Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs 2009

Our readers and critics pick their favorites.

(page 18 of 21)

Bam Margera (Photo by Shane McCauley)Understanding Bam

Forget everything you’ve heard about Bam Margera, West Chester’s not-so-golden boy and celeb about town. That’s assuming you actually know who the guy is.

For those who might not, Margera is a 29-year-old pro skateboarder, television and movie personality, music video producer, radio talk-show host, and local club owner. He’s perhaps most notorious for his infamous prankster exploits on MTV’s Jackass and Viva La Bam. The ultimate class clown, Margera has never been afraid to do the dirty work for those of us who don’t have the nerve.

Away from the cameras, it’s a different story. Get him next to his wife, Missy, and he’s a puppy dog.

“People think they know me, but they’re a little confused,” says Margera. “I’ve had fans come up to me and reenact pranks they’ve seen me do—except I’m the victim—and they’re put off when I don’t react positively or play the role. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fans. But when I’m not on camera, I’m not the guy you see on TV.”

Missy balances him out perfectly. She’s pretty, charming and gentle, but she’s also strong—and she isn’t overly impressed with life in the limelight. When they’re not traveling, the couple—whose marriage was documented on MTV—typically chills with a good meal and a DVD. Then there’s The Note, the live music club Margera opened in downtown West Chester last fall (Best Place to Rub Shoulders with Rock Stars and Bam Margera). Winning over West Chester’s business community took some patience, as the more staunch policymakers set out to portray Margera as, well, the wild guy pulling those outrageous stunts on TV and the big screen.

“I just remember this older guy holding up these crazy pictures of me, working very hard to convince everyone in the room that I was a degenerate looking to bring sin and recklessness to the borough,” Margera recalls. “I had to remind him that it’s in my contract to do these things.”

But Margera won over the skeptics. The Note is open seven days a week until 2 a.m., serving up good food and drink (including a solid selection of local brews), along with a mixed bag of musical acts that appeal to a wide age range. It helps support a musical addiction that also includes Filthy Note Records (, a label that also affords him the opportunity to direct music videos. He has a scholarship in place at his alma mater, West Chester East High School, which awards $5,000 to the student who makes the best short film.

Next up for Margera: Spike TV’s Bam’s World Domination, a show that highlights offbeat pseudo-sporting events around the world, and (if the West Chester School District approves) an MTV reality show that has him returning to high school. Margera left in 10th grade, but something tells us he’ll be welcomed back with open arms.

—Dawn E. Warden

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