Storage Wars’ Barry Weiss is Jesse James’ “Jewish godfather”

Barry Weiss is the Jewish Godfather of Jesse James

Researching Barry Weiss of Storage Wars is like peeling an onion! As evidenced on the show, this rock star collector has had an amazing life during which he has made friends with a slew of fascinating famous and not-so-famous folks. One of the fascinating and famous folks counted among Barry’s friends is custom chopper builder (and former Mr. Sandra Bullock) Jesse James, whom Barry isn’t only a friend to, he’s his godfather. No, seriously!

I first got an inkling of their connection while looking into the origins of Barry’s badass custom eyeglasses, which turned out to be a very rare pair made by Jesse James’ West Coast Choppers. (CLICK HERE to read all about those.)

The glasses led me to research whether or not Barry and Jesse had any connections, and that’s when I stumbled onto the “Jewish godfather” discovery. That discovery led to one other interesting bit of trivia that is even more jaw-dropping, at least from a pop culture standpoint.

Do you remember the infamous Nazi salute photo that got Jesse James into so much hot water soon after his affair with Michelle Bombshell McGee was made public? In the picture Jesse is doing a doing “sieg heil” while wearing a German SS officer’s hat. Where in the world would Jesse James get a collectible German SS officer’s hat? You guessed it. Barry Weiss!

Jesse James doing a sieg heil Nazi salute in a German SS officer's hat

Here are the two pieces to the puzzle that make the connection. First, from CNN:

A photo recently surfaced of James wearing the German Nazi hat as he raised his right arm in a salute. The hat may have been in poor taste, but it was given to James as a gag gift by his Jewish godfather, attorney Joe Yanny said.

And then Jesse James did an interview with Men’s Journal in May of this year:

The much-publicized photo of him bedecked in an SS cap was snapped a decade earlier by “a Jewish friend,” Barry Weiss, who jokingly handed him the hat (part of a Hollywood costume). Of course, James is the one who decided to put it on and salute, tipping into ill-considered Holocaust comedy.

I remember when that photo came out I was thinking “what a douchebag!” But I have to confess that now that I have gotten to know a little bit about Barry Weiss’ personality, Jesse’s story seems completely believable. Even though he is Jewish, I can easily see Barry Weiss handing Jesse a German soldier’s hat as a joke.

One thing I’m still not real clear about is how Jesse James and Barry Weiss met and how Barry earned the seemingly oxymoronic title of “Jewish godfather.” But, I’ll keep digging around in the fruitful storage locker that is Barry Weiss’ life until I find the answer – or a hundred other fascinating stories, whichever comes first.

Want more Barry Weiss info? Be sure to check out our post about how he made his money selling wholesale produce, our post about his badass “Cowboy Cadillac” and our post featuring a photo of Barry Weiss as a long-haired strawberry blond stud muffin from the 1980s!

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  • Dan

    Jesse James’ father was an antique collector/salesman and was friends with Barry Weiss. That is how Jesse got to know him.

  • cap

    Barry’s quickly rising from marginal player to star status. He makes no enemies, he plays the part of the free-agent playboy-for-life very well, and he never seems dependent on scoring a big hit. It’s a hobby–as it should be. The satin jackets, the constantly changing bizarre motorized devices he drives, his friendship with midgets, psychics, circus ladies, aging musicians in seedy old lounges–what more could you want in a character? It would be nice to see his digs, to get a better idea of his life without storage wars. Without him, the series would drop like a brick. He is to Storage Wars what Chumbley is to Pawn Stars.

    • Good comparsion except Chum collects shoes and Barry collects cars

  • Mike

    Jesse speaks about the entire Nazi Hat Incident in his autobiography, in which he states that he did receive the hat from a friend of his Dads, named Barry Weiss, & that when he asked Barry to come out & speak about giving it to him at the height of the controversy, Barry told him that he was sorry, but he had an A&E tv show in the works & that he couldn’t jeopardize that. Jesse completely understood.

    • corq

      if you watch jesse james’s motorcycle mania, barry shows up in them a couple of times. with long black #3 he explains that him and jesse’s dad were dealers… “an-tique” dealers… delivered in the now famous barry weiss style

  • kay1

    Barry Weiss is actually on Jesse James Motorcycle Mania 3. he was untroduced as his “godfather.

  • steve

    Barry and Jesse’s father were antique dealers together. That he how they know each other.

  • Christopher Mooney

    He is literally his Godfather – ie. Barry is friends with Jesse’s parents