The 20,000 or so words that have been spilled on this site are an eclectic bunch of utterances. What do they say about us as a website? You be the judge. Below is a word cloud of everything written here. The bigger the word, the more frequent the use. Enjoy.
Thanks to the Freedom of information act, we at weareallbeards.com were able to obtain the transcripts from several interviews that were conducted with the members of The Beards.
These interviews were conducted regarding the disappearance of our (former?) Features writer. Again, if you know anything about his whereabouts, please contact us.
Also, don’t forget that The Beards are playing a show with Elsa Va this Friday at the Varsity in Vermillion, SD.
Below, you will find the first interview that was sent to us. It is with lead guitarist, Jake Kerby.
Great news!? The Beards are playing September 16 in downtown Vermillion. If you haven’t seen the poster around town or on campus, lucky you.
Elsa Va with be the opening act and goes on at 8. Elsa Va ReverbNation
We have also added a special section to the website for the interviews we conducted with the band over the last few weeks. They are all there for your reading pleasure.
Note, there is actually more to come, so check back soon. The website has been contacted by officials about our reporter, but we don’t have anything yet we are allowed to say.
NOTE: Our regular Features writer has taken a “leave of absence.” Instead, we here at weareallbeards.com have tried to piece together an article from the notes and audio recordings we recovered at his apartment.
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” I’m pretty sure this was originally said by James Cameron. Regardless, it is apropos to my final upcoming interview with The Beards.
However, I do not merely say this on my own behalf, whereas this assorted “murderer’s row” of miscreants does make for an interesting afternoon, there is also one among them that the staff at weareallbeards.com has yet to have had the pleasure of meeting with. (Note: my editor strongly objected to the phrase “obligatory pleasure”)
The final interview of this series is with the bass player, Amy Askew. In the same way that I believe myself the “monster slayer,” it also crossed my mind even before our talk that Amy, too, spent many an evening of practice gazing into the abyss that is The Beards. What I hope to be able to answer with some certainty is whether or not Amy has stared too long into that same abyss, and what, if any, toll has it taken on her.
Amy was nice enough to invite weareallbeards.com into her home and even offered a tour of where the band practices.
Beyond the above introduction that was already finished, what follows is what we could recover from a digital recorder and notes of that Sunday afternoon. Any edits, additions, omissions will be clearly marked in italics.
The audio begins with some normal testing of levels and a short description of the house.
WAAB: Relatively normal looking home on a very “American” type street. Like if Norman Rockwell were alive today and not such a phony, he would paint this street. There is an outer door, and I can see an inner door too. I am not sure if I am supposed to go into that door or…
Knocking can be heard
WAAB: No answer. Guess I will go into the second door. Now, am on the front porch, there are various items of little interest. Pretty normal fare. There is however one rather interesting item. There appears to be a particularly high powered video camera that has been rigged up with what looks like a night vision lens. I am going to take a quick look through…Yes, yep. It does appear to be pointing at the house directly across the street. Interesting. You know what, none of my business. Probably just nothing.
Knocking can again be heard. This is followed by quiet barking. Soon, a muffled voice. The sound of the door opening.
Amy: Please, come in. Delilah, shush! Be quiet!
WAAB: Amy, Amy Askew?
Amy: You can call me Madame Askew.
WAAB: Right, sorry, Madame Askew.
Amy: Come on in. Don’t mind Delilah. She might try to lick your leg; it’s a thing. We can’t seem to get her to stop, but it’s better than some alternatives.
WAAB: No problem. I had a dog just like this when I was younger.
Amy: Really? Well, how about that. Can I get you something to drink? Beer, water, I don’t know what else we might have. Something harder, I guess, if you want.
WAAB: No, I’m actually okay right now.
Amy: All right, just let me know. By the way, what you got there?
WAAB: This? This is just a digital recorder. It’s so I don’t have to take as many notes. Helps make it all a more natural conversation. Also, if I start narrating about something I see, don’t mind me, it helps with the article later.
Amy: By all means, narration is something I am quite used to, remember, I am friends with Jake Kerby. Also, I know what a digital recorder is, you remember that I have been playing live music for the better part of a decade. I was asking more specifically. That a Tascam DR-40?
WAAB: Right, sorry, I didn’t mean to assume you wouldn’t know. Also, I have no idea, it’s just what the website provides.
Amy: Don’t think nothin’ of it.
WAAB: So, would you like to sit down somewhere so we can talk or…
Amy: Sure, let me just make sure…
Amy’s voice trails off. The sound of the front door closing is heard. A short while later Amy can be heard saying something loudly away from the recorder.
WAAB: Are you sure you have time right now? If you have to deal with your kids, we can reschedule.
Amy: The kids won’t be a problem in the least. Say, how would you like a cookie? I just pulled them out of the oven about twenty minutes ago. They are probably right at that perfect point of cooling on the rack. What do you say?
WAAB: Really, it’s not necessary.
Amy: Oh…okay then. Just thought you might…
WAAB: You know what? A cookie sounds really good right now. I would love one. Then maybe we can talk a little about The Beards.
There is a break in the recording
WAAB: So, you used to play in a different band?
Amy: Yes, right. For quite some time.
WAAB: What was the name again? Was it The Shaggs?
Amy: The Shaggs? No.
WAAB: Really, I could’ve sworn my notes said you were in The Shaggs?
Amy: Nope. I was in The Clutch.
WAAB: The polka band?
Amy: No. Well…no.
WAAB: No polka?
WAAB: What type of music did you play?
Amy: Why do you want to know?
Amy: Why are you so interested?
WAAB: I’m just trying to get some background info. That’s all.
Amy: Now, look at you, you haven’t even touched the cookies I brought out.
The recorder is left running. The sound of a cookie being slid of the plate is heard.
Amy: What, what is it? You don’t like it. Too much ginger? Not enough snap?
WAAB: No, it’s not that. It’s just, this tastes…almost exactly like what my mother makes. Like, exactly.
Amy: Well, aren’t you just the sweetest thing?
WAAB: You know, if the offer still stands, do you think I could get something to drink?
Amy: Absolutely, what’s your poison?
WAAB: Water would be fine.
Amy: Fine, but not great. How about a glass of milk to wash the cookie down?
WAAB: If it’s not too much trouble… It’s funny, I ended up leaving it off the website, but when I interviewed Joe, he went off for like ten minutes on milk. But he kept putting air quotes around the word “milk.” He said he drank multiple glasses before every show. Said it helped to “coat his throat” making it easier to sing.
Amy: Right. Yeah, he really likes milk.
WAAB: Wait, why are you putting air quotes around “milk?”
Amy: Sorry, I missed what you were saying. Anyways, I hope you’re okay with raw whole milk. That’s what we drink around here, and I always forget that most people do not have a taste for it.
WAAB: Actually, I grew up on a dairy farm. I used to love drinking fresh warm milk. It’s a shame it’s so hard to find. Where did you get it?
Amy: Joe has a guy
There is another break in the recording. Based on notes, it appears the recording picks up after a tour has already started
Amy: Watch your head here. Don’t want to knock yourself out.
WAAB: Now, what’s up here? Review sketch of staircase in notes.
According to notes, the stairs down into the practice space branch off and go up to a door leading to the backyard.
Amy: That just leads to the backyard. It’s not very interesting
WAAB: Just going to look out on to what might inspire … Hey, look at that. I think Jeff is in your backyard.
Amy: Is he? Interesting? Now, back to the tour.
WAAB: Yeah, it is Jeff.
Knocking on the glass can be heard.
WAAB: I don’t think he can hear me. I will say, you all seem to be very at ease around one another. What is he doing back there? It looks like he’s setting up a couple of big tanks. You guys installing something?
Amy: Not sure, you’d have to ask Jason.
WAAB: That’s right; you are married to the keyboardist, Jason.
Amy: That is correct.
WAAB: Is he around today?
Amy: He is. He’s somewhere. I can’t always keep track of where he goes. He’s very mercurial.
WAAB: That’s actually how I would describe most of the members of this band.
Amy: To whom?
Amy: To whom would you be describing the members of this band?
WAAB: Nobody, it was a figure…You do all know that I am interviewing you for a website, right?
Amy: Of Course… This way.
Break in the Recording
WAAB: So, this is where the magic happens?
Amy: Indeed. This is where we have been practicing pretty much every week, at least every other, for the last year.
WAAB: So where do each of you operate?
Amy: Well, Jeff obviously sits there at the drums. Jake is off to his left; I am off to his right. Joe sits there on the piano bench and Jason is over there.
WAAB: So, Joe always sits? I have noticed that Joe always is sitting at shows. At practice too?
Amy: Yes, he has very weak bones. That’s why he drinks so much milk. Sorry, can you excuse me for a minute?
WAAB: Absolutely, go right ahead… The practice space is the quintessential band lair. Review notes to see sketches of how it is laid out. Chords crisscross the room connecting each musician seemingly to the other and all of them to the board. One just feels more creative when they are in a space like this. There is original art on the wall and a giant white board filled with random drawings, song titles, lyrics, and the occasional phallus pointing out specific songs for some reason.
Amy: Sorry about that, Jason was Sk-typing me. All rights reserved.
WAAB: He was, how did you know?
Amy: Oh, right, you haven’t used mobile Sk-type. All rights reserved.
WAAB: Fascinating. It looks like…like… an old pager.
Amy: Sure, yeah, it was a pager at one time. Jason repurposed them so that they can receive alphanumeric messages instead of just the old numeral only pagers.
WAAB: Have you found it to be a viable form of communication in the modern world?
Amy: Sure. I mean, he is limited to something like eighteen characters, so a lot of my time is trying to figure out what he is trying to say, but it’s better than nothing.
WAAB: What did this last message say?
WAAB: C’mon. Let me see if I can figure it out.
WAAB: Let the record show that the last message sent read HWMCHLNGRTLTNKRDY. Okay, that looks like …How…much…longer…tilt…tilting…til…until…tnk…tink…tank…tank…ready. How much longer until tank ready? Right?
Amy: That’s what I got from it.
WAAB: That’s kind of fun. I bet Jeff would like those.
Amy: Jeff LOVES mobile Sk-type. All rights reserved.
A muffled sound can be heard on the recording that turns out to be the front door opening.
WAAB: Is that someone coming in? Were you expecting someone?
Amy: Well, there are certain people that whether you expect them or not they tend to…
Jake: DID SOMBODY SUMMON JAKE KERBY?!
WAAB: I assure you no one did.
Jake: What are you doing here?
WAAB: Pot kettle black.
WAAB: And what?
Jake: Look, I don’t know why you keep showing up at places I am going before I get there, but it’s getting old. Then you make some seemingly racist comment about pots and kettles. Besides, I got a Sk-type requesting I come over. All rights reserved.
Amy: Hi, Jake. You get the same one I did?
Jake: I think so.
WAAB: “How much longer until tank ready?” You thought that meant you should come over?
Jake: Umm, it clearly said “How much longer until Kerby.” I figured I would make my way over.
WAAB: There is clearly a “D,” not a “B.”
Jake: “D?” “B?” Who gives an “F?” Am I right? All I know is that I’m here now.
Amy: Glad to have you. Was just showing this guy the space.
WAAB: Right maybe we can get back to it?
Jake: Back to what, where are we going?
The sound of someone coming down the stairs can be heard in the background.
WAAB: Jason? I’m so happy we could actually meet face to face.
Jason: I’m walking home earlier, and I see this tiny spot on the pavement. It’s moving, more like vibrating. I walk over to it. It’s a hummingbird. It must have run into one of those big picture windows. It’s not dead, but it’s also not really living. I take it home and lay it on the dining room table. I warm up some sugar water and dip my finger in it. I hold the drop of warm sugar water just above the little hummingbird’s beak until it drinks it. I do this like ten times until it perks up. It’s still in rough shape, but it’s doing better. I leave for a few minutes, and when I get back the little bird is standing on its own. When it sees me, it flies away, but it’s inside, so it just hovers there in the middle of the room. I take a shoebox and a cookie sheet and I try to capture it against the ceiling so I can release it, but I push the box too hard and end up crushing the little bird. It’s just so fragile.
Jake: Nice work, Lennie.
Amy: Jake, knock it off.
Jake: What? I’m just saying, you shouldn’t let him around any rabbits.
Jake: Fine. Fine.
Amy: Jason, we were going to let our friend here listen to the new recordings. Do you think you could set it up quick?
Jason: Sure. Won’t take but two minutes.
WAAB: New music?! That’s fantastic. This is never before released music? Would it be okay if I put a small clip on the website? It would get people excited for the release.
Amy: I don’t have a problem with it. Just know this won’t be the final mix. It’s still really raw.
WAAB: Absolutely, people love this “bootleg” type stuff.
Jason: Should be all set. I have to get back upstairs.
WAAB: It was nice to meet you, Jason.
Jason: I’m happy for you.
Various sounds can be heard leading up to the start of the music. The voice on the recording is Joe. The music could best be described as elegiac. We have transcribed the words to the best of our abilities.
Joe’s Voice straining several octaves higher than where he normally sings:
The sun has disappeared again
To rise another day
The moon is here to light our path
It always knows the way.
The sheep are resting
The cows asleep
The farmer’s in his bed
Song in your heart
It’s time to turn
The lights off in your head.
The music comes to a close, and there is silence. The recorder does not turn off. There is just quiet for nearly a minute.
Amy: Are you okay?
WAAB: That song, where did you…how did you…that’s impossible.
Jake: This is about to get good.
Amy: What’s the matter? You didn’t like the song?
WAAB: I don’t understand. How could you know that song?
Amy: Sorry, I’m confused. Oh, hold on, Jason just Sk-typed me again. All rights reserved.
Jake: I got it too.
There is a break in the recording. When it begins again, there is a noise heard that appears to be the door to the backyard opening. This is only assumed since the next voice you hear is Jeff’s.
Jeff: Tanks are ready. What are you making of Jason’s Sk-type? All rights reserved.
Jake: Let’s see HRYMMSSTRTNG2SMLL. Hairy…Hooray…M&M’s…Mimes…Strong…string…too…smile…small…too small.
Jeff: Strings too small? Maybe? Hurry my…or humming…humming! Hummingbird! Hummingbird string too small?!
Jake: I don’t think that’s right.
Jeff: Sounds right to me.
Jake: Hummingbird string too small? Really?
Jeff: You have a better idea?
WAAB: Can we get back to that song? Where did you guys hear that?
Amy: What do you mean? We wrote that.
WAAB: There is no way you wrote that. That song. That song was what my mother would sing to me before bed. Nobody knew that song but she and I.
Jake: Is “she and I” how you should phrase that?
Jake: Sorry, it just sounds wrong.
Amy: I don’t know what to tell you. We wrote that song a while ago.
WAAB: No, you didn’t! There is no way there could be that big a coincidence.
Amy: What are you saying?
Jeff: Hummingbird’s starting too small? Hummingbird starting to smile?
Jake: Ooh, I like that one.
WAAB: In fact, this whole day has been a little strange. First, that dog. That dog wasn’t just like my dog, it was damn near an exact clone. Then, you happen to have made cookies that I have had only one other place in my life, and that is in my mother’s kitchen. You serve me whole raw milk, I’m pretty sure it’s illegal most places to sell that, yet you just happen to have the thing I loved as a child, and then that song. That song that only two people in the world know about. I want to know how in the hell you have all this information. What are you up to?
There is a break in the recording. The tone of the voices sounds more agitated. There is an uneasiness to the conversation that was not there before.
WAAB: So, tell me about your influences.
Amy: We’re fans of a lot of different music. It would be too limiting to just name a few.
Jeff: Hooray, my missus is starting to smile? Hairy mimes stuttering two miles? No, that can’t be right.
WAAB: How do you guys come up with your song ideas?
Amy: Inspiration it all around us. We just pluck it from the ether.
Jake: This is beneath me. I’m gonna get going. I’m gonna go ask Jason what that last message meant.
Jeff: Hurry, M&M’s treating to a smile?
Jake: Yeah, I’m sure that’s it.
WAAB: What is one thing the band would want their fans to know about them?
Amy: I’m not sure I want to answer that.
WAAB: Okay, moving on.
Amy: Oh, you’re not going anywhere.
Jeff: Hairy mimes starting to smile.
Joe: Hurry, mom’s starting to smell.
There is an audible gasp. The sounds of equipment being knocked over can be heard.
WAAB: What the hell, man? How long have you been sitting there?
Joe: If you are sentenced to torture for a crime, yes, that is a cruel punishment. But the mere fact that somebody is tortured is – is unlawful under – under our statutes, but the Constitution happens not to address it, just as it does not address a lot of other horrible things.
WAAB: What does that even mean!?
Amy: Don’t mind him. He has a thing, like Delilah.
WAAB: You people are crazy. I have to get out of here!
At this point, the recording gets really choppy. We have transcribed what little could be made out. There is a lot of yelling and the sound of various things being broken or knocked over can be heard. We have to the best of our ability tried to recreate what happened.
Amy: Where do you think you are going?
He is running up the stairs to the back door. Pounding on the door can be heard
Jeff: No getting out that way, that way is locked. Don’t you worry, you’ll be back there soo…
Running up the stairs into the main part of the house.
Jake: IS SOMEONE TRYING TO RUN BY JAKE KERBY!?
There is a large thump. It sounds as if the recorder is underneath the two struggling men.
The voices are muffled.
WAAB: Get off of me! What is wrong with you?!
Jake: Who’s the black kettle pot now?!
There is more struggling. Then there is a break in the recording. When it begins again, more stairs are being climbed. There are no notes for this part of the house, so we can only guess.
WAAB: Somebody help me!
Amy (from a distance): You’re not getting out up there.
Jason’s voice can be heard singing. It is weak and muffled, as if through a door.
The sheep are resting
The cows asleep
The farmer’s in his bed
Song in your heart
It’s time to turn
The lights off in your head.
The sound of a door being broken down can be heard. In the commotion, only one last thing can be heard.
WAAB: Oh, God! Mom?!
This is where the recording ends.
This is also where our exclusive interview with the members of The Beards ends. We here at weareallbeards.com thank you for your continued patronage of our humble little site. Check back often for updates and show schedule.
On a hopefully innocuous side note, if anyone has seen said writer around town, at home, really at this point anywhere, please email us at weareallbeards.com with that information. We have also set up a 1-800 number you can call with any information.