Chris Nieratko (writer),
Pier Nicola D'Amico (photographer)
You can't help but tip your hat to Bam Margera. While other jackasses might be content telling the same joke over and over, Bam has left the shopping carts behind and parlayed his stupidity into a record label, a straight-to-DVD comedy empire, a rock 'n' roll bar, and a wife who, we're sure he would agree, is too hot for the likes of him. And he's done it all without leaving his hometown of West Chester, PA, keeping him grounded and down-to-earth. To commemorate all the dumb things he's done, he's gotten a bunch of even dumber tattoos to remind him where he comes from. How else are you going to explain an arm tattoo that says "North Philly Faggot"?
What happened to your leg?
[Pro skateboarder] Kerry Getz came over, and I was skating in the barn when this pit bull ran out and started chasing me. I thought he was just having fun, but he came up and really bit my leg. His tooth went into my calf muscle, and I've been out for three days.
What's the worst thing that you read about yourself online?
I don't really go on the computer but I guess it would probably be just being a drunken piece of shit or something.
Is that true or false?
To make it worse, aren't you opening up a bar?
Yeah, but for some reason I think that I'll probably chill out once the bands are there, because I'm going to be busy running around. Usually when I go to the bar, I get shitbag wasted with all my friends. This will be a little different, I hope.
I think you're going to drink all the profits.
That's the problem. West Chester is 30,000 people, and I pretty much know all 30,000. They're all going to think that they get free drinks, but it's not going to happen like that. It's going to be tough knowing when to draw the line with who you're going to let in. Even if it's my best friends, they'll come in with four of their friends, and the next thing you know, the whole place is packed with people that didn't pay to get in.
How would you feel if people started jumping off the rafters into the crowd?
I hope not. We have 10 bouncers at all times that are going to be there to make sure that doesn't happen. It seems like just because people know that it's my thing, some idiot will purposely dump his beer down the stairs and fall down it and say, "I slipped on beer at Bam's place. I want a million dollars."
Do you get a lot of people that try to sue you?
Yeah. There should be a law against frivolous lawsuits. As soon as the CKY videos started getting big, there was this one guy who was in the bathroom taking a leak. You could only see the back of him, and Ryan Dunn was doing something in the bathroom. I think he pulled his pants all the way down and just started chatting with the guy and asked him if he wanted to play pool later. And the guy says that he gets recognized all over town, he can't live a normal life, and he wants $300,000. It's like, "Dude, you can't even see your fucking face." It's so absurd. And they seriously think that I'm supposed to believe that. It's all about money. That's all that anybody wants. Go to Europe, and that shit will never happen.
You spend a lot of time over in Europe.
Yeah, mostly Finland and lately Barcelona because there are so many good skate spots. I met a lot of people out there that I skate with, and they consider it an art form to scratch up the ledges so they let you do it and everything's marble and perfect. In Philly, it's rough. I'll get recognized or I'll get a ticket for skating Love Park. I don't need to run from security guards anymore, you know. I'm 28. I'm like, "What am I doing right now? I'm running from a security guard for skateboarding?"
Should we expect a big Bam skateboard comeback?
Well, my knee is pretty fucked up right now. I can still skate. I don't know if it's worth getting surgery because I can still skate, but it hurts more than it is fun if I'm jumping any more than eight stairs. I might have to get my knee drained or something. Last time I was at FDR Park, so many soccer moms wanted to talk and get pictures taken, and then they want me to talk to their nephew on the phone and then sign something. I can't even break a sweat. And I'm a dickhead if I don't listen to them when they shout my name. So I'm in a no-win situation. But Barcelona, I can skate around. Some people recognize me but it's not like how it is around here.
You go to Finland mostly to hang out with your little Bon Jovi band, HIM, right?
Bon Jovi band. It's pretty much just all the bands that I'm really into are all from Helsinki: Like HIM, of course, Children of Bodom, 69 Eyes, Hanoi Rocks, Nightwish. Last time we went there and filmed my Where the Fuck Is Santa? movie. We got all the cool rock bands involved in that. We went to the Arctic Circle to capture the real Santa Claus and take him back to Pennsylvania for a proper Christmas. There actually is a real Santa village, and we went there to try and get him, but we ended up with some random drunk with a white beard at the bar, and we flew him out here. He could barely even speak English, so I had to have a Finlandish translator. It was funny.
Speaking of HIM, you have that dumb tattoo of their logo right above your johnson, right?
Yeah. I went HIM apeshit when I was 20. My first tattoo was the heart on my right arm, and I got the heartagram right above my dick after that. Then I got that massive rib tattoo right after that. As soon as I got those three, I started to wean off from the HIM tattoos and get some other stuff. I have [Turbonegro vocalist] Hank from Hell on my left arm and [Hanoi Rocks guitarist] Andy McCoy on my right, and it says, "Where's the justice?" He had all this counterfeit money he was trying to get into America, and now he's banned from America for 10 years. He's in the new movie Where the Fuck Is Santa?, and he's talking about it. He's like, "I was in New York Kennedy airport chained up, and there's a chick with two kilos of cocaine, and they let her go. Then there was another lady who was smuggling children in, and they let her go. I mean, where the fuck is the justice?" I was laughing so bad, so I got him saying that on my arm. Then I have "North Philly Faggot" on my arm, too. It's this crappy-looking hard-on with a bullet coming out of the dick, and it says "North Philly Faggot." Then it says "galores" at the bottom, which means "all the way" in Spanish. That was an inside joke gone way too far at four in the morning. In Finland, somebody whipped out a tattoo gun and was like, "Just do it." I woke up the next day like, "Why does my arm hurt?" Then I'm like, "Oh my God. I really did that.