The Bam Margera Interview from Kingpin issue 63
Brandon Cole Margera is 29 year old self made multi millionaire that is killing it at life. He lives in a big nice house with a couple of on-site skateparks and drives a Lamborgini. I’ve never been so into Bam that I wanted a purple sweat band and a pair of Adios, but after Welcome to Hell, the Landspeed video and that switch backside tailslide at Tampa I’ve had utmost respect for his skateboarding. He kinda stokes me out the way that Muska does every time I see him on a skateboard except Bam’s not fat. After recently having the biggest selling pro model board in the entire universe, he now seems to have also become some kind of legit entrepreneur. When he’s not handling his skate shit and still seemingly enjoying it, he’s all over the TV and cinema whilst directing music videos and running his own record label and club. If all that wasn’t enough he also finds the time to drive banana cars off cliffs into 2 feet of water and crack his head open.
So Bam, I have been asked to keep the questions on skateboarding rather than TV, so I wanna get this outta the way from the start. If someone made a film about your life who would you get to play you?
That’s a toughf one! I never really thought about that. Maybe that one guy in Into the Wild and that Lords of Dogtown film. I mean that’s just a suggestion.
What’s your current set up at the minute?
Kat Von Dee white Element board, 52 Element wheels and Destructo trucks.
Who is Kat Von Dee?
Oh she’s the girl that does all my tattoos and she’s on that LA Ink. Its like a series of three boards that all match up, so a lot of people have been buying them to put on their wall ‘cause they look nice.
So growing up in Pennsylvania who inspired you in skating?
In general at the beginning it was the Bones Brigade. Then I saw Bucky Lasek and Tom Boyle skate for the first time in Cheapskates, and that when the 411 videos started coming out, I was all about the Flip dudes like Tom Penny and Geoff Rowley.
What about nowadays?
Often Kerry Getz will just show up with some new kids, like Kyle Nicholson. They will just show up and do like a backside flip nose blunt on the pyramid and I’m all like “who’s this new kid you just brought over?” They just grow up like instantly learning switch kickflips, when I was nine even doing a kickflip was like…
…the hardest shit ever?
Yeah and if you did do it, you were the man, switch wasn’t even an option back then.
I remember seeing an article in some skate mag, it was you Kerry Getz and a bunch of other dudes skating some crazy brick banks outside a house?
Yea that’s the driveway in my house, and then we have this big outdoor mini ramp with a big 15 foot roll in and a massive euro gap, its pretty fucking ridiculous, we have a big indoor skatepark in the back yard too, so errm, I don’t really leave the house much.
You have quite a strange cult following around the world, and I’ve noticed you get a lot of people coming up to you to ask for a slap in the face or something dumb. Where do you get that type shit the worst?
Well Australia was pretty crazy, I was doing this signing and I was sipping on some Coronas. I didn’t eat that day and had about 8 of them so I barfed all over the table and this chick just rolled up and started drinking my Corona barf off the table. Then some girl wanted to top that so I barfed in my hand and then the girl was just totally drinking my Corona barf from my hand. Disgusting. Yeah, that was in Sydney.
The reason I’m asking about this was cause I was working in this skateshop in London a few years back and your brother did a gig. Your brother is in a band right?
Yeah he’s actually in a few bands, there’s CKY and he just finished his second album with this band Viking Skull there actually from London. He’s also in a band called Company Band.
So anyway your brother was signing autographs downstairs and his wife was upstairs waiting for him. I was upstairs talking to her about the weather or something and I saw this weird kinda homo looking kid, lurking behind her for a while. The minute I stopped talking to her to get back to work the weird kid ran straight over to her and was like ‘What’s it like to be in bed naked with Jess Margera?’
Yeah that is weird!
So do you get a lot of weird shit like that happening?
I mean yeah I have endless amounts of stories like that. Just the other night this kid was at the bar I just opened in Westchester. This kid was like a crazed fan, he was talking to me and whist just fucking staring at me all strange for like hours.
So finally I was like dude I need some fucking space! I kinda freaked out on him a little, so I walked away. Then he starts speaking to my partner at the bar, and this kid is all like ‘Bam is my friend and I don’t know why he’s being so mean to me, I’m starting to have evil thoughts.’
Evil thoughts dude! Like he’s gonna stab me or something, stuff like that just freaks me out. I knew the kid was weird and I was making jokes ‘cause he looked like the type of dude that would say that shit. As soon as he said it I was like get this kid out of here.
What do you think makes people be like that around you?
I have no idea man, but I just seem to always be in weird situations. I will be at a demo signing some kids arm and the next day the they will track me down and show me that they got it tattooed. That’s happened at least forty times.
I will be doing it all quick with a Sharpie, if they told me they where gonna get it tattooed I would have took a little more time when signing them. So I’ve just done this really crappy autograph, and they just go get this really crappy autograph perminatly tattooed on them. Its like dude if you would have told me I would have at least tried to make it look nice!
Ok, so when you’re not on tour surrounded by nutters, what’s a normal day happenings for you?
I normally have my scumbag buddy Novak sleeping on the couch. I will wake him up and we will head over to Westchester and grab somthing to eat. Then meet up with Kerry Getz and his crew and skate the indoor park for a while. Then four or five nights a week there’s a good band playing at my bar so I’m there.
What’s your club called?
Its called The Note. It was gonna be called The Filthy Note, that’s the name of my record label, but the town of Westchester didn’t want the word filthy in it.
That’s pretty lame…
Yeah so we changed it to The Note.
So is your house and skate park the best thing to skate in Pennsylvania?
No its not the the best, Woodward is in Pennsylvania and that’s like 2 miles of wood and concrete skateparks as far as the eye can see.
Did you go there a lot when you where young?
Yeah from like 13 to 17 I went there at least once every summer. But if you’re over 18 I wouldn’t recommend going there, ‘cause the rules are so tight with like pads or leaving the camp to try and go to a bar, just ‘cause there are loads of super young kids around.
How long were you In Barcelona for?
For like 2 weeks. Kerry just got back from there and was telling me how there was all these new spots and that the security guards see scratching up the ledges as a form of art and don’t get mad at all. We are all so used to running from security in Philadelphia, so I brought me and Kerry a ticket and we headed over there and filmed a bunch of stuff with this guy Thomas Winkle.
Yeah I know Thomas, he’s fucking great.
Yeah he’s a good filmer too.
Do you travel to Europe much?
Yeah- mostly Finland though. I direct a lot of music videos, and most of the bands just tend to be from Finland. I was just there for New Years ‘cause HIM where playing.
Is Finland one of your favourite places to visit?
Not for skating but for just hanging out I’d say Finland.
What about skate trips or tours, you got any planned for soon?
Actually later on today I’m leaving for Maine, I gotta do a couple of demos there.
As you get older do you find it harder to get motivated to go skate demos or shoot adverts?
Yeah, for sure it gets harder. All the slams I’ve taken in the years, now it takes me a few hours to consider getting out of bed. I fucked my neck up pretty bad doing this Bloodhound Gang MTV Cribs episode, I drove this banana car off this 6 foot cliff into a moat ‘cause they said the water was like 6 feet deep. Anyways the water was like 2 feet deep and full of rocks so I split my head open and needed 16 staples and fucked my neck. That happened over 2 years ago and it still aches like fuck. I also got this problem with my knee cap so all this geriatric shit is taking its toll and starting to piss me off.
How did it feel to have the biggest selling pro board on the planet? Is that true?
Yeah. Element said that where selling at least 11 to 12 thousand skateboards a month.
Fuck that is a whole lot.
Yea but that was prime time Viva la Bam- type MTV stuff.
Do you think your board is still the top seller?
I think its definitely still up there, but now people like Chris Cole, Ryan Sheckler and P Rod are all up there also. They’re winning all the contests so I guess that helps them, and of course Tony Hawk is always gonna sell a whole lot of boards.
Did any other pros give you shit for it? Because often kids buy you boards because they idolize your personality more than your skating?
Yeah but the funny thing is they would never say anything to my face, they have to go online to do it. I don’t really go online so that’s probably a good thing, but its just funny that people go off on saying shit on the internet but as soon as your face to face to them they don’t have the courage to say shit.
Do you still keep up with the skate scene media, like watching videos and reading all the magazines?
Yeah I actually get Kingpin more than I do all the other magazines ‘cause I like looking at all the spots. They always are so much more good looking that some California Elementary schools that look like shit.
What’s your favorite board company at the minute apart from element?
I’ve always liked what Flip have been doing, I think Geoff is heavily involved in what the videos looks like and who’s on the team. I just think he’s really picky about who gets on the team. I just can’t wait for the Flip video to come out , ‘cause I know its gonna be one of the best videos ever.
Who’s your favorite skater of all time?
I’d have to give that to Tom Penny. I stayed at his house for a few weeks when I was like 15 and it impacted me so much. He would have Timberland boots on and a fucked up sweater drunk in the street at 10 o clock at night and see some kid with a crappy Powell Peralta board and be like ‘Yo kid let me see that board.’ and just kickflip 10 massive stairs on it and give the kid his board back. Seeing stuff like that heavily influenced me because he didn’t do it for a video camera or to be cool, he just did it ‘cause he wanted to do it. Plus his style is one of the best out there.
What about videos? Anything you watched and got totally amped on?
I just saw the new Zero video, and Chris Coles section was pretty unbelievable. The Lakai video also. I saw Mike Carrols part and it got me so hyped that I sent him a text. I said that his part amped me up so much that I ran out instantly to skate after I saw it. We don’t really text or talk to each other that much, but he wrote me back saying how much he appreciated the text.