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Michael Stipe on the Hairy Subject of Beard Care

Some people ask Michael Stipe about his legendary music career following 30 years with R.E.M. and others inquire about his facial hair. Matt Everitt, host of the BBC’s “The First Time With…” is the rare breed who managed to do both in yesterday’s episode. You can watch the interview in the video above.

“Three Halloweens ago I went as a failed radical fairy,” Stipe told Everitt, who had questioned whether the beard “just happened” or was a deliberate decision. “And to be a failed radical fairy you have to have a lot of facial hair — put flowers in it, way too much glitter, way too much makeup, overdo the eyebrows. And it worked. People laughed and laughed and laughed. And I had a great Halloween.”

In a surprise follow-up, Everitt, who noted it’s “looking good,” asked about Stipe’s beard-care products, which prompted an amused but somewhat incredulous Stipe to respond “Are you really asking me that?” before explaining his regimen.

“I wash it with shampoo, and I’ve tried conditioner but it doesn’t condition very well. I’m kind of going for — rather than Skid Row Santa, I’m kind of going for a Poseidon-slash-Zeus-slash-Brancusi, uh, Matisse kind of appeal. And so I keep it a little trimmed on the sides to show off my beautiful cheekbones. And that’s about it, really. I put some oil on it from time to time,” Stipe explained.

Stipe, along with Mike Mills, also talked about meeting David Bowie and the dissolution of the band.

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