Jesse Camp's Album Turns 15--A Look Back at The Gangly MTV Legend

Categories: Nostalgia

In 1999, the music industry was as big as it had ever been, and that May was a gigantic month for releases. Two weeks prior, Ricky Martin's American debut topped the charts, followed by the release of Backstreet Boys' record-setting Millennium. Camp's album was to come out on one of the industry's loaded "Super Tuesdays" on May 25th which also saw heavily anticipated releases from Jordan Knight, the Insane Clown Posse, JT Money, Dave Hollister, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Oleander, and Slick Rick's first album in five years.

Camp's album didn't crack the top 200, moving only 2,600 copies and shocking Holmes. "I was legitimately surprised about that. I honestly really like the record. It's really fun, there's a couple legitimately good songs on it. There's a thing he does that I love where there's characters in the songs and in the videos. He mentions people, like 'Who the fuck is Stitches?' that weave in and out of the songs. It's like a Hold Steady record. I should be struck by lightning for saying that, but it does a lot of the weird things that I like. I thought it was going to be huge, like 'how much of a number one album is it going to be?' He had the ultimate platform to promote it from and it did not crack the top 200."

jessecamppostits550.jpg.jpg
Chaz Kangas
Jesse Camp Post-It Notes and other promotional items.
Even the Best Buy tie-in of free promotional Jesse Camp Post-It Notes weren't enough to keep the record afloat.

In the years since, Jesse's appearances have become a thing of urban legend. Some say he's working at a pet shop somewhere in Los Angeles. Some say he was an active volunteer in rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He has recently made appearances at the final episode of "TRL" in 2008 and in VH1's "The TRL Generation" special in 2012. We have a theory he may be Macklemore, but that's purely unfounded speculation on our part.

If you go to St. Mark's Place, you can see plenty of Jesse Camp look-alikes still living as "8th Street kids." We don't know if Jesse will release another album or when he'll resurface again, but when he does, we'll be happy to see him around.

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23 comments
ryleestrange
ryleestrange

I always liked him.  The 80s and 70s influence was strong with him, and it was what i liked as a kid.  His music was fun (in fact, a friend i only met later in life turned out to have helped write a few of the tracks on the record), and he seemed to find party all the time.  He was a pre-2000s Andrew WK, another guy whose importance is criminally underappreciated.

itsgarymeow
itsgarymeow

I always found Jesse entertaining on MTV. As a kid I thought his TV personality was just an act, but when I met him it in real life it was apparent that he really was just as he appeared. He is the nicest guy you could ever meet and it is disturbing to hear so many unhappy people put him down in these comments. Clearly he made a lasting impression even on those who didn't like him.

DebraWTX
DebraWTX

Dave Holmes should have won that contest. I remember thinking just because he is different doesn't mean he should win. Dave Holmes was the perfect MTV VJ and as I predicted MTV signed Dave Holmes. Dave had a career 2 years longer than Jesse Camp on MTV and hosted a lot more shows than he did on the channel. Dave still has a career in entertainment and no one can really pinpoint where Jesse whoever he is or was is at, and no one really cares. This article would have been better if you focused on the failure of the contest and the success on who should have won. The audience was not mature enough to vote for a person who represents the brand of MTV. Was that the beginning of the end of MTV as we knew it from the early 80's?

Jeffrey Becker
Jeffrey Becker

Too much information dedicated about a has-been that never was.

Ted Cantu
Ted Cantu

Leave it to the voice to declare that lunatic a legend ... get some culture

John T Sahtila Jr
John T Sahtila Jr

Whatta mess. He became a host because of his tale of woa being a gutterpunk from the streets of NY.. Meanwhile he was a rich prep school kid from Connecticut. No big deal. He was an act before he became the real stoner kid he presented to be

Ted Cantu
Ted Cantu

Keep writing crappy articles guys. ... thats what I like to see from you

Ted Cantu
Ted Cantu

This guy walked up to me In Manhattan and called me a corporate pig..... I never met the guy before then I recognized him from MTV .... he was fired laer that week

Mary Hannah Stites
Mary Hannah Stites

Did I read this correctly and the words "Jesse Camp" and "Legend" were in the same sentence? He was an utter goofball, was a novelty, bought a certain "something" to TRL (I remember the episode with Tori Amos), and he was fun to watch because he was always visiting from his own little Jesse Camp timezone... But to calm him a "legend" is a HUGE stretch and has given me a case of the giggles. That being said, I have always wondered what ever happened to that quirky space cadet...

Sami DeSocio
Sami DeSocio

they really used that fool's name and 'legend' in the same sentence....wow! I DO remember him, and I often wonder where he is..I loved Jesse when he was on TRL, but really he was just a novelty which is why nobody really WANTED to hear a Jesse Camp album..they just wanted to know him as the weird kid on TRL. I remember Carson DID try to help and Jesse wound up on the top 10 countdown on TRL for a few weeks..but it was really short lived.

Kristi Marie
Kristi Marie

Flashback to TRL. I never watched it, but it was always on MTV. Where is he now?

Jennifer Welch
Jennifer Welch

who writes these articles, and has the power to claim "legends" pshaw!

Steven Hlavac
Steven Hlavac

Uh, no. I think I've suppressed all my early MTV memories... :)

Ty Gill
Ty Gill

Haters! all haters...back in the day we all wished we were him...or knew him lol

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