Memoirs Of A Team Manager with Bob Denike
LAST ISSUE WE DID A FEATURE CALLED, “SO YOU WANT TO BE A TEAM MANAGER?” it was about the horror stories associated with the difficult job of managing skateboarders. since it has been out we’ve been inundated with outrageous stories from team managers. Shortly after the issue hit the streets I was chatting with artist and idea man Russ Pope and he said, “you ought to turn this into a regular department and call it Memoirs Of A Team Manager”. Thanks Russ! Every issue we’ll be giving this page to a ™ who wants to share a story. This issue we’ve got a classic Jason Jessee story as told by Bob Denike. Bob was ™ over at Santa Cruz during the wild days of 1988-1989.
I have been at NHS just about 20 years and my first job was as team manager for Santa Cruz starting in 1987, when skateboarding was full bore! Money was flowing and the team was there to, basically, torture the team manager. I had the duty of managing Jessee, Grabke, Bod Boyle, Corey O’Brien, Jeff Grosso, Hosoi and his Dad, Natas and Steve Rocco, Rob Roskopp, and Jeff Kendall.
I was taking the Santa Cruz team on tour and everyone was supposed to meet up at the airport early in the morning. Jason hated to go on tour, get on airplanes, carry bags around, do the whole demo deal. We’re all at the airport ready and waiting for Jason. Jason didn’t show up. Finally he calls NHS. He didn’t even call me, he called into the general sales line and says, “Ah shit, I just woke up and got myself off the fence, I’m on my way to the airport now”. Jason goes on to tell a story about how he was skating this ramp alone. When he went to leave, he tried to jump from the deck of the ramp over the fence, but his kneepads got caught on the top thus swinging him upside down and slamming his head into the fence post, knocking him out. Jason claimed he spent the whole night unconscious hanging upside down from the fence. No one wanted to call him out on it. You just dealt with it. Jason was known for that, make the story so outlandish and outrageous that it was so hard to believe, that you just had to believe it. And there were never any witnesses. The excuses ended up being so funny you really couldn’t say anything. There was always just enough believability to his stories, that you would just end up moving on to fire the next pro who had just started. Maybe he was hanging from a fence all night, maybe not?
Another story about Jason, when he did go on tour, all he would bring is his skateboard and a really small carry on backpack, maybe. But every day he would have on fresh clothes. No one could figure it out, he had no real luggage, bags, never did laundry, etc. But there he was, every day, clean socks, clean t-shirt, whatever. We would be on like on a 4-5 week tour in Europe. I think it was Salba who finally figured it out toward the end of the trip. Jason had stashed all his clothes in other peoples bags at the beginning of the trip and they had no idea, he would just peel them out of the bags as he needed them in the middle of the night or before anyone woke up and slide his dirty shit in there. I think Jason just loved ‘the art of the scam’ and this was just an example. Salba was hired to try and focus Jason. This lasted about a month I think, maybe less.