Justin Foley - Killswitch Engage

Justin Foley, the fire-maned skinsman for Killswitch Engage, has got one hell of a monstrous beard. You’ve no doubt seen it in the “Holy Diver” video (pictured above), but if you saw the band on tour recently you’d see that Foley’s man-whiskers have grown to catastrophic proportions. As an aspiring beardo myself, I was thrilled to have the opportunity recently to interview Justin — exclusively about his beard — both for the sake of interesting MetalSucks content and for my own beard-growing aspirations. Trust me, these things don’t just take care of themselves; lots of time and effort goes into keeping our face-pubes nice and healthy.

After the jump, Justin shares with us the history and inspiration behind his beard, his beard heroes, the recent trend of beards in metal, beard grooming tips, and a whole lot more. It’s every beard-grower’s dream.

Justin, as both a fan of your music and a man of a large beard myself, I am asking these questions on behalf of Killswitch fans and aspiring beardos everywhere, including myself. First thing’s first, let’s get this out of the way: for how long have you been growing your beard?

It’s been exactly a year and a half.

What made you want to start growing your mane? When you started, did you have any idea how long you wanted it to get?

I had a few short beards over the years, and then all of us in the band, except Adam, grew beards on the Jager tour in 04. That was when I really started to enjoy having a beard. I think that was partially inspired by the Family Guy episode when Peter grows the big beard and has birds living in it. I thought I had a big one then, but after we recorded this latest record, I decided not to shave at all for a while and just see what happens. I never thought it would last this long. I always said I’d cut it after this tour or that tour, but just never did.

Do you have any beardo heroes you look up to in the burgeoning field of facial hair growth?

Jack Passion. Look him up, he’s a champion [Literally – Ed.] Other than him, just random men with beards. I met this one guy in Detroit at a diner that had a long grey beard and he told me that he started growing it in 1985, I think, or around there, the day his mother died as a tribute to her. That is inspiting.

Beards definitely are “in” right now, especially in metal (though you certainly take it to a whole new level). Discuss.

I’ve noticed that lately. Seems like a lot of dudes have gotten pretty hairy. I don’t know why but as long as it’s not dyed all weird colors or braided or something, I’m fine with it.

Do you trim your beard at all around the sides or at the tips to keep it growing strong?

I haven’t touched it at all. I have a lot of split ends that could probably use some attention.

What about the mustache; do you trim, or let it grow el naturale?

That is the one exception. Maybe I’m a cheater, but I just had too much trouble with the stache.

Justin Foley - Killswitch EngageAre there any particular foods that you’ve had to give up as a result of your beard making it difficult to eat them?

Lots of stuff is hard to eat, but I haven’t had to actually give anything up. Soup and cereal always spills into it, and anything that you can’t put on a fork (like sandwiches and burgers) are a real problem and a mess. But just keep plenty of napkins handy.

How often do you wash and/or condition your beard? What brand of shampoo and conditioner do you use for your man-whiskers? Do you brush/comb it? Any other grooming tips for aspiring beardos?

I think I was a little lacking in this category. I didn’t brush or comb it too often, just when it felt pretty tangled. I used normal shampoo,
occasional conditioners, nothing too fancy.

Do you find that chicks dig the beard or think it’s gross? What’s the ratio of dudes who give your beard compliments to girls who give it compliments?

It’s all dudes. Dudes always come over and ask how long I’ve been growing it, or just to say it’s awesome. Never girls. My girl was very supportive of it, however, or else it never would have gotten as crazy long as it did.

What do the other band members think?

I think they like it. Mike made a shirt with my face on it. Joel is jealous.

Have you ever been stopped by airport security or customs due to looking like a freak out of a Taliban training video? Or experienced beard discrimination in any situation?

No, nothing has happened that I’ve noticed. My passport picture is pretty old too; I have hair in it.

When, if ever, do you think it will be “time” to shave off your beard?

I think the time is now actually. It’s been a fun run, but I’m seriously considering changing it up. I’m pretty sure I’ll always have something on my face, and maybe I’ll go for an even longer stretch some time. But I think it’s the end for this one.


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