Pro skateboarder Jereme Rogers can reel off a list of broken bones including numerous fingers, his left foot (twice), his right foot, his hand (several times), and a cut that nearly severed the tendon in his hand. “If it would have cut the tendon all the way in half it would have wound up into my wrist,” he remembers. “They would’ve had to go back in and stretch it back out.” But one injury holds the title for the most painful: a testicle-racking drop onto a handrail. “I jumped off and fell on my balls with all my body weight,” Rogers explains. “I didn’t pee blood, but it was beyond black and blue.” Rogers took photos to document the destruction. “I don’t know where those pictures went. I hope nowhere bad,” he laughs.
After migrating from Boston to Los Angeles at 15, Rogers couch-surfed with the few pros he knew before moving in with Paul Rodriguez Jr. “We were these little skate rats running all over this house in the Valley,” Rogers recalls. “It was crazy. We were both under 18 and had a house to ourselves. It was a skate house, for sure.”
Rogers racked up coverage and sponsors, including Plan B, DVS, Red Bull, Boost Mobile, and a rocky relationship with Billabong. “To be completely honest, I just went to Billabong for the check. It paid the bills. I hardly ever wore the gear. They didn’t like me and I didn’t like them, so they let me out of my contract.” Free of his deal, Rogers landed on Famous Stars and Straps, founded by Travis Barker. “Going out with him is a whole ’nother level,” says Rogers. “Whatever you imagine it’s like is probably spot on.”
Even with an Aston Martin in the garage and a giant diamond pendant around his neck, Rogers remembers the days before he was getting paid. “My first tattoo was a Boston “B” on my left arm and the Los Angeles “LA” on my right arm. This gangster from the Valley did it for free on the hook up. I gave him a $20 tip,” Rogers says with a hint of embarrassment. “Now that I’ve been getting tattooed for a while I realize that if someone is giving you a tattoo for free, $20 isn’t fair pay. That’s unreasonably low.”
Since then, Rogers has added “Fear” and “God” on his knuckles, a skull and crossed skateboards on the left side of his chest, and “Blessed to Be a Blessing” on the right side of his chest. His neck tattoos are the most visible. “The left side of my neck says ‘In God I Trust’ and the right side says ‘Fear No Man’ and has praying hands,” he explains, before denying that his family or his upbringing in the Irish-Catholic city of Boston influenced his religious leanings. “I was watching The Passion of the Christ,” Rogers explains. “It touched me and made me cry. I always realized I was very lucky and that I was going to do stuff with my life. But around 19 I realized that I didn’t just hit the DNA lottery or get lucky. Whatever I have going on, I have going on for a reason.”