The Beards ice cream

The Beards On The Big Issues

The advent of a “Movement” band is hardly a new one, yet in this age of bombardment with mass-produced, vacuous swill, it’s rare to come across a group with a message so pure, so uncomplicated and so irrefutable as The Beards. Worthy of comparison with such fine voices of reason as Dylan and Marley, yet with an agenda that is unique, the hirsute foursome from Adelaide has been touring the world proclaiming our need to reclaim the fundamental right to put down razors and embrace our being.

Despite the tolls of the road and trials of delivering the message of hope and peace in the face of possible big-business agenda, Nathanael Beard graciously gave up his time to talk to me about The Big Issues ahead of their show at The Jack on 16th May.

Hello Nathanael, thanks for taking the time to talk to NQ Music Press in Cairns! I caught you guys playing at the Jack a couple of years ago – what’s been happening for The Beards since then?

Since we were last up in Cairns we have been on tour in Europe, and also been on our current tour, the Strokin’ My Beard tour, for the last couple of months.

Which countries did you hit in Europe?

We hit Germany and Switzerland and all through Scandinavia and The Netherlands, over to UK and Ireland, France… we really went sort of all over the place and spread our bearded message. The message is, “grow a beard,” by the way.

Ah yes, I was going to ask: what kind of percentages of beards did you see, from country to country, compared with Australia? How is the message going?

The message is going well, there are great beards all over Europe, and the streets of Europe are abuzz with beard enthusiasm. I think those countries, a lot of them, especially the Germanic ones and places like Scotland, have a rich bearded history, but they have not been immune from the global shaving epidemic that has plagued us for nigh on a century. But it’s great to see people starting to reclaim their beards, and their rights to grow them, I suppose.

Absolutely. I had not heard the term, “shaving epidemic,” but you make an excellent point with it. We must all continue to resist and it’s great to hear that some of the traditional countries are indeed standing up for those traditions.

That’s right… there is no point standing up for traditions just for the sake of tradition, but when it comes to beard growing, I think it is an innate and essential part of humanity that we are bearded, and I think we achieve our greatest works when we have beards. And I’m sure everyone will agree with me on that.

Who could argue indeed? So, your support band for the tour is The Stiffys… is there any particular reason those guys stood out to get the illustrious job of opening for The Beards?

Yes! Yes, we noticed with disdain that The Stiffys did not have beards, and we thought that we might use the opportunity to tour with us as a way of, I guess, blackmailing them into growing beards. We basically made them sign a legally binding document proclaiming that they would grow beards over the course of the tour. I’m not sure if they were exactly sober when they signed it, in fact I think Jason from The Stiffys might have been under the impression that he was signing a record deal, but nevertheless they signed it and it is legally binding and they have grown beards. But if those beards come off, they will be swiftly removed from the tour and replaced with a better, bearded band.

That is great, and I can’t wait to see them. I’ve had a quick look at the tour list and there are an awful lot of dates. I was fortunate enough to talk to the great Jimmy Cliff the other week and he told me he does a lot of cardio and things, but more importantly, what kind of a beard-care regime do you guys maintain, with such a brutal touring schedule?

Hmm, that’s a very good question. We have a very strict schedule that we adhere to, which basically entails 8 hours being completely cleared every single day, so that the four of us can concentrate solely on just growing our beards. There are rules surrounding this, there’s no talking, and there’s no thinking about anything; it’s just sitting completely still with our eyes closed making sure that we’re concentrating fully on our beards. This causes the logistics of the tour to be a bit of a nightmare for our team, but I think it’s worth it for the end product, which is that our beards are glistening and full-bodied and rich in texture and hue.

That is indeed awesome. Now I’m going to get a bit tricky with a political question…

<interrupts> Is it a beard-related political question?

Well, yes, it may be, in fact it is! Given that the political situation in Australia is very prickly and messy, a simple question: do politicians have enough beards?

Well, they definitely don’t have enough beards. And without wanting to generalise too much, the nature and the character of politicians tends to be dubious at best, and for that reason it doesn’t surprise me that so many of them have chosen to live the lie that is shaving, on a daily basis. I think that a lot of our political problems would be solved if we simply had more bearded politicians in Parliament, and if the Australian public was more willing to accept the leadership needed in Australia, which is the leadership of a bearded man or woman.

Brilliantly put. Following on the political front, beards are sometimes given a bad reputation, and similarly those leaders around the world, Ayatollahs and so on, who do sport beards. Do you think maybe there is, you know, a media beat-up, or some agenda hidden away, with such a terrible reputation for people just trying to do a good job, with a beard, in that kind of position?

Yeah, I think it’s a deep-seated issue, and society has for a long time been developing a phobia of beards, that we have tried as hard as we can, to smash, and basically shatter all the preconceptions surrounding beards, of which there are many: that beards are “unhygienic,” that bearded people are “thugs” or “dangerous,” any of those things. We like to challenge those preconceptions. As for where this media agenda comes from, it’s a bit hard to say, but I am not ruling out a conspiracy involving the Gillette shaving corporation and the other three major razor groups in the world, because the global shaving industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and the current beard movement is putting a significant dent in that. Globally they’ve recorded millions and millions of dollars in losses in the department of men’s shaving products, and without wanting to take credit for that, we are taking full credit for that.

Awesome. I just have one final question. We are a little bit locked away from the world here in the Far North, in a musical sense, so seeing as you guys get to spread your message in so many wonderful places: are there any emergent, preferably beard-sporting, bands that we should be keeping an eye on from afar?

Well, it’s hard to say.. we don’t follow the pulse or this advent of “other bands” at the moment, because we only bother listening to songs that are about beards, which is what we exclusively perform. So for that reason, given that there are no other bands writing and performing songs about beards, we’re forced to only listen to our own music, which we do listen to almost constantly.

You guys take purism to a new level, and for that reason have my undying respect. I’m looking forward very much to your show up here, and will be keeping the beard in good form so I don’t let anybody down. Travel safely, make sure no harm comes to the beards on the way up, and thanks once more for your time!

Thanks, we can’t wait to get back to The Jack. And please don’t forget: about beards.

The Beards and special guests The Stiffys (with beards) are live at The Jack on the 16th May. Tickets at the venue. Grow a beard and prepare for a genuinely hilarious and engaging night of great music and entertainment.

Jon Niehaus

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