Jesse Camp

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Jesse Camp
Born (1979-11-04) November 4, 1979 (age 34)
Granby, Connecticut, U.S.
Occupation Television personality, musician, songwriter, filmmaker
Years active 1998–present

Jesse Camp (born November 4, 1979) was the winner of the first Wanna Be a VJ contest on MTV beating over 5000 other contestants including Dave Holmes for a VJ job on the network. During his year and a half on Mtv, Camp was a cohost of music video show Total Request Live (TRL), and also hosted the summer series "Lunch With Jesse" as well as "MTV Rocks Off". Although the original contest rules were to let the winner be a VJ for a period of two weeks, Camp became so popular on the channel that the network immediately extended his contract for a full year. Although his eccentric style and behavior were polarizing to some, there was no denying Camp's charisma and utter originality. Jesse was voted one of VH1's Twenty Greatest MTV Moments in 2010.

Early life[edit]

Camp was born in Granby, Ct. His father was a college professor and his mother was an elementary school principal. Camp attended public school in Granby through the eighth grade. Camp received a scholarship to high school Loomis Chaffee, a prestigious New England boarding school, graduating in 1997. Also in 1997, Camp received a scholarship to the drama department of UCLA but did not end up attending.[1]


Camp entered MTV's first Wanna Be a VJ contest in 1998. Portraying himself as homeless and projecting the image of a "street kid", controversy arose when it was discovered that he had been raised and attended private school in Connecticut. Nonetheless, Camp beat fellow contestant Dave Holmes for a VJ job on the popular music video show Total Request Live, known as TRL. Camp held his position on TRL with Carson Daly as the main host for over a year. Jesse Camp also hosted two additional programs of his own for daytime MTV audiences. Camp always used his platform as a VJ to promote the glam metal and hard rock bands he loved even at a time when the music was completely out of sync with the popular tastes of the times. Camp convinced MTV executives to let him book acts such as Ratt, Sebastian Bach and Dee Snider as guests on his summer series "Lunch with Jesse" at a time when these artists were years past being in rotation on the channel. For over a year, Jesse hosted the contemporary rock program "MTV Rocks Off" interviewing artists such as Joey Ramone, Henry Rollins, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Sugar Ray, Garbage, Peter Steele, Silverchair, Metallica and many, many more. On a special edition of the show from November 1998, Motley Crüe played live in the studio to celebrate Camp's 19th birthday.

Later developments[edit]

Following his departure from TRL, Camp parlayed his MTV fame into a rock career with his debut album Jesse & the 8th Street Kidz on the Hollywood Records label. The album was produced by Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Kid Rock) and Julian Raymond (Cheap Trick, Glen Campbell). Guest stars on the album included Stevie Nicks duetting with Camp on ballad "My Little Saviour", Rick Nielsen, Steve Hunter and Greg Bisonette. Camp cowrote the album with Alex Kane (Life, Sex and Death, Antiproduct), Bam Bam and Jo Almeida (Dogs D'Amour) and Share Pedersen (Vixen, Bubble). Although the album was not a commercial success upon its' original release, it has since gone on to gain a huge cult following and is now seen as being way ahead of it's time and opening the doors for the likes of Avril Lavigne and The Strokes. Music critic Rob Sheffield gave the album a glowing review (3.5 stars) in Rolling Stone. A video for the first single "See You a Around" included cameos from Reverend Run and Marky Ramone. Jesse's touring band included Keith Robert, Sammy Yaffa (Hanoi Rocks), Todd Youth (D Generation, Chelsea Smiles) and Joe Rizzo (Jayne County). Tommy James (Sex Gang Children) and Tommy Furar (Loud Lucy) replaced Youth and Yaffa in a later incarnation of the band that supported Alice Cooper on his fall tour of 1999.

Camp appeared in an impromptu cameo on the documentary titled Power & Control LSD in The Sixties, by Aron Ranen.[2] Jesse Camp has acted in several films including Crossroads with Britney Spears and a starring role in Skinwalker (2004). In 2008, Camp was captured by cameras at the final MTV TRL party purchasing two "eight balls" by TMZ camera men/women. During the purchase, Camp stated he would sell both kidneys and a leg for two eight balls of cocaine. It was later revealed that Camp was just having fun for the TMZ cameras and making light of his bad reputation. Camp has been sober for many years and continues to help other addicts through his work with Musicares. Camp has made several short films and documentary pieces with his sister, photographer Marisha Camp. It is rumored that Camp is working on a new online series due out by the end of 2014 as well as a new EP and tour with his band Jesse and the Eighth Street Kidz.


  1. ^ "'Jesse Camp'". Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  2. ^ Ranen, Aron. "Power & Control LSD in the Sixties", YouTube, April 30, 2006. Accessed October 7, 2007.

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