With the Rock The Bay Festival gearing up, we managed to catch up with hirsute headliners The Beards, to talk music, gigs, but mainly beards. Here is what they had to say.
When we take away the instruments and the facial hair, who are the people that make up The Beards?
Yeah, well the thing about that is, we would be nothing without our beards. Seriously. We are pathetic shells of men under these beards, and if any of them ever got shaved off we would be finished. Don’t tell anyone I said that though. We have a lot of enemies. Clean-shaven enemies.
You guys have also given yourselves some pretty entertaining stage names in, Johann Beardraven, John Beardman Jr, Nathaniel Beard, and Facey McStublington. Do the stage names in any way reflect each other’s respective facial growth?
I’m not sure what you mean by “given ourselves”. These are our fair dinkum birth names. Luckily we all happened to grow beards and meet each other. But I guess John Beardman Jr has the most ironic name, given that he was named after his father John Beardman, but now he has an even bigger beard than his old man.
The first big question, what came first the music or the beards? How did you guys come to create a band entirely dedicated to praising facial hair?
Let me make this absolutely clear: we ONLY care about beards. We don’t even really like music all that much – it’s merely a convenient vehicle with which we can spread our bearded propaganda. But yes, the beards certainly came first. When we first met and formed a band, we couldn’t even play instruments. Luckily when our beards grew, so did our musical prowess, and we were able to put those awful first few gigs behind us.
Three albums on, did you ever think that The Beards would last as long as they have, or been as popular as they are?
We were always supremely confident that there would be a significant public appetite for beard-related songs. But even if everyone hated it, we would still continue to tour and record albums, such is our belief in our bearded message. We’re more like evangelists than musicians, really.
From the three albums, is there any one song that you guys have written that is a particular favourite or has a really interesting story?
That’s a hard question – obviously our songs are all outstanding, given how beard-related they all are. I think my personal favourite would have to be There’s Just Nothing Better Than A Beard. Not only does the title really sum up how we feel about beards, but it’s probably the most epic power-ballad ever written.
How do you approach writing new music? Do you focus on the witty facial hair related lyrics first, or does the instrumentation start first?
Pretty much all our inspiration comes from our own beards. During a typical song-writing session, we’ll stroke our beards, stroke each other’s beards, or if that doesn’t work we’ll watch Lord Of The Rings or a Chuck Norris movie. But once we’ve figured out exactly what we want to say about beards (usually it’s something along the lines of how good beards are) then the rest of the song will usually flow pretty naturally. Much like our beards.
In 2009 you played the opening ceremony of the World Beard and Moustache Championships in Alaska. What was the championship like? Did any of you enter? Where you greeted as heroes?
Being at the championships was pretty much the best experience any of us have ever had or will ever have. We did all enter the competition, but were subsequently flogged. There’s some REALLY good beards out there. But it was great just being surrounded by all the world’s best beards. It was like living in a perfect bearded utopia for a weekend.
Given that it was the Beard AND Moustache Championships, what are your opinions on people who grow moustaches, without a complimenting beard?
Despicable. Obviously a moustache just doesn’t cut it. Why would you shave almost all of your face? Seriously, grow a beard. There was actually a big rivalry between the bearded and the moustache wearers at the championships – mainly instigated by us. You need an actual beard to be a real man.
‘You Should Consider Having Sex With A Bearded Man’ cracked the Triple J hottest 100 in 2011. Has this song reaped its benefits for you? Surely some fans have emailed you with their thanks?
We’re not sure than any bearded men have actually managed to have sex, but we have heard numerous reports that several women have definitely considered it. So it’s a step in the right direction for bearded men.
What does 2013 hold in store for The Beards?
We’re going to continue growing our beards. That’s number 1. Plus I’m experimenting with some new grooming techniques (basically it involves stroking your beard for about 3 hours per day without stopping). And I guess we’ll do some gigs too. We’re heading overseas a couple of times, plus we’re lining up a national Australian tour for June. But mostly we’ll just be focusing on our beards.
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