The Beards Interview is by Gavin Wells, a GIGsoup contributor. Lead photo by Andrew Evans
The Beards are a Comedy Rock band from Adelaide, Australia. As their name suggests, all of their songs are about beards or related to the daily life and struggles of having a beard. While on their European tour to celebrate their 10th anniversary, I was able to sit down in Glasgow to talk with singer, Johann Beardraven and Bassist, Nathaniel Beard before their show at King Tut’s. Guitarist, Facey McStubblington was also present, but chose not to take part in the interview.
Q: How have you been enjoying your European tour so far?
Nathaniel: “It’s been great.”
Johann: “Yeah. Last night, I saw a guy with a beard.”
Nathaniel: “I saw a few.”
Johann: “That’s all I can remember. Just the one. It was Nathaniel Beard’s beard, actually.”
Nathaniel: “There were heaps of people with beards last night. You just can’t see anything because you wear sunglasses on stage.”
Johann: “I do fall down a lot.”
Q: What has been your favourite country or City to play in so far?
Nathaniel: “There’s a few cities that we always like to come back to.”
Johann: “Yes. Glasgow’s definitely on that list.”
Nathaniel: “We’ve had some good shows in Edinburgh, but we could only play one show in Scotland this time around.”
Johann: “Glasgow got the nods.”
Nathaniel: “Manchester is on that list. Munich’s on the list. Hamberg’s on the list.”
Johann: “We didn’t get to Hamberg this time, unfortunately.”
Q: You’ve just released the new album, ‘Ten Long Years, One Long Beard’ earlier this month. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Johann: “Yes. The new album is great. it contains the new single, ‘Ten long years, one long beard’.”
Nathaniel: “I think our albums, just like our beards, just keep getting better and longer. This one is definitely our longest album.
Johann: “It’s a double-album, and it’s got a selection of songs about beards from our first four albums about beards, and a live set about beards and a couple of unreleased tracks.”
Nathaniel: “It’s been mastered!
Johann: “I don’t know what that is.”
Nathaniel: “You don’t need to. You just worry about having a beard.”
Q: When it came to making ‘Ten Long Years, One Long Beard’, how did you decide on which songs should be included on the album?
Nathaniel: “Originally we had a shortlist, and it contained every single song we’ve ever written. Then we realised that you can only fit so many songs on a compact disk, which as we all know, is the most advanced technology we have available to us in this year.”
Nathaniel: “Yes, 2009! So we thought, the ‘best of’ has to fit on one disk.”
Johann: “We wanted to make sure we had songs from all of the albums, because we want people to know how many we’ve put out. That’s four, if you’re reading this.”
Nathaniel: “We also wanted it to be chronological, so we wanted it to take the listener through the journey that we’ve been through, and that our beards have also been through. And we did have several fistfights during the selection process, when it was a tied vote. We’d have a fistfight to decide who’s pick would make it onto the album.
Johann: “I think we chose the songs that gave us that special tingling in our beards.”
Nathaniel: “And Facey [McStubblington] mainly won the fistfights, so he got to choose. Didn’t you, mate?
Q: How did the idea of a band based around a love for beards come to be?
Johann: “I don’t know. I was there, and I really liked beards, so that was really all of the thought that we put into it. ‘We really like beards. What do we do?’ That was probably the easiest way to spread our message. We tried a bunch of other methods. There was the time we got a loudspeaker and sat on a roof, yelling the word ‘Beard’. Very few people grew beards after that, so we looked at other options.”
Nathaniel: “We might have actually done some damage to beards by doing that. I think that a song is a great way of catching someone’s attention when you’ve got a piece of propaganda to deliver. It’s got to be infectious”
Q: Who would you say are your biggest musical inspirations?
Johann: “Probably Facey McStubblington for me.”
Nathaniel: “I’d probably say Facey McStubblington as well.”
Johann: “And John Beardman Jr. [Drummer]. Though he only plays 4/4 time and drops drumsticks occasionally. We don’t really like other music that isn’t about beards.
Q: Obviously, you have a lot of songs about Beards. 4 albums-worth. Do you ever worry about running out of ideas?
Johann: “I get worried that we’ll have too many ideas, and that the songs that we produce in the future will be too good for human consumption.”
Nathaniel: “It will also render our current back-catalogue obsolete, because people will be like ‘Why would I ever listen to those songs?'”
Johann: “It’ll kinda be too much for the feeble human brain to process. Luckily we never think too far ahead or really worry too much.”
Nathaniel: Though, sometimes I worry that we’ll run out of words that rhyme with ‘Beard”.
Johann: “Then you invent a new word…Smeared. I just invented that.”
Q: You are known to sometimes use some uncommon instruments in your songs, e.g. the Kazoo solo from ‘Shaved off his Beard’. Are there any other obscure instruments that you would consider using in any upcoming songs?
Johann: “It would be good to put some Bagpipes in. Scotland’s such a proud, bearded country.
Q: What about the Theremin?
Johann: “The Theremin though, it’s a bit shaved for my liking.”
Nathaniel: “It’s a bit too clean cut.”
Johann: “It’s a bit too Indie. I just can’t see a big bearded man playing a Theremin. It’s a bit of a weedy, beardless sound as well. The Bagpipes, that’s a beardy sound!”
Nathaniel: “I think if we met a guy with a great beard that could play Blues Harp, he’d just automatically be in the band.”
Johann: “One Blues Harp player, please!”
Q: So, this year is your 10th anniversary. What would you say is your favourite memory/ moment from your time together?
Johann: “I remember last night. I saw a guy with a great beard. That was Nathaniel Beard’s beard again.
Nathaniel: “I was there! That was me. I feel like each moment of my life gets better than the one that proceeded it because my beard keeps getting longer. The longer it is, the happier I become.”
Johann: “I’ve got a bad memory, when the band was just starting and my beard wasn’t very good.”
Q: I’ve seen an early video where you’re all clean shaven
Nathaniel: “Oh, that was CGI.”
Johann: “Yeah, you don’t need to worry about that. You don’t need to watch that. That didn’t really happen. That wasn’t me! It was some other guy!”
Q: Where will your bearded adventures take you next? What can we expect to see from you in the next year or so?
Johann: “I’d say, slightly bigger beards.”
Nathaniel: “With probably a stronger, more hardlined attitude towards beards.”
Johann: “I’m going to pay more attention to grooming and cleaning.”
Nathaniel: “I’m not. I’m going to grow my beard as long as possible.”
Johann: “Well, not trimming. Just brushing and keeping it shiny and fresh.”
Click here to read the review of The Beard’s show at King Tut’s, Glasgow
The Beards new album, “Ten Long Years, One Long Beard” is Out now!