God, I get the best emails sometimes. Like the one passed on to me from the St. Louis-based American Mustache Institute, who recently interviewed My Morning Jacket's Jim James. The link to the interview is HERE; scroll down to August 2008, past a Q&A with fellow 'stache cultivator Mike Schmidt. A few highlights:
Q: Jim, thank you for speaking with the American Mustache Institute. So lately you've shaved the beard and gone with the solo mustache – which means you are more brave and strong then ever before. How does it feel to be as powerful as Burt Reynolds, Billy Dee Williams, and those of us at AMI?
(pictorial evidence, added by A to Z)
A: I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A FAN OF THE WISDOM AND POWER OF THE MUSTACHE. MY DEAR OLD DAD WAS BORN WITH A MUSTACHE, AND WILL ALWAYS ROCK THE STACHE TILL HIS DYING DAY. SO HE WAS A BIG INSPIRATION FOR ME.
HAVING ONLY A MUSTACHE IS A FEELING UNLIKE ANY OTHER. A FEELING OF DEEP PRIDE AND SOPHISTICATION. WHEN I WENT FOR THE ‘STACHE-ONLY WAY OF LIFE, I WAS TRYING TO CONJURE UP SOME OF THE POWER OF JAMES BROWN'S ‘STACHE PERIOD – WHICH I FELT. HAVE YOU SEEN HIS PERFORMANCE OF "THE BIG PAYBACK” ON THE MIDNITE SPECIAL FROM 1974? HOLY SHIT! AT THE SAME TIME, I ALSO WANTED TO FEEL LIKE A TOP RATE T-BALL COACH.
ANYWAYS, I GUESS I DIFFER JUST A LITTLE BIT FROM YOUR STRICT "MUSTACHE ONLY" POLICY IN THAT, WHILE I BELIEVE THAT "MUSTACHE ONLY" IS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL LOOKS ONE CAN POSSES, I AM EQUALLY A FAN OF THE MUSTACHE WITH A FULL BEARD. I FEEL EVERY MAN LOOKS BEST WITH HIS GOD-GIVEN FACIAL HAIR, AS LONG AS IT'S NOT A BEARD WITH NO MUSTACHE. THE ‘STACHE MUST BE PRESENT AT ALL TIMES.
(James in bearded times)
Q: We in the faculty and administration at AMI tend to refer to beards and goatees as "spousal compromises," as chin coverage represents weakness as opposed to the more manly, powerful mustache. But it seems like three of your bandmates haven't gotten the message yet. Are you considering having them replaced as a result?
A: THERE HAVE BEEN FINES AND PENALTIES, YES. AND ACTUALLY, CARL HAS ONE OF THE MEANEST ‘STACHES I'VE EVER SEEN. CHECK OUT OUR NEW RECORD TO SEE HIS STACHE! BUT AS I SAID, AS I AM DOWN WITH YOUR PHILOSOPHIES, MY POLICY DIFFERS IN THAT I DON'T SEE THE BEARD AS HURTING THE MUSTACHE - ONLY A DIFFERENT SHADE FROM GOD'S HAIRY TOOL PALLETTE.
Q: So we assume you have a favorite guitar, but have you ever showered with it and will you be placing a mustache on it anytime soon?
A: I BABY ALL MY GUITARS. SHOWERING WITH THEM IS A NORMALLY DAILY ACTIVITY, AS IS SHOWERING THEM WITH GIFTS AND AFFECTION. I TRY ALSO TO ADHERE TO CAPTAIN BEEFHEART'S 10 COMMANDMENTS OF GUITAR PLAYING.
Q: In 2005, Brian Hiatt of Rolling Stone called you, "The five hairy dudes known as My Morning Jacket." Besides the fact that you had a beard at the time, that must bring you much pride, yes?
A: MY HEART SWELLS WITH PRIDE EVEN AS I READ YOU REPEATING IT.
Go read the rest here. Right now. Go on. You know you want to.