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!
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!