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New Beard
"Weird Rock" Sprouts in Brooklyn
by: Meijin Bruttomesso - July 5, 2012


So, New Beard is not just a clever name, since the band is indeed dominated by facial hair. The Brooklyn-based five-piece, consisting of Tony Waldman, Ben Wigler, Yazan, Maria Eisen, and “Tuba” Joe Exley (not just a clever alias either), adding a creative take on the low end, is not just your average rock band. The title track of their new album "New Beard City" combines feel-good, jazzy melodies and bouncing rhythms, while “I Walk the Streets” features intricate percussion and moments of calypso beats, haunting distortion, and unexpected modulations, which contrasts with somber, low-key, tuba-centric, “Terran Holiday.” New Beard’s self-proclaimed “weird rock” genre is infectiously entertaining.

Who has a new beard or who is New Beard? What does the band name mean?
We are TubaJoe Exley (electric Tuba), Ben Wigler (vocals, electric banjo), Tony Waldman (drums, insane faces), Yazan (Zappa-esque shredder), and Maria Eisen (sax/pocket piano). You might guess that Maria does not have a new beard... I like the name New Beard. People love beards. I take pictures of beards on the street for our twitter page. Beards are like cute dogs - their owners are always willing to talk to you about their beard. It's a short name, and it'll always be new, like us. Maybe it means "beard" as in the obscuring-your-sexuality-through-sham-marriage term. ひげ or "hige" in Japanese refers to any facial whisker but means 'beard.' We're very inclusive. There are so many good bands with big beards out there. Ours aren't the biggest beards, just the newest. Forever. New Beard is weird.

If you could jam with any other artists, past, present, or deceased, who would it be?

We got to 'jam' with Gustave Ejstes of Dungen on our album, and that was a dream. I'd love to work with Matt Friedberger (Fiery Furnaces). Ween. Neil Young would have a lot of fun with New Beard. Most of us in the band have jammed with Reggie Watts, and that's also a dream. Geddy Lee. Deceased dream jams: Dangerous-era Michael Jackson, Frank Zappa, Elliot Smith, and Cliff Burton.

What is the story behind your newest release, New Beard City? What is your favorite song and why?

The record is an homage to New York, as well as other interesting cities like Tokyo and Stockholm, which have influenced the process. I was in a NYC band called Arizona, which graced the cover of The Deli in 2006. Immediately afterward, we moved to North Carolina, which was a great journey filled with amazing friends, but a disaster for our career. I started writing “New Beard City” just as Arizona broke up. My favorite song from the album is "Doom" because it came to me absolutely effortlessly. I recorded it on my own without the full NB band while Gustav was mixing the record, and some of the AZ guys play on it. Gustav sings with me at the end and really produced the sound of the track. It's got an amazing hook, and I actually wrote the hook in 2003. It was the first thing I wrote after I moved to NYC the first time.

What can we expect from New Beard before 2012 is over?
Expect a majestic debut LP called "New Beard City,” many, many music videos, a lot of touring starting in August… through CMJ [in October]. Probably a 2nd EP. Heart felt, very, very unique new music and live performances.

What is your favorite tour/show story?
There have been some great shows. Every NB show has a crazy story. But, it would be hard not to cite the wildly-bizarre show that we played with Jimmy McMillan of the RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH party. Remember him? We played with him, and he went nuts for us. That guy has a crazy, crazy beard.

"The record is an homage to New York, as well as other interesting cities like Tokyo and Stockholm, which have influenced the process."

New Beard
"New Beard City"

what it is

Unique rock fueled by electric-Tuba, soaring dreamy vocals, infectious melodies, insane drumming. For those who like: Dungen, Father John Misty, Deerhoof