What’s Bam Got to Do With It?
Talking about HIM and its fandom would not be complete without mention of Bam Margera. In all honesty, without the help of Margera, there would be no HIM in the U.S. Of first hearing about the band, Margera has said:
“I was introduced to them in May 2000 on the way to a skate contest… I was reading a one page article, and I was so impressed with the lousy one page, that I went right to the record store to get the album.”
The legend goes that Bam picked up a copy of Razorblade Romance, the infamous pink-and-filigreed CD featuring a very Bisexual Rock God-looking Ville Valo. Margera supposedly loved every song on the album, and bought as much HIM merchandise as he could. Margera used their music in his CKY videos and felt the need to meet the band that created it.
Valo in an interview remembers:
“He was just a random fellow that came knocking on our door… and he wasn’t that well known internationally… He was a skateboarder and he was working for MTV in America… He [would] come over and say hi and grab a beer from a fridge from the dressing room… and that’s how the friendship started… We became friends.”
The rest, as they say, is history.
Margera and Valo had a friendship that lasted many years. They shared an interest in music, drinking, and shenanigans. Margera directed four music videos: “The Sacrament,” “Buried Alive Ay Love,” “And Love Said No,” and “Solitary Man.” He has also created several behind-the-scenes specials about the videos and the band as a whole6 while members of the band appear in Margera’s productions including Jackass and Where the#$&% Is Santa?. He joined tours with the band and made frequent trips to Finland; the band visited Margera’s home in West Chester, PA. Margera even shares multiple tattoos with Valo, most being copies of Valo’s tattoos. Valo and Margera were so inseparable that fans of HIM created the Vam ship, resulting in fan art and fan fiction of the two men in friendly to homoerotic situations.
The rise of HIM and Bam Margera and his Jackass work occurred simultaneously, thus creating free promotion of one another, reducing what Valo calls “secret handshakes between managers”; it was one fan helping another fan out. Any casual viewing of Viva La Bam features hundreds of heartagrams, the band’s logo. While this is a topic I will covered in another article, the heartagram is synonymous with Margera. With Valo’s permission, Margera uses it for “promotional purposes, including using it on his Adio shoes and Element skateboards.” He continued the trend of using HIM’s music in his shows: “Right Here in My Arms” was featured in Bam’s Unholy Union, the series that chronicles Margera and now-ex-wife Missy’s journey to the altar, while the HIM-spinoff band, Daniel Lioneye, play the theme to Viva La Bam.
The transfer from fanboy to best friend is enviable. It’s every fan’s dream to befriend their idols no matter who they are. The argument can be made that Margera was the sixth member of HIM. In recent years, the Valo-Margera bond has broken. Valo entered rehab in 2007 and has been sober ever since. In some interviews, it sounds as if Margera is… Frustrated by Valo’s hermitage. According to Margera, Valo “won’t leave his hotel room and when he does, it’s only to go to the studio to record.” Margera did spend time in rehab, but it does appear that the death of best friend and fellow Jackass-costar Ryan Dunn hit Margera particularly hard, causing what seems to be a downward spiral in his own life.
It is rumored that a fight broke up the friendship between Valo and Margera, but of what cause, nobody outside their circles knows. Valo has issued an on-stage apology back in 2010. There was an appearance by Margera at HIM’s 2014 show in Philadelphia, and later a picture of the two. This is the first documented “reunion” of the two in recent years. What’s next for the HIM-Bam relationship is unsure. Neither party needs the help of the other anymore, seeing as both are internationally recognized names and faces with large fan-bases.
Why did I choose this song?: This video is one of the four directed by Bam Margera. This video is from 2003, therefore making this it look very dated. Fans can tell this is old because of how few tattoos Valo has on his body as compared to today.