We chat with Nathaniel Beardman of The Beards about politics, philosophy and economics. Kidding, this is a 15 minute convo about face rugs.
HAPPY: Hey Nathaniel, how’re you doing mate? Just chilling at home between shows?
NATHANIEL: We like to fly back to Adelaide between each leg of the tour to concentrate on our beards. We spend a lot of time in the same room together. We generally spend eight hours a day sitting in the same room. No one is allowed to say anything or think anything. It’s just meditative, beard growing time. This comes at great expense to our band as well. It’s expensive to fly back each week, and it is time we could be putting into our band and our business, but we’d rather keep our concentration on our beards.
HAPPY: Why wouldn’t you?
NATHANIEL: We just want to make sure those beards are as pristine and full as possible before the next destination.
HAPPY: So what is in the beard meditation room?
NATHANIEL: There’s pretty much nothing in the room. There’s four wooden chairs with no cushions. We each sit an equal distance from each other and the walls are just white. There’s a sign outside that says ‘Do not Disturb’ in case anyone pops around, this is our time. The phone is off the hook, and out phones are turned off.
HAPPY: Complete and utter focus, nice.
NATHANIEL: That’s right. And if anyone makes a noise or even thinks about anything we have to stop and start again.
HAPPY: So you go full Ghostbusters style and don’t think of anything?
NATHANIEL: You can’t think of anything, that’s the best way. The most fertile conditions under which a beard can thrive is to be in a total, zen-like, meditative state.
HAPPY: That must take years of training.
NATHANIEL: It does take a lot of training. I think I’ve spent more time in my life concentrating and developing my beard’s growth rather than working on my musical skills.
HAPPY: But wouldn’t you say that developing your beard has helped your music?
NATHANIEL: Oh yeah! Without my beard there would be no music.
HAPPY: So really those eight hours of beard meditation was essentially band practice.
NATHANIEL: I would advise any up and coming bass players out there to be get your beard right first, and develop your beard from there. Don’t worry about learning how to play, the beard will show you the way.
HAPPY: That’s impressive man. Did you guys have a guru who taught you the divine ways of beard meditation?
NATHANIEL: We don’t need a guru, when you have beards as long as ours you have all the wisdom of your run of the mill guru. And so, between us we posses quite a great deal of wisdom. We can draw on that and let our beards guide us.
HAPPY: So after the tour wraps up will you focus on your teachings of the beard full time?
NATHANIEL: Oh, we’ve been trying to teach people from the start. Right from the start, the message has been quite a simple one; grow a beard. As time has gone on, he message has changed to ‘grow a beard NOW’, that was our message in 2012. Our new message right now is ‘grow a beard NOW, or else’.
HAPPY: Or else?
NATHANIEL: Or else! We feel like we’ve given people ample time to heed our advice and followed that by growing beards. I feel like that a lot of people have, but there is an unacceptable that have not. I just want to say I don’t want those people to think that I haven’t warned them.
HAPPY: What will happen now after that every ominous warning has been issued?
NATHANIEL: Well I can’t say too much about it unfortunately. But we are winding back the live performance component of our operation, this is the last year we’ll be gigging, and we’re moving onto phase two. I can’t really talk about phase two, because it’s going to involve a lot of grass roots, activist going ons type of activity. A lot of political and potentially military activity that will ensure that Australia and the world will be able to enjoy and far better amount of beards than what they have now.
HAPPY: It sounds like you’re starting a beard militia.
NATHANIEL: We might be starting a beard militia, but I feel like I’ve said too much.
HAPPY: (laughs) Well for all you Happy readers out there who are bare faced, you’ve been given your final warning. Now seeing as you guys do have such glorious beards, have you ever had anyone accuse you of wearing fake beards. As if they couldn’t believe those were your real beards.
NATHANIEL: No, no one has ever accused us of wearing fake beards! That would be an audacious accusation! Our guitarist Facey McStubblington has been accused if trimming in the past, a charge that he categorically denies. Apparently just grows that way. I’m a bog fan of the philosophy that you should be grateful for the beard that you were given from God, who has a beard himself.
HAPPY: How has the farewell tour been going? Have you seen any impressive beards on the road so far?
NATHANIEL: Well we’ve just gotten started, we just wrapped up in Tasmania and Tasmania was one of the beardiest places in Australia long before we ever graced their shores. We’ve some excellent beards. The tour is going really well so far, it’s a little bit bittersweet knowing we won’t be coming back to these places. With Tasmania, it’s been a lot of fun to preach to the converted. It’s sad that we won’t be back, but at the same time every show we’ve done has been an epic celebration of beards.
I feel epic is the right word since everything we’ve done we’ve been able to achieve through music and it’s really great to be able to say goodbye to all the fans who’ve supported us over the years.
HAPPY: Yeah that is good to have a send off like that. Has anyone asked you to sign their beard?
NATHANIEL: We tend not to sign beards because they break sharpies, and we’re not made of sharpies. We used to sign beards, but that was back in 2012 when were getting lots of triple J play and we could afford such luxuries, but not anymore.
HAPPY: Ah yes of course. Are you expecting to see any good beards at Blenheim Festival?
NATHANIEL: I’ve never played that festival before, but we’re very excited to get up there and see the quality of beards. I have no idea what it’s like up there in the Clare Valley, but I’m hoping the beards are as robust as the wine they produce. It’s got me excited for that show in particular.
HAPPY: Now I had a question for you which now feels like a moot point given the last 10 minutes of our conversation…
NATHANIEL: Was it if we’re going to shave our beards at the end?
HAPPY: God no, who would ask such a thing? Given everything you’ve done over the years, how would you sum up the band in three words for someone who hasn’t heard of you?
NATHANIEL: Three words only? Hmmmm. I’m gonna got with ‘All About Beards’.
HAPPY: Nice! I’d imagine a constant hassle for you as a band is having food in your beards.
NATHANIEL: Not really, we actually have a beard code. When one bearded person is eating he has a buddy who is watching him. If a small fleck of food happened to get stuck in the beard you’ve got your buddy there who would give you a very subtle facial signal to let you know something was in there. Before anyone else would notice that fleck would be gone.
The beard people would be looking out for one another. All bearded people are aware the code too, we all use it. It would be catastrophic for people if the beard went back to what it was in the mid-2000s. I can recall I’d often be eating food by myself and I’d have food in my beard and I wouldn’t have a buddy to spot me! that just didn’t help the general image of the beard on a wider scale. And as our beards have gotten longer they’ve gotten more dextrous, so now it’s impossible for us to get food in out beards.
HAPPY: What is the signal? I’ve never noticed in public.
NATHANIEL: It’s just a raised eyebrow. Depending on the nuance of the raised eyebrow the beard buddy will be abel to tell where the food is located on the beard.
HAPPY: You mentioned before about the meditation room. Given how epic your beards are the part they played in Australia’s music history, has there been a danger that you may implode from the sheer testosterone gathered in one room?
NATHANIEL: We’ve definitely worried about that. We’re used to dealing with high levels of testosterone. Our concerts are packed with testosterone, and basically at every show we play the levels are increasing in the audience, and beards too. We are always growing beards, at all times.
HAPPY: Woah man, living life on the edge! We’re almost out of time so there’s one more thing I want to ask but I already know the answer; what makes you happy?
NATHANIEL: Well only one thing makes me happy, and that’s beards. But if beards were ever taken away from my life, if I was forced to live even a minute in the shoes of a beardless man I would instantly end my life.
HAPPY: Woah, dark.
NATHANIEL: It’s a very reasonable course of action I feel.
HAPPY: Most people say ice cream or puppies.
NATHANIEL: I really have no other interest other than beards (laughs)
HAPPY: Well good luck with the tour man, and all the best with phase two. And there’s gonna be a skate ramp at Blenheim which will be worth a go too!
NATHANIEL: Oh, I’ll stay away from that. I don’t want to hurt my fingers or my beard!