I know what you’re already thinking, “Mojo20.com normally features articles, news and brilliantly crafted pieces that focus on music, what does Bam Margera have to do with it?”. Well I’m glad you asked, allow me to explain. Not exclusively to music, certain elements outside of ant given genre of entertainment have always managed to have a profound effect on another medium, just through close association, and I believe Bam Margera to be a genius at this. You may know him solely for being one of the main stars on Jackass, which dominated the first decade of the millennium with their brash, outlandish and always painfully dangerous brand of humour, releasing three movies and countless TV series which showcased skits, stunts and all things hilarious and filthy. If you grew up in the nineties/early 2000’s you’d be lying if you didn’t agree that the Jackass crew, Bam included, shape a generation and was a focal point of the times.
You may also know Bam Margera from his incredible skating career for which he featured in countless iconic skate videos, sections and video games, as well as being sponsored by Element, Volcom, Adio and many other companies. When these two worlds were combined you immediately have a pop culture icon and a house hold name that stood atop the mountain not only in the skateboarding world but also an MTV comedy empire, going on to get his own series, ‘Viva La Bam’ which ran for five series, as wel as successfully creating movies and series of his own which were must see for fans such as myself. “But this still has nothing to do with music” I hear you cry. Hold on we’re getting there. As well as transcending the pro skating world and becoming a fully fledged TV personality, his colossal brand, unique style and fast paced lifestyle was endearing and infectious, plus his obscure musical preferences were often displayed, whenever he got the chance, which was often. Since those days we’ve seen a sharp decline and Bam has been involved in tragedy, self turmoil and a personal downward spiral, which has been reported heavily and noted to have began when Jackass co-star and life long best friend, Ryan Dunn, passed away in a tragic car accident back in 2011. However recently, Bam has made his way back to positivity, has started skating again and is showing signs of his former self and as a huge fan, this is incredible news and THAT is why I’m writing this feature now. It’s a congratulations, a welcome back and a celebration of the resurrection of Bam Margera. Here we’ll take a look at some of the bands and artists that Bam helped to push, promote and made global stars out of during the golden years of one of the greatest stars, this side of the millennium.
You’ll always associate Bam Margera with the Heartagram, the symbol created and used by Finnish alt-rock band HIM, and that is for no other reason that a statement of his admiration for them. On many occasions, such as the CKY videos, and his 2003 movie ‘Haggard’, HIM’s music is featured heavily and he even went on to direct a few of their music videos. His love for HIM has never been a secret and their exposure on CKY2K was got me hooked. Despite their announcement of retiring earlier this year, they remain one of my all time favourite bands and with Bam’s help, I may never have even heard of them.
Much closer to home here, but CKY is actually his brothers band, as Jess Margera has been the drummer since their creation in 1998. Producing high octane rock n roll, tweaked out and aggressive but melodic and catchy, they were always going to form a following, but when Bam featured them on all his home movies (of the same name, CKY) they became the soundtrack to the visuals, and upon using ’96 Quite Bitter Beings’ for his section on the Tony Hawk’s pro skater 3 game, they were now known worldwide.
Featuring on the first series of ‘Viva La Bam’, Hank Von Helvete, lead singer of Norwegian rock band Turbonegro became a part of the gang for an episode and his personality and humour shone through, immediately forcing you to want to know more. Once you’d gone and done your research it was clear that Turbonegro couldn’t be ignored as they produced alt-pop with a hard edge and a sexy undertone. Of course, they were highly regarded in Scandinavia, but after Margera got involved, they were now on screen for the world to discover.
Now, I’m not saying that the Pennsylvanian alt-rock outfit hadn’t already found fame, as we know they clearly had. Starting out in 1988 and finding universal success following the release of their incredible third studio album ‘Hooray For Boobies’ and especially hit single ‘The Bad Touch’, The Bloodhound gang were already loved and well known before teaming up with Bam, but as a personal friend and fellow Pennsylvanian, Bam featured them, both musically and as co-stars, on his releases and even starred in the music video for lead single from fourth album ‘Hefty Fine’, ‘Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo’. With this added exposure we got to know more of the comedic genius that The Bloodhound Gang had, and only made us love them more. If you only know them as the guys in monkey suits, then you need to go watch CKY4.
I don’t know if we can give Bam all the credit here and I’m not so sure he’d want it anyway, but I first heard of GG Allin through CKY4 and it was Chad Ginsburg from the CKY band, and his love of the punk rock icon that brought him centre stage. Upon hearing ‘Bite It You Scum’ and hearing just how fanatical Ginsburg was about him, of course some research had to be done, and what followed can not be unseen. Notoriously violent at his shows both physically and sexually, indecently exposing himself constantly, destroying venues and equipment which led to few performances ever reaching an end, this man made music the most dangerous it may have ever been, and we all know about it thanks to Ginsburg and Margera… thanks guys, I guess.
Another Scandinavian band that Margera fell in love with to the point of involvement is goth rock five piece 69 Eyes, as he featured them in his work and went on to lend his directorial talents on multiple occasions. He’s even been known to accompany them on stage, carrying out introductions and lending a helping hand wherever he can. Making a fan out of Bam Margera has got to be a dream come true, as you know you’re global audience is about to shoot through the roof. As well as the individual bands he helped, he brought a whole new market to the Scandinavian music scene, regularly celebrating acts from Finland, Norway and Sweden.
So there’s just a few examples of why Bam Margera was not only important in skating, TV, movie, directing and pop culture, but his effect and influence on music is still living proof of his impact, and as a fan of all these bands and the man himself, I remain proof of just what he did for so many.
Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)