a year. The old California business churned out a much higher capacity bike, but by keeping things small, Jesse can ensure he has enough time to work on the build himself and not just manage employees.

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Jesse James recently launched his new streaming platform

Chopper fans recently got a great reason to be excited, all thanks to the brilliant entrepreneurial brain of Jesse James. Along with other industry icons namely Paul Teutulo Sr. of American Choppers fame and Billy Lane of Choppers Inc., Jesse James has just launched a brand new streaming platform called Outlaw TV.

The streaming service will focus on the trio’s hard work and great lineups, and for once they’ll be able to make the show exactly as they see fit. Jesse describes Outlaw TV as “member-driven,” so the content will be tailored to what viewers enjoy most. It seems like forever since we’ve had any original chopper content on our screens, but Jesse James is about to change that for us. No release date was given, but you can sign up for email updates and watch the trailer here.

Sources: Jesse James, West Coast Choppers Facebook page