INTERVIEW: The Beards
For some the disadvantages of facial hair outweigh the advantages but in 2005, an Australian group of men fused together, joining forces to promote and celebrate the hair growing on their faces. In a show of masculine dominance, powered by influences of ZZ Top and Cat Stevens, four men known – of course officially – as Johann Beardraven, John Beardman Jr, Nathaniel Beard and Facey McStubblington formed as a group to promote the benefits of the beard.
With every song – yes, every song – about beards and now coming up to four albums to their name, The Beards’ following has become a worldwide phenomenon and has seen them perform in multiple countries around the world. Wednesday 19th February sees them arrive, for the very first time, in Belfast to play in The Black Box for what is going to be a fantastic show. We caught up with them prior to the show to get a little insight into the band.
Your name comes from the obvious fact that all of you have beards. How do you feel about the growing trend in society of facial hair?
We feel great about it. In fact, we pretty much take full credit for making it happen. When we started back in 2005 it was a pretty beardless time in general. We saw the problem and decided we needed to do something about it – once we started writing and performing our catchy beard-related tunes, we noticed an immediate increase in beards, and now things are looking pretty beardy overall, even Hollywood actors and sportspeople are growing beards. It’s great.
How would you describe yourselves to someone who has never heard you before, in terms of genre, style and influences.
I think I’d describe our style as ‘bearded’. We all have great beards, and every single one of our songs is about the virtues of having a beard. We ONLY sing about beards – I feel that anything that’s not directly beard-related is pretty much a waste of time.
Your lyrics take a welcome step aside from a sombre serious song. When you formed, when did you decide to become this type of band?
I wouldn’t really say that we ‘decided’ anything – it was just the natural path that our beards took us on. When we started the band we didn’t know what we were doing – all we knew is that we had beards and that we had to somehow convince people how good beards are. Music became the chosen vehicle for our propaganda, but we could easily have become a theatre group or a dance troupe or a religious cult. Music just seemed to be the best way to convey our pro-beard ideas.
Tell us about your song writing procedure. How do you approach it and what do you work on first?
It varies a lot – it can really depend on what particular beard-related idea we are trying to convey. Lyrics are always the number one priority; music is pretty secondary really – if anything, we find it gets in the way of our pro-beard ranting. So we’ll always make sure our bearded message is front and centre, and then usually the rest of the song will kind of take care of itself. We let our beards guide us, mostly.
You’re going on a UK tour this month. Is there any place in particular you are looking forward? Anywhere that you’ve heard crazy stories about?
We always look forward to taking our bearded message on the road, no matter where it is. We had a great tour over here last year and now is our chance to check up on everyone’s beard, make sure they’re still going strong. It’s also going to be great to get to some new places like Ireland and Denmark – we’ve heard some great stories about Ireland’s ability to grow beards and drink beer, so we’re looking forward to getting amongst that.
After you finish your tour over here, what are your future plans?
Our number one priority is always to continue working hard on growing our beards, getting them looking the best they possibly can. But aside from that, we do have some exciting things planned for the rest of this year – we’ll be releasing a new album within the next few months, which will be our fourth album about beards, and then a big album launch tour around Australia. Then hopefully we’ll be back in Europe sometime later in the yea – it’s going to be a big year for beards.
The Beards play The Black Box, Belfast on Wednesday 19th February. Tickets priced £10, available from: http://www.ticketmaster.ie