(from left to right) David Perry, Kelly Kapowski, Jon Rice, Damien Stein, John Hazard, Elena Davila, Brian Damaged, Aarne Bielefeldt, Scott Stebbins, Erik Duke, Michael Narino, and Mikey Steel
B.O.M.B. Exclusive Interview w/ How To Grow A Moustache
We here at HowToGrowAMoustache.Com were way too excited to wait for Wednesday to release our second installment of our Mid-week Feature Interview Series…and you’ll read why. Here is yet another kick ass group of facial fur superstars, founded in October 2011, The B.O.M.B. (Brotherhood Of Mustaches & Beards), sometimes referred to as the BOMB Squad. A social/facial hair club that is highly active in South Florida, spanning across 3 counties: Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach. A really colorful lot of high energy Bearded/ Moustachioed folks consisting of men and women. The group participates in charitable causes, supports the local art and music scene, hosts beard and mustache competitions of their own, and travels to compete in many other competitions around the United States. We manage to rope a few of these busy members in for an interview, and we will be hearing from club president and founder Brian Damaged, vice president Mikey Steel, and members Anthony Turner, Mike Narino, as well as female member Kapowski Kelly. We are really excited and inspired by this club and we hope you are too, keep an eye out for this band of characters! Now we bring you The B.O.M.B.!
HowToGrowAMoustache: How long has your club or organization been together?
Brian: B.O.M.B. (Brotherhood Of Mustaches & Beards) was founded in August of 2011 with our first official meeting in October of 2011. We have met the 3rd Thursday of every month since then.
HTGAM: What is your membership criteria?
Brian: We distinguish a difference in our membership between active and passive members. We welcome all to become passive members as there is no criteria to be met, except for a love of facial hair. Active members have voting rights concerning official club business, and there are bylaws that define that. For example, active members must make 4 official meetings a year, compete in at least 1 competition per year representing BOMB, and a couple of other requirements.
HTGAM: Do you host events and competitions, If so how many a year and for what causes? How much have you raised?
Brian: We host a big annual competition every December which draws in competitors from around the country. 2013 will be our 3rd annual BOMB Miami Beard and Mustache competition. We also host 2 other smaller events throughout the year, participate in a yearly Movember charity, and the Coconut Grove Bed Races for the Boys and Girls Club of Miami. On average, we raise $500-$700 per event for charity. We have also contributed to Autism Speaks, AMI Kids, and Toys for Tots.
HTGAM: Does your group participate in regional, national or international competitions?
HTGAM: Have you had any big wins?
Brian: We consider all wins “big” wins. Like I mentioned before, we have placed in every comp we’ve been to. We currently have the 1st place 2011 national Freestyle Champion, the 1st place 2012 Amish beard national champion, and the 3rd place National goatee Champion in our ranks. We also have 1st and 3rd place female national Whiskerina champions. We took home 5 awards at last years regional championships in Charleston, SC. We most recently took home two 2nd pace awards in Austin, TX for groomed beard and goatee in Feb 2013. We also have a wide assortment of 1st-3rd place trophies in various categories from many other competitions across the country.
Mike: Just relax and have fun! We all do this because we get a kick out of it.
Brian: The only advice I can give concerning those who haven’t been involved with a facial hair club, is get out and join one or start one. It’s a great reason to get together, meet new people, help out the local community, and have a great time…..plus it’s a great excuse to travel.
Anthony: While the pub life is an interesting one, I’m one of the few who doesn’t drink anymore. The usual club member does. However, they were still welcoming and courteous.
HTGAM: Any tips or pointers for other stache and beard wearing men (or women) reading this?
Brian: Go with what you can grow. Not everyone can grow that “epic” beard but you may be able to rock a sweet ‘stache or grow some fierce chops. Be comfortable and be
yourself. Be proud of the style you choose and wear it well.
Mikey: Grow it out Proud and Sound Off Loud.
Anthony: Let it grow, be proud, and let it show.
Mike: Don’t shave lol. If you’re someone that likes to groom or style your facial hair, start training your hair so that it eventually gets used to the products and how you want your facial hair to naturally sit.
[pullquote] …I told the driver we were in the “Hillbilly Wizards” (a fictitious band I had just made up). We proceeded to create this elaborate story of the video we had just filmed in their city.[/pullquote]
HTGAM: Does anyone in your group have any humorous facial fur stories to share?
Mike: A girl once rubbed her face in my beard while saying, “meow meow.”
Anthony: In 2006 I was working for a roofing contractor in Palm Beach County . I found myself at the Permit Office picking up some documents. I had exited the truck and lit a smoke. As I walked to the main entry of the County Building. I decided to pop a squat with my back against the wall while I finished it before heading inside. At the time my beard was close to its current length (3.5 inches), coupled with shoulder length hair, and filthy from tearing off a roof. So there I was finishing my smoke, while a woman walked past. She met my eyes, walked over and handled me five dollars. I was in shock, so I failed to realize that other people had seen this. Before I could walk to the lady and give her back her money, a man came and gave me half of his Subway sandwich. Now simply accepting this, I pocketed the five dollars, and ate the sandwich on the way to the Permit counter. It was turkey and swiss on wheat.
Brian: We have an ongoing inside joke when we are traveling to competitions. It’s inevitable that we have to jump into a cab at some point and the driver always asks us if we are in a band. So, the 1st time this happened, I told the driver we were in Hillbilly Wizards (a fictitious band I had just made up). We proceeded to create this elaborate story of the video we had just filmed in their city. It’s amazing how well we worked with each other to create this BS story, and how gullible the cab drivers are. It has since become tradition to tell a Hillbilly Wizards story to cab drivers when we are on the road. The story always changes but the premise remains the same.
HTGAM: Anthony Wins!
HTGAM: What are some of your group’s favoritegrooming products and why?
Mike: Among most of our club members that style their facial hair, the Got2B line of products is the most popular. Apart from that, I know some members like to use Firehouse Wax.
Brian: I like mane and tail shampoo and conditioner. I also like to use various oils in my beard. I alternate between argan oil, jojoba oil, an olive oil serum, and a coconut oil. For styling, I really like the Got2B Glued freeze spray, and for styling the mustache I really like Firehouse Moustache Wax Wacky Tacky. All of these products seem to aid perfectly in achieving the desired end results. Something that looks good, gives confidence, and holds up.
Anthony: Macadamia Oil Shampoo, jojoba oil, and black seed and honey leave in cream conditioner.
Mikey: Any freeze spray is GREAT for styling. A lot of People Use Got2B Glued but I went ahead and explored to find an alternative product. In the end any freeze spray works pretty good.
Mike: What most of our members look for in mustache wax is firm, tacky wax. I, and I think one other member like to use softer pomades because it doesn’t really put a strain on your mustache while you are applying it, but it won’t have as much as a permanent hold like the firmer waxes, so you want to carry some with you in case. I recently started use the Got2B spiking gel, which is soft like pomade, but gets as firm as a good mustache wax the more you work it.
Brian: Being in south Florida, we need to use a mustache wax that holds up in the heat and high humidity. Firehouse works for me, and I also make my own.
Mikey: I personally don’t like using mustache wax. Again, I use the freeze spray. To use hair spray on your mustache you obviously don’t spray it directly on your face. All you have to do is spray some on your finger and style as desired. A hair dryer is required.
HTGAM: What do you see in the future for your club?
Anthony: The sky’s the limit, I hope we can become a self-supporting club with weekly donations to various charities. It’s about giving back.
Mike: What I see in the future for the Brotherhood of Mustaches and Beards (B.O.M.B) is bigger national recognition. Currently there are other clubs and facial hair growers that already know us by name, but I see us being regularly known. We travel a lot to competitions, so most competitors are already familiar with most of our faces. Also, we’re very successful at events. I believe that at least one of our members’ places at every competition we travel to, and think that plays a vital role to gaining notoriety among other clubs. I also see our annual competition as a must-go-to competition. I would like our event to be as big as big events like Austin, and nationals. Lastly, I would like the B.O.M.B to be recognized by the World Beard and Mustache Association (WBMA).
Brian: The future of our club……so many big plans. Aside from the usual traveling, competitions, and charitable work, we have some top secret BOMB plans in the works. Be on the lookout. We intend to be a role model for other clubs in regards to what a club can do and what a club can be.
HTGAM: Do you see an increase in the popularity of moustache and beard clubs?
Mikey: All the time. I’ve already seen Clubs break up in one state and not even A month later another is born.
Anthony: I have always had a beard, however I have kept it tame and under control. I found out about these guys on the net while looking for a club in Palm Beach County, after watching Whisker Wars. I was like “Whoa, you can get an award for looking homeless? Sign me up.”
Mike: Definitely see an increase in the popularity of facial hair clubs. The television series Whisker Wars has played a big factor in the emergence of newer clubs. Also, the actual competitions have inspired new clubs to surface as well.
Kapowski Kelly: It does not feel like I’m in a club. It feels like a have a huge family filled with men and women that are dedicated to their love for facial hair. Every Competition goes to a charity, whether it’s for breast cancer, or needy children. We get to raise the money for these people, and show them that we not only have rad beards and mustaches, we also have big hearts. We enjoy doing this and having fun. The love and compassion for our facial hair is what motivates us to become this huge club (family).
Anthony: I enjoy the camaraderie and sportsmanship of the club. There’s a wide variety of unique individuals in B.O.M.B. from all backgrounds. It’s great making new friends that enjoy facial hair as much as I do.
Mikey: A friendship that is pretty F’n awesome. We get to travel, compete and meet other beards/mustaches that are some of the most down people I’ve ever met. Being in a club should be fun for you. If it doesn’t make you happy then don’t cloud the area with your negative nancy jibber jabber. We’re here to have fun, help out with anything we can help out with, and just plain be dudes…with facial hair.
Brian: Being in a club is great for me. It gives me an additional sense of accomplishment. It has reinforced the idea that I can do anything I put my mind to. I am very passionate about helping others, so it’s a great outlet to get involved with various
charities. It’s also a great way to be recognized for doing good regardless of your appearance. One of the main focuses of the club is to shine a more positive light in our respective community on those who choose to defy the “norm” by sporting their unique, traditional, or epic facial hair. As the old saying goes, don’t judge the book by the cover. We want more people to understand that.
Mike: Some of the best people I have ever met are members of our club. We’re all good buddies, and I always feel like they all have my back. Our club is starting to get more and more popular, and some of the payoffs have been people buying me drinks, as well as cute girls that want to take pictures with me and other club members. Some bars give us discounts. We really are a brotherhood. I think we grow more every day as a tight unit (apart from our faces, lol). Plus you now have an excuse to travel.
How To Grow A Moustache would like to thank Brian Damaged and Co. for taking the time to chat with us. For anyone looking to find out more or get in contact with B.O.M.B. you can reach them at: www.officialbomb.com or at their facebook page: facebook.com/officialbomb
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Interview by Douglas Smythe
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