It’s no shave November! What a time to be alive. I hope the man (or men, I’m not judging!) in your life has a beard in at least one of their glorious styles: the George RR Martin, The Lincoln, The Ryan Clark (Demon Hunter) or The Brent Walsh beard; a neatly trimmed and shaped beard that covers the lower jaw, underside of the chin and unlike The George RR or The Ryan Clark, it doesn’t hang down to your nipples. It’s the beard of a single man (hint, hint) so if you’re not into beards but you’re into Brent, then there’s no better time to get bearded like November.
“I went to this camp once,” Brent Walsh, I The Mighty frontman and solo artist, says laughing softly, “and it was about how to take care of your beard. They sat me down and told me how to take care of it and put this good smelling conditioner through it and they massaged my beard.”
Yes, such a place exists, yes, I wish I was there. It’d make for a better interview environment than a transatlantic conference call, that’s one thing that’s certain.
Brent keeps laughing, softly, tenderly, as though it’s slightly stifled. We’re both laughing, actually, mine’s just more of a dehydrated HEE HAWWW than a laugh, so let’s stick to Brent.
“It was great,” he says, having caught his breath a little.
There’s more to life than this man’s beard though, he’d just finished working on his Billy Mays (the OxiClean commercial guy) Halloween costume, he went as the South Park version.
“I don’t know if you know who he is,” (nope, no clue), “but he sold OxiClean here in the States and he died of a drug overdose. I’m going as the South Park version of where he sells OxiClean for Chipotle [called Chipotlaway], which is for putting in your pants once you’ve eaten Chipotle. It’s going to be awesome.”
PSA: OxiClean is a stain remover and according to South Park, Chipotle leaves bloodstains in your underwear.
In between beard growing and dressing up as Billy Mays it’s hard to believe he found the time to release a solo album, called 7, but he did and it’s loaded with things he doesn’t want his mother, or his grandmother, to hear about.
“I wrote a rap song [“Sea Of Thoughts”] where I sing openly about smoking weed and I was hung up on that for a while because there’s a line there,” at this moment he pauses, takes a breath and then raps down the phone, “‘maybe wind up in bed with some chick who gives great head’ and my mom is going to buy this album and my grandma will listen to it, so I was apprehensive.”
In the end he decided to stick with it, “it’s a rap song on an indie pop record. It doesn’t get weirder than that anyway, so what the hell?”
And because you can’t make a soufflé rise twice, he turned to the softer side of the album which is less Humbert Humbert and more Kodaline.
“[With] the song ‘The Truth Is’ it was weird showing that to people in general. It’s a song I wrote on the unhappiest day of my life.”
There was a certain fear around putting out something so personal (it’s the kind of song that’ll break your heart) but to degrees, he confides, you get used to it.
“The more you do it the more you get used to it. There was a turning point for me, I did a spoken word reading and it was recorded and put on YouTube. Originally it was only for me and it was very personal and very vulnerable for me to do that but my manager heard it and said, ‘we have to record you saying that and put it up as an album teaser’. And I was like, dude, I don’t know man. I’m not sure.”
The spoken word went up on YouTube and while it was an I The Mighty teaser it made life a little bit easier going into the personal side of 7.
“It was still a hurdle for me to get over but there comes a point where you either care or you don’t give a shit. And if you care [about what people think] it can be hard if people don’t like it and I decided I wouldn’t give a shit. People are going to be hating on you. So I say what I say and people can accept it and they can listen or they can’t and they can listen to something else.”
The album is a collection of songs written over the past seven years, hence the name, and because of that it’s is like stepping through different phases of Brent’s life.
“It’s very personal and it’s from a different stand point [to I The Mighty] and it was written from different phases in my life. You’ll know because some of the songs aren’t as mature and were written when I was younger. I hope that people will connect with the different phases at different points in their life.”
And the end of the call I made him a promise (I The Mighty played Warped Tour last year and spent the whole time in a van) that I’d plug Brent’s desire to play Warped again next year (yes, desire. He needs it. And they’ll even hire a bus!).
So Brent, here it is: Vote I The Mighty for Warped Tour 2015 and hell, vote for Brent so he can play the acoustic basement as well!