Bam Margera: Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma’am
Self-endangering daredevil, skateboarding ragamuffin, professional partyboy, television entrepreneur and sort-of musician, Bam Margera has been there, done that and fractured this more times than even he can count. His disregard for his own safety and that of others made him a household name and a childhood hero to many of us during the days of Jackass and Viva La Bam (back when MTV was worth its salt). But while the Jackass crew have been relatively quiet over the past couple of years following the tragic and untimely passing of member Ryan Dunn, Margera has proven he has only one gear: go. As he prepares for an upcoming Australian tour with his band Fuckface Unstoppable (yes, you read that correctly) we caught up with Bam to talk about touring antics, snakes, his upcoming movie and his undying love for Clutch.
It’s funny to see how critical people can be towards Fuckface Unstoppable online, given how non-serious the band’s vibe and lyrical content seem to be. How seriously do you want people to take this band?
Well, there’s a joke aspect to it, and we have some funny songs, but there are some really rockin’ songs in there too, so I want it to be all over the place. You’re gonna get people saying [goofy voice] “Oh, it’s Bam, that guy from TV”, but my band is good enough that I hope I’m shutting everyone up. We’ve got some new guys in there – Andy McCoy is playing guitar, he’s from Hanoi Rocks and he played with Iggy Pop and it’s gonna be awesome.
I’m hearing rap moments, rock, dubstep even – how would you describe your band’s music?
Yeah, I just wanted it to be really out there on the map – we’ve got dubstep, we’ve got metal, there’s a song with Dani Filth from Cradle Of Filth, we’ve got hard rockin’ stuff with Andy McCoy, but I don’t wanna be classified to one genre, I like the idea of it being all over the place.
You mentioned Dani Filth there, and I know you’ve had some other big guests get involved. Is there anyone in particular that really jumps out to you as someone you were really excited to work with?
Yeah, absolutely – I’m always collaborating with people. Brent Hinds from Mastodon just played some shows with us, and on the record we have Nate from this band called Lion Eyes from the States who are really doing well there especially right now. I just like having fun and getting friends involved!
Take us back a bit – what were your musical roots?
Well I’ve been a huge Clutch fan since I was, I dunno, 16 years old, and obviously that was a big influence, and we do some Clutch covers too, we do some Turbonegro, we do Iggy Pop… Basically all those bands have been my favourite bands for years and years.
You’ve always really pushed to get other people into those bands too, whether it was putting their music in your shows and movies or just talking about them a lot – do you feel somewhat responsible for the growth of their fanbase?
I hope I helped them out! Because it was not easy to get MTV to play that kind of stuff. I mean the producers of my show were tearing their hair out every day because they’ve got all these bands lined up that they wanna play, like Green Day or something, and I’m like, “I don’t want Green Day, I want Clutch!” [Laughs]. So it was kind of a hurdle for them, but so be it; I think it made the show better. Music is a big deal. When you watch a movie, a cool soundtrack can make it way better. If there’s a scene that we’re shooting and I can hear a Turbonegro song in my head, then that’s what I want, and then they have to go and get it, that’s not my problem [laughs]. But luckily I’m friends with a lot those bands so it’s kind of just a phone call away, and then the managers have to do some paperwork and that’s all there is to it.
If you hadn’t gone into the skate and stunt movie industry, do you think you would have pursued music?
Well I’ve always been around it. My brother is in CKY and I’ve gone on tour with them, I’ve gone on HIM tours, and I’ve gone on a lot of skate tours. But I’ve always done music as a side project, now I’m enjoying making it in a bigger way.
What are some of your favourite touring memories?
Well we just played Amsterdam and it was all just crazy debauchery! We had people naked on stage just dancing around… it definitely was a step up from the last tour. When I’ve been touring with other bands too, when I went to Groezrock a few years ago and all my favourite bands were playing: HIM, Hanoi Rocks, Amorphous – all these great Scandinavian bands. Most of the bands I like come from Scandinavia for some reason. But it was a great day of awesome music.
Tell us about the movie you’re working on at the moment, I Needed Time To Stay Useless – what is this film exactly?
I’ve been working on it for about a year-and-a-half, and it’s basically just the story of my rise to popularity or whatever you wanna call it. There’s everything in there – losing Ryan Dunn, the impact that had, and what I’m doing now.
How did Brent Hinds from Mastodon come to play Ryan Dunn in the film?
Well I did Soundwave a few years ago with CKY and Mastodon was there too, and we would always hang out – me, the CKY guys and the Mastodon guys. We always joked about how Brent looked like Ryan except with a face tattoo [laughs]. And that seemed just like something Ryan would have done, getting a tattoo like that. So when it came time to film that scene he just seemed like the man for the job.
~~ RAPID FIRE ROUND ~~
Who’s killing it in heavy music right now?
On the rap spectrum I’m listening to Yelawolf a lot. I really like this band from Sweden called Witchcraft. And of course Clutch are always putting out great albums, their last album is one of my favourites and they’ve been doing this for 20-something years! It’s very inspiring to see a bunch of 40-something-year-old dudes still killing it, especially as I’m 35 now so it’s not so far away!
What would be your perfect skateboarding album?
Dude, if you put on Motörhead, I’ll try anything!
How good are you really at Tony Hawk games?
I’m never been much of a video game guy to be honest! I have played Tony Hawk a few times though…
When you played the game, did you play as yourself?
Yeah, and one time I played as my dad too. There’s a feature where you can be my dad in his underwear so of course I had to do that.
Speaking of your dad, how are the folks these days? Are you still tormenting them?
Yeah they’re good! I just saw them actually today. And… yeah, when I can!
Worst skateboarding injury?
One time I slid down a handrail, 20 steps or something, and I skinned my face off basically. That was a pretty bad one.
How much are you skating at the moment?
My injuries are starting to heal up, I had a couple of massive things that made it hard so I’ve been trying to rest up for the past year, but I’m starting to feel better and I’ve been skating my skate park at home all the time. I can’t really go anywhere else, because I get bothered…
What kind of pieces do you have in that home skate park?
It’s basically a 100 square – …sorry, fuck, I don’t know how big it is, I have a big-arse barn at my house that I got Amish people to build and I put two-dozen ramps in there and a street course, so it’s pretty badarse that I can go down to my backyard and do that.
Worst Jackass injury?
Man, I don’t know… too many to list! The worst thing was the snakes though… even though I didn’t get injured, I still have nightmares about that.
How much are you in touch with the Jackass guys these days?
I just saw some of the guys when we played a show in LA and a bunch of the boys came out – Chris Pontius, Jeff Tremaine, Dave England – all those guys came out!
Any chance of a new movie?
I dunno… we’re kind of throwing it around, we’ll see where it leads. I hope it will happen!
Bam Margera’s Fuckface Unstoppable Tour Dates
Wed May 6th – ANU Bar, Canberra (18+)
Thu May 7th – Manning Bar, Sydney (18+)
Fri May 8th – The Triffid, Brisbane, (18+)
Sat May 9th – The Small Ballroom, Newcastle, (18+)
Sun May 10th – Mona Vale Hotel, Mona Vale (18+)
Wed May 13th – The Entrance Leagues Club, Bateau Bay (18+)
Thu May 14th – Barwon Club, Geelong, (18+)
Fri May 15th – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne (18+)
Sat May 16th – Fowlers, Adelaide (18+)
Sun May 17th – Capitol, Perth (18+)