In retrospect, it’s easy to see now that all this time, The Beards were actuallywarning us clean-chins. The endless mocking, chiding and general superiority these follically-enhanced folk-rock quartet from Adelaide have been raining down on us shaven blokes over the course of their three albums – the most recent being Having A Beard Is The New Not Having A Beard, released earlier this year – was in fact a sign of things to come.
Yep, just sitting around, drinking our champagne, eating foie gras and smoking our Cohibas, secure in the knowledge that those dirty bearded folk knew their place in the pecking order…we were letting the bearded men dream their dreamy little dreams of one day there being a time where no-one could look down upon them and the beards on their faces. But no, it turns out that they haven’t been making fun of us. Oh no, they’ve been trying to tell us, in their own inimitable way, that our collective un-bearded gooses are cooked.
At some point on December 21 this year, the world will end…for people without beards. The Beards, who know a thing or three about facial hair, have been lured back out on the road, embarking on their largest Australian tour to date, in an attempt to “convince as many clean-chins as possible to repent … before it’s too late”. Facey McStubblington, The Beards’ ginger-bearded guitarist, spoke to me by phone from Sydney about this Beardocalypse, what it means for the bearded people and the themes of redemption and repentance.
“It’s happening, you know?” he asks me pointedly. “It’s not like we’d make this up for a tour! Don’t think that for a second. We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen [on that day], but we do know that all the beardless people are going to die on that date. That’s what this tour is all about – enlightenment. It’s a last-ditch effort to save their souls – I mean, we’re nothing if not evangelical; we’ve been spraying this message out for the last five years in preparation for that day!”
Naturally, as one who has a passing interest in End Times, I’m curious as to how, exactly, the end is going to come for the clean-chins? Is it going to be like the Rapture, where the shaven folk just disappear off the face of the Earth, or is it going to be more like everyone who’s touched a Mach 3 razor that day is going to just drop dead in their tracks? McStubblington laughs at my ignorance.
“Oh no, mate, I think it will be a little more gory than that!” he giggles with just a touch too much enthusiasm. “I was thinking there’d be human-sized meteors that just zero in on [beardless people], and people will be getting hit left, right and centre and reduced to big red clouds of free-flowing molecules. Beardless molecules! And our beards will be sprayed with their blood. Their blood will be dripping down our faces!
“And,” he adds, “[the blood] will act like fertiliser to grow our beards thicker and better.”
There’s something that bugs me about this automatic forgiveness for non-bearded folks who suddenly grow beards – it’s not necessarily because they respect the power of the beard, but because they want to save their own arses. It just seems a bit cynical. I ask McStubblington, hypothetically, if the powers-that-be that are going to end the world for non-bearded folk would see through my ruse if I grew a beard just to stave off being killed.
“No, no, no!” he exclaims. “As long as you have a beard, that’s all that matters. That’s the loophole in Christianity, you know – when you’re about to die, [you say] ‘Oh, actually, I repent,’ and bang – you’re in. And that’s all I’m going to say to all the beardless people who come to our gigs: the end is near, and even if you’ve lived your whole life as a beardless person, now’s the time to grow a beard … and all will be forgiven. Everything. Every razor you’ve ever touched to your face will be forgiven.”
I ask McStubblington about the current stated of bearded people, especially in the wake of the release earlier this year of their third LP, the effectually-titled Having A Beard Is The New Not Having A Beard. Its strong and soulfully groovy singles You Should Consider Having Sex With A Bearded Man, Bearded Nation and Got Me A Beard have proven to be educational and invaluable in fostering more positive relationships between the have (beards) and the have-not (beards). I gotta know: have the lives of bearded people improved noticeably since its release?
“Absolutely,” he confirms cheerily. “And since the genesis of the band, the make-up of the nation has grown in leaps and bounds as far as bearded ratios go. With the advent of the ‘Intraweb’, we have been able to reach a lot more people through film clips and the like, and that has only helped this nation grow stronger!"
BY THOMAS BAILEY
Just repent and grow that damn beard already before THE BEARDS bring their 2012 End Of The World (for beardless people) Tour to The Hi-Fi on Saturday November 3. Tickets available through Moshtix.