Nathaniel Beard is "just preparing [his] beard for the tour" when I call him. And so he should - Adelaide band The Beards plan to inspire at least 100 shaven lads to grow beards on The 100 Beards Tour, which will see the band tour their third album, You Should Consider Having Sex With A Bearded Man around the country in typical propagandistic style.
Part of the propaganda that is The Beards is their strong online presence, particularly their ridiculous Youtube channel. Recently added is the documentary of their trip to The World Beard & Moustache Championships in Alaska two years ago. Girt By Beards follows the band on a trip of their dreams, sharing their strange love of facial hair with other like-minded hirsute friends. "I'm glad that somebody took an interest in us and decided to come along with us. It was good to capture that as it was a fairly significant event in our life as The Beards," Nathaniel Beard reminisces on the time of his life. "You're preaching to the converted, I guess. We were surrounded by people who already knew that they should be growing beards. They'd already done it. And lots of them had better beards than we had," he laughs. "We're used to being the best beards in the room!"
Another of the more famous Beards internet contributions is Street Talk With The Beards, a clip in which the band members take to the streets of Adelaide and hurl abuse clean-shaven men. What starts off as an amusing Chaser-style prank soon escalates to a somewhat uncomfortable display of aggression, with the band smashing car windows and using megaphones to yell at teenagers. "Ah yes, we copped a lot of flack for this video," Nathaniel sighs. "We've lost fans because of that video." The video really seems to show that The Beards are fighting a war on beardless people - the aggression is at times, quite confronting. It's a full-on attack. "They started it by shaving!" Nathaniel exclaims. "It is a war, but they started it by creating the abomination against nature that is the razor blade. "But for the record and just so you and your readers know," Nathaniel murmurs, "In Street Talk With The Beards everyone is an actor. It's all staged and the problem we had with the video was that that was not made clear - it's obviously too realistic. We're saying that beards aren't a joke, but we obviously didn't smash a car's window, steal a car and put it on Youtube. That's illegal."
Phew. For those of us who are still fans, the most recent Beards tune, You Should Consider Having Sex With A Bearded Man moves away from The Beards' standard folk-rock sound and into the sexy, synthy world of '80s-style cock-rock ala Van Halen. Not that genre is a huge priority for The Beards. "We're not indebted to be any particular musical style," explains Nathaniel. "Beard is our style. When we sit down to write a song, we don't say 'Let's write an '80s cock-rock song, let's write a Van Halen-style song' or whatever. We just use our beards for inspiration and whatever style of music that comes out is what we go for.
"So we've just got back from recording our third album and this album is even more eclectic in terms of the range of different musical styles on it, although it wasn't something we deliberately set out to do. There's everything from reggae to electro rock to folk and everything in there. We have no lyrical diversity so we compensate by having a lot of musical diversity. Like beards, music comes in all different styles and we like to reflect that."
And with this new musical diversity, a bit of internet notoriety and some luscious, lavishly long beards, The Beards will head around the country to convince at least 100 people to grow beards. But how will they know they've succeeded? "There's a little code that we live by called The Bearded Code," explains Nathaniel. "It's an honour system, I guess. A bearded man would never lie to another bearded man. That's just how it always has been since the dawn of time. Once they grow their new beards, they'll upload a photo of themselves to our Facebook page. Hopefully by the end there will be 100 photos of different men across Australia who have decided to grow and keep a beard."
The Beards celebrate You Should Consider Having Sex With a Bearded Man at The Northcote Social Club on Friday August 26 with support from Gay Paris and The Stiffys.