News Segment


July 25, 2007

WHEN it comes to spreading word about obscure Scandinavian bands, it’s hard to find a better prophet than Bam Margera.

After successfully bringing unusual bands like HIM, Turbonegro and the 69 Eyes to the attention of the MTV-watching masses – all were guests on his “Viva La Bam” show – the popular pro-skater and “Jackass” star is taking a stab at the music business.

He started a record label, Filthy Note, last fall, with the sole intention of throwing his considerable influence over America’s youth behind the label’s first signing, Sweden’s Vains of Jenna.

Why bother with such a mercurial industry?

“It’s so easy for me to let the kids know what bands are good and what bands aren’t,” Margera says. “Next thing you know, everyone starts recognizing [the music], they do research and find out that they’re rockin’.”

Filthy Note released Vains of Jenna’s debut album, “Lit Up/Let Down,” in October and sent them to play a bunch of small club dates in the United States. Less than a year later, the quartet of young unknowns – who look like refugees from an ’80s hair-metal video – are opening for Poison and Ratt at Jones Beach on Tuesday.

Lead singer Lizzy Devine admits that he was hesitant to sign with the untested Filthy Note, but common sense won in the end.

“Bam’s such a huge person in the U.S., and in the whole world, kids really look up to him,” Devine says. “If he can get some 15-year-old to buy our album and they really enjoy it, that’s perfect.”

But just because Margera’s got legions of loyal fans worshipping his every move doesn’t mean that he’ll be able to turn his pet bands into No. 1 chart-toppers.

“Celebrities have almost never been able to break bands,” says Revolver Editor-in-Chief Tom Beaujour. “Bam liking a band isn’t enough to make other people really like a band, but it is enough to make them check it out. He can definitely expose bands in a way that most bands or labels would kill to have as a marketing tool.”

“I can shrink-wrap band posters with my skateboards, of which I sell 10,000 a month,” says Margera. “If Island Records asked Element to do that, they’d say, ‘No. Give me 50 grand to do it.’ But they do it free for me because it’s a favor, and they know it’ll help them as well.”

The only potential impediment to the scope of Margera’s influence is that “his taste is either totally ahead of the curve or just completely off the map,” says Beaujour.

“Maybe sleaze rock is going to be the next emo and he’s a prophet. If not, he’s just a dude who has this huge pulpit from which to proclaim his love for these completely strange bands.”

In case he is some kind of music savant, Margera’s staying mum about the next five bands (from Scandinavia, of course) that he’s trying to sign, in case some “jerkoff” from a major label tries to outbid him.

“I hope that Warner Bros. and Island don’t catch on to my plan. I don’t want them flying to f—ing Finland and stealing my thunder – I’m going to have to start buying more plane tickets if they do.”

Courtesy of