Perhaps one of the two of the most recognizable beards in Rock N Roll (three if you count drummer Frank Beard’s last name), Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top took to Twitter with a quarantine meme, comparing his beardless past to his present full-frontal mane. But it does raise an important question, in light of the Coronavirus breakout: should ZZ Top shave off their beards?
In their new documentary, ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band from Texas (2019), the band talks about the origins of their fuzzy image and how it all started rather organically. Not in the sense that they didn’t grow their own beards naturally on their own faces, but that it happened while the band was on hiatus.
In 1976, they went their separate ways after an exhaustive tour, when they regrouped two years later both front men, Billy Gibbons (guitar/vocals) and Dusty Hill (bass/vocals) had grown full frontal beards separately, that is, unbeknownst to each other. Even, Frank Beard grew a little beard but it didn’t take. Finally, with beards in toe (or rather on face) their iconic look would become…. complete! Like a piece of the missing puzzle, like the fourth member of the band had finally joined ZZ Top: the beards!
But now with the onset of a Coronavirus pandemic, the question becomes clear (as ZZ Top’s own twitter question suggests), is it a good time for ZZ Top’s beards to go?
It’s Bad It’s Nationwide
The pandemic is wide spread across the planet, with the US (and Texas for that matter) being particularly hard hit. So, it is necessary to take action when and where we can. The best course of action is to self-isolate and wash your hands often. But does this mean the beard should go for hygiene’s sake?
Last month, the internet went “El Loco” when it was suggested that certain types of beards and moustache combinations were bad for all respirators and protective masks. All the news outlets in a fury to keep up with the latest news, circulated a chart. However, this information proved to be false. The chart was for a non-Coronavirus related illness and furthermore, the respirators and masks in question are meant for hospital use only. Therefore, the CDC made no such recommendation in shaving one’s beard.
The Old Soup Strainer
The beard has long been known as the soup stainer, in that it can stop food particles but is it sufficient for blocking the covid-19 virus? Although, there is no conclusive research I can find on the net regarding Coronovirus and beards specifically, the American Lung Association, weighed in on the subject of the health pros and cons of beards and facial hair in general. Basically, beards and moustaches may block some particles, however it is not good to have them trapped in your beard either. So, like your hands you need to wash them often. At the end of the day, it seems, it is more about personal expression than it is about any disproportionate disadvantage or advantage. However, you should probably refrain from scratching it or your face if you can.
So, right now there is no definitive answer to ZZ Top’s question: to shave or not to shave? Or whether it is helpful or detrimental in catching or transferring the virus. Because the disease is novel they are still trying to determine how long this thing lives on different surfaces. Although, another source, Popular Science writes that beards or moustaches “have nothing to do with the disease’s spread.”
Not For A Million Dollars
Would ZZ Top even consider shaving off their beards regardless?
That is, considering they were once offered a million dollars to do so. ZZ Top told Bravewords.com that Gillette offered the band one million to exclusively chop off their beards. However, ZZ Top turned it down. So, I guess for ZZ Top even ‘Under Pressure’ the beards will stay, the Coronavirus instead will have to go.
For the latest in Coronavirus news check the World Health Organization: www.who.int